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11/50.- Umbria, Orvieto, General View

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As pointed out already, the city of Orvieto rests on a solid base of volcanic rock. Ever since Etruscan times, settlers have dug into the rock for various reasons : to provide stone for their buildings, to probe for water, to build cellars and caves to protect themselves (from the heat or from enemies) or to house underground workshops. In this manner, it is only a slight exaggeration to speak of an « underground city » in which people have dwelt or taken refuge from pre-Roman times through the Middle Ages all the way up to World War Two, when the caves provided protection for the wounded during air raids.

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