Orvieto & Terme di Saturnia

Sunday 12th March

Yesterday I went on an Erasmus trip to Orvieto, a tiny city 80km from Oerugua and then to Terme di Saturnia, natural thermal baths 75km from Orvieto.

The trip was organised and run by ESN Perugia and cost 15€. We left Perugia at 10:00 and arrived in Orvieto just before lunch, we had a guided tour around the city for about an hour and a half followed by 45 minutes of free time before we continued to the Terme.

Orvieto is a small yet beautiful city (pretty much like all Italian cities and towns) and we were lucky enough to visit on a blue sky, warm day! The cathedral looks very similar to the one in Siena and I’ve been told the Duomo di Firenze is also very similar. They’re all made from the black and white stripes with the very intricate facade.

We also visited the viewpoint at the old city walls and we learnt a bit about the history such as Orvieto once was covered in lava by a volcano, the people then used the cooled lava to build and also under the city there are many tunnels and caves dug into the lava! Orvieto is also famous as some popes (back in 1100s-1300s) lived there!

Things to do in Orvieto are;

* Duomo di Orvieto

* Pizza do San Patrizio (a massive well)

* Etruscan Ruins

* Caves under the city (I think you can only access with a guided tour, we didn’t do it but I’ve been told it’s good)

* Fortezza Albornoz

* Palazzo Del Popolo

* Torre Del Moro

We left Orvieto at around 14:30 and continued to Terme di Saturnia. It took us over 2 hours to get there as the driver got a little bit lost! Once we arrived at the Terme it was no longer very warm so stripping down to swimwear required a little bit of bravery!

The waters at Terme di Saturnia are 37.5*C all year round so once you were in the water it was so nice to relax! The water fills the pools from a little waterfall which is also very beautiful! The water has a high content of minerals including sulphur meaning there is a very strong smell of egg which hits you when you arrive, however after a little while you can’t smell it!

We all stayed in the Terme for a couple of hours before we gained the courage to get out of the water into the now freezing cold evening, meaning all 50 something of us changed as quickly as humanly possible!

Once we returned to the bus ready to head home, we were told that the bus had broken and a mechanic was on his way. When the mechanic arrived he said that the battery was dead, he then left, then the police came and left, then a tractor came to try and jumpstart the coach, that didn’t work and he left! We were then told that a new coach was leaving Perugia to come and get us… Perugia was 2 and a half hours away so although we had already waited over an hour, we had to wait 2 and a half more!

One thing I’d suggest if you’re visiting the Terme (especially on a Sunday) is to take food and water and warm clothes. The Terme is pretty much in the middle of nowhere meaning no food, no water nor a toilet!) and like many places in Italy (or pretty much everywhere) it is a hill or it’s on one meaning it gets cold and windy!

Finally at 11ish the coach arrived and we started our journey home! We were told that we would stop on route since it has been around 9 hours since we had had access to a shop or a toilet, however it was midnight on a Sunday in Italy so no one was keeping their hope up!

Just before midnight we passed a restaurant/ cafe/ service station with lights on and all 50 of us piled in! Eventually we arrived back in Perugia at 1:30/2:00!

All in all it was a really good day, even considering the wait! It was also well worth the 15€! ESN do offer bigger trips such as Napoli, however I think they’re overpriced for what they are!
Having written this post prior to realising that the sulphur in the Terme turned all of my silver jewellery black, I would fully recommend taking all jewellery off before going into the water!

I’ve finally found a solution to fix my jewellery which didn’t include concoctions of stuff I’d never be able to find in tiny Perugia … toothpaste!!!! Not sure how it works but rubbing the toothpaste into the jewellery with a cotton bud/pad slowly removes all of the tarnish!


Word Count: 801


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