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ORVIETO SITTING ON A VOLCANO
Orvieto is a little ancient city in the Province of Terni, Southwerstern Umbria, situated on the flat summit of a large butte of tufa, a volcanic rock. The site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of steep cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built on the same stone called Tufa.
Orvieto was certainly a major centre of Etruscan civilisation, of which some amazing traces can be seen visiting the local archaeological museum.
The town was annexed by Rome in the third century BC. Because of its site on a high cliffs, the city was virtually impregnable. It was last conquered by Julius Caesar.
During the medieval ages the city became one of the major cultural centers of its time, when Thomas Aquinas taught at the Stadium, which was later evolved into one of the first Universities of the world.
The territory of Orvieto has been under papal control long before it was officially added to the Papal States; it remained a papal possession until 1860, when it was annexed to unified Italy.