Orte is one of the bigger cities in the province of Viterbo in Italy. It is located 25 kilometres south of Viterbo itself and 60 kilometres north of Rome. Apart from having a very nice old historic centre, it is also an important public transport hub.
Orte city guide
The address of the town hall is Piazza del Plebiscito, 1 – 01028 Orte (tel. +39 07614041). The ZIP code is 01028 and the area code is 0761. The boroughs are Baucche, Caldare, Orte Scalo, San Bernardino, San Michele, Scappia di Paglia and Stazione di Bassano in Teverina.
By car/public transport
From Viterbo by car: Take the SS675 in eastern direction.
From Rome by car: Take the A1 motorway to the north.
Public transport from Viterbo: There are direct trains from Viterbo Porta Fiorentina station. There are bus connections from the Porta Romana station.
Public transport from Rome: There is a direct train connection to Orte.
NB: When you get to Orte‘s train station, you are not yet in the historical centre. There is a bus from the station to Piazza del Popolo in this centre.
A brief history of Orte
Orte has always been an important town in the area, first because of the consular road Via Amerina and now because of both the A1 (Autostrada del Sole) and some important train lines that make the town a traffic hub. The most beautiful part of the town is its historical center, which is located at the top of a big rock In most of the alleys in this center there is hardly any space for a car. Houses at the edge of the center seem to be on the verge of falling off the cliff.
Orte is very old city and was probably one of the 12 cities that formed the Etruscan Federation.
In Roman times, it remained an important city. Before the Ponte Felice in Rome itself was built, the (originally) wooden Ponte di Augusto near Orte was the most important place to cross the Tiber on your way north. The Roman consular road, Via Amerina, ran across this bridge.
Middle ages till now
During the late Middle Ages, Orte remained a prosperous and influential city. It had its own bishop’s seat and the bishop was elected by the population itself.
In the 16th century, the Ponte di Augusto was swept away by a flood, never to be rebuilt. This is partly because of later floods and partly the result of the unstable political situation in those years.
When Sixtus V became Pope, he preferred the Via Flaminia to the Via Amerina. Orte lost much of its influence as a result.
Today, much of that status has been regained. This is mainly due to the location of the city, which makes it a perfect connection point for a number of important train lines and highways. Both the Autostrada del Sole and the Rome-Florence and Rome-Ancona train lines pass through Orte.
Tourist attractions Orte
The main basilica in the city is the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, but there are also a number of churches (and former churches), which are sometimes used as museums. Also the house where a certain Judas used to live is to be seen. There is an underground system of corridors dug into the tuff stone that used to be part of a pre-Roman aqueduct. The top 10 sights of Orte offer enough to entertain a tourist for a day or so.
Events and festivals
From 31 August to the second Sunday in September, the Ottava of Sant’Egidio is celebrated. During these days, every neighbourhood (contrada) has a tavern, where only local products are eaten. Several competitions are held between the contrade, among which a cooking competition, a drumming competition and on the last day, the most important one, between the best archers of the various districts.