The Episcopal Palace (Palazzo Vescovile) is located next to the Papal Palaces (Palazzi Papali) in Piazza del Duomo in Orvieto. Some rooms on the first floor are used as the seat of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. The rest of the palace is not accessible.
Palazzo Vescovile Orvieto
Address: Piazza Duomo, 17 – Orvieto. The Palazzo Vescovile can be visited only from the outside.
History and Description
The current Palazzo Vescovile is of fairly recent origin, having been built only in 1956. It forms a right angle with the Palazzi Papali. An earlier version of the Episcopal Palace was partially incorporated into the palace to the right of the present building.
The first Episcopal Palace on this site was probably built as early as the 11th century. In 1178, Bishop Riccardo had a new building erected. The San Silvestro Chapel, which was part of this palace, was consecrated in 1212.
Popes who visited Orvieto in these years usually stayed in this palace. As these visits became more frequent and also began to last longer, papal palaces were erected. The first pope to commission such a palace was Urban IV, who stayed in Orvieto from 1262 to 1264.
In the Cappella del Corporale, the most beautiful chapel in the city’s cathedral, there is a mural depicting the first Palazzo Vescovile. The pope himself is depicted in the loggia on this work, which was painted by Ugolino di Prete Ilario between 1357 and 1364. The painting also shows that in those days the Palazzo Vescovile was connected to Palazzo Soliano by a loggia.
After the popes left Orvieto, both the Episcopal Palace and the Papal Palace were occupied by the bishops themselves.
Around 1485, when the Palazzo Comunale fell out of use, the Episcopal Palace was used as a town hall. This lasted until about 1580.