Built in the sixteenth century to ensure water supply to the city, the Well of San Patrizio Orvieto is now the second most visited tourist attraction in Orvieto.
Architects Antonio da Sangallo Il Giovane and Giovanni Battista da Cortona were architects of 13 meters wide and over 50 meters long. The Well of San Patrizio Orvieto, excavated largely in the tuff, is a great work of human ingenuity. It is characterized by two overlapping spiral staircases destined to never meet: in practice, a spiral staircase descends to the groundwater at the bottom and an exactly identical staircase goes up to the surface. The two ramps are connected to the bottom by a bridge, but otherwise they are completely independent from each other. This particular architecture allowed mules and people who transported water not to hinder themselves during work.
The interior of the Well of San Patrizio Orvieto is illuminated by as many as 70 windows, but inevitably as you go down in depth the light decreases until it becomes a dim light on the bottom. Outside, only a small circular building is visible, finely decorated with a motif of lilies, in which there are two small doors.
The Well of San Patrizio Orvieto is called this way because in Ireland there is a huge chasm very similar where it seems that the saint often withdrew in prayer during his work of evangelization. In the past it was also believed that beyond its depth was the door of Purgatory, this made it a sacred and mysterious place in the eyes of the population. Today the expression “well of San Patrizio” is used in fact to indicate a mysterious or resourceful reserve.
The area in which the well is located is now used as a public garden where you can enjoy an excellent view of the city and the surrounding area. Nearby there are also the Etruscan Temple of Belvedere and the Fortress.