St. Patrick's Well - Underground Marvel

2017/11/09 - Written by Vittoria Zorfini
St. Patrick's Well - Underground Marvel
St. Patrick's Well - Underground Marvel
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The Pozzo di San Patrizio (St. Patrick’s Well) has been dug in the highland of the valley tiberina where the village of Orvieto rises, in Umbria. 

It is an unbelievable work of engineering that goes back to 1527, built by the young Antonio da Sangallo, commissioned by pope Clemente VII. The purpose was to ensure the city had access to water case of a siege.

The depth of 54 meters is impressive and there are 248 stairs to reach the bottom. The structure is made up two ramps of spiral staircases that enabled the passage of beasts of burden responsible for transporting water, without which the animals would have been hindered. The well is very charming because is here that Irish saint came to reflect and pray in the hollow underground.

In the second half of the 1700s, believers made their way to the hollow underground cave, and once having reached the bottom of the cave, it was believed that their sins would be forgiven and they would be granted access to Heaven. For this reason, it changed its name to the well of St. Patrick, having previously been known as the Fortess of Albornoz due to its proximity to Albornoz.

Besides the well’s sense of spirituality and majesty, is the structure itself that’s dug in the natural tufa stone and adorned by 72 immense windows lining the whole well from top to bottom. Seen by the outside, the structure exposes itself as a low and cylindrical construction with two doors opposite each other, one to enter and the other to exit. The well is additionally decorated with the farnesiani  lilies of Paul III Farnese who completed the work in 1537.

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