Orte is a small town some 60 km north of Rome and 25 km south of Viterbo. It has a beautiful old historical center, but is nowadays especially important as a railway hub.
Orte is very old and was probably one of the twelve towns constituting the Etruscan Federation.
Thanks to the Via Amerina Orte was an important city in Roman times. Until the construction of the Ponte Felice bridge in Rome itself the (originally) wooden Ponte di Augusto near Orte functioned as the main point where the Tiber was crossed in northern direction.
During the late Middle Ages Orte became a rich and influential city. It had its own bishop’s seat and was allowed to elect the holder of this office itself.
In the 16th century the bridge was destroyed by a flood and, although some of it can still be seen, never rebuilt. partly because of other floods and partly because of the rather unstable political situation at the time.
When Sixtus V became Pope he privileged the Via Flaminia over the Via Amerina and Orte lost much of its influence.
Nowadays Orte has regained a lot of its status, mostly through its position as a public transport hub. The Autostrada del Sole and the Rome-Florence and Rome-Ancona railway lines all pass through the city.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions Orte
- Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta: Originally 9th century cathedral, although its present aspect is the result of renovations in the 18th and 19th (the facade) centuries.
- Palazzo Vescovile: The Bishop’s Palace is right next to the Cathedral.
- Museo Comunale Civico Archeologico: Etruscan, Roman and medieval finds, unearthed during excavations in and around Orte. The museum is housed in the ancient Church of Sant’Antonio.
- Museo delle Confraternite: This museum is housed inside the sacristy of the Church of Santa Croce. Several of the objects on display are used in a procession held every year on Good Friday.
- Museo Diocesano: The former Church of San Silvestro. Highlight is a fragment of the 8th century mosaic “Byzantine Madonna“.
- Church of San Biagio: 13th Century church, that used to belong to the Roman Santo Spirito in Saxia hospital.
- Church and ex-Convent of Sant’Agostino: This church was created uniting three religious building of various epochs: The Church of Santa Croce,the Oratorium of Sant’Egidio and the Church of Sant’Agostino.
- Sanctuary of the Santissima TrinitÃ : Small, white church, partly excavated in the tufo hillside. San Bernardino lived in one of its caves for a while.
- Palazzo dell’Orologio: Early 17th century building, originally the Palazzo della PodestÃ .
- House of Judas: The Casa di Giuda, with its medieval portico, used to belong to a man who betrayed the community of Orte at some point during the Middle Ages. Hence the name.