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  • Located on Poglia river; was one of 12 ancient cities of Etruria; sacked and taken by Rome in 264 BCE; later ruled by Goths, Byzantines and Lombards; was an independent commune in 12th century; torn by civil strife and external wars. A series of wars was fought from the mid-13th century through the early 14th century between Guelf-controlled Florence and allies (Montepulciano, Bologna, and Orvieto) and their Ghibelline opponents (Pisa, Siena, Pistoia, and Arezzo). Orvieto was taken by the papacy in 1448.

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Duomo, the great glory of Orvieto and a masterpiece of Italian Gothic art. Built in commemoration of a miracle that occurred not here, but in Bolsena the basic building is quite sober, constructed of bands of black and white stone; but a most extraordinary façade has been applied to it: bronze dragons, gables with mosaics resplendent in gold, and a marvelous shirt-front of marble bas-reliefs by Lorenzo Maitani: an early 14th‑century interpretation of the sculptural style of imperial Rome, which is fitting, in a way, since the stone was taken from some of the ancient monuments of Rome.

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