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Orvieto Art and monuments -
Palazzo dei Sette and Torre del Moro
Recently refurbished as a cultural centre, the Palazzo dei Sette and the Torre del Moro once belonged to the Della Terza family. The complex then passed into the hands of the Church and was used by the cityï¿½s ï¿½sevenï¿½-member government, hence its name. It is thought that Antonio da Sangallo also resided here for a period.
In 1515 Pope Leo X ceded the buildings, then known as Torre del Papa and Case di Santa Chiesa to be used as the seat of the cityï¿½s governor. Since then the buildings have had a variety of public uses through the ages.
The first door to the right leads to the Torre del Moro, which can be mounted either on foot or with the aid of an elevator for part of the way. Tickets are on sale at the entrance but it is worth bearing in mind that this monument is one of the four sights included in the Carta Unica Cittï¿½ di Orvieto round ticket.
Of the two bells that are within the tower, one is particularly rare and dates from 1313. Its rim is engraved with the symbols of the cityï¿½s 25 crafts and with the symbol of the people of Orvieto.
In1865 the new water tank for the distribution of water from the new aqueduct into Orvieto was hoisted onto the top of the tower. Ten years later this was in turn surmounted by a clock and the ancient civic bell. Towards the end of the 19th century the ground floor of the building was occupied by the townï¿½s post office, which has recently been relocated.
The top of the towerï¿½s 47-metre-high vantage point commands views over the entire city and its surrounding dominions.
A number of theories have been put forward concerning the origins of the name Torre del Moro (Moorï¿½s Tower). For many years popular legend ascribed the origins of the name to a jealous moor said to have prospered in the buildingï¿½s atrium. A number of historians believed that the tower took its name from the puppet of a Moor, or Saracen, that was attached to it during jousts in the Middle Ages as a target for knights. But the generally accepted theory today is that the name derives from Raffaele di Sante, known as ï¿½il Moroï¿½, who is said to have resided in the tower in the 16th century. The adjacent palazzo, that later passed into the hands of the Gualtiero family, was also known by the same name.
A stone slab on the corner with Via della Costituente is inscribed with a tetraine from Danteï¿½s Purgatory that refers to the struggle between families such as the well-known feud between the Montagus and Capulets in Verona. Here the inscription tells of the feud between two Orvieto families, the Monaldeschi and the Filippeschi.
Palazzo dei Sette
Corso Covour, 87 - Orvieto