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Orvieto Art and tourist attractions - St Patrick's Well

Built in 1527 by order of Pope Clement VII, the Pozzo di San Patrizio was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger to supply water to the city in the event of siege. The well takes its name from St Patrick because of its alleged similarity with the cave the saint is believed to have used as a retreat for penitence and prayer. The ingenious design of the well uses two opposite doors that lead to spiralling staircases down to the water, for a total of 248 steps, built in such a way that those descending with their mules or donkeys would never meet those ascending in the opposite direction.

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