Surrounded by the verdant hills of Umbria facing the rock of Orvieto
For the people of Orvieto, the Abbey of Saints Severo and Martirio has always been simply "La Badia".
The imposing twelve-sided tower built in 1103 is a symbol of the whole structure, the first of it's kind in the architecture of the times.
The tower, with its helicoidal stairs, is 28 meters high and was built by Matilde di Canossa. Matilda a medieval noblewoman was the principal Italian supporter of Pope Gregory VII during the investiture controversy. She is one of the few medieval women to be remembered for her military accomplishments. She is sometimes called La Gran Contessa ("the Great Countess") or Matilda of Canossa after her ancestral castle of Canossa.