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Gubbio

PRIVATE GUIDED ROADBIKE TOUR
A tough route from the Tiber Valley to Lake Trasimeno

Test your true grit on the hills that border Lake Trasimeno

from 80€ Per person
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PRIVATE GUIDED ROADBIKE TOUR
Acquasparta and the Roman Ruins of Carsulae

Come with us and discover Roman ruins and ancient forests

from 55€ Per person
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WINE TASTING
Craft beer tasting in Umbria

Enjoy the experience of a craft beer tasting in a brewery nestled in the lush greenery of Umbria.

40€ Per person
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PRIVATE GUIDED MTB TOUR
Cross Country – The Abbey of Montecorona

A satisfyingly tiring biking trip from the Abbey of Montecorona in the woods, in contemplation of beauty and spirituality

from 55€ Per person
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Cross Country – Up towards Mount Tezio, in central Umbria

High up to Mount Tezio on your bike, with breath-taking views. Then down again on dirt tracks and through the undergrowth

from 55€ Per person
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EDUCATIONAL FARM
Educational farm in Umbria

At this educational farm in Umbria, you will learn about the animals and the origins of many products produced in our region

10€ Per person
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Enduro – The adrenalin-charged Valsorda route

Put your foot down and clench your fists, prepare for the Valsorda route

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PRIVATE GUIDED ROADBIKE TOUR
Farms and estates along the Tiber valley

Immerse yourself in the countryside of the Tiber valley and discover its secrets

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From Trestina, cycling amongst woods, meadows and castles

Cycling through magnificent landscapes in search of hidden castles

from 60€ Per person
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PRIVATE GUIDED ROADBIKE TOUR
Gubbio bike tour, between art and nature

Cycling amongst nature and art, in search of ancient settlements

from 60€ Per person
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PRIVATE GUIDED CITY TOUR
Guided Tour of Gubbio

Boundless beauty at the foot of the mountain. Discover breath-taking architecture and a history beyond compare

70€ Per person
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PRIVATE GUIDED CITY TOUR
Guided Tour of Montone

Un tuffo nel passato alla scoperta di uno dei borghi meglio conservati. Bellezza fra storia e natura

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What to see and what to do in Gubbio

Gubbio is located in the north-eastern corner of Umbria, near the border with Marche, flanked by the Apennines on one side and the Tiber valley on the other. At the foot of Mount Igino, the town occupies a fertile and productive area crossed by the Camignano and Cavarello torrents which, since the pre-Roman era, has attracted rich and developed peoples and cultures. Nestled amongst the breath-taking landscapes and dense vegetation of a predominantly hilly area, this town seems to have fallen asleep and become frozen in time, like most of the other towns and villages in Umbria. Wherever you choose to enter the town through its incredibly well-preserved walls, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time, steeping yourself in the magical atmosphere of popular veneration and folklore that the townsfolk of Gubbio have kept alive and intact for centuries. Saint Ubaldo, patron saint of the town, and St Francis, who arrived in Gubbio to tame the famous killer wolf, are the object of sincere and profound devotion, transforming the town’s traditions into attractive and impressive events and experiences. This town is like a treasure trove: it contains ancient and modern arts and handicrafts, its genuine flavours of the past have blended successfully with modern tastes, adapting to the needs of the new generations, and it boasts unique architectural marvels, such as the supported platform-like structure of Piazza Grande, crowned by the beautiful Palazzo dei Consoli. Forged by the patronage of the Counts of Urbino, Gubbio offers traditions, history, culture, art and architecture to anyone who visits. Past and present, ancient and modern blend together in a way that only Umbria knows how!

Discover Gubbio

Gubbio has preserved its medieval appearance almost intact. The town walls still skirt the historic centre, which consists of buildings from different eras – from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance – perched on the slopes of Monte Igino: unique architectural gems in a breath-taking, panoramic setting. Try to discover Gubbio’s amazing treasures by exploring the town streets!

Entering the town from below, you are immediately immersed in the local history by visiting the Chiesa della Madonna del Prato and then the Mausoleo dei Quaranta Martiri (victims of the Germans in 1944, to whom the square of the same name was dedicated nearby), and the older Mausoleo di Pomponio Grecino which, together with the Antiquarium and the Teatro Romano, are the most significant tributes to the great power of Gubbio in the Imperial age. You can enter the town centre from Via del Teatro and Via Matteotti, arriving at Piazza Quaranta Martiri where you’ll see the Logge dei Tiratori, which are linked to the work of the woollen yarn workers, who ‘pulled’ clothes into the desired size, and the monumental Chiesa di S. Francesco with the adjoining Convent, where tradition has it that St Francis of Assisi wore a habit for the first time. Heading up Via della Repubblica, Piazza di S. Giovanni is on your left, with the church of the same name, before you reach Via Baldassini, one of the centre’s main streets, where there are numerous monuments worth seeing: turning right you’ll see the churches of S. Giuseppe and S. Francesco della Pace, linked – respectively – to the universities of Carpentry and of Masons and Stonecutters, while on the left is the famous Casa di S. Ubaldo, an incredibly well-preserved  13th-14th-century building that was probably never actually used as a residence by the patron saint. At this point, what you’ll see before you is one of the most extraordinary works of urban architecture ever built in the Middle Ages, the beating heart of the town of Gubbio: the beautiful Piazza Grande, a wonderful example of a ‘hanging’ piazza (i.e. supported on pillars), framed by the elegant facades of Palazzi Ranghiasci, Palazzo del Podestà (or Pretorio) and the twin Palazzo dei Consoli, which, due to its elegance and dominating position, has become a symbol of the town itself. From the Palazzo’s loggia, you can walk along Via dei Consoli to another very important icon: Piazza del Bargello with its homonymous Palazzo and the famous Fontana dei Matti where, according to tradition, you can acquire a licence for madness and citizenship of Gubbio by performing a ritual that involves walking round the fountain three times. From here, heading towards the north-western end of the town centre, you will reach Via del Capitano del Popolo and the eponymous Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, not far from other unmissable buildings: Palazzo Beni and the 18th-century Teatro Comunale. Passing through the adjoining Ranghiasci Park, you’ll arrive at the upper part of the town, which is home to two more symbols of Gubbio: the Duomo, dedicated to the Martyrs Mariano and Giacomo and the Palazzo Ducale, commissioned by Federico di Montefeltro in the 15th century. And if you think you’ve covered everything at this point, think again because at the opposite end, to the east of the town, along the town walls, you will find the beautiful Statue of S. Ubaldo, the churches of S. Pietro, SS. Trinità, and also S. Agostino immediately outside the walls. Once you get here, make the effort to climb the picturesque Via dell’Appennino, which leads to the top of Mount Igino, giving you a breath-taking view of the surrounding valley and the wonderful Basilica di S. Ubaldo, patron saint of Gubbio, where the famous Ceri (huge pedestal-like statues) are carried and then laid down every 15th May.

The beautiful Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo, patron saint of Gubbio, stands on the top of Mount Igino, in a commanding position with respect to the rest of the city, which stretches out at the foot of the hill.

The original building dates back to the 13th century, and to a pre-existing church where the remains of the saint were brought in the Middle Ages. The current church is the result of successive interventions carried out between the 16th and 20th centuries.

Construction of the Basilica began in 1513 and ended a few years later, in 1527, with the addition of an adjoining cloister and convent. What was once a basilica rich in ornamental Renaissance and Baroque-style stuccos was the subject of considerable restyling in the modern era, in the early 20th century, sought by Father Emidio Selvaggio, the Priest and Custodian of the Basilica. The current appearance of the religious complex is due to these works.

While imposing in its overall structure, its decorative aspects are very sombre. The entrance portal leads to a beautiful cloister, made of bricks with round arches whose lunettes were decorated with 15th-century frescoes attributed to Pier Angelo Basili, which unfortunately are no longer very visible. The basilica has a simple facade but with five access portals that correspond to the same number of internal aisles into which the church is divided.

On entering the building, devotees and tourists are immediately captivated by the central altar housing the monumental neogothic shrine that contains the still perfectly-preserved remains of the saint, who died in 1160. A base, finely decorated with images of saints linked to the history of the city, supports the urn, while behind the altar, the beautiful stained glass windows created by Mossmeyer display scenes from the life of St. Ubaldo.

The Basilica contains several noteworthy works of art: the Battesimo di Cristo (Baptism of Christ) by Felice Damiani; the Madonna col Bambino tra i Santi Ubaldo e Giovanni Battista (Madonna and Child between the Saints Ubaldo and Giovanni Battista) created by Salvi Savini in 1610 and Sant’Orsola by Allegrini, to name just a few.

The original urn that for centuries has contained the remains of the saint remains on display on the side of the main altar, while the famous Ceri di Gubbio are still kept inside the building. On the 15th May, on the occasion of the ‘Corsa dei Ceri’, a very popular festival for the locals, the ‘Ceri’ (huge wooden pedestals each bearing a statue) are carried around the city, to the top of Mount Igino and then back inside the Basilica.

The building often referred to as Casa di Sant’Ubaldo is actually the ancient noble residence of the Accoromboni family from Gubbio, although no official documentation confirms the fact that the palace hosted Gubbio’s patron. This medieval building, built between the 13th and 14th centuries in the same architectural style as the city, is still well preserved despite numerous alterations. The facade was apparently set back and completely rebuilt following the construction of the important city buildings opposite. The house is, in fact, very close to Piazza Grande and Palazzo dei Consoli.

The building is currently owned by the University of Gubbio and entrusted to the city’s official ‘Sbandieratori’ (flag-wavers). The original wall decorations remain largely intact and some sections are on display for visitors: the part dedicated to the ‘Iconography of the Patron’ is composed of paintings of various origins dating from the 16th to the 19th century; the section dedicated to ‘Dipinti e Maioliche’ (Paintings and Maiolica) contains valuable paintings and maiolica (ceramics) by various artists ranging from the 17th to the 20th century, with traditional and modern decorations.

The Chiesetta di Santa Maria della Vittorina is situated outside the city walls, nestled in a nature park built in the early 1990s.

The original building was probably built in the 9th century on the occasion of one of the city’s victories against the Saracens but its fame was linked to the history of Saint Francis. According to tradition, related in chapter 21 of the Fioretti (‘Little Flowers of Francis of Assisi’, a collection of popular legends about the life of St. Francis of Assisi and his early companions), it was here, in around 1220, that St. Francis met and tamed the wolf that threatened the inhabitants of the city.

In 1213 the small church was assigned to Francis of Assisi by the Bishop of Gubbio Beato Villano and was the first settlement of the Franciscan friars, who remained there for several decades, until 1241. Having moved to the new convent of San Francesco, the friars left the church to the Clarisse nuns, who in turn left the building in emphyteusis to the Compagnia di S. Maria della Vittorina in 1538. The building underwent several renovations over the years, including under the local administration and the supervisory authorities. It was finally returned to the Franciscan Order in 1948 and in 1957 it was officially reopened to the public.

The church is very simple in shape on the outside and is made of local limestone with some terracotta inserts. Access is via a single entrance portal in grey sandstone, surmounted by a small window. On the right side, there is a smaller second entrance and a window, now walled up, on which two slabs appear: the first presents the symbol of the Tau with the inscription ‘Pax et Bonum 1226/1926’, while the second bears a simple inscription that reads ‘Qui Francesco placò la perniciosa Lupa’ (Here Francis appeased the pernicious Wolf). In memory of the miraculous event, two bronze monuments were erected not far from the church: a bas-relief made in 1973 by the Bolognese sculptor Farpi Vignoli and a statue created in 2002 by the sculptor Francesco Scalici.

Inside, the church has a single nave with a humpback vault completely decorated with 16th century frescoes. In the centre is the Holy Father with two little angels holding up the globe, surrounded by thirty-four extraordinarily beautiful decorative panels by the painter and native of Gubbio, Benedetto Nucci. Below the vault, the walls are decorated with Marian Scenes created by another local painter, Giovanni Maria Baldassini.

Only the apse and the small single-lancet window adorned with two rosettes remain of the original 13th-century structure.

Immediately to the right of the entrance there is a chapel whose walls are decorated with frescoes illustrating the eight stories of St. Francis, adding to the overall artistic splendour of the church.

Even today the church is so popular with visitors and devotees that a Nativity scene (Presepe delle Vittorina) has been on display since 1988, in the surrounding park, to celebrate the nativity and remember St Francis, its inventor.

The convent complex dedicated to Sant’Agostino stands just outside the city walls, not far from Porta Romana.

The building has undergone various alterations over the centuries but was built entirely in the second half of the 13th century, from around 1251 to 1294. The current facade is attributable to work carried out in the 18th century.

The church has a single nave, with a rectangular apse and a covering of wooden beams resting on pointed arches supported by pillars. It is decorated on both sides by chapels built in the 16th century that protect exceptionally beautiful works of art attributed to various artists: on the left side is Gesù e la Samaritana by Virgilio Nucci (1580) in the first chapel and the Madonna del Soccorso by an unknown artist (15th century) in the fifth; on the right side we find the Madonna di Grazia by Ottaviano Nelli in the third chapel and finally the Battesimo di S. Agostino by Felice Damiani (1594) in the fourth.

What makes the church special, however, are the extraordinary frescoes on the triumphal arch and apse. The Last Judgment is represented on the arch, a wonderful work attributed to Nelli and his workshop, probably assisted by Jacopo Salimbeni from San Severino. The apse, on the other hand – which reads from top to bottom and from left to right – is occupied by scene di Vita di Sant’Agostino (scenes of the Life of St Agostino), which trace the biography of the saint from conversion to Christianity. The paintings, dating back to 1420, are one of the most significant examples of late-Gothic painting in the city.

Two important Augustinian priests are also buried inside the church: the Blessed Pietro da Gubbio and Blessed Francesco da Gubbio (who lived, respectively, in the 13th and 14th centuries).

The Convent complex next to the church has a very well preserved Cloister housing a cistern in the centre for collecting rainwater and a well – now closed – located to the side. The limestone bell tower seems to be a later architectural addition, datable perhaps to the 15th century. Finally, a small adjacent room the size of a cave hosts a permanent Nativity scene. The idea, developed by parishioners for Christmas 1977, has become a real tourist attraction since the 1980s: it is modified annually with new elements and can be viewed throughout the year .

The Duomo di Gubbio was built between the 13th and 14th centuries at the foot of Mount Igino, on the site of a previous Romanesque church, and dedicated to the Saints Mariano and Giacomo Martiri.

The building has a very elegant Gothic style. Access is through a large central portal with a pointed arch surmounted by a very large circular window, with an ornament floral frame and the symbols of the four evangelists and of the Lamb of God all around.

The inside of the church has a single nave and a ceiling with transverse pointed arches which were built following 20th-century restoration work. Along the side walls, there are small chapels, including the noteworthy Cappella del Santissimo Sacramento, built in the 16th century at the behest of Bishop Alessandro Sperelli, decorated with frescoes by the local painter Francesco Allegrini and the Nascita della Vergine (Birth of the Virgin) by Gherardi.

On the right wall there are still valuable traces of 14th-century frescoes and the Immacolata Concezione by Virgilio Nucci painted in the 16th century, while on the left wall there is an altar created with a recycled Roman sarcophagus depicting St Ubaldo.

The ornate presbyterial area is also worth a visit: on the choir there is an Episcopal Seat carved in the 16th century, while under the high altar a precious late ancient sarcophagus preserves the remains of the Cathedral’s two patron saints. Another Seat decorated with exquisite inlays by Benedetto Nucci stands on the left of the altar and finally, on the triumphal arch of the apse are beautiful murals painted by Augusto Stoppoloni (1916-18).

In an elevated position with respect to Piazza Grande, which it overlooks, the Palazzo dei Consoli is one of the most successful urban planning achievements of the Middle Ages and the symbol of Gubbio.

Approval for the building’s construction was given between 1321-22 but the work itself was carried out between 1332 and 1349, based on a plan by Andrea di Orvieto (who is also commemorated in an inscription on the entrance portal) and the intervention of Matteo di Giovannello, also known as Gattapone. The Palazzo dei Consoli – together with the Piazza Grande and the nearby Palazzo del Podestà – was part of an ambitious urban planning project that was designed to demonstrate the power and autonomy of the Free Commune of Gubbio during the years of its great expansion. This was the reasoning behind the choice of construction site (the building stands exactly in the town centre, as a hub of the various districts, illustrating its administrative centrality for the entire community) and the grandeur of the structure. Inside the building there were toilets and fountains, fed by an extraordinary internal plumbing system, proof of the expertise achieved by local workmanship.

The Palazzo has an elegant but sober facade, divided into three levels by horizontal pilasters: the monumental entrance portal is on the ground level, accessible via a fan-shaped staircase, with mullioned windows on either sides; on the next level there are six elegant windows decorated with denticulate arches; the top level has an embattled upper edge and a panoramic terrace. On the upper part of the left side stands the bell tower while the lower part is supported by a loggia that descended into Via Baldassini. Gubbio’s famous ‘Campanone’ (huge bell) dates back to the 18th century and weighs about 20 tons.

Inside the building, the ground floor is occupied by the immense Sala dell’Arengo which once housed the General Council of the People and today is home to the city’s Museo Civico. A rich collection of inscriptions, sculptures and decorations attest to the history of Gubbio and its surrounding territory between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD. Of all the archaeological finds, of course, the most outstanding are the Iguvine Tablets: seven bronze tablets discovered in the 15th century bearing inscriptions in Latin and in the ancient Umbrian language relating to religious rituals and the daily life of the time.

In addition to the epigraphic collection, the museum, inaugurated in 1909, includes the Pinacoteca (picture gallery) on the upper floor, a room formerly used for work by medieval consuls.

Every year, on the first Sunday of May and until the 15th of the same month, the famous Ceri di Gubbio are carried from the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo to the Sala dell’Arengo in the city, where they are kept until the day of the folk festival run.

On via dei Consoli, in Gubbio’s historic centre, stands a wonderful example of perfectly preserved Gothic medieval architecture: Palazzo del Bargello, named after the town’s magistrate and chief of police, which had its headquarters in this building.

Built at the beginning of the 14th century, today the palazzo is the headquarters of the permanent exhibition of Crossbows (Esposizione Permanente della Balestra). Divided into three rooms, the exhibition displays different types of crossbows, from mounted to manual, together with faithful reproductions of original period costumes. The exhibition is a tribute to the famous Palio della Balestra, a popular festival that is celebrated in the town every year on the last Sunday of May.

Although the building stands out for its distinguished design, it owes its fame to the famous Fontana dei Matti, which was built in the 16th century (and restored in the last two centuries) in the square in front of the building from lends it its name: Largo del bargello.

Tradition has it that anyone who aspires to obtain the coveted title of ‘madman’ bestowed by the city of Gubbio, must undergo a ritual that involves running around the fountain three times and being baptized with its water.

Palazzo del Podestà (or Pretorio) stands on the opposite side of its twin Palazzo dei Consoli, overlooking Piazza Grande, and was meant to be an integral part of the ambitious municipal project that started in Gubbio in the 14th century.

The building, designed by Andrea da Orvieto with the intervention of Gattapone, was supposed to obey the architectural rules of the ‘golden rectangle’, exactly like Palazzo dei Consoli. It consists of overlapping floors, occupied by two perfectly equal rectangular rooms. The presence of a single central octagonal pillar, which opens like a lily in support of the floors, is highly unusual and is an example of Gubbio’s awe-inspiring architectural engineering.

Building work began in 1349 but unfortunately it was never completed, as can be seen from some protruding ashlars on the side facing Palazzo dei Consoli, which were almost certainly the supporting juts for the on-going construction of the building.

A brick structure was built in the 18th century next to the 14th-century building in stone ashlars and is still visible today.

The upper room of the building, called ‘la larga’, was also used as a prison until the 19th century before becoming, in more recent times, the seat of the Municipal Administration. The Sala del Sindaco houses two beautiful battle scenes, painted by the 17th-century artist Allegrini.

The beautiful Palazzo Ducale stands in front of the Duomo, in the upper part of the city, and is the only example of Renaissance architecture in Gubbio, retaining a mostly medieval layout.

The palazzo was built in a very short time in the second half of the 15th century and was commissioned by Federico di Montefeltro but the works probably ended after the latter’s death, under the direction of his son Guidobaldo. The architectural and decorative design stands out for its elegance and magnificence and it created by the native of Siena Francesco di Giorgio Martini who perhaps took up a model previously developed by Laurana.

Construction of the noble residence by the Montefeltro family required modification of some pre-existing medieval buildings, whose vestiges are still visible on the external walls of the building next to the large central courtyard, which once housed the town square.

The splendour and importance of the palazzo was illustrated by the presence, inside, of the ‘studiolo di Federico’ (a private study belonging to Federico), made with beautiful inlaid panels and painted tablets on the model of the famous ‘studiolo’ in Urbino. Unfortunately these works of art were later dismantled and sold, ending up at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1939, where they are still held today.

A beautiful replica of the original studio has been on display in Gubbio since 2009. It can be visited and admired together with original furnishings that are still preserved in the internal rooms and a valuable collection of Gubbio paintings created between the 13th and 18th centuries.

Piazza Grande, the beating heart of the town of Gubbio, is one of the most successful examples of medieval town planning, being one of the largest terrace-squares ever built.

The ambitious project was decided upon in 1321 by city magistrates in order to build two new buildings (Dei Consoli and del Podestà) and a central piazza that constituted the new civic centre to replace the previous municipal residence. Works began in 1332, led by the architect Angelo da Orvieto, but they had to be interrupted with the advent of the Lordship of the Gabrielli family for several decades, from 1350 to 1384. Only at the end of the following century, in 1482, was building work completed. In 1508 a long loggia was built on the valley side, which was demolished in 1839. The huge square extends to embrace all four districts of the city: S. Andrea, S. Giuliano, S. Martino, S. Pietro, thereby fulfilling the functional aims for which it had been built. However, of the two palazzi that should have completed the project, only Palazzo dei Consoli was finished while Palazzo del Podestà remained unfinished. The north-eastern side of the square was finally framed by the neoclassical Palazzo Ranghiasci.

Today, with its imposing architectural structure, elegant arcades and unique design, Piazza Grande, is the impressive and inimitable arena in which Gubbio’s numerous folk traditions are re-enacted.

The Teatro Municipale di Gubbio stands in Piazza del Popolo and the project for its construction was presented in 1713 by an academy of Gubbio noblemen. The interior decoration was carried out some years later, in 1737, and entrusted to the expert hands of two famous artists from Parma: the architect Maurizio Lottici and the painter Giovanni Mattioli. The theatre was inaugurated on the occasion of the Carnival of the following year, immediately hosting recitals and concerts until its first structural problems appeared in 1822, requiring important restoration and alteration of the original structure.

Work began in 1840 under the engineer Ercole Salmi, who even proceeded to purchase the adjoining house to allow for the expansion of the stage. Between 1859 and 1862, interior decoration was also carried out, an activity that featured important local and foreign artists, including Raffaele Antonioli, Ulisse Baldelli and Nazzareno Lunani.

The new theatre was then inaugurated for the second time in 1862 and was home to thriving artistic and cultural activities for a century until 1961 when, once again, it was declared unstable due to its precariousness.

New building works commenced in 1975 under the engineer Giuseppe Tosti, ending in 1985 with the definitive reopening of the theatre, named after maestro Luca Ronconi in 2015.

In its present form, the theatre has a capacity of 414 seats and hosts a wide variety of theatrical  performances that invigorate Gubbio’s social scene every year.

Immediately outside the city walls, near Porta degli Ortacci, stands one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the city. Today, the site of Guastuglia stands in what was the ancient late-republican quarter of the 2nd-1st century BC and includes several attractions: the Teatro Romano, the Antiquarium, which exhibits various archaeological finds from the area, and the Mausoleo di Pomponio Grecino.

Gubbio’s Roman theatre is still very well preserved thanks to large-scale restoration work carried out between the 19th and 20th centuries, although it was clearly a huge building of great importance in ancient times. Planning and construction was carried out in the first century BC, between 55 and 20 BC and – completed under the direction of the magistrate Gneo Satrio Rufo – it was composed of two orders of overlapping arches, with an elegant portico on the upper floor. The ‘cavea’ (a semi-circular seating area) was divided into four parts, with corridors occupied by wooden staircases that allowed the spectators to reach their seats. The entire external structure and the orchestra floor were made of local limestone. The complexity of the structure is evidenced by the presence of a pulpitum (platform) for collecting rainwater under the orchestra and a proscenium with two projecting quadrangular side niches and a central semi-circular space.

At the peak of its splendour, the theatre could accommodate 6000-7000 people (more than the contemporary theatre of Pompeii, which could hold 5000), while today it is still used for classical theatre performances, especially in the summer.

The majestic Chiesa di San Francesco (St Francis) stands to the south of Piazza Quaranta Martiri in the lower part of the city. It was built in 1255 but decorative work lasted for many decades, finishing in 1291.

The church is part of a large complex that was built on land owned by the Spadalonga family, since one of the exponents of this family, Giacomello, is said to have met Francis during his imprisonment in Perugia and maintained a friendship with him over a long period. Tradition has it that St Francis obtained refuge and protection in this very house at the beginning of the 13th century after leaving his father’s house and it was within these walls that he wore a habit for the first time.

Even today, some traces of the foundations of the ancient noble residence are still visible in the rooms of the sacristy.

Today the church has a monumental appearance, with an ogival plan and an unfinished facade with a large Gothic entrance portal, surmounted by a decorative rose window. At the end of the nave there are three polygonal apses, illuminated by single-lancet windows.

The inside of the building is equally surprising and very elegant. The space is divided into three naves, separated by fourteen octagonal pillars that support the cross vaults, the result of 18th-century restoration work.

As for the walls, there are exquisite frescoes in the three apses, with scenes of Marian life created by Ottaviano Nelli in the 15th century and other frescoes of significant artistic value, datable to the 13th-14th centuries, attributed to an anonymous local painter: Jesus enthroned with Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Francis and Saint Anthony on the sides and some episodes from the life of St Francis. In addition to the church, the area also houses a monastery complex that is certainly worth a visit. Devotees and visitors are allowed to admire the beautiful ‘Chiostro della Pace’, the ‘Sala Capitolare’ where the friars used to deliberate on the rules of community life, the ‘Refettorio’ which is now used as a Congress Hall, and the ‘Chiostro Maggiore’, currently not open to the public except during events or art exhibitions.

The small church dedicated to San Francesco della Pace belongs to the ‘Università dei Muratori Scalpellini e Arti Congeneri’ (University for Stonemasons and Congregational Arts), to which is owed its construction around the 17th century.

The church is located on the spot where, according to tradition, the she-wolf tamed by San Francesco lived for about two years. A small side entrance allows access directly from the church to the cave where the animal is believed to have lived.

The church is a small building with a single nave, accessible through an exquisite entrance portal decorated with an oval containing a depiction of the wolf. On the altar is the stone on which St. Francis is said to have held a sermon on peace near the Chiesa della Vittorina, immediately after taming the she-wolf. The church is named after this stone, referred to as ‘della pace’ (of peace), which was transferred from the ‘della Vittorina’ church to that of St. Francis in 1584. The crypt also contains another stone, on which a cross has been carved, venerated as the stone covering the tomb of the wolf. Found in 1873, not far from the church, the tomb housed the remains of an animal identified as a wolf by the vet Giovanni Spinaci. The same room also displays a concrete statue of St. Francis and the she-wolf made by the Gubbio-born artist Antonio Maria Rossi.

The Church is also strongly linked to the city’s Ceri festival. Inside its walls are the statues of the Saints Ubaldo, Giorgio and Antonio, which are placed on the Ceri (huge wooden pedestals) for the 15th May run. Other statues of saints and the Mezzani and Piccoli pedestals are kept in the sacristy.

Finally, mention must be made of the beautiful painting on the back wall of the church, created by the artist Giovanni Michelini in the 17th century, which represents the Virgin and Child with the saints Thomas the Apostle (patron saint of masons), St Ubaldo (patron saint of the city ​​and mural arts) and St. Francis with the wolf.

If you’re not tired of churches and monuments yet, inside the walls you can visit the Museo Civico at the Palazzo dei Consoli (split into two sections: the Pinacoteca (picture gallery) and the Museo Archeologico) and the Museo della Ceramica di Porta Romana in Via Dante, inside the tower (it has a very rich collection of over three hundred pieces of maiolica with metal-like glaze (lusterware), made between the Renaissance and the 20th century). Do not miss the masterpieces kept at the Museo d’Arte del Palazzo Ducale and, nearby – just below the Cathedral – the wonderful collection at the Museo Diocesano, which houses the famous ‘Botte dei Canonici’ (a huge barrel and must-see rarity for wine lovers) and wonderful paintings and sculptures from the 13th-14th centuries. A single ticket will give you access to the museum and the churches of Santa Maria dei Laici and Santa Maria Nuova, which are also part of the same museum tour called ‘La via dell’arte e del culto’. If you like antique weapons don’t miss the Mostra Permanente della Balestra (Crossbow Exhibition), a tribute to the famous folk celebration of the ‘Palio della Balestra’. If you prefer a nice regenerating walk, why not stretch your legs in the Teatro Romano and Ranghiasci town parks. Lovers of trekking and walking can follow in the footsteps of St Francis Assisi, retracing his fascinating journeys. The most famous of all is certainly the Sentiero di S. Francesco, measuring some 192 km, from the Santuario de La Verna where Francis received the stigmata and up to Assisi, passing through Gubbio. On the town’s southern border, you can visit the beautiful Parco della Vittorina, with the small church that stands inside, linked to Gubbio’s traditional devotion to the Franciscan saint. It is here that the friar apparently met and tamed the ferocious wolf that frightened the inhabitants of the town. A few kilometres from the historic centre, on the hill in front of Mount Igino you’ll find the Parco di Coppo, a well-equipped picnic spot with play areas for children, a restaurant, bar and related services. Finally, if you are still hungry for more and you love extreme sports, Gubbio and its surroundings still have a lot to offer, with the Parco del Monte Cucco and the Gola del Bottaccione, where you can go in for potholing, guided visits to the cave, canyoning and even gliding.

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FROM ITS ORIGINS TO THE MIDDLE AGES

Due to its fortunate geographical position and above all to the presence of watercourses that made the entire region fertile, the area in which the town stands has been inhabited and visited since ancient times. Remains of ceramics, axes and stone weapons have been discovered in numerous caves around the town centre, attesting to the existence of human settlements since the Palaeolithic and the Bronze Age. In Umbria – one of the cradles of the Etruscan civilization – in the ancient settlement called Ikuvium, one of the most flourishing pre-Roman civilizations arose, revealed by one of the most prestigious archaeological discoveries ever made in central Italy: the Tavole Eugubine (Iguvine Tablets). These seven bronze tablets, dating back to the 3rd-1st century BC and now preserved in the Museo Civico-Palazzo dei Consoli, describe ceremonial rituals, daily life and prescriptions on the legal status of the city-state in the dual languages of Umbrian and Latin. The power and autonomy of the city-state is evidenced by the respect that the Romans themselves granted them during the period of their expansion in central Italy. Thus when the Etruscans, allied with the Samnites, Umbrians and Gauls entered into conflict with the nascent Roman powers, the inhabitants of Ikuvium remained neutral and, in 295 BC, stipulated a covenant of alliance with Rome itself. This political decision earned the populace some two centuries of peace and prosperity, until Roman interference in the city-state became unsustainable and forced the Umbrians to revolt, a rebellion that was severely quelled by the Romans with the inclusion of the town in the Clustumina tribe (90 BC) and proclamation of the Municipium di Eugubium (or Iguvium) in 80 BC, at the end of the civil war.

Imperial domination constituted a flourishing and profitable period for the town of Eugubium, which was embellished with imposing and elegant public and private buildings. Proof can still be seen in the grandeur of the theatre, which was designed to accommodate about seven thousand people, exceeding in size the contemporary theatre of Pompeii.

The town’s fortunes changed drastically with the fall of the empire, when in the 6th century, like all other Italian towns, it was conquered by the Goths, destroyed first by a general of Totila (552) and then rebuilt by Narsete. It subsequently fell into the hands of the Byzantines (592) then to the Lombards (772), until it was destroyed once again by the Hungarians in the 10th century, going through a period of deep crisis that finally ended around the year 1000.

 

THE MUNICIPAL AGE AND THE RENAISSANCE

Beginning in the 11th century, Gubbio experienced a brief period of submission to the authority of the Bishop before becoming a Free Commune. As such, it went through a period of intense military activity which led to its support for Florence in 1920 against the siege of Henry IV, and then in 1138 to defend itself from a siege ordered by Federico Barbarossa. In 1151, Gubbio won a tough battle against eleven enemy cities led by the rival town of Perugia. This victory earned Gubbio great honours and the recognition of many sovereigns of the time, among them the same Henry IV, Barbarossa and Otto IV.

It was in this period that a key figure in the history of Gubbio appeared on the scene, Ubaldo Baldassini, who became bishop in 1128 and was proclaimed a saint in 1192, some 30 years after his death in 1160. Thanks to the moral and strategic support he provided to his fellow citizens, Ubaldo was the object of unfailing veneration on such a scale that even today the bishop is still the patron saint of the town and the most important traditional folk ceremony is dedicated to him, the race of the Ceri on 15th May.

However, Gubbio’s expansionist ambitions were stopped abruptly in 1217, when it was severely defeated by a Perugian army. Despite infighting between Guelphs and Ghibellines, which raged throughout central Italy, the town experienced a period of relative splendour with a notable increase in population and the construction of important public and religious buildings, such as the Cathedral, Palazzo dei Consuli and Palazzo della Podestà. In 1262 the Guelphs managed to gain the upper hand and take control of the Commune until 1350, when the tyranny of the Ghibelline Giovanni Gabrielli began. It was Cardinal Albornoz a few years later, in 1354, who defeated the usurper, bringing the town under papal control.

The inhabitants of Gubbio must have fiercely opposed ecclesiastical rule since in 1376, they rebelled, beginning a new period of infighting that weakened the town, making it easy prey for the counts of Montefeltro. The Dukes of Urbino controlled the Commune for about three centuries, first under the Montefeltro (1384-1508) then the Della Rovere (1508-1631), who transformed Gubbio into a flourishing Renaissance hub. The beautiful Palazzo Ducale was commissioned and built by Federico di Montefeltro and then by his son Guidobaldo, with the creation of the ‘studiolo’ (private study) along the lines of the more famous model built in Urbino. It was during this period that the town developed some of the arts that still constitute its artisanal flagships, such as the crafting of ceramics, wood and wrought iron, bringing a period of wealth and prosperity that ended in the 17th century, under the rule of the Church.

 

THE MODERN AGE

In 1631, with the end of the Della Rovere dynasty, Gubbio again fell under the control of the papal authority, going through a phase of political and economic decline. With the arrival of Napoleonic troops in the 18th century, the town was first annexed to the Cisalpine Republic (1798) and then to the Roman Republic (1798-99) to finally pass under the rule of the Kingdom of Italy (1808-14). These military and political vicissitudes rocked the stability and prosperity of the town, which did not begin to recover until 1860 onwards, with its annexation to the nascent Italian State, when it slowly transformed itself into the beautiful cradle of traditions and lively tourist destination that it is today.

The arts and crafts of the past are still well-preserved inside the ancient walls of this medieval town, thanks to the ingenuity and skill of artisans since ancient times. Numerous activities contribute to forming Gubbio’s rich artistic and artisanal heritage: from its fine embroideries to leather work, whilst other excellent, traditional crafts are not only typical of Gubbio but also of Umbria and Italy as a whole, such as the crafting of ceramics, wood and wrought iron. Handed down from generation to generation, becoming the pride of modern-day Gubbio, these arts developed above all in the 15th-16th century under the flourishing lordship of the Counts of Urbino. Gubbio’s gorgeous ceramics are linked above all to the work of the famous lusterware inventor Giorgio Andreoli, whose masterpieces are kept in the town’s ceramics museum at Porta Romana. In more recent times, starting from 1920, interest in ceramics grew, with the opening of numerous town shops. The tradition of woodworking is safeguarded by the historic University of Carpenters which still operates today and schools the numerous artisan furniture shops that create reproduction furniture, especially Renaissance pieces, as well as the young people involved in the construction of lutes and in the restoration of wooden furnishings.

As you stroll through the streets we recommend you stop by one of the many blacksmith workshops scattered throughout the historic centre: inside you can still admire the amazing ability of these artisans engaged in a modern revival, with hints of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, of traditional Gothic-Renaissance forms. In Gubbio, past and present have found a way to forge a harmonious future together!

GASTRONOMY

If you have feasted on the ancient ‘flavour’ of the town’s numerous architectural delights, then you won’t be disappointed by the local cuisine: served at many local restaurants, the healthy, genuine and tasty traditional dishes have been handed down over the centuries and are almost as well preserved as the town’s ancient stone walls. Don’t miss the chance to taste Crescia di Pasqua with cheese and Crescia al panaro, a tasty savoury focaccia eaten with delicious local cold cuts and Friccò (made with chicken, lamb, duck and rabbit). Obviously there are numerous recipes featuring black and white truffles, but alongside the regional dishes, you’ll also find other delicacies specifically from Gubbio like Brustengo, a fried bread eaten with cold cuts, onion or rosemary and the Baccalà (creamed salt cod), made by dipped the cod in milk before cooking it in the oven with spices. Top off your meal with a special dessert: the traditional Ganascioni delle Suore di Santa Lucia will instantly win you over, especially after sipping the typical accompanying drink, Barcarola, a kind of coffee made with barley and ‘mistrà’ (a typical liqueur distilled from wine and flavoured with an anise infusion and served with a thin slice of lemon). You’ll feel like you want to stay on in Gubbio indefinitely!

OIL AND WINE

Like this whole region, even the valleys that surround Gubbio are rich in vineyards and olive groves, providing local dining tables with delicious extra virgin olive oil and great wines.

Although the town does not boast specific productions, you’ll easily find Umbria’s most authentic and genuine flavours throughout its many bars and restaurants.

 

No description of Gubbio is complete without mentioning its ‘Ceri’ and the Ceri festival. On 15th May each year, three monumental wooden structures, composed of two hollow octagonal prisms surmounted by statues of the town’s three patron saints of the arts, are carried, running, through the streets on a 4-km journey that climbs to the top of Monte Igino, where the Basilica di S. Ubaldo is located. On this occasion, the streets are decorated in the colours of the three saints: the yellow of Sant’Ubaldo (patron of the town and protector of masons and stonecutters), the blue of S. Giorgio (protector of traders and artisans) and the black of Sant’Antonio (protector of farmers and students). The air resounds with the ringing of the large bell of the Palazzo dei Consoli when the run begins in the afternoon, although it is not a competition because the saints arrive at the Basilica in the starting order, with Sant’Ubaldo always in the lead. Considerable effort is required by the Ceri carriers: teams of 10 individuals carry the monumental four-metre-high pedestals weighing about 400 kg on their shoulders for a maximum of 70 metres before being replaced by another team. The event is the most anticipated moment in the year for the inhabitants of Gubbio, and its origins are lost in history. According to some, the festival developed in the pagan era from the rituals dedicated to the goddess Ceres, protector of the harvest, while others claim it is a re-enactment of the candlelit funeral procession of the coffin of Sant’Ubaldo on the day of his death, 16th May 1160. Whatever the case, the Festa dei Ceri is definitely an unmissable event!

Two other events that enliven the districts of Gubbio are also closely connected to the town’s medieval traditions: the Palio della Balestra, held on the last Sunday in May, and the Torneo dei Quartieri, held on 14th August, both dedicated to shooting with a medieval crossbow. The first involves a challenge between the members of the Crossbow Clubs of Gubbio and Sansepolcro, while the second involves the crossbowmen from the four districts of Gubbio (Sant’Andrea, San Giuliano, San Martino, San Pietro).

While history and tradition are kingpins in Gubbio, it is also true that the town offers a great deal more: music lovers should visit the town in the months of July and August for the Gubbio Summer Festival, a much-anticipated event for both citizens and tourists, with concerts and performances by musicians, teachers and professionals, but also many young musicians who flock here from all over the world, offering their unique talents to rapt audiences.

Finally, if you love the lights and magical atmosphere of Christmas, Gubbio will amaze you with ‘The World’s Largest Christmas Tree’, a Christmas tree decorated with more than 800 lights and measuring 800 metres in height and 400 metres in width. It extends along the entire slope of Mount Igino, from the valley to the peak, and is lit every year on 7th December.

You’ll be left speechless with amazement!

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