Gubbio

October 18th, 2010 Gubbio,Perugia Province

TruffleFestivalGubbio is one of northern Umbria’s most stunning stone hill towns, and stands at the foot of Mount Ingino. It is difficult not to be awed by the stark beauty of this medieval town as you approach by car and see it’s grey limestone buildings built along it’s steep streets that wind up the base of the mountain. Founded by the Umbri, the town holds the famous Eugubine Tablets, which are seven bronze slabs that have managed to survive from the ancient city of Iguvium which are presently held in the Museo Civico. These tablets were engraved in the 2nd century with text in local languages describing sacred rites and sites.

How To Reach Gubbio – By car, the most likely route to Gubbio is on the SS298 road from Perugia. There are ASP frequent buses running from Citta di Castello and Perugia to Gubbio, as well as once daily direct buses from both Florence and Rome. The closest train station is Fossato di Vico, which is 19 kilometers south on the Rome/Foligno line. From Fossato di Vico you may catch a bus to Gubbio upon arrival. Parking can be found at Piazza Quaranta Marti every day except Tuesday, or off of Viale di Teatro Romano.

What To See In Gubbio – After the Umbrians founded Gubbio it was later held by the Romans who began to build outwards allowing the town to spread onto the surrounding plain. After repeated raids by Barbarians however, the people of Gubbio returned to the slopes along the mountain so they could better protect themselves. Gubbio was once a walled city that included the massive Palazzo dei Consoli in the Middle Ages, but later passed on to Montefeltro of Urbino, and in 1624 Gubbio came under papal rule.

As you approach Gubbio, the first Roman monument you will see are the ruins of the Roman Theater which dates as far back as the 1st century. In it’s day, this theater could hold 6,000 spectators.

Chiesa San Francesco is considered Gubbio’s finest church and sits in Piazza Quaranta Martiri, found at the lowest point of Gubbio. This piazza was named after forty local residents who were killed by the Germans during the war in retaliation for partisan attacks in the surrounding hills. San Francesco dates back to the mid 1200′s and construction continued through the end of that century although the exterior facade has never been completed. Within the church are a cycle of fading, yet still impressive frescoes painted by Ottaviano Nelli around 1410. A small chapel in the sacristy is said to be the room where St. Francis slept on his visits to Gubbio.

Across from San Francesco is Antico Ospedale, an old hospital that dates back to the 14th century. A long portico was added in front of the building in the 17th century by wool merchants who stetted out their ear under the portico to prevent it being dried too quickly by the sun.

Just behind the loggia on Via dell Repubblica you find the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista which has been restored to its thirteenth century state. The church has a Gothic facade with an oddly shaped Romanesque bell tower.

In Piazza Grande, you can find one of the most outstanding sites in Gubbio, which is the austere 14th century Palazzo dei Consoli which has a 98 meter campanile. It is thought to have been designed by Matteo Gattapone who was also responsible for Spoleto’s Ponte dell Torri. This palace took a couple hundred years to build and required leveling of vast tracts of the town.

The lesser Palazzo Pretorio opposite was built along the same plan. Behind a small square facade is a small hole on the top right where criminals were hung.

The Museo Civico is also based here and includes a small archeological collection, not terribly remarkable apart from the Eugubine Tablets, Umbria’s most important archeological find. Admission to this museum also gives you admission into the five roomed Pinacoteca at the top of the palace, which houses some works by the Gubbian School, one of central Italy’s earliest, including a collection of oversized 14th century furniture.

To the north of Piazza Grande is the unimposing 13th century Duomo, which is only partly redeemed by a few frescoes, 12th century stained glass, and some attractive arches carved to appear as hands in prayer.

The plain faced Gothic cathedral is entirely overshadowed by the Palazzo Ducale in Via Federico da Montefeltro. It was built over an earlier Lombard palace by the Dukes of Montefeltro as a smaller version of their more famous palace in Urbino. Although the courtyard is quite pretty, the interior has been stripped of most of it’s art work and furnishings.

From Piazza Grande, take Via XX Setembre to the quarter of Sant’Andrea to find the Porta Romana. This medieval town gate with it’s high tower houses a collection of majolica pottery and other pieces such as weaponry and maps.

On the hill above the town stands the Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo where you can enjoy some lovely views of the town and surrounding countryside. You can rearch the basilica by walking a steep track that runs behind the Duomo, or by taking the funicular from Porta Romana on the eastern side of town.

Important Festivals
Corsa dei Ceri – This candle race is to Umbria what the Palio is to Siena and takes place every year on May 15th and finishes at the hilltop basilica of Sant’Ubaldo.

Gubbio Tourist Office – Piazza Odersi 6 (Off of Corso Garibaldi)
Ph – 075 9220790
email – info@iat.gubbio.pg.it

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Accommodation in Gubbio