Gubbio - Umbria
is one of Umbria's most ancient settlements, dating all the way back
to the 3rd century B.C., and sits perched on the slopes of Monte Ingino.
The city and its historical riches have been well preserved, and the
centuries have left traces of Gubbio's Etruscan past, Roman municpal
ruins, and years of subjugation under medieval aristocracy. Best known
for its distinguished school of painting, its traditions in ceramics,
and the illustrious writer, Bosone Novello Raffaelli (Italy's "first
novelist"), Gubbio is a unique and picturesque Umbrian treasure
with much to offer.
Some of Gubbio's most prized artifacts, the Eugubine or Eugabian Tablets, are seven bronze sheets, which serve as fundamental epigraphic evidence of early Umbrian civilization. Written at the end of the 2nd century B.C. in the Umbrian language (using the Latin and Etruscan alphabets), they contain information regarding religious laws, specific sites, and the town's system of government. (The Tablets can currently be viewed at Gubbio's Civic Museum.) After the city allied with the Romans at the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., it became a Municipium (90 B.C.) and an important imperial center. Though later suffering destruction at the hands of Totila (the last king of the Ostrogoths), the city recovered, and by the 11th century had once again become an independent and significant locality. Spending long periods of time under the Gabrielli and then the Montefeltro rule, Gubbio ultimately fell into the hands of the Pope in 1624, and was later annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
Monte Ingino provides splendid views and pleasant spots for picnicking during the warmer months. There, visit the basilica and monastery of Sant'Ubaldo, the city's patron saint. Also outside city walls, Gubbio's spectacular Roman Theater still stages classical productions. Back inside the city, travel to the Piazza Quaranta Martiri for a look at the Loggia dei Tiratoi, the Chiesa di San Francesco, and the Giardino dei Quaranta Martiri, or "Garden of the 40 Martyrs" (a memorial dedicated to those shot by the Nazis as reciprocation for the assassination of two German officials during WWII). The white stone palace Palazzo dei Consoli was built in 1332, and houses the city's Museo Civico (Civic Museum). Gubbio's pink, 13th century Duomo is located nearby the Palazzo Ducale, and boasts Pinturicchio's work, the Adoration of the Shepherds.
Typical Gubbian products include salumi di cinghiale o cervo (boar or deer sausage), pecorino cheese, and savory truffle oils. These local delicacies can be found at Prodotti Tipici e Tartufati Eugubini, on Via Piccardi.
One of Gubbio's main cultural events is the Festival of the Ceri (Corsa dei Ceri), which takes place every year on May 15th. During this traditional festival, three enormous blocks of wood, carved like hourglasses and crowned with saints, are carried on the shoulders of Renaissance-style clad runners in a race up Monte Ingino. The blocks symbolize the three factions of the city's populace: the masons, the farmers, and the artisans. The other of Gubbio's main traditions, the Palio della Balestra, is held on the last Sunday in May, and involves archers from Gubbio and Sansepolcro matching crossbows in a contest dating back to the year 1461.
The nearest station is Fossato di Vico's, located 19km away. Trains go to Ancona, Rome, and Spoleto. Buses, a more convenient travel means than trains, run daily to and from Perugia.