The Umbrian town of Gubbio is worth a visit and I suppose could be done in a daytrip from southern Tuscany. But personally I'd take 10 days in Umbria and hit Gubbio, Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Todi and Orvieto – more or less in that order. Today I'll tackle just Gubbio.
My favorite parts of Gubbio are the architecture and the atmosphere. Last time I was there we had great weather, so we spent most of our time walking around the town, looking at the stores, admiring the medieval architecutre, and people-watching from outdoor cafes.
We found an amazing hole-in-the-wall enoteca where we spent a memorable evening drinking fabulous local wines paired with cheeses and jams. I hestiate to mention it in this blog because we are eternally regretful that we did not take the business card. But I think Gubbio is just the type of town that even as a tourist, one can have a unique off-the-beaten-path experience just like that.
Some more worthwhile suggestions:
- Visit the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo, restored in 1500 (either drive or get the cable car, it's quite a walk up the hill).
- Visit (walk to) the Roman ruins dating to the 1st century AD, or in July or August, go see an outdoor performance there.
- Visit the archaeological museum housed in the Palazzo dei Consoli (see photo below). The museum is famous for housing the Iguvine tables (in Italian "Tavole Eugubine"), seven bronze tablets dating back to the 3rd century BC, which are written in ancient Umbrian.
- Peek into Gubbio's Cathedral or a few of the other gorgeous churches around town (see the link below for a good list).
I love the medieval events that Italy keeps alive year after year, and Gubbio hosts two, both in May:
- On May 15th the "Corsa dei Ceri", or candle race is held: 3 huge candles are raced up through the medival streets of Gubbio and up (way, way up!) to the Basilica of St. Ubaldo.
- On the last Sunday in May there is a crossbow contest called "Palio della Balestra".
For more suggestions and some good info, here's a good websiteon Gubbio.
I recommend driving to Gubbio, first because there is no train, but also because the scenery on the small roads in Umbria is just beautiful. But if you don't drive a stick shift and can't find an automatic to rent, or just don't want to drive, I understand. In that case, take the train to the nearby town of Fossato di Vico and then a local bus (35 minutes) to Gubbio.
Photo by Sanjay
Italy Beyond the Obvious will help make your trip truly memorable. Take advantage of our Italy trip planning services for a customized itinerary, or get coaching assistance with our Italy travel consulting services. And if you like what you read, why not subscribe to the Italy Beyond the Obvious blog and get free updates?