Gubbio

“Gubbio, Umbria, Italy” - the main sights 2016

Gubbio is in Umbria, Italy, 40 km NE of Perugia and about 65 km S of Urbino in the neighboring region of Le Marche, Italy. The town is beautifully located on the lower slopes of Mt. Ingino. Gubbio is an extremely ancient town mentioned in the famous Eugubine Tablets and was in the past the capital of Umbria. Gubbio's compact town centre has a good selection of mediaeval, Gothic and Renaissance structures built of gray limestone and has great views over the beautiful countryside. Just outside the town is a Roman amphitheatre.

Gubbio Italy

“Gubbio Italy”

The Eugubine Tablets are sheets of bronze inscribed in ancient Umbrian using a modified Etruscan alphabet and the latin alphabet. They date from the second or first century BC and were discovered in 1444.  They are displayed in the civic museum of Gubbio and are the longest texts so far found written in the extinct Umbrian language.

Palio della Balestra at Gubbio

It has been a tradition since the Middle Ages that every year in May the crossbowmen from Sansepolcro come to Gubbio to compete in honour of Saint Ubaldo, and on the second Sunday of September the crossbowmen from Gubbio return their visit and compete in honour of Saint Egidio, patron of Sansepolcro. The crossbowmen from Sansepolcro and participants in the procession wear Renaissance costumes reproducing those of the frescoes by Piero della Francesca. The target of the crossbow shooting is called "corniolo" and is located at a distance of 36 m from the crossbow. A special jack is employed to bend the crossbows. During the shooting the weapons are laid on a special bench due to their heavy weight. (For other festivals in Umbria, click here.)

Palio della Balestra at Gubbio

Palio della Balestra (Crossbow competition) in Gubbio Italy

Main sights of Gubbio

• The Duomo (Cathedral) of Gubbio dates from the late 12 C. The most striking feature is the rose-window in the facade flanked by the symbols of the Evangelists: the eagle for St. John, the lion for St. Mark, the angel for St. Matthew and the ox for St. Luke. The interior is in the form of a latin cross with a single nave. Its high altar is a Roman sarcophagus. The most precious art piece is the wooden Christ over the altar, of Umbrian school.

Gubbio Duomo

Gubbio Duomo interior

• Palazzo dei Consoli of Gubbio is a huge 14 C Gothic building made of limestone. Inside is an art gallery, archaeological museum and the civic museum which houses the Eugubine tablets, seven bronze plaques written in the ancient Umbrian language. The palazzo, on Piazza della Signoria, dominates the town.

Palazzo dei Consoli, Gubbio, Italy

Palazzo dei Consoli, Gubbio, Italy

• Church of San Francesco dates from the second half of the 13 C and is located in the lower town on the big green Piazza Quaranta Martiri, where buses arrive. It's a Gothic church with an impressive rose window and unusually has a nave with two aisles. Inside on the left there is a fresco dating from the 1400s, The Life of the Virgin, and frescoes from the 1200s may be seen in the main apse. In the cloister there are remains of Roman mosaics.

• Gubbio Roman Theatre, built in the first century BC from local limestone. The diameter of the interior is some 70 m and the outer diamter is 110 m leading many to mistake this structure for an amphitheatre. It was in fact the second largest theatre in the Roman empire after the theatre of Marcellus in Rome. It is located below Gubbio centre and dates from the 1st century AD. Open-air performances are held here during summer and from the theatre there are good views of Gubbio itself.

Roman Theatre at Gubbio Roman Theatre at Gubbio

Roman Theatre at Gubbio

• The Palazzo Ducale of Gubbio, built from 1470 by Luciano Laurana or Francesco di Giorgio Martini for Federico da Montefeltro. The famous inner court, reminiscent of the Palazzo Ducale of Urbino, is open to visitors.

• The Church of Santa Maria Nuova is a typical Cistercian edifice of the 13 C. In the interior is a 14 C fresco portraying the Madonna del Belvedere (1413), by Ottaviano Nelli.

• The Convent of St. Augustine, with some frescoes by Nelli, also belonged to the Cistercians.

• Abbey of Sant' Ubaldo, just above town on the mountain, can be reached by funicular from the Porta Romana and also by car. The Basilica of St. Ubaldo has five naves and was restored in 1500 by the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi to whom the sanctuary was entrusted. Among the major sights inside the Basilica are the marble altar and the stained glass windows decorated with episodes of the life of the patron saint of Gubbio, whose body is displayed in a crystal urn over the altar. The finely carved doors, as well as the fragments of frescoes on the walls of the cloister give an impression of the original the beauty of 16 C decorations. Inside the right nave, the ceri, central to the Corsa dei Ceri, most important festival of Gubbio, are stored from the evening of 15 May of every year until the first Sunday of May of the following year.

Abbey of Sant' Ubaldo

Abbey of Sant' Ubaldo

• Porta Romana, at the east end of town, is a museum with a collection related to medieval gates, including old keys and drawbridges, and some ceramics. Near this gate there are two 13 C churches.

• The Museo Cante Gabrielli in the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo which once belonged to the Gabrielli family.

• The Vivian Gabriel Oriental Collection of Tibetan, Nepalese, Chinese and Indian art. The collection was donated to the municipality by Sir Edmund Vivian Gabriel (1875-1950), British colonial officer and adventurer, and collateral descendant of the Gabrielli who were lords of Gubbio in the Middle Ages.

• The Roman Mausoleum at Iguvium is said to date from 10 BC, stands about 9 m tall and is sometimes claimed to be that of Pomponius Graecinus (but in fact there is no evidence for this). Worth a quick look, not more, if you're nearby.

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