Gubbio

A relaxed all day excursion to one of the most beautiful mediaeval cities in Umbria, Gubbio has many fascinating things to offer, not the least of which is one of the most direct connections to the ancient mystical past of the region. Gubbio is situated about an hour bus ride from the resort, in a fertile valley of it’s own almost on the border of the adjacent region in italy, the Marche.  Inhabited for thousands of years, the connection to the ancient Umbri people and etruscans is something that we have physical evidence of. The eguvine tablets dating to the 4th century bc tell a story of ritual and spiritual connection that speaks to us through time.  Displayed in the museum of the consular palace, the bronze tablets of Gubbio were found in the 14th century.  They are unique and invaluable because the are written in three languages, Latin and the ancient Umbri languge and they discribe a ritual of reading the flight of birds, another example of their connection to nature.

 

Gubbio, or Iguvimium, was a thriving roman city.  There is the reconstructed roman ancient theater in the plain below the mediaeval city where the roman city once was situated.  Much excavation has been done to discover the roman city that superseded the ancient Umbri settlement, and some of the artifacts and mosaics are displayed in the small museum near the theater.

The other unique thing about Gubbio, also described on the tablets, is it’s festival di Ceri!  The oldest continuous festival in italy.  It is a spring purification riutal passed down from pagan times, and remade by the patron saint of Gubbio, Ubaldo in the 12th century as a unifying festival for the cities neighborhoods and three saints, Giorgio, Antonio, and of course Ubaldo.  Every may 15th the entire city participates in one of the most energetic festivals of it’s kind.

Racing through the city and up the protective mountain just behind Gubbio with huge wooden candle-like structure called ceri on the shoulders of the teams of men from each of the three neighborhoods.

The quaint streets, beautiful architecture, energy of community that has united this isolated town for centuries all conspire to make a Gubbio visit one of the most memorable options for an umbrian visit.  Activities can include a ride on the funivia, a chair lift like rise to the top of the mountain to visit the church of Saint Ubaldo.  Also a visit to the consul palace museum in the grand piazza and duomo, and the ducal palace.  A wonderful local lunch served with warm hospitality and walk for some souvenir shopping in the local ceramic shops round out the day before heading back to the resort in the Spoleto valley.