Friday, April 22, 2011


Most people traveling to Italy go to the three major cities of Rome, Florence and Venice. Some venture further to surrounding cities, easily accessible by train from this holy trinity of urban Italy. Then there are those with an adventurous spirit, and perhaps too, a high frequency of returning to Italy, who feel compelled to visit the backwaters and out of the way places, rarely discussed in depth in travel books and commonly more difficult to get to. Gubbio is such a place. If it were not for Earl Steinbecker’s Daytrips Italy guidebook, I may have never given it a thought.

Looking very much like a medieval city that time forgot, Gubbio, perched on a hill north of Perugia and Assisi, is a quaint Umbrian hill town. As you look at these photos you will notice that most of them are in a vertical format rather than horizontal. And for a very good reason, the entire old town is vertical, you can even see it in the succession of roof tops in the first photo. Don’t let that deter you, because you’ll want to work up an appetite here, especially if you visit in Fall. Unfortunately, I did not photograph food at the time of this visit, so I can’t show you the 8 euro pizza covered in shaved white truffles. I still think about that pizza and discuss it with anyone who will listen. Umbria is a great location for anyone who likes truffles because they are so abundant there, and even pizzerie serve it in season.

Most of the city seems very rustic and rough around the edges, but the Palazzo dei Consoli and its views seem much more sophisticated. It was very easy to linger there to look at the lovely panorama of Umbrian countryside. The loggia in the photo on the right is the place where markets are held and we stumbled upon a crafts market during this visit, but I’m certain you will find a fruit and vegetable market there at least once a week. If not the natives would probably revolt.

Gubbio can be reached by bus from both Rome and Florence, although we never managed to make those connections. No matter how one gets there, it is well worth the effort for this view alone, but also for the many Romanesque buildings that were constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries. It’s amazing that so many are still standing after all these centuries.


The mood set by the medieval gray stone buildings is somber and intriguing at the same time; setting ones imagination to wander, wondering what life was like in world long ago forgotten. If these were homes of the wealthy, what must the lives of the poor been like? The back streets of Gubbio are definitely a world apart from the 21st century.

Piazza Della Signoria is the main square in town and will bring you back to the present with all the pedestrian traffic. On this particular day there were mimes working the tourists for gratuities. I’m sorry to say that many fellow travelers have no appreciation for the work these people do for a donation. It’s a meager living at best. It may be of interest that there is an elevator in the lower part of Gubbio that opens at this level. Just follow the old ladies to find it, but I warn you, not all of the old ladies take advantage of this modern addition to their town. Gubbio has a thriving ceramics industry and many of the shops selling it are to the right of where these photos were taken off of the Piazza Della Signoria.

Just a few more photos to share, to help form a picture in the mind’s eye of this lovely Umbrian town.


All’Antico Frantoio Ristorante Pizzeria
This is the restaurant I recommend for the White Truffle Pizza; buy it no matter what the cost; then you may thank me.


Hotel San Marco
Although we stayed the night, we did not take photos of the hotel, but highly recommend it for cleanliness, comfort and service. I left my coat there and they were gracious enough to mail it to my next hotel.

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