Gubbio is a charming town in the province of Perugia, famous for its medieval city centre, churches and ancient buildings. Last year, I planned a day trip to Gubbio with a friend in order to spend a day away from our everyday routine, and we were both pleasently surprised with our choice. If you are visiting the town and wondering what to do in Gubbio in one day, read on!
Take a walk around the old town
Wandering through the alleys of the old town is one of the easiest ways to get to know a city. That is especially true for Gubbio, whose historic center is almost completely pedestrianized. Walk to Piazza Grande, the town’s main square, and enjoy the beautiful view over the Umbrian rooftops and countryside. Directly located on the piazza there is the Palazzo dei Consoli, one of the most iconic medieval buildings in Gubbio. It dates back to the 14th century and remained nearly intact ever since its construction. The palace was the first in the city served by a public hydraulic system, which fed a fountain in the interior. Here is also the Museo civico (Civic Museum), that includes an art gallery and archaeological findings from the area.
Look for the places of “Don Matteo”
Gubbio became very popular in Italy thanks to Don Matteo (Father Matteo), an Italian television series that has been airing for ten years since 2000. The protagonist of the series is Father Matteo, portrayed by Terence Hill, a Catholic priest known for his talent in investigating local crimes. The book “Gubbio: the places of Don Matteo” is available at the Tourist Office as a free gift to visitors.
Get a license to certify your madness
On Via dei Consoli, on the way up towards Piazza Grande, there is an ancient stone fountain called Fontana dei Matti (Fountain of the madmen). According to a tradition of the 1880s whoever runs around the fountain for three times is entitled to receive a madness license and become honorary madman of the city (as long as a local is performing the ritual!)
Go see the largest wine barrel in Europe
On Via Ducale there’s a souvenir shop where a hidden gem is treasured: the Botte dei Canonici. The big wooden barrel intended for keeping the wine of the Canons was built before 1500 and could contain approximately 20 000 liters of wine.
Take a ride on the funicular
The Funivia Colle Eletto is a two-people cable car that links the city to the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo, the Roman Catholic church atop Mount Ingino that houses the mummified body of the patron saint of Gubbio: Saint Ubaldo. The funicular is pretty unique as there are no enclosed cars. You have to hop in a small open cage and try to enjoy a very precarious trip to the top. The trip lasts a few minutes and offers a nice view over the whole town. On the way up you may even spot some goats beneath you!
Visit the Roman theatre
Just outside the old town there is a an area of great archaeological interest: the Roman Theatre. Built in the first century AD, during the reign of Emperor Augustus, it bears witness to the importance of Gubbio at that time. Every year, in July and August, the theatre becomes a suggestive scenario for playing masterpieces of classical authors.
Try the local street food
No trip is complete without tasting some typical foods. Umbria is blessed with amazing products such as truffle, oil, wine, and a great selection of cold cuts. Don’t miss the crescia, Gubbio’s version of the piadina, a thick flatbread freshly prepared and stuffed with all sort of savories. Make sure to try also the brustengo, fried dough usually served with cold meats and cheeses. I recommend La cresciamia, a casual wine bar on via Camillo Benso, renowned for its delicious and inexpensive cuisine.
Attend a local event
If you happen to be in Gubbio on May 15th you might want to take part to the Festa dei Ceri, the event that honors the life of Bishop Ubaldo Baldassini who was canonized as protector of Gubbio. This is one of the most important events in Umbria and it celebrates the eve of Ubaldo’s death anniversary through a very colorful procession known as Corsa dei Ceri (The Race of the candles).
Fun fact: the procession is also celebrated in the American town of Jessup, Pennsylvania!
Are you still thinking about what to do in Gubbio in one day?
Let me know by leaving a comment or question below.