Surrounding

What to see

TODI


Todi’s origins lie deep in the chronicles of history: a legend tells of a majestic eagle which delivers a drape to the Veii Umbri population to transport them to the peak of a hill, where the same Veii decided to found the city which was given the name “Tutere”, whose origin is unknown but likely means “confine”.
From this was born the city emblem: an eagle with spread wings clinching a drape between its talons.

From the Umbran-Etruscan and then Roman periods remain some traces of the first and second city walls. However as a “free state” it was mostly in its Medieval period that Todi saw its greatest territorial expansion, during which the city was enriched with spectacular architectural works of art which today characterise and dominate the City landscape, making Piazza del Popolo one of the most beautiful squares in all of Italy: here are clearly marked the ongoing worldly struggle between the sacred powers – represented by the 12th century Cathedral – and temporal powers, as seen by the Palazzo del Popolo (1213), Palazzo del Capitano (1292) and the Palazzo dei Priori (14th century).

In the 13th century a third circular wall was built, the very same which today can be admired and which enclosed – practically unaltered up until the 1970’s, when Todi saw its first urban expansion outside its protective city walls – the whole medieval city which had sprung within its embrace. Today along the walls can still be admired the great city gates of Porta Romana, Porta Fratta or Amerina, Porta Orvietana and Porta Perugina.

Along with the magnificent Piazza del Popolo can be seen other beautiful monuments such as the gothic Church of San Fortunato (1400), whose cript buries one of Todi’s most famous historical figures: Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306. Also to be discovered the hidden and majestic Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione (16th century) attributed to the works of Bramante, as well as the “ Temple of the Crucifix”, found on the opposite side of the city.

To discover the traquil and relaxing beauty of Todi visitors musn’t forget to walk into the lanes and alleys found in the antique heart of the city, rich with history and enchanting inlets along which are still intact tiny churches of various Monastic Orders and the antique doorways of artisan shops, where today craftsmen still create blacksmith, carpentry and ceramic works and restorations using traditional methods.

To learn more about this important history the City of Todi Cultural Society (Parco Culturale della Citta di Todi) organises tours of set itineraries to restored areas of the city which are normally unaccessible to the general public (for information call 0039 75 8944148).



ASSISI


Assisi in Italy stretches out on the slopes of the Monte Subasio, above the plain where the Topino and Chiascio rivers flow. Although it can boast Roman origins, its present-day appearance, because of the buildings and also the urban structure, is surely due to the city’s development during the Middle Ages.

Assisi’s oldest nucleus, which is protected by a defensive apparatus made up of eight fortified entrance portals and a long belt of town walls, which are still perfectly preserved, is topped by two castles on peak of the mountain: the Major Castle, reconstructed by the Cardinal Albornoz in 1367 and the Minor Castle. Apart from religious buildings too important to not be considered solely the heritage of Assisi such as the basilica of St. Francis, the tourist can also visit the churches of St. Clare and St.Peter. The first was constructed in the Gothic style between 1257 and 1265, the second is a little older and decorated with an elegant middle portal with three rose-windows.

The Cathedral, dedicated to the Patron Saint St. Rufino, vaunts a splendid and unaltered facade with sculptures and reliefs; the interior, however, has undergone much reconstruction during the centuries which have distorted the original project dating back to the 13th century. On the Town Square situated on the ancient Forum, you will find the Priors’ Palace (1337), the Palace of the People’s Captain (12th century) and the temple of Minerva, built during the augustean period with pronaos, columms and corinthian capitals which are still intact.

Nearby, places which are connected with the life of St. Francis can be visited, such as the Eremitage of the Prisons, immersed in a thick wood of oaks and ilex on the slopes of the Subasio Mountain, and the convent of St. Damian, which was built up around the oratory were, according to tradition, the Cross spoke to the Saint.

Finally, in the plain, the impressive basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels was built according to the plans of Alessi between 1569 and 1679 to protect the Porziuncola Chapel, which was the first simple meeting-place of the Francescan brotherhood. All those who have the good luck of visiting this splendid town have to agree with who says that the beauty of town goes beyond a short, and necessarily incomplete list of works of art more or less extraordinary, but is however to be found in the atmosphere of places which the story and the faith of the Saint have rendered unique all over the world. Canticle of the Creatures Celebration of the Pardon Church of San Damiano Church of St. Rufino Sanctuary of Rivotorto Santa Maria degli Angeli St. Clare of Assisi St. Francis of Assisi St. Peter The Chapel of the Transit The Porziuncola.



PERUGIA


« Perugia, strongly fortified by art and nature, on a lofty eminence, rising abruptly from the plain where purple mountains mingle with the distant sky, is glowing, on its market-day, with radiant colours » (Charles Dickens Pictures from Italy, Londra 1846)

Perugia, the great “Guelf strong-hold” rises up in the region’s heart, with its 5 storical quarters closed-in by its Etruscan town walls. These enormous bastions formed by cyclopic square masses, were constructed 22 centuries ago and are still visible for long stretches. When the city of Rome was little more that an encampment of huts, one could already enter the etruscan Perugia Italy using one of 7 portals, among which one was particularly mighty, the Porta Pulchra or of Augustus, dating back to Etruscan times.

Entering the city via Porta San Pietro, whose exterior was remodelled by Agostino di Duccio in 1475, you’ll arrive at the basilica of St. Dominic on the right-hand side; the very important National Archeological Museum of Umbria is to be found in the adjacent cloisters and convent.

Continuing along, you’ll reach the Piazza del Sopramuro, where the 15th century Palace of the Old University and the adjacent Palace of the People’s Captain look down on the square. Further on, after a short climb, you’ll find yourself in one of Italy’s most important squares, where you’ll see the Priors’Palace, the Cathedral and the 13th century fountain Major Fountain at the center. These monuments render the Piazza Grande of Perugia (now called Piazza IV Novembre) a superb architectural complex.

At the extreme end of Corso Vannucci you’ll find famous panoramic gardens built on the foundations of the Rocca Paolina, a strong-hold built by Pope Paul III in 1540. These foundations contain, similar to under an enormous bell, an entire quarter of the old Perugia: a dead city, a sort of Medieval Pompei which has been brought tot light again and which is fascinating to visit.

Perugia’s ascents and stairways are usually quite steep, both the most ancient and the most recent. The way Via delle Prome is a typical example. Leaving from the Augustus Arc, this way lead to the upper point of Perugia, where used to be the castle of Porta Sole, erected in the XIV century by the dal Gattapone, and destroyed later for willing of the whole town people. A short visit in Perugia is definetly interesting, but is a longer visit which will reveal all the atistic jewels in detail.

Even if you are on a short visit, you should not miss the archtectural complex of St. Francesco, with the Oratory of St. Bernardino, a masterpiece of Agostino di Duccio, who, in covering the facade with bas-reliefs of enchanting grace and modelled fineness made it a little poem of Renaissance sculpture.

Among the most important manifestations taking place in the city we should absolutely mention the musical festival Umbria Jazz and the gastronomic festival Eurochocolate. To see: Arco Etrusco, Chiesa di Sant’Angelo, Fontana Maggiore, Palazzo dei Priori, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria.



ORVIETO


Etruscan era. The ancient city (urbs vetus in Latin, whence “Orvieto”), populated since Etruscan times, has usually been associated with Etruscan Velzna, but some modern scholars differ. Orvieto was certainly a major centre of Etruscan civilization; the archaeological museum (Museo Claudio Faina e Museo Civico) houses some of the Etruscan artefacts that have been recovered in the immediate neighborhood.

Roman and post-Roman eras. Orvieto was annexed by Rome in the third century BC. After the collapse of the Roman Empire its defensible site gained new importance: the episcopal seat was transferred from Bolsena, and the city was held by Goths and by Lombards before its self-governing commune was established in the tenth century, in which consuls governed under a feudal oath of fealty to the bishop. Orvieto’s relationship to the papacy has been a close one; in the tenth century Pope Benedict VII visited the city of Orvieto with his nephew, Filippo Alberici, who later settled there and became Consul of the city-state in 1016. Middle Ages Orvieto, sitting on its impregnable rock controlling the road between Florence and Rome where it crossed the Chiana, was a large town: its population numbered about 30,000 at the end of the 13th century.[1] Its municipal institutions already recognized in a papal bull of 1157, [2] from 1201 Orvieto governed itself through a podestà, who was as often as not the bishop, however, acting in concert with a military governor, the “captain of the people”. In the 13th century bitter feuds divided the city, which was at the apogée of its wealth but found itself often at odds with the papacy, even under interdict. Pope Urban IV stayed at Orvieto in 1262-1264. The city became one of the major cultural centers of its time when Thomas Aquinas taught at the studium there.

Papal rule. The territory of Orvieto was under papal control long before it was officially added to the Papal States(various dates are quoted); it remained a papal possession until 1860, when it was annexed to unified Italy. To visit: besides many medioeval churches, the Gothic Duomo, with its an Brizio Chapel frescoed by L.Signorelli and Beato Angelico, San Patrick well and Orvieto underground.



GUBBIO


The city’s origins are very ancient. The hills above the town were already occupied in the Bronze Age. As Ikuvium, it was an important town of the ancient Umbrian people in pre-Roman times, made famous for the discovery there of the Eugubine Tables, a set of bronze tablets that together constitute the largest surviving text in ancient Umbrian. Gubbio has historical attractions spanning many periods.

The 14th- century Palazzo dei Consoli houses Umbria’s largest collection of Roman artifacts. Gubbio’s most important date is May 15. Every year for centuries on that day, the Corsa dei Ceri has taken place: Three teams of twenty, each carrying three large wooden statues, race through the streets.

Main sights The historical centre of Gubbio is beautiful and of decidedly medieval aspect: the town is austere in appearance because of the dark grey stone, narrow streets, and Gothic architecture. The main monuments and sightseeings of the city include: The Roman Theatre, the Roman Mausoleum, the massive Palazzo dei Consoli, the Duomo (Cathedral), built in the late 12th century, the Palazzo Ducale, built from 1470 by Luciano Laurana or Francesco di Giorgio Martini for Federico da Montefeltro. Famous is the inner court, reminiscent of the Palazzo Ducale of Urbino, the Church of S. Francesco.

Gubbio is home to the Corsa dei Ceri, a run held every year always on the 15th day of May, in which three teams, devoted to St. Ubaldo (the patron saint of Gubbio), S. Giorgio, and S. Antonio, run through throngs of cheering supporters.



MONTEFALCO


The town has been actively settled since the times of the Umbri. It has been under the successive domination of the Romans, Lombards, being called Coccorone in the Middle Ages. In 1249 it was sacked by Federico II, but was soon rebuilt with the modern name. from the 13th century it had been a free comune under the domination of local nobles and merchants, but later, as with many other Umbrian locales, the comune gave way to government by a Signoria — in this case, that of the Trinci from the nearby Foligno (1383–1439). In 1446 it fell under the rule of the Papal States where it remained until the unification of Italy in 1861.

St. Clare of Montefalco, sometimes known as St. Clare of the Cross, was born in Montefalco and died there in 1308. Montefalco today has several churches, some in the Romanesque, some in the Gothic and some in the Renaissance style. Historically, the most important is the church of San Francesco, which is now the town’s museum, and, given its collection of art and artifacts, one of the most important museums in Umbria. The church is notable for its fresco cycle on the life of St. Francis, from the Florentine artist Benozzo Gozzoli (1450–1452). Other artists represented in the museum include Perugino, Melanzio, Pier Antonio Mezzastris, Antoniazzo Romano and Tiberio d’Assisi.


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