If you are like me and used to drive in rather wide streets, be aware that Gubbio like the majority of Italian hill towns might scare you to death when you arrive by car. When I arrived in April 2008 and realised that I should drive through this little street in my main photo to get to my hotel’s parking spaces, I preferred to let the car stay on the huge parking at Piazza dei Quaranta Martiri and walk uphill. It was only 5 minutes away, so this did not matter. But later I realised how lucky I was with my hotel so close by and freaked out thinking how it would have been if I would have booked a hotel uphill in the city (with the possibility to load off luggage in front of the entrance)…. The locals resp. Italians in general are very much used to the street systems of their towns, but I could not stop to be very much amazed how they drove through the most narrowest streets. All of the other streets in my photos are for cars…. And it is not only that the streets are narrow! Due to the very much hillside location of Gubbio, the pedestrian walkways often have stairs (as in photo 4).
So think twice before you book a hotel, in case you are afraid of these streets. But… there are busses and taxis which can bring you everywhere you want to go. Yes, busses… amazing how they can get around these edges, but they can…
In the meantime my driving skills have very much improved, but I still don’t drive through these streets – why should I? All is walkable, I would never stay anywhere else than at Residenza Via Piccardi (unless I have my own little apartment) and parking at Teatro Romano is nearby and for free. But it is fascinating to observe how wide the streets became in my eyes now, the same streets which I considered narrow two years ago.....
Fun Alternatives: Park the car outside :-)
Free parking, Teatro Romano, on Google Maps.
© Ingrid D., November 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.), update June 2010.
continue with next review => what to pack?
Haha, no, of course a market day itself is not a tourist trap, quite the contrary – Italian markets are very charming! Unless you visit Gubbio by car and park the car at the most convenient parking place at the main entrance to the city at Piazza 40 Martiri and intend to stay in the city at least during a Monday night. Then it will become a trap if you don't look at the signs....
Tuesday is market day and since the market is around Piazza 40 Martiri, all cars have to leave by latest Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. I was a bit disoriented when I was in Gubbio during my first time (April 2008) and so I only discovered this on Monday evening when I took the Hotel Gattapone’s elevator. There I saw a list of attractions and parking recommendations, including the sign that parking isn't allowed during the market days. Oh my, so I knew I had to park the car elsewhere, but with my phobia of the narrow streets I didn’t dare to drive up to the hotel. I asked the reception girl and… she offered me to drive my car up to the hotel. What a sweet and nice gesture!! Next morning though I had to drive through the narrow streets, but I survived this… But this was 2008, by now my driving skills are a bit more advanced, at least when it comes to narrow streets...
Unique Suggestions: .
Update, June 2012:
well, at least I know 1) how it feels and 2) what to do when one does not pay notice to the "tow away" signs....
After our meeting for Palio della Balestra, Marit wanted to take the train from Fossato up north to meet the Bergamo crew. Since she had a backpack, I thought I'd park the car at Piazza 40 Martiri the evening before, to make it easier for us to hop into the car and leave next morning. What I did forget... or say I did not remember my own warning... was that we wanted to leave on a Tuesday. So Tuesday, May 30, 2012, we got up, I wanted to go quickly to the pharmacy at the piazza... but when I turned direction piazza, I saw the market stalls and .... laughed out loud: the car was gone of course.
To make the long story short: Federica (our host of Residenza di Via Piccardi) arranged a transfer to the train station for Sarah, Marit and me, we dropped off Marit and the driver took me to Rampini Cars, where my car was sitting in a huge hall. I paid 60 Euro to these guys (quite reasonable) and later 40 Euro for the ticket/fine (to be paid either at the police station or at the post office).
Well....... what can I say?
Ingrid, read your warning reviews before you set out next time......
Fun Alternatives: Alternatives are abundant. It is only a question of self organisation. There is a huge free parking near the Roman Theatre, Teatro Romano; approx. 10 minutes to walk from Piazza 40 Martiri. And a lot of parking spots around the oval Piazza Quaranta Martiri are available, but only the ones next to the (former) hospital and Chiesa San Francesco are open during the market days. These cost a small charge (ticket machines) but it is only 0,80 Euro per hour (as of June 2010).
Free parking, Teatro Romano, on Google Maps.
Update, December 2010:
In any case: watch for the signs!! When I was in Gubbio in May 2010, I parked the car at the free parking next to Teatro Romano. But when I brought sweet visitors to their car, I saw the sign at the entrance (photo 4) telling that this parking would be closed on May 12 from 7 a.m. to "the end of the works". Haha, no one could tell me when the works ended, but I drove my car elsewhere for about a day, until work was indeed finished....
© Ingrid D., November 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.), update December 2010.
continue with next review => Don't get "trapped" in the narrow streets