Fascinating, colourful, magnificent traditions, lovely setting
A lot of uphill walking.
One of our favorite towns in Umbria!
When I visited Gubbio in October 2009 the “Truffle fair” was about to be held. I was looking forward to it very much, thoughts of truffles materialised in my brain the whole time. But I was not at all prepared of what would await me. First of all it was fascinating to watch the hustle and bustle increasing daily. When I arrived on the Sunday before...more
For those interested in geology, Gubbio has an interesting sight to offer: Gola del Bottaccione, on the road to Scheggia. In 1980, US scientist Walter Alvarez and his father Luis have discovered a very high concentration of chemical element Iridium here in the boundary between Cretacious and Tertiary layers. This high concentration of Iridium and...more
Although this little church is not inside of the city walls, it is well worth a visit! It also has connections to San Francesco (St. Francis), because when he lived in Gubbio, it was here where he and his followers met, albeit it was still deep in the forest these days. And it is said that it was the place where the saint did tame the wolf. A nice...more
Almost everyone connects the famous saint San Francesco (St. Francis) to Assisi. Busses carry thousands of visitors and pilgrims every month to Assisi to see the famous basilica, the frescoes, his tomb, the town. But outside of Italy not many people know that not only Assisi but also Gubbio was a station in the saint’s life. Legend says that when...more
Piazza Quaranta Martiri at the bottom of Gubbio is most likely where travellers to Gubbio will arrive. It is a wide and open space and filled with hustling and bustling life. Gubbio’s market is held here on Tuesdays. Small food stalls with delicious products are set up daily under the arcades. The dominating church is chiesa San Francesco and only...more
The beautiful and simple chiesa San Giovanni Battista is located between Piazza Quaranti Martiri and Palazzo dei Consoli with a magic view up to the palazzo and the belltower with the big bell Campanone. The church is nice inside although very plain. I couldn’t take pictures though since it was always something going on when I was indide (a...more
When I arrived in Gubbio in April 2008, I was a bit exhausted from the road traffic. It was late...more
My wife and I did not stay at the hotel but we did have a great lunch time meal in the hotel's...more
I stayed here on the recommendation of Ingrid, and found it just as she had described – a friendly...more
Last year in October, my Italian teacher Edvige took me to Piatto d’Oro to show me a restaurant which is very famous with the locals. But since they have no website and since they don’t advertise anywhere and since it is located in Branca, one of Gubbio’s suburbs, tourists would not likely find their way here. And the dishes are oh so good! Since...more
During my second visit to Gubbio in autumn 2009 I had dinner in Taverna dei Lupo again, this time with my Italian teacher Edvige. Again it was a good experience. We have both decided to eat the Italian way which includes every course and we both chose almost the same dishes. As starters we had wonderful crispy rolls on a bed of fresh porcini and...more
During my search for local specialities restaurants in April 2008 I found this nice restaurant. I saw Taverna del Lupo already during my first evening walk, but I wasn’t hungry, so I only looked at the menu displayed outside. I liked it. It is said that the taverna is Gubbio’s prime option for dining and yes, it is located in a very nice...more
Gubbio does not have a train station, which makes it a bit of a proper planning to get there by public transport. The nearest train station is in Fossato di Vico, approx. 20 km southeast of Gubbio. But since there are only a few busses from there, it might not make much sense to take this option. Better is to travel to Perugia and take a bus from...more
An alternative to the hike up to Basilica Sant’Ubaldo is to take the funicular. But… this is only for the brave-hearted and definitely nothing for anyone with even the slightest feeling of fear of heights or vertigo. I never saw such a “passenger cabin” before and don’t even find the best word to describe it. They look like cages without seat, so...more
Gubbio is a place for walking. Its narrow streets and steep hills are at best difficult for motor vehicles, and in places impassable with them, so don your most comfortable shoes and start to wander. If you need help finding your way around, the city has recently introduced some very helpful directional signs and also informational ones near some...more
Again I was grateful to have had the mini-apartment at Residenza di Via Piccardi and to be able to cook in the kitchen. Pasta Fresca Il Matterello was another magnificent discovery. They make fresh pasta with passion, and yes, the passion tastes through their pasta. They are specialised in the typical pasta of the region, such as fazzoletti ripieni...more
When I came back to Gubbio in autumn 2009, I was lucky to be able to try one of the typical seasons’ specialities. My Italian teacher Edvige told me about the fave dei morti (translates into beans of the dead) and that they are a typical pastry for All Souls Day (Nov 2). The little shop with the best fave dei morti is called Le Betulle and is...more
This is a magnificent shop. Here I can stock up with delicious Umbrian specialities for the “dull” days to come, back in Germany. Cecilia’s La Buca del Tartufo shop is specialised in local delicatessen and oh my god, it is so worth to go here for shopping! It is a family owned business, father Fausto and dog go out for truffle hunting in the...more
Gubbio’s societies are in perfect harmony when it comes to festivals. Sbandieratori for example perform during the Christmas Tree illumination, at the opening of the truffle fair, during Ceri festival and surely many more. The campanari ring il campanone during the many festivals and then there is the group of tamburini (drummers) and the one who...more
With its extreme hillside location, there is not much room for a garden for most of the houses at the slope. But while I was walking up and down through Gubbio I was fascinated how inventive the locals are when it comes to a bit of green around their hoses and apartments. Little “bridges” connect houses and their tops have been transformed into...more
Umbria is a holy country. Among one of the many striking sights are frescoes and saints literarily around every corner. And Gubbio is no exception. Of course Sant’Ubaldo has a special place in the hearts of Gubbio’s locals. But there are also many little shrines for other saints everywhere. When I wandered through the town and uphill to Basilica...more
Among the old Umbrian (or maybe even generally Italian) cities, Gubbio sticks out with a very much narrow and steep old centre. Parking spaces are very rare and must be left for the locals. We visitors should, in case we come by car, leave our cars outside of the centre or, in case we have booked a hotel with parking space, use this. Although as...more
Festa di Ceri is famous throughout Italia and definitely the most important event for every Eugubino (Gubbio’s locals). But unlike many other Italian festivals (especially in Venezia, Firenze and other cities which are overrun by tourists) it is very much authentic and no set-up for visitors (and it will never be one). The Eugubini are celebrating...more
One of the magical things that characterises Gubbio is the sound of its bells. They mark the hours and quarters of the day, with deep chimes for each hour and higher-pitched ones for the quarter. So at 10.30, for instance, there will be ten deep notes and two higher ones to follow. Lovely!The catch, for light sleepers, is that they also mark the...more
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...more
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...more
28 Reviews and Opinions
Luggage and bags:
If you want to visit Gubbio and stay overnight you need to park “outside” or walk from train/bus stations to your accommodation. I highly recommend you bring luggage on wheels or backpacks, they are easier to carry on the often cobblestoned roads in the town centre.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring shoes comfortable for walking. Gubbio’s streets are steep and often they have cobblestones. Your feet will be grateful in the evening. Bring warm clothes, even in summer. The temperature might get colder than at the coast. Umbrella or raincoat might be a good idea, depending on the season. If you want to visit churches, bring something to cover arms and legs, you will not be let in with inappropriate clothes. And generally, bring some nice clothes. This is Italy....
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Gubbio has enough pharmacies where you can get medical supply. The pharmacists are excellent in giving advice and speak good English (my experience in October 2009 when I needed a patch to heat my aching back). Bring translation for prescriptions. You might like to bring first aid kits with band-aid, as you might have blisters from walking (in case you forgot – you’ll find them in the pharmacies). Foot cream is a good idea, too. My feet were happy in the evening with this :-)
Photo Equipment: The most magic impressions in Gubbio are the churches and other buildings. Many of them have ornaments, sculptures and other details where you would need a good tele lens. In case you come for one of the festivals, the tele-lens is even more important, because you might not get a viewpoint in front of the events. Bring plenty, plenty of memory cards!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There is no beach anywhere near Gubbio, but depending on the places you stay, you might have access to a pool. There is a public open air pool near Teatro Romano. If you plan to hike, bring all your equipment, as it is most unlikely to find places where you can rent tents and the other stuff. Hiking poles are recommended, the hills are steep in places.
Miscellaneous: Binoculars are a good idea, to view building details. An Italian dictionary is always of help. And if you have a light sleep, bring ear plugs, in case you stay near the town centre. Remember that Gubbio’s bells ring every 15 minutes, day and night.
© Ingrid D., February 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)
continue with next review => sport opportunities
The landscape around Gubbio is marvellous. I often think that it has something of a hidden valley north of Umbria’s centre. For those who come to Gubbio by car, I can highly recommend two tours through this marvellous part of the of Appenine mountains. Especially the tour via Pietralunga is one I like most. The road winds up through thick forest...more
Abbazia San Verecondo or Vallingegno is a magnificent old abbey south of Gubbio. It also has a connection to San Francesco, he was here after he fled from Assisi and worked as a kitchen worker for the Benedictine monks who lived here for quite a time.I wanted to visit it during my second stay in Gubbio (Oct/Nov 2009) but somehow didn’t manage to do...more
On a lovely sunny afternoon Ingrid took us on a drive in the hills around Gubbio. Our route took us first through the Gola del Corno – “gola” being a gorge. The scenery here was fantastic, although there was only one spot on the road where we could stop the car, so my photos perhaps don’t do it justice.This is a spectacular landscape as you can see...more
Gubbio has a prime location at the western slopes of Appennine Mountains (Appennine centrale to be precise). This makes the surrounding region a prime hiking location. The hike up to Basilica Sant’Ubaldo is only one of the possibilities. Once up there one can hike further uphill to the Roca on top of Monte Ingino and from there in a circle southward along the tiny Madonna del Sasso church. Finishing point is Gubbio’s cemetery in the south. Or there is Bottaccione Gorge, which also has a high relevance in earth history. Walter Alvarez and his father found a very high concentration of Iridium here and have added this to their theory of Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. The layer is visible during a hike in this valley. Then there is Monte Foce, the other mountain top north of Gubbio (the one with the “bold” top. On the way up there is Eremo di Sant’Ambrogio which can be visited. Further up the road of Bottaccione Gorge is Scheggia and from there, the endless Monte Cucco stretches out from northwest to southeast. This region has short hikes and longer ones according to a little booklet I picked up at the truffles fair and offers majestic landscapes and wildlife.
In addition to hiking, the region northeast of Gubbio has a vast cave system, though many are accessible only with guided tours by speleologists. Their centre is in Costacciaro at the road SR3 (southeast of Scheggia).
Hang-gliding, horse riding, canyoning, cross-country skiing in winter – you name it. I find it only sad that this nature and outdoor paradise is not really promoted more in Gubbio (in the city I mean, the website does promote it). They could attract much more visitors. But… you never know, maybe one day they do.
Oh, one other very important note about hiking. The whole world seems to be crazy about Camino de Santiago. I have no idea who is behind this clever marketing strategy, but for the ones who have this on their list of things to do before they die no other pilgrimage seems to exist. Let me tell you that these do exist. In Umbria, especially between Gubbio and Assisi there is the 50 km long part of Sentiero Francescano or San Francesco della Pace, in the footsteps of San Francesco (St. Francis). It leads along Abbazia Vallingegno. Good to know that Gubbio has a CAI section (Italy Alpine Club). They will get a new member in the future :-) In addition there is this incredible nature of Alto Chiascio (see link in this tip’s website section). An excellent map of Gubbio’s mountains is available at Libreria Pienini, issued by CAI, Gubbio section. It has a scale of 1:25.000, costs 6 Euro and has all 24 hiking trails, which have already been set up with red-white markers.
On the website EveryTrail.com, which is connected to Google Earth, user Die972 has marked a trail called Colli di Gubbio , hills of Gubbio. The website is set up as a map (with contour lines and video-like trail statistics, distance and altimeter chart).
Equipment: © Ingrid D., November 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.), update July 2010.
continue with next review => Learn Italian :-)
Since I revisited Italy in 2007 I knew that I want to learn the language to be able to talk to the people and read descriptions in the smaller museums. And of course to watch my most favourite of all Italian series online, Commissario Montalbano. But I also knew that I don’t want to go to one of these language schools which might be good but not...more
Gubbio’s tourist office is very helpful with maps and additional information about the town and the region. For example I got magnificent posters in photo quality of all the major festivals and the city for free. Grazie mille, Evelino Vagnarelli! For quick orientation: have a look at the marvellous town map at the (fee) parking lot at the right...more
When you happen to look at Gubbio’s website anytime between December 7 and January 10, you will see a special intro photo. This is how Gubbio indeed looks like from the valley during Christmas time. The world’s biggest Christmas Tree decorates the slopes of Monte Ingino between the city walls and the mountain top. The Star of Bethlehem is...more