Gubbio is a sizable town situated in the Perugia province of Umbria in central Italy, near the base of Mount Ingino. There is a great deal of historical interest to discover, from Roman monuments such as the Theatre to very impressive renaissance palaces and a fascinating old town.
In terms of town planning and architecture, Gubbio consists of a series of parallel streets, running at different levels, each steep and precipitous, and by monumental buildings and dark stone houses with arched and mullioned windows, jambs and window-sills in a typical medieval style.
Among the sacred buildings to explore in Gubbio, we suggest you first visit the Church of St. Augustine and the Church of Santa Maria Nuova.
Church of St. Augustine
The interior of the Church of St. Augustine is worthy of mention: it has a single nave with beams supported by eight arches and arcades open along the walls which hold altars. The choir is rectangular with vaults, while a large ogival window occupies the centre of the wall.
The walls of the Choir are decorated with frescoes by the School of Nelli: several paintings can be seen on the altar, such as the "Madonna del Soccorso" by Nelli and other works of his pupils.
Church of Santa Maria Nuova
The Church of Santa Maria Nuova has a 13th century limestone façade, still perfectly intact, but the interior has been affected by various inadequate restorations.
In the 16th century, because of the plague and fear of contagion, the inner walls of the church were whitewashed, thus ruining the 14th century frescoes by local masters such as Guido Palmerucci and his pupils.
Church of Saint Peter
Among the ancient churches of Gubbio, we should also mention the Church of St. Peter, which had already been extensively remodelled by the 13th century. As far as we know, the Church of St. Peter is of a very ancient origin (seventh century AD), but it has undergone numerous changes over the centuries which have obliterated the primitive medieval part.
Among the paintings in the church note in particular the "Visitation", by a pupil of Perugino (1450 ca.-1523).
Palazzo dei Consoli
After visiting these churches continue towards Piazza della Signoria which contains some very important buildings, including the Palazzo dei Consoli, a building of exceptional artistic value dating from 1332 - 1346.
Note: The 15th century chroniclers of Gubbio named the architect of the imposing building as Matteo di Giovanello di Matteo, better known as “Gattapone”, but according to an inscription located above the main portal the real designer of the Palace is Angelo da Orvieto.
The main facade, which overlooks the central square in Gubbio, is divided into three orders of architecture:
- the first floor has mullioned windows with trefoil arches;
- those on the second floor have a notched cornice which follows the arc;
- the upper floor is a gallery crowned with battlements, a typical medieval style.
In the middle the building is a staircase which opens on the square.
This design is a very effective architectural solution because it almost seems to welcome and invite people to enter into the building that was, in the Middle Ages, the seat of popular assemblies.
Inside the palace you enter a large hall which was the assembly hall of the people, and is very bright because of the large windows. In the assembly hall of the people there is also the room of Council, decorated in the 16th century.
Archaeological Museum and Art Gallery
The Palazzo dei Consoli now holds the Gubbio Archaeologyl Museum (with coins minted at Gubbio in Umbrian and the Roman Ages and the famous" Tabulae Iguvinae") and the Pinacoteca (art gallery) which has many paintings by Umbrian artists from the 14th to the 16th century.
In particular note the works by Guido Palmerucci (14th century), Sinibaldo Ibi (early 16th century), Virgilio Nucci (1545-1621), Felice Damiani (1535 c.1608), Francesco Gessi (1588-1649), as well as paintings by Timoteo Viti [1469-1523] ("Noli Me Tangere"), Ottaviano Nelli ("Our Lady of Charity"), Francesco Signorelli [16th century) ("The Virgin and Child").
Around the Palazzo dei Consoli
Close to here another majestic Gubbio building is the Great House of the Montefeltro.
Not far from the Montefeltro Palace you can also see the Cathedral of Gubbio, which was built on the site of the pre-existing church of San Mariano, destroyed by fire. The new cathedral, completed in the late 12th century, has a façade with a portal and pointed arch surmounted by a canopy, while the interior has a Latin cross plan with a nave and ten large arches.
See also history of Gubbio
You can find more local travel ideas in the Umbria guide.