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Città di Gubbio
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Panorama of Gubbio from Viale Parruccini
Map of comune of Gubbio (province of Perugia, region Umbria, Italy).svg
Gubbio within the Province of Perugia
Location of Gubbio
Italy provincial location map 2015.svg
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Location of Gubbio in Italy
Italy Umbria location map.svg
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Gubbio (Umbria)
Coordinates: 43°21′N12°34′E / 43.350°N 12.567°E / 43.350; 12.567
Country Italy
Region Umbria
Province Perugia (PG)
Frazioni see list
  MayorFilippo Mario Stirati (SEL)
  Total525 km2 (203 sq mi)
522 m (1,713 ft)
(31 December 2010) [1]
  Density63/km2 (160/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Eugubini
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
06024, 06020
Dialing code 075
Patron saint St. Ubaldus
Saint dayMay 16
Website Official website

Gubbio (Italian pronunciation:  [ˈgubbjo] ) is a town and comune in the far northeastern part of the Italian province of Perugia (Umbria). It is located on the lowest slope of Mt. Ingino, a small mountain of the Apennines.

<i>Comune</i> third-level administrative divisions of the Italian Republic

The comune is a basic administrative division in Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality.

Province of Perugia Province of Italy

The Province of Perugia is the larger of the two provinces in the Umbria region of Italy, comprising two-thirds of both the area and population of the region. Its capital is the city of Perugia. The province covered all of Umbria until 1927, when the province of Terni was carved out of its southern third. The province of Perugia has an area of 6,334 km² covering two-thirds of Umbria, and a total population of about 660,000. There are 59 comunes in the province. The province has numerous tourist attractions, especially artistic and historical ones, and is home to the Lake Trasimeno, the largest lake of Central Italy. It historically the ancestral origin of the Umbri, while later it was a Roman province and then part of the Papal States until the late 19th century.

Umbria Region of Italy

Umbria is a region of central Italy. It includes Lake Trasimeno and Marmore Falls, and is crossed by the River Tiber. The regional capital is Perugia. Umbria is known for its landscapes, traditions, history, culinary delights, artistic legacy, and influence on culture.



The city's origins are very ancient. The hills above the town were already occupied in the Bronze Age. [2] As Ikuvium, it was an important town of the Umbri in pre-Roman times, made famous for the discovery there of the Iguvine Tablets in 1444, [3] a set of bronze tablets that together constitute the largest surviving text in the Umbrian language. After the Roman conquest in the 2nd century BC — it kept its name as Iguvium — the city remained important, as attested by its Roman theatre, the second-largest surviving in the world.

Bronze Age Prehistoric period and age studied in archaeology, part of the Holocene Epoch

The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

Iguvine Tablets

The Iguvine Tablets, also known as the Eugubian Tablets or Eugubine Tables, are a series of seven bronze tablets from ancient Iguvium, Italy. The earliest tablets, written in the native Umbrian alphabet, were probably produced in the 3rd century BC, and the latest, written in the Latin alphabet, from the 1st century BC. The tablets contain religious inscriptions that memorialize the acts and rites of the Atiedian Brethren, a group of 12 priests of Jupiter with important municipal functions at Iguvium. The religious structure present in the tablets resembles that of the early stage of Roman religion, reflecting the Roman archaic triad and the group of gods more strictly related to Jupiter. Discovered in a farmer's field in the year 1444, they are currently housed in the Civic Museum of the Palazzo dei Consoli in Gubbio.

Umbrian language language

Umbrian is an extinct Italic language formerly spoken by the Umbri in the ancient Italian region of Umbria. Within the Italic languages it is closely related to the Oscan group and is therefore associated with it in the group of Osco-Umbrian languages. Since that classification was first formulated a number of other languages in ancient Italy were discovered to be more closely related to Umbrian. Therefore, a group, the Umbrian languages, was devised to contain them.

Gubbio became very powerful in the beginning of the Middle Ages. The town sent 1000 knights to fight in the First Crusade under the lead of Girolamo Gabrielli, and according to an undocumented local tradition, they were the first to penetrate into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre when the city was seized (1099).

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th through the 15th centuries

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

First Crusade Crusade from 1095 to 1099 that captured Jerusalem and established the Crusader States

The First Crusade (1095–1099) was the first of a number of crusades that attempted to recapture the Holy Land, called for by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. Urban called for a military expedition to aid the Byzantine Empire, which had recently lost most of Anatolia to the Seljuq Turks. The resulting military expedition of primarily Frankish nobles, known as the Princes' Crusade, not only re-captured Anatolia but went on to conquer the Holy Land, which had fallen to Islamic expansion as early as the 7th century, and culminated in July 1099 in the re-conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem, Israel

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The church contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, at a place known as "Calvary" or "Golgotha", and Jesus' empty tomb, where he is said to have been buried and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by the 19th-century shrine called the Aedicule (Edicule). The Status Quo, a 260-year-old understanding between religious communities, applies to the site.

The following centuries were quite turbulent, and Gubbio was engaged in wars against the surrounding towns of Umbria. One of these wars saw the miraculous intervention of its bishop, Ubald, who secured Gubbio an overwhelming victory (1151) and a period of prosperity. In the struggles of Guelphs and Ghibellines, the Gabrielli, such as the condottiero Cante dei Gabrielli da Gubbio (c. 1260 - 1335), were of the Guelph faction, supportive of the papacy; as Podestà of Florence, Cante exiled Dante Alighieri, ensuring his own lasting notoriety.

Ubald Italian bishop-saint

Ubald of Gubbio was a medieval bishop of Gubbio, in Umbria, today venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church. Saint Ubaldo Day is still celebrated at the Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo in Gubbio in his honor, as well as at Jessup, Pennsylvania.

Condottieri mercenary soldier leader in Italy XIV-XVI

Condottieri were Italian military leaders involved in classical formation battles, first as mercenary captains commanding free companies and later as generals of multi-national armies. In medieval Italian, condottiero meant "contractor" but the term later acquired the broader meaning of "military leader", also in reference to Italian Catholics serving as commanders for the Roman Catholic side during the Counter-Reformation.

Cante dei Gabrielli di Gubbio was an Italian nobleman and condottiero.

Gubbio maiolica by Giorgio Andreoli, famous for its lustro (reflections), 1525 Maestro giorgio di gubbio, piatto con cavaliere con stendardo, 1525.JPG
Gubbio maiolica by Giorgio Andreoli, famous for its lustro (reflections), 1525

In 1350 Giovanni Gabrielli, count of Borgovalle, a member of the most prominent noble family of Gubbio, seized communal power and became lord of Gubbio. However his rule was short, and he was forced to hand over the town to Cardinal Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz, representing the Church (1354).

Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz cardinal

Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz was a Spanish cardinal, Archbishop, Chancellor of Toledo and ecclesiastical leader.

A few years later, Gabriello Gabrielli, bishop of Gubbio, proclaimed himself again lord of Gubbio (Signor d’Agobbio). Betrayed by a group of noblemen which included many of his relatives, the bishop was forced to leave the town and seek refuge at his home castle at Cantiano.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gubbio diocese of the Catholic Church

The Italian Catholic Diocese of Gubbio is in the province of Perugia, in Umbria, central Italy.

With the decline of the political prestige of the Gabrielli family, Gubbio was thereafter incorporated into the territories of the House of Montefeltro. Federico da Montefeltro rebuilt the ancient Palazzo Ducale, incorporating in it a studiolo veneered with intarsia like his studiolo at Urbino. [4] The maiolica industry at Gubbio reached its apogee in the first half of the 16th century, with metallic lustre glazes imitating gold and copper.

Gubbio became part of the Papal States in 1631, when the family della Rovere, to whom the Duchy of Urbino had been granted, was extinguished. In 1860 Gubbio was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy along with the rest of the Papal States.

The name of the Pamphili family, a great papal family, originated in Gubbio then went to Rome under the pontificate of Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492), and is immortalized by Diego Velázquez and his portrait of Pope Innocent X.



The town is located in northern Umbria, near the border with Marche. The municipality borders Cagli (PU), Cantiano (PU), Costacciaro, Fossato di Vico, Gualdo Tadino, Perugia, Pietralunga, Scheggia e Pascelupo, Sigillo, Umbertide and Valfabbrica. [5]


The frazioni (territorial subdivisions) of the comune of Gubbio are the villages of: Belvedere, Biscina, Branca, Burano, Camporeggiano, Carbonesca, Casamorcia-Raggio, Cipolleto, Colonnata, Colpalombo, Ferratelle, Loreto, Magrano, Mocaiana, Monteleto, Monteluiano, Nogna, Padule, Petroia, Ponte d'Assi, Raggio, San Benedetto Vecchio, San Marco, San Martino in Colle, Santa Cristina, Scritto, Semonte, Spada, Torre Calzolari and Villa Magna.

Main sights

A "porta dei morti" that has been turned into a window. Porta dei morti (door of the dead).JPG
A "porta dei morti" that has been turned into a window.
Gubbio Roman Theatre at sunset. Gubbio Roman Theatre at sunset.jpg
Gubbio Roman Theatre at sunset.
Palazzo dei Consoli. Gubbio BMK.jpg
Palazzo dei Consoli.
Roof panorama of Gubbio. Gubbioview.jpg
Roof panorama of Gubbio.
Sunlight streams through the rose window of Piazza S. Giovanni. Afternoon sunlight streams through the rose window in the Church of San Giovanni.JPG
Sunlight streams through the rose window of Piazza S. Giovanni.
Stairs in the historic town. Gubbio - 06.jpg
Stairs in the historic town.

The historical centre of Gubbio has a decidedly medieval aspect: the town is austere in appearance because of the dark grey stone, narrow streets, and Gothic architecture. Many houses in central Gubbio date to the 14th and 15th centuries, and were originally the dwellings of wealthy merchants. They often have a second door fronting on the street, usually just a few inches from the main entrance. This secondary entrance is narrower, and a foot or so above the actual street level. This type of door is called a porta dei morti (door of the dead) because it was proposed that they were used to remove the bodies of any who might have died inside the house. This is almost certainly false, but there is no agreement as to the purpose of the secondary doors. A more likely theory is that the door was used by the owners to protect themselves when opening to unknown persons, leaving them in a dominating position.

Among most visited buildings and sites in the city are:


Corsa dei Ceri. Gubbio Corsa Ceri.jpg
Corsa dei Ceri.

Gubbio is home to the Corsa dei Ceri, a run held every year always on Saint Ubaldo Day, the 15th day of May, in which three teams, devoted to Ubald, Saint George and Anthony of Padua run through throngs of cheering supporters clad in the distinctive colours of yellow, blue and black, with white trousers and red belts and neckbands, up much of the mountain from the main square in front of the Palazzo dei Consoli to the basilica of St. Ubaldo, each team carrying a statue of their saint mounted on a wooden octagonal prism, similar to an hour-glass shape 4 metres (13 ft) tall and weighing about 280 kg (617 lb).

The race has strong devotional, civic, and historical overtones and is one of the best-known folklore manifestations in Italy; the Ceri were chosen as the heraldic emblem on the coat of arms of Umbria as a modern administrative region.

A celebration like the Corsa dei Ceri is held also in Jessup, Pennsylvania. In this small town the people carry out the same festivities as the residents of Gubbio do by "racing" the three statues through the streets during the Memorial Day weekend. This remains an important and sacred event in both towns.

Gubbio was also one of the centres of production of the Italian pottery (maiolica), during the Renaissance. The most important Italian potter of that period, Giorgio Andreoli, was active in Gubbio during the early 16th century.

Francis of Assisi with the wolf of Gubbio, panel by Sassetta. Sassetta, san francesco e il lupo.jpg
Francis of Assisi with the wolf of Gubbio, panel by Sassetta.

The town's most famous story is that of "The Wolf of Gubbio"; a man eating wolf that was tamed by St. Francis of Assisi and who then became a docile resident of the city. The legend is related in the 14th-century Little Flowers of St. Francis.

The Gubbio Layer

Gubbio is also known among geologists and palaeontologists as the discovery place of what was at first called the "Gubbio layer", a sedimentary layer enriched in iridium that was exposed by a roadcut outside of town. This thin, dark band of sediment marks the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, also known as the K–T boundary or K–Pg boundary, between the Cretaceous and Paleogene geological periods about 66 million years ago, and was formed by infalling debris from the gigantic meteor impact probably responsible for the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Its iridium, a heavy metal rare on Earth's surface, is plentiful in extraterrestrial material such as comets and asteroids. It also contains small globules of glassy material called tektites, formed in the initial impact. Discovered at Gubbio, the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary is also visible at many places all over the world. The characteristics of this boundary layer support the theory that a devastating meteorite impact, with accompanying ecological and climatic disturbance, was directly responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Gubbio in fiction

In Hermann Hesse's novel Steppenwolf (1927) the isolated and tormented protagonist – a namesake of the wolf – consoles himself at one point by recalling a scene that the author might have beheld during his travels: "(...) that slender cypress on the hill over Gubbio that, though split and riven by a fall of stone, yet held fast to life and put forth with its last resources a new sparse tuft at the top". [6]

The town is a backdrop in Antal Szerb's novel Journey by Moonlight (1937) as well as Danièle Sallenave's Les Portes de Gubbio (1980).

Since 2000 the TV series Don Matteo has been shot on location in Gubbio, where the title character ministers to his parish while solving crimes.


Anna Moroni, a popular cook on the Italian daytime TV series "La Prova del Cuoco" discusses Gubbio in many of her TV segments. She often cooks dishes from the region on TV, and she featured Gubbio in her first book.


The city is served by Fossato di Vico–Gubbio railway station located in Fossato di Vico; until 1945 was also operating the Central Appennine railway (Ferrovia Appenino Centrale abbreviation FAC) with a narrow gauge which departed from Arezzo and reached as far as Fossato di Vico and in Gubbio had his own railway station located in via Beniamino Ubaldi 2, now completely demolished.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Gubbio is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio</i> art displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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  1. Population data from Istat
  2. Malone, C.A.T.; S.K.F. Stoddart (1994). Territory, Time and State. The archaeological development of the Gubbio basin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Poultney, J. W. Bronze Tables of Iguvium 1959
  4. The Gubbio studiolo is reassembled in its entirety at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Federico's father, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, and his daughter Agnese di Montefeltro were born in Gubbio.
  5. 42390 (x a j h) Gubbio on OpenStreetMap
  6. Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf, chapter 1. ("For Madmen Only")