What to see in Città di Castello

Cosa vedere a Città di Castello- panorama-torri

A Brief Guide to Discovering the Beauties and Products of the Umbrian Town

Are you planning to visit Umbria and unsure where to go? Read on and discover what to see in Città di Castello—include it in your itinerary!

Città di Castello, a town in northern Umbria near Tuscany and renowned places like Gubbio and Montone, boasts an ancient history with visible traces. Its medieval and Renaissance palaces reflect a prosperous past, attracting artists like Raphael and Luca Signorelli. The Vitelli family, influential patrons close to the Medici of Florence, significantly adorned the town.

The more recent phase, from the 19th century onwards, marked Città di Castello as a major Italian center for tobacco cultivation. Explore the town starting from this era’s symbol. Read on to discover all the things to see in Città di Castello!

What to see in Città di Castello: Alberto Burri’s Places in Città di Castello

Our journey starts with contemporary art, specifically at the Ex Tobacco Drying Sheds on Via Pirandello. Once abandoned, local contemporary artist Alberto Burri transformed it into his studio, housing a monumental collection of large-scale works. Smaller pieces are showcased at the Alberto Burri Foundation’s main venue, Palazzo Albizzini.

What to see in Città di Castello: Historic Center and Piazza Gabriotti

Following in the footsteps of Alberto Burri leads us to the heart of Città di Castello, where a different dimension unfolds. Here, everything is human-scale, and the hustle is left outside the partially enclosing walls, inviting exploration of the city’s hidden corners. The slow-paced life, reminiscent of times past, becomes apparent.

A symbol of this slow life is the main square, dedicated to Venanzio Gabriotti, the central meeting place for Tifernati, especially on warm summer evenings. Overlooking the square are the city’s main buildings: Palazzo dei Priori, the Cathedral, and the Civic Tower, known as the Bishop’s Tower. The 14th-century Palazzo dei Priori exhibits solemn and elegant architecture, adorned with rustic stonework and Gothic mullioned windows on the first floor.

what to see in Città di Castello-palazzo priori-piazza gabriotti
Palazzo dei Priori (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

The palace leans against the structure of the Cathedral, dedicated to Saints Florido and Amanzio. The Church, a mix of overlapping styles from the 11th to the 19th century, features an unfinished façade and a unique circular bell tower, the sole surviving part of the Romanesque church. It also houses an intriguing museum with sacred art, including works by Pinturicchio and Rosso Fiorentino.

On the opposite side of the square stands the 13th-century Civic Tower, with its towering and slightly leaning prism-like appearance dominating the square. It preserves stone coats of arms and remnants of a fresco by Luca Signorelli.

Palazzo Vitelli alla Cannoniera: A Renaissance Gem

Another must-visit in Città di Castello is Palazzo Vitelli alla Cannoniera. This Renaissance palace, commissioned by Alessandro Vitelli, is a treasure trove of art and history. The façade, adorned with graffiti decoration by Ghirardi, designed by Vasari, hints at mysteries, including tales of a ghostly inhabitant—a courtesan, discussed in another article. The interiors boast a splendid cycle of frescoes celebrating the achievements of the Vitelli family, along with an impressive collection in the Civic Art Gallery.

Ranked second in importance in Umbria only to the National Gallery of Perugia, the Civic Art Gallery displays significant works by Luca Signorelli, Pomarancio, and a masterpiece, the “Stendardo della S.S. Trinità,” by a young Raphael.

What to see in Città di Castello-art gallery-palazzo vitelli alla cannoniera-garden
Gardens of Palazzo Vitelli alla Cannoniera (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Remaining in the Raphael theme, another testament to his presence in Città di Castello is the “Sposalizio della Vergine,” housed in the Albizzini Chapel of the Church of San Francesco. Stolen by Napoleon, it now graces the halls of the Brera Academy. In the church, a beautiful blend of 14th-century architecture revisited in Baroque style, only a copy remains, attempting to partially fill the void left by this masterpiece.

Palazzo Vitelli a Sant’Egidio

Our last stop is Palazzo Vitelli a Sant’Egidio, a grand 16th-century palace in Tuscan style. Adorned with elaborate frescoes illustrating the family’s exploits, its special feature is a beautiful enclosed garden with a charming nymphaeum. The garden also hosts an elegant building around an ancient medieval tower.

what to see in Città di Castello-palazzo vitelli a Sant'egidio-park
Park of Palazzo Vitelli in Sant’Egidio (Credit to the-Mag.org)

After this historical and artistic journey, discover the gastronomic delights of Città di Castello in our next section.

What to Eat in Città di Castello

Apart from being known for tobacco cultivation, Città di Castello’s countryside is famous for white truffles. Celebrated annually in October, the White Truffle Fair offers tastings of local dishes. If you miss the fair, fear not; the city’s numerous eateries always offer this delicacy. Additionally, try the local “Bagiana,” a soup of fava beans, tomatoes, and basil, paired with a tigella (small flatbread) and a glass of Colli Altotiberini DOC rosé.

Another recommended treat is the “Pecorino stagionato in botte,” a cheese with a unique flavor infused by various herbs. You won’t resist taking a wheel home!

Now that you know what to see and eat in Città di Castello, make sure to include it in your Umbria exploration. If you plan to stay, click here to discover the best accommodations at the best prices!


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Article Name
What to see in Città di Castello
Planning a visit to Umbria? Discover what to see in Città di Castello, enriching your itinerary with cultural and historic gems.
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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