Gubbio, la Città dei Ceri-Gubbio-Panorama.Monte Ingino-Colle Eletto

Explore the Charming Umbrian Village Famous for the “Corsa dei Ceri”

Have you heard of Gubbio because it was the setting for the TV series “Don Matteo,” and now you want to visit? Keep reading to discover what to see in Gubbio!

Gubbio, a town in northern Umbria, province of Perugia, nestled at the foot of Mount Ingino just a few kilometers from Città di Castello, boasts a rich history evident in the signs left by its inhabitants over the centuries. The historic center, with its cobbled alleys, stone buildings, and renowned painted ceramic shops, offers a delightful journey through time, revealing pre-Roman, Roman, medieval, and the era of the Dukes of Montefeltro.

So, what is there to see in Gubbio? Let’s explore the itinerary we’ve crafted just for you!

What to see in Gubbio: The Roman Theater and Antiquarium

If you arrive in Gubbio by car, a practical tip is to park in the dirt area near the medieval walls, where parking is free. Just before entering the historical center, you’ll encounter the remains of the 1st-century BC Roman Theater. Hosting up to 6000 spectators, it remains one of the most capacious of its time. Even today, classical performances captivate audiences in this ancient setting.

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Roman Theatre (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Adjacent is the Antiquarium, housing intriguing artifacts revealing Roman tastes, customs, and lifestyles. Additionally, you can explore the rooms of an uncovered domus with fascinating mosaics.

What to see in Gubbio: The Medieval Center – Bargello Fountain, Piazza Grande, and Palazzo dei Consoli

Passing through one of the gates in the medieval walls, you’ll be enveloped in a timeless atmosphere where every stone narrates the city’s extensive history. The first stop on our itinerary is the Bargello Fountain, also known as the “Fountain of Fools.” Residents of Gubbio, due to their unpredictability, are affectionately called “fools.” Join the tradition: walk around the fountain three times and then obtain a commemorative license at the nearby shop (costing €3.50).

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Bargello Fountain also known as Fountain of fools (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Facing the fountain is Palazzo del Bargello, a Gothic structure hosting the Crossbow Museum, a must-visit for antique weapon enthusiasts. Continuing along Via dei Consoli, lined with the finest ceramic and local product shops, you’ll reach the magnificent Piazza Grande. This elevated square acts as a true “balcony” overlooking the Umbrian valley. The elegant Palazzo dei Consoli, with its graceful arches and fan-shaped staircase, stands out against the blue sky, making it one of Italy’s most beautiful buildings of its kind. The Civic Museum inside displays the ancient Eugubine Tablets, numerous paintings by local and Tuscan artists, and an intriguing coin collection.

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Palazzo dei Consoli (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Palazzo Ducale, the Cathedral, and the Church of San Giovanni

Ascending further or taking a free elevator near Piazza Grande leads to another crucial stop on our itinerary: Palazzo Ducale. Commissioned by Federico di Montefeltro, this Renaissance gem stands out in a predominantly medieval city. Its fine architecture and intricate decorations, especially in capitals, doors, and fireplaces, create a visually stunning experience. Inside, an interesting collection of paintings traces the main evolutionary phases of Eugubian art between the 13th and 18th centuries.

Opposite is the 12th-century Cathedral, featuring a beautiful façade with a Gothic portal adorned with the effigies of the four evangelists and the Mystic Lamb. Inside, ten ogival arches support the roof, and the walls showcase exquisite paintings, including a work by Dono Doni.

After visiting the Cathedral, take a stroll back to the lower part of the city through Parco Ranghiaschi, a picturesque walk among chestnut, lime, maple, and oak trees. If you’re a “Don Matteo” fan, don’t miss the church that hosted the series’ filming. The Church of San Giovanni, a simple and welcoming 12th-century church, offers a beautiful vantage point to admire other city monuments from a different perspective.

What to see in Gubbio - Church of San Giovanni - Palazzo dei Consoli - Piazza Grande - Don Matteo
Church of San Giovanni

What to See in Gubbio: Basilica di San’Ubaldo

For a touch of adrenaline during your visit, take the Colle Eletto cable car (remember that during the Christmas season, the hill is adorned with lights to create the world’s largest Christmas tree). The cable car, consisting of baskets hanging on a cable for two people, takes six minutes to cover a 270-meter difference in altitude, reaching the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo. This beautiful five-naved church preserves exquisite frescoes and houses the famous “Ceri,” octagonal structures towering seven meters high, the stars of the “Corsa dei Ceri,” the city’s most cherished event.

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The candles preserved in the Church of Sant’Ubaldo (Credit to regione umbria CC BY-NC)

If you want to delve deeper, keep reading to discover Gubbio’s rich cultural events and its reputation for excellent cuisine.

Gubbio’s Events and Exquisite Cuisine

As mentioned earlier, Gubbio hosts the ancient “Corsa dei Ceri” on May 15th. This procession features “ceraioli,” men who sprint with three Ceri on their shoulders. The statues of Sant’Ubaldo, Sant’Antonio, and San Giorgio are carried through the town’s streets to Mount Ingino.

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The Corsa dei Ceri procession (Credit to regione Umbria CC BY-NC)

Another noteworthy event is the “Palio della Balestra,” occurring at the end of May in Piazza Grande. Here, crossbowmen from Gubbio and Sansepolcro, dressed in period costumes, compete to hit the target, a straw badger, placed 36 meters away. If you happen to be in the area in late September, don’t miss the Medieval Festival, immersing the city in medieval times through markets, reenactments, processions, and shows.

Before leaving this enchanting city, be sure to stop at one of its numerous establishments, where you can savor excellent local products. Try the “Crescia,” the typical bread filled with cured meats and cheeses, perfect for a delightful snack while strolling. If you stay into the evening, restaurants offer typical Umbrian dishes, including “umbricelli” with Norcia-style sausage and succulent grilled game meats, complemented by a flavorful Colli Altotiberini red DOC wine.

Now that you have a clearer picture of Gubbio, the City of Ceri, all that’s left is to pack your bags and go! 

If you need suggestions on where to stay, click here to discover the best accommodations at the best prices!

Article Name
What to see in Gubbio
Explore Gubbio's charm, known as 'Don Matteo' setting. Discover what to see in Gubbio with our guide to unlock hidden treasures
Publisher Name
LA Scimmia Viaggiatrice