Gubbio: The Complete Guide

Umbria-gubbio

Nestled amidst the rugged terrain of the Apennine Mountains, Medieval Gubbio boasts a picturesque setting approximately 25 miles northeast of the bustling capital of Umbria, Perugia. To the north and east, the landscape stretches out into vast expanses until reaching the border with the neighboring region of Le Marche.

This ancient land, adorned with charming squares and majestic stone palaces, has been inhabited for millennia, with traces of Neanderthal tribes dating back tens of thousands of years. Gubbio stands as a custodian of the rich history of the ancient Umbri people, with its museums preserving invaluable artifacts, including a linguistic relic akin to the famed Rosetta Stone, shedding light on their enigmatic language lost to time.

The silhouette of its medieval architecture distinguishes Gubbio as one of Umbria’s quintessential hill towns, offering visitors a captivating journey through time. Beyond its historical allure, Gubbio beckons to connoisseurs of gastronomy and adventure alike, renowned as a haven for truffle enthusiasts who revel in the pursuit and indulgence of these prized culinary treasures.

History of Gubbio

The origins of Gubbio are deeply rooted in ancient history, with evidence of habitation on the surrounding hills dating back to the Bronze Age. Known as Ikuvium in pre-Roman times, it was a significant town for the Umbri people, made famous by the discovery of the Iguvine Tablets in 1444—a collection of bronze tablets constituting the largest surviving text in the Umbrian language. After the Roman conquest in the 2nd century BC, the city, retaining the name Iguvium, remained influential, as evidenced by its Roman theatre, the second-largest surviving in the world.

In the early Middle Ages, Gubbio rose to prominence, notably sending 1,000 knights to the First Crusade under the leadership of Girolamo from the notable Gabrielli family, who, according to local tradition, were among the first to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre when Jerusalem was captured in 1099.

The subsequent centuries in Gubbio were marked by conflict, including wars against neighboring Umbrian towns. One such conflict saw the miraculous intervention of Bishop Ubald, who secured a decisive victory for Gubbio in 1151, ushering in a period of prosperity. During the Guelphs and Ghibellines’ struggles, the Gabrielli family, including the notable condottiero Cante dei Gabrielli, supported the Guelph faction and the papacy. As the Podestà of Florence, Cante is infamous for exiling Dante Alighieri.

In 1350, Giovanni Gabrielli, Count of Borgovalle, seized power in Gubbio but was forced to surrender the town to Cardinal Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz, representing the Papal States, in 1354. A few years later, Gabriello Gabrielli, the bishop of Gubbio, declared himself lord of the town but was betrayed by noblemen, including relatives, and had to seek refuge in Cantiano.

With the political decline of the Gabrielli family, Gubbio was incorporated into the territories of the House of Montefeltro. Federico da Montefeltro, the lord of Urbino, rebuilt the ancient Palazzo Ducale in Gubbio, incorporating a studiolo veneered with intarsia, similar to his studiolo in Urbino. Gubbio’s maiolica industry flourished in the first half of the 16th century, known for its metallic lustre glazes imitating gold and copper.

In 1631, Gubbio became part of the Papal States after the extinction of the della Rovere family, to whom the Duchy of Urbino had been granted. In 1860, Gubbio was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy along with the rest of the Papal States. The Pamphili family, a notable papal family originating from Gubbio, rose to prominence in Rome under Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492) and is immortalized in Diego Velázquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X.

Visiting Gubbio for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Gubbio on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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4 Best places to See in Gubbio

This complete guide to Gubbio not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Gubbio and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Antiquarium del Teatro Romano, Gubbio

Antiquarium Del Teatro Romano
In the municipality of Gubbio, nestled within the archaeological enclave of Guastuglia, lies a captivating relic of ancient Roman civilization: the Roman theatre. Constructed around 20 BC under the stewardship of magistrate Gnaeus Satrius Rufus, this monumental edifice stands as a testament to the grandeur and sophistication of Roman engineering. Crafted from imposing limestone blocks […]
Location: Museo del Teatro Romano, Viale Teatro Romano, Gubbio, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Wednesday to Sunday: 8.30am – 7.30pm, last admission allowed at 7pm: 00. Closed on Monday and Tuesday. | Price: €3,00 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Antiquarium del Teatro Romano, Gubbio

Fontana Dei Matti

Fontana Dei Matti
CC BY-SA 3.0 / trolvag
Nestled within the charming medieval streets of Gubbio, Italy, stands a unique landmark that has captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike for centuries: the 16th-century fountain affectionately known as the “Fountain of the Madmen.” Officially titled the Fontana del Bargello after the grand palace it graces, this fountain holds a central position in […]
Location: Fontana del Bargello, Via dei Consoli, Gubbio, Province of Perugia, Italy | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Fontana Dei Matti

Palazzo dei Consoli

Palazzo Dei Consoli, Piazza Grande, Gubbio
Easily recognizable from a distance, the Palazzo dei Consoli is situated in the heart of Gubbio’s historic center, its imposing facade overlooking the picturesque Piazza Grande, a pivotal hub of political activity during the fourteenth century. Beyond its captivating exterior, the Palazzo dei Consoli beckons visitors with its remarkable art collections housed within. Serving as […]
Location: Palazzo dei Consoli, Piazza Grande, Gubbio, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: From April to October: monday to friday: 10 am – 1 pm / 3 pm – 6 pm , weekend: 10 am – 6 pmFrom November to March: monday to friday: 10 am – 1 pm / 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm , weekend: 10 am – 6 pm | Price: € 7,00 | Website | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Palazzo dei Consoli

Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo

SantUbaldo Gubbio
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Superchilum
Perched atop the precipitous slopes of Mount Ingino, overlooking the sprawling city below, stands the illustrious basilica that serves as the final resting place of the revered patron saint, Ubaldo. This sacred sanctuary is not only a repository for the bronze urn containing the saint’s remains but also holds a special place in the hearts […]
Location: Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo, Via Monte Ingino, Gubbio, Province of Perugia, Italy | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Basilica di Sant'Ubaldo

Best Time to Visit Gubbio

Visiting Gubbio, Italy, offers unique charms in each season, providing visitors with diverse experiences depending on the time of year they choose to explore this medieval hill-town:

Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful season to visit Gubbio, as the countryside blooms with wildflowers and the weather begins to warm. This is an excellent time for outdoor activities such as hiking in the surrounding Apennine Mountains. The town also celebrates several traditional festivals, including the famous “Festa dei Ceri” on May 15th, a vibrant event with historical races and colorful processions that fill the medieval streets with energy and excitement.

Summer (June to August): Summer in Gubbio can be quite warm, but it remains a popular time for tourists. The sunlit days are perfect for exploring the architectural wonders and ancient ruins at a leisurely pace. Summer evenings are lively, with open-air concerts and outdoor dining, allowing visitors to enjoy the local cuisine and vibrant nightlife. It’s also a great time to experience local truffle festivals, where the prized delicacies are celebrated.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn brings a magical change of colors to the Umbrian landscape, making it a picturesque season to visit Gubbio. The weather is cooler and more comfortable for exploring. This season is also ideal for truffle enthusiasts, as it marks the beginning of the white truffle season, which Gubbio is renowned for. Culinary tours and truffle hunting experiences are highlights during this period.

Winter (December to February): Winter is a serene and enchanting time to visit Gubbio, offering a quieter, more intimate experience of this medieval town. The mild winter climate, occasionally punctuated by light snowfalls, adds a magical touch to the historic streets and stone buildings. The highlight of the season is the festive Christmas period, when Gubbio is adorned with charming decorations and home to one of the world’s largest Christmas trees, spectacularly illuminated on the slopes of Mount Ingino. This time of year also brings fewer tourists, allowing visitors to explore the town’s rich history and cultural sites at a leisurely pace. Cozy up in local cafes and restaurants, savoring traditional Umbrian cuisine and perhaps a glass of regional wine, as you soak in the peaceful ambiance of a winter in Gubbio.

Average Temperatures in Gubbio

  • January 10°C 8
  • February 12°C 11
  • March 14°C 11
  • April 18°C 10
  • May 23°C 14
  • June 29°C 10
  • July 32°C 7
  • August 32°C 8
  • September 26°C 10
  • October 23°C 9
  • November 15°C 13
  • December 10°C 9

How to get to Gubbio

Getting to Gubbio involves a combination of air, rail, and road travel, depending on your starting point. Here are the most common ways to reach Gubbio:

By Air

The nearest major airport to Gubbio is Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi Airport (PEG), which is about 25 miles (40 km) away. Other nearby airports include:

  • Ancona Falconara Airport (AOI) – Approximately 60 miles (100 km) away.
  • Florence Airport (FLR) – Around 120 miles (190 km) away.
  • Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) – Approximately 130 miles (210 km) away.

From Perugia Airport:

  1. Taxi or Shuttle: Take a taxi or pre-booked shuttle directly to Gubbio.
  2. Bus and Train: Take a bus or taxi to Perugia city center and then proceed with train or bus options.

By Train

Gubbio doesn’t have a train station, but you can travel to nearby stations and then take a bus or taxi to Gubbio.

  • Perugia Station: From Perugia’s main train station, you can take a bus (line E001 or E003) directly to Gubbio.
  • Fossato di Vico-Gubbio Station: This is the closest train station, about 12 miles (20 km) from Gubbio. From here, take a local bus or taxi to Gubbio.

By Bus

Gubbio is well-connected by bus services, especially from nearby major cities like Perugia.

  • From Perugia: Bus services (line E001 and E003) run regularly between Perugia and Gubbio. The journey takes about 1.5 hours.
  • From Rome: There are direct buses from Rome Tiburtina Bus Station to Gubbio, but they run less frequently than trains.

By Car

Driving to Gubbio offers flexibility and convenience, allowing you to explore the surrounding countryside.

  • From Perugia: Take SS3bis/E45 northbound towards Gubbio. Follow signs for Gubbio and take the exit towards the town.
  • From Rome: Take the A1 motorway northbound towards Florence. Exit at Orte and follow signs for Perugia on SS204. From Perugia, follow directions as above.
  • From Florence: Take the A1 motorway southbound towards Rome. Exit at Arezzo and follow signs for Gubbio on SS73 and SS3bis.

By Taxi or Private Transfer

For a more comfortable and direct route, consider booking a taxi or private transfer from any of the major airports or cities. This is a convenient option, especially if you have a lot of luggage or prefer a hassle-free journey.

Local Transportation in Gubbio

Once in Gubbio, the town is best explored on foot due to its medieval layout and narrow streets. For visiting nearby attractions or exploring the countryside, consider renting a car or using local buses and taxis.

By combining these options based on your starting point and preferences, you can easily reach and enjoy the beautiful medieval town of Gubbio.