Perugia and Gubbio
Perugia has an immense heritage of art and culture, the fruit of its glorious past. One finds monuments everywhere bearing witness to its many centuries of history, art and culture, from its squares to its tiniest alleys, starting with the Etruscan Arch, also known as the Arch of Augustus, a monumental gate in the ancient Etruscan city walls and later restored in Roman times, the Etruscan Well and Porta Marzia, the second monumental Etruscan gate, now incorporated in a rampart of the Rocca Paolina, a fortress erected by Pope Paul III in 1540. Standing on Piazza IV Novembre, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, is the Palazzo dei Priori. An elegant Gothic edifice, it is also the home of the National Gallery of Umbria, which holds some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian art from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, including works by Piero della Francesca, Benozzo Gozzoli, Beato Angelico, Pinturicchio, and Perugino. Also very fine are the Sala dei Notari, the Collegio del Cambio, the old seat of the money exchangers’ guild, with the famous fresco cycle by Perugino and the San Giovanni Battista chapel with 16th-century frescoes, the Collegio della Mercanzia, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and its annexed Chapter Museum, and the gorgeous Fontana Maggiore, a 13th-century fountain designed by Frà Bevignate of Perugia with bas-reliefs by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. Other interesting buildings are the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and the Palazzo della Vecchia Università, the old seat of the university and now used as the Perugia Courthouse.
Every year in July there is the Umbria Jazz festival.
Gubbio is one of the most ancient towns in Umbria, remaining marvelously well-preserved over the centuries, with many monuments that bear witness to its glorious past.
Architecturally it represents the zenith of medieval civilization and of society in the 1200-1300s, with the system of the guilds. Evidence of its ancient origins is provided by the Eugubine Tablets, one of the most important archeological records in Italy – seven bronze tablets with writing in the Umbrian language preserved at the Civic Museum – and the Roman Theater standing just outside the city walls. The monumental Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo, which holds the remains of the town’s patron saint, towers over Gubbio, with its architectural masterpieces that stand as symbols of the power of this medieval city-state. Construction began in the early 14th century on the superb complex that includes the Palazzo dei Consoli, symbol of the town and home of the Picture Gallery and Archeological Museum, the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pretorio, which serves today as the Town Hall. Also deserving mention are Palazzo Beni, the Bargello with its famous fountain, and the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. The Renaissance Ducal Palace, attributed to Francesco Giorgio Martini, documents the town’s brilliant period under the rule of the Montefeltro dukes. Also interesting are the Cathedral (12th century), Santa Maria Nuova, with the Madonna of the Belvedere by Ottaviano Nelli inside, the Church and Convent of Sant’Agostino (13th century) with frescoes by Nelli.Every year on 15 th May there is the incredible ceri race.