Key to Umbria: Gubbio

Walk II: Outside the Walls

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As in Walk I, this walk begins at the war memorial in Piazza dei Quaranta Martire.  Leave the piazza along Via degl Ortacci, with the facade of San Francesco on your left and Ospedale Grande (illustrated here) on your right.  (Both San  Francesco and Ospedale Grande were visited in Walk I).
This area was excavated in ca. 1749, just prior to the construction of the Ospedale Grande.  Further excavation was possible for a short period during roadwork in Via degli Ortacci in 1928, and more systematic excavations were carried out here in the 1980s:
  1. Finds made at the lower levels included:

  2. the remains of many rooms from a building that probably formed part of the Roman baths (1st century BC); and

  3. a broadly contemporary domus. 

  4. These marked the first stages of the expansion of the city into the plain to the south in the 2nd century BC, as the Romans began the construction of the city of Iguvium.  Some ceramics found here are exhibited in the Antiquarium.

  5. The remains in the layer above included those of a Christian basilica and cemetery that apparently date to the brief period of the Lombard occupation of Gubbio in the 8th century.  The remains of seven sarcophagi were found in the cemetery, one of which is now in the Museo Civico.

Continue to Porta degli Ortacci, at the southern perimeter of the medieval city, and turn right along Viale del Teatro Romano (with the city walls on your right).  Walk under the walls and through the car park to see material uncovered during the excavations mentioned above:

  1. a Roman structure, behind railings on the left, which was probably a cistern associated with the thermal complex described above; and 

  2. a number of ancient stones laid out in an ellipse in the space beyond it.  [More on what these are]

Cross Viale del Teatro Romano to begin the so-called Percorso Archeologico.

Percorso Archeologico

This walk around Roman Iguvium (illustrated above) takes in an area on the left side of Viale del Teatro Romano that is also bounded, Viale Parruccini, Via Ubaldi, Via Perugina and Via Matteotti and bisected by Via Bruno Bozzi.   All of the Roman structures mentioned are described in more detail in the page "percorso archeologico".

Your first stop is the Antiquarium in the car park.   It is housed in a building above the remains of a Roman domus, the mosaic floor of which can be seen.  It also contains an interesting archeological collection, much of which relates to the immediate area.

The ticket for the Antiquarium also includes access to the Roman theatre (although you can walk around the field in which it stands and see it from the outside for free). 

Having seen the theatre, walk to the far right hand corner of the field (to the corner of Viale Parruccini and Via Ubaldi) to see a stretch of Roman wall.   This wall seems to have had no defensive function: it probably simply supported the terrace on which Iguvium was built.

Walk back to the theatre and then turn right: if the gate at the edge of the field is open, you can walk along the path here to the rest of the excavated area, across Via Bruno Bozzi.  At the time of my visit in April 2014 the gate was locked, and the itinerary below is written on that basis.

Return to and turn right along Viale del Teatro Romano to the junction with Via Bruno Bozzi.  Take a short detour by crossing the latter, and walk to the terrace behind the buildings immediately on the left (which include Caffé Europa).  You can see some of the excavated remains tin what is now a car park.  The terrace looks down on the field in which the rest of the excavations took place in the area known as Guastuglia.

Return to the junction with Via Bruno Bozzi and turn left along it.  You will see the path from the Roman theatre on your right.  It continues on the other side of the road, and this is the entrance for tours of the Guastuglia site that are possible in the summer months.  (I have yet to do this tour).

Continue along Via Bruno Bozzi to the junction with Via Salvador Allende.  The field on the left on the far side of the junction contains:

  1. a Roman mausoleum (the so-called mausoleum of Lucius Pomponius Grecinus); and

  2. the so-called scarico di San Biagio, a huge deposit of ceramics dated from the 4th to the late 2nd century BC. 

Take a short detour by continuing to the junction with Via Ubaldi to see the church of San Biagio.  This was the site of  one of the oldest and most important necropoles of Gubbio, grave goods from which are exhibited in the Antiquarium

Return along Via Bruno Bozzi and turn right slong Via Matteotti to Largo di Porta Marmorea.  This space (an adjunct to Piazza 40 Martiri) is named for Porta Marmorea: this city gate that was demolished in 1863, together with a long stretch of walls to the sides of it, to make way for junction of the roads to Ancona and Perugia (Via Matteotti and Via Perugina). 

Turn right along Via Perugina.  The Monastero del Buon Gesù delle Cappuccine on the left stands on part of the site of the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Carità.  (This hospice originally extended as far as the Hotel San Marco at the end on the right). 

Continue along Via Perugina and take a short detour on the right along Via del Mausoleo to see the Mausoleo dei Quarante Martire on the right.  This chapel preserves the wall tombs of the 40 people whom German soldiers executed on the 22nd June 1944.  They included two women and a number of teenage boys and elderly men.  Many of the tombs have photographs of the deceased.

Return to and continue along Via Perugina..  There were two nunneries along this stretch of road in the 13th century that later moved to Santo Spirito (visited in Walk I):

  1. Santa Maria del Paradiso, which stood near the present site of Santa Maria del Prato; and

  2. San Sperandio, further  along on the left.

Continue to the church of Santa Maria del Prato on the right. 

Cross Via Perugina, turn right, and walk behind the first block of buildings to see the confluence of the Camignano and Cavarello torrents below.  This vicinity, which probably had religious significance for the ancient inhabitants of the city.  A small necropolis of about 10 graves was recently discovered here.  Grave goods (1st century AD) from one of these tombs (Tomb 6) are exhibited in the Museo Archeologico, Perugia:

  1. a glass funerary urn; and 

  2. an ink pot made up of a glass inner part and a gilded silver outer cover.

Walk back along Via Perugina and turn right along Via Molino, across the Camignano.  Take the steps to the right, across the Cavarello  and up to Via della Piaggiola.  The church of Santa Maria della Piaggiola is on the far side of the road (with the Cavarello running in the ditch behind it, as you will see later in the walk).

Turn left on leaving Santa Maria della Piaggiola, along Via della Piaggiola, and turn left into Via Frate Lupo.   Excavations in 1989 at the southern end of Via Gandhi, the first turning on the right, uncovered ten inhumation graves dating to the 5th century BC:

  1. four attic vases (5th century BC) from these tombs are exhibited in the Antiquarium; and

  2. a column krater (425-400 BC) from Tomb 1 is exhibited in the Sala dei Bronzi of the Museo Archeologico, Perugia.

Continue along Via Frate Lupo, past the modern building on the left (60 Vale Vittorina) that houses the headquarters of a cement company, Collacem Spa.  The main part of the Vittorina necropolis was found here during construction of this building in 1980.  Excavations here in 1980-2 uncovered some 237 tombs, mostly from the period 1st century BC - 2nd century AD, which were spread out across an area that extended across Via Frate Lupo into the park in front of the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (below):

  1. Some finds from this part of the necropolis are exhibited in the Antiquarium.

  2. Others (from Tomb 221) are exhibited of the room in the Museo Archeologico, Perugia that I have labelled Roman Umbria I.

Continue to the junction with Viale Vittorina on the left.  A narrow stretch of this road to the right runs through the park that contains the lovely church of Santa Maria della Vittoria.   This was the site of the famous meeting of St Francis and the wolf, an event depicted in the relief opposite the church. 

Having seen the church, cross Via Frate Lupo, and continue along Viale Vittorina.  Take the second turning on the left (Via Giosue Carducci).   This road curves past the apse of Santa Maria della Piaggiola (above) and the ditch of the Cavarello on your left.  Turn left along Via Ugo Foscolo and left at the end along Viale Rimembranze.  This road was dedicated in 1924 to the 403 men of Gubbio who had died in the First World War, and 403 holm oaks were planted along it in memory of them.

Continue to the junction with Via del Cavarello.  You will be turning right here, but first take a short detour by continuing ahead to see the double gate of Porta Vittoria and Porta San Pietro (opposite Via della Piaggiola on the left).  The walk back along the walls and follow them round to the left, along Via del Cavarello.  As the name suggests, his road runs along the Cavarello, which acted as a moat here.

Continue around the walls to Porta Romana .

The church of Sant’ Agostino is just outside it. 

Detour to the churches of San Felicissimo (15 minutes one way) and

Santa Maria del Suffragio di San   F (a further 15 minutes one way).

This detour takes you along Via di Porta Romana, to the cemetery and the church of San Felicissimo.   Walk to the cemetery on the left and follow its walls in the clockwise direction.  You will see this chruc behind the cemetery, to the left.

Return to Via di Porta Romana and continue for another kilometer  to the suburb of San Marco.  (The is a somewhat pompous statue of the lion of St Mark on the roundabout at the start of the suburb).  Finds from the excavation of a neolithic settlement here are exhibited in the Museo Archeologico, Perugia.  The church of Santa Maria del Suffragio di San Marco is further on the left, at the junction with Via della Scalette.

Walk back along Via di Porta Romana to Porta Romana itself, where the detour ends.

On leaving Sant’ Agostino, turn right along Via San Girolamo, which is signed to the station for the cable car up Monte Ingino to Sant’ Ubaldo.  

Leave Sant’Ubaldo by the side door in the cloister, cross the road and climb the step scree path ahead.  It passes under a screen of scaffolding and then divides into two narrower paths.  The path straight ahead leads to the subsidiary fortifications, while that to the left leads to the main part of Rocca Posteriore

Walk down Monte Ingino.

You can, of course, take the cable car back to Porta Romana. 

Alternatively, this walk of some 2 km along the Corso dei Ceri , which takes you to

Porta Sant’ Ubaldo. 

However, if you also want to walk to San Girolamo (below), you will then need to walk

back along Via Appenino, towards Porta Romana.

The winding path down the mountain was laid out in 1604 and forms part of the route for the annual Corsa dei Ceri, passing three small chapels, each standing on a hairpin bend:

  1. San Michele Arcangelo (the Terza Cappelluccia), which stands on the site of a chapel that was built in 1154 to celebrate Gubbio’s famous victory agains eleven surrounding cities

  2. the Chiesa della Beata Vergine delle Grazie (the Seconda Cappelluccia), which was built in 1657 and which is also known as San Giorgio

  3. the Cappellina dell’ Annunzione (the Prima Cappelluccia), which was built by Bishop Alessandro Sperelli in the 17th century.

Follow the path down to Porta Sant’ Ubaldo (below), where the detour ends.

This itinerary assumes that you have returned from Sant’ Ubaldo on the cable car.  A bridge in the car park at the cable car station takes you inside the city walls.  Turn right, through Arco San Marziale and walk to the right of the church of San Marziale, along Via Appenino.  (Both the arch and the church are visited in Walk I).

The Stradone San Girolamo on the right  is signed to San Girolamo.

This lovely walk up the quiet asphalt road takes about 45 minutes one way.

Continue along Via Appenino, following the walls, to  Porta Sant’ Ubaldo.  Take a short detour by walking through it and taking the path on the left along the outside of the city walls for some 200 meters to see the remains of the Cassero.  This path (the last part of sentiero 251) leads along the medieval aqueduct to the Gola del Bottaccione (below): unfortunately, it was closed at the time of my visit in April 2014.

Return to and walk through Porta Sant’ Ubaldo.  Continue down Via Sant’ Ubaldo (passing the side and then the facade of the Duomo)  and turn right under the Voltone, along Via Cattedrale (as described in Walk I).   Walk through the entrance of Parco Ranghiasci-Brancaleoni on the right.  Turn right and follow the path through an opening in a tower that is all that remains of the monastery of San Luca.   The path winds down to its exit by a covered bridge across the Camignano.

Turn right on leaving the park and walk through  Porta Metauro

Pass through the gate and turn sharp right along Stradicciola Santa Croce.  Walk past the Ospedale dei Calzolari on the left .... 

to the church of Santa Croce della Foce.

A detour of about 1 km along the main road runs along the gorge of the Camignano

to the Gola del Bottaccione (see also the excursion towards the Eremo di Fonte Avellana).

Take the path along the right side of Santa Croce and then continue along the footpath beside the road.  The reservoir that channels water into the aqueduct is just after the Osteria del Bottaccione.

The alternative path from Porta Sant’ Ubaldo was closed at the time of my visit in April 2014.

Return to Porta Metauro and follow the exterior of the city walls (Via del Fosso).  Two ramps on the other side of the road lead to the school of Santa Illuminata.   You will be turning here, but first take a short detour by continuing around the city walls to Porta Castello

You are now in the unwalled Borgo Santa Lucia, which is named for the church of Santa Lucia at number 10 on the right.  The ex-nunnery here now houses an orphanage known as the "Casa Famiglia Santa Lucia".

Continue to the arch across the road: there is a Marian oratory under it ,on the righthand side of the road.  

Return to the double ramp and turn left up the first one (which involves turning through almost 180°).  The section of cyclopean walls ahead on the left may have protected the Augural Way of the Umbrian city of Ikuvina.   In 1920, the archaeologist Vittorio Pagliari (1846-1923) found the remains of a Paleolithic settlement nearby.

Take a short detour along the path to the right to visit the Eremo di Sant’ Ambrogio.  (Unfortunately, the hermitage was closed and the path to it barred at the time of my visit in April 2014).

Continue along this country road for about 1 km.  Forking left (downhill) at the first junction and ignore the next two roads to the right, both of which soon peter out.  Turn right along Via del Borghetto (which has a private stretch, although the residents do not seem to mind pedestrians) and continue to the junction with Via San Donato.  The church of San Donato alla Foce is at this junction, on the left.

Turn left along Via San Donato to the busy Via Tifernate and turn left to see the rear of the Chiesa della Madonna del Ponte.  Retrace your steps along Via Tifernate and follow it around a hairpin to the left and into Viale Leonardo da Vinci.  Ponte di San Donato, the bridge across [which river?] for which the church is named, is on the left.  Continue along Viale Leonardo da Vinci  and take the first left (Via Madonna del Ponte) to see its facade, which is under an arch.  Turn left on leaving the church, along Via Madonna del Ponte, and turn right at the end along Via Tifernate to return to the city centre.  

The Park Hotel ai Cappuccini on the left occupies the ex-Convento di San Nicolò dei Cappuccini

The important church of San Secondo is a little further along on the right.

Continue to the roundabout in the Largo della Pentapoli,  and the church of San Benedetto on the right.   Finds from a Roman necropolis here and from another in nearby Via Eraclito are exhibited in the Antiquarium.

You rejoin the city walls here as they curve around the impressive apse of San Domenico (visited in Walk I).  Follow them to the right as far as the next roundabout and then walk into the car park behind San Domenico.  Bear right to the part of the ex-convent to the right of the apse and take the pedestrian walkway near the steps. 

Turn right along Via Cavour, passing:

  1. Palazzo Pamphili on the right (whose interesting courtyard opens onto Piazza Bosone ahead); and

  2. Palazzo Toschi Mosca on the left, which now houses the Casa di Riposo Mosca.

Cross Piazza Bosone and continue along Via Cavour into Piazza 40 Martiri, where the walk ends.