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Report 472: Back to Uni to Learn Italian - A Month in Perugia

By Pamela R from Sydney, Australia, Fall 1998

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Page 6 of 31: Sunday 6th September - Gubbio

After the miserable weather of yesterday, we awoke to a beautiful day and were up at Piazza Fortebraccio again ready for a 9 o’clock start.

The road to Gubbio was rather mountainous with lots of twists and turns but the scenery was very lush and beautiful. We arrived there in just an hour and this time found our guide, Simona, waiting for us. She was charming and very knowledgeable and we all enjoyed her commentary. We began outside the walls at the Chiesa di San Francesco where we stood at the back listening to the quite moving service. It was a lovely church and we decided to return for a full visit later in the day.

We wandered through the lower town first, looking at the various palazzi, artisans’ houses, doors of death, etc., all described in fascinating detail. We saw the bridge specially built so that the Duke of Montefeltro could enter town and be transported directly into his palazzo without having to run the gauntlet of the locals who may have not necessarily admired him.

Then we started climbing up into the higher, walled part of the town and it was about here that our camera decided to stop functioning which was annoying, to say the least, as the day and the setting were just perfect for photography. We passed the Fontana dei Matti, so named because of a traditional belief that if you ran around it three times you would go mad, and then continued up Via dei Consoli, past the hotel where we’d stayed on our first visit.

Along with Debbie and Roland, and Pam and Gary, we had decided not to visit the Museo Civico (having seen it previously), instead choosing to relax with a coffee at one of the tables under umbrellas at the edge of the piazza – certainly a very civilised way to pass the time till the others emerged.

We needn’t have waited really, as that marked the end of Simona’s guide duties for the day. So we suggested taking the funicular to the top of Monte Ingino and Debbie and Roland accepted the challenge, rather tentatively on Debbie’s part, as she didn’t have a head for heights.

But first we walked down to Taverna del Lupo where they kindly gave us another Buon Ricordo book – we’d somehow come without ours – and then we headed to the stazione funiculare where we noticed Debbie’s anxiety beginning to surface. We jollied her along and after being helped into our ‘cages’ we were soon bobbing up the hillside via the cable. It was then that we looked down and saw Debbie in the following ‘cage’ crossing herself. At the top she emerged looking slightly shaken so we stopped at the bar for drinks and panini before tackling the remaining steep path to the church of Sant’Ubaldo, Gubbio’s patron saint.

It was so different from last time when it was cold and blowing a gale. Today the sun was shining and the church seemed much more cheerful, well lit and with beautiful floral arrangements – mainly huge gerberas in autumn colours. The huge wooden candles carried during Gubbio’s annual Corsa dei Ceri were there as before, but seemed much more impressive in the lighter interior. The corpse of Sant’Ubaldo was no less black and spooky than last time.

Returning by funicular to the foot of the mountain, we walked back down to Piazza Quaranta Martiri for a proper look at the church of San Francesco – it certainly had some beautiful frescoes in the nave. We four then repaired to the small outdoor café/bar beside the park and whiled away the remaining time till the coach left at 4 o’clock.

On returning and after a short rest, we walked to Corso Vannucci for a drink at Sandri followed by a bread and salami snack at home before retiring.

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