Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Umbria and the neighborhood, November 2015

Twelve days in Gubbio and day trips roundabout


You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Scenes of Gubbio in Umbria, III: the antiques market

The Squirrel is not yet feeling comfortable in her unfamiliar new surroundings.

It's Sunday antiques market day, 15 November 2015, on the Via della Repubblica.

And around the Woolweavers' Loggia on the Piazza of the 40 Martyrs

Lovely Dotto Muson River 1894 (the Muson River is a creek that runs outside the Dotto factory in Castelfranco outside of Venice)

The Palazzo dei Consoli, almost in the fog, and the church of Santa Maria dei Laici in the right foreground

Products of the terroir

The monument to the war dead, with a distinctly 1930s look to the heroic pose

Antiques and fog

Kristin negotiating
(The Poste-Telegrafi labeling can be misleading, because, as it turns out, the Post Office not near here.)

The foggy view up the hill

Fancy a badminton racquet? A pair of mismatched rollerblades?

The façade of the Chiesa di San Francesco, begun not long after the death of His Saintship in 1226 and already in use by 1256

A nave with two aisles, with octagonal columns. The story goes that the church was built next to the home of a local family who helped Francis out when he was down on his luck after renouncing his rich father's worldly way of life and ample fortune.

The seventeen frescoes on the life of the Virgin Mary along the left wall were done by a "leading light of the Gubbian school", Ottaviano Nelli, in about 1410, fortunately preserved after the interior was reconstructed in the 18th century and then revealed during restorations of the original form of the apse in the 1930s.

An altar for St Charles Borromeo

There's a nun named Franceschina interred there under the altar.

Francis and his friend the Wolf

The Palazzo dei Consoli, and the Basilica of St Ubaldo at the top of the hill

The unprepossessing church of Santa Maria dei Laici, named for the layman's association of affluent merchants who created the Confraternita di Santa Maria del Mercato in 1313 and built this church in 1325, with the attached hospital to follow soon afterward.

The interior was entirely remodeled and reopened in 2010, and with a lot of the original art there is, at least for the moment, an exhibition of contemporary work.

Early frescoes beneath the present floor

Big heavy crowns: a Madonna who's tired of having to keep telling the Child to wave to the crowd

The mighty River Camignano runs down behind the Loggia dei Tiratori. See?

The Via Piccardi

The little Via Battilana looking towards the Piazza San Giovanni

The classic shot

The locanda of the Duke. The treasures of the Duke. That would be the super-famous condottiero or soldier-for-hire and Renaissance luminary the Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro, born in Gubbio in 1422, about whom more later.

The Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista is next on our tourist agenda. This exterior photo was taken a few days later, when the antiques tables had been packed up and carted off. The Piazza San Giovanni is documented as having been here at least from the 1100s.

The Gothic façade and Romanesque bell tower date from the 1200s -- this, by the way, is the parish church of Don Matteo in his RAI television series. The site was probably also that of the original long-lost cathedral of the earliest days.

This peculiar type of ceiling is called "wagon vaulting" (for some reason) and seems to have begun here and been imitated elsewhere in Gubbio, most notably in the Duomo or cathedral up the hill. The squared-off apse is a little abrupt.

That's presumably St John, since after all it's his church, pointing upwards instead of at the Baby Jesus.

Kristin with a candle photo for a friend who's been taken very ill.

Austere altar and apse

Very very old baptismal font

Back to the antiques market

A permanent antiques market

The Piazza Bosone, near the northwestern city wall

The game of Simon Says, with some players who can't seem to get the rules down straight

Outside the walls, the Roman theatre from the 1st century AD, said to be one of the largest in the Roman world, originally seating as many as 6,000 spectators

It's presently used for events, including a summer drama festival.

A statue of Saint Ubaldo, in the carpark at the back of the Dominican church -- rather a demonic looking chap and quite unlike the welcoming and kindly saint figured in countless other statues and pictures around town; understandably there seems to have been a fair amount of controversy about it in 2006.

In the Piazza Giordano Bruno at the northern end of the centro storico, in front of the church of San Domenico. Bruno was a famous Dominican friar and free-thinking philosopher and humanist, burnt by the Inquisition in the Campo de' Fiori in Rome in 1600; he seems also to have been an English spy in the household of the French ambassador in London in the mid-1580s (J. Bossy, Giordano Bruno and the embassy affair, 1991 [John Bossy, RIP, 2015]).

The recently restored interior of the San Domenico church. On the site of an 11th century church dedicated to the popular St Martin of Tours, the present building was granted to the Dominican order in the 13th century and expanded in the 14th and 15th. The interior was significantly altered in the 18th century, unfortunately, but many of the original frescoes in the side chapels were preserved.

Not entirely to our taste, unfortunately

But this thing is, a beautiful intarsia lectern, made from inlaid bits of wood in a style of marquetry that was especially popular in 14th and 15th century Italy. (The Duke of Urbino's got it all over his palaces.)

The cycling team has finished its huge pasta lunch and is setting out on the rest of its route. (We had one dinner in the Trattoria Dal Geghi there, very nice.)

Below the Piazza del Bargello

Just beneath the arches of the Piazza Grande on the left, this is the "Casa di Sant'Ubaldo", the palace of the medieval Accoromboni family, reputed by tradition to have once been the home of St Ubaldo, Bishop of Gubbio and patron saint of the city, who's now interred in his own Basilica at the top of the mountain.

Saint Ubaldo's house is presently owned by the University of Perugia and used for a programme of cultural events.

On the Corso Garibaldi, the main shopping street running southward from the town centre, something's up.

What's up is a 400-metre 'animation for kids' of chocolate truffle crescia, and we'll find out what that is at 16h00 today.

Back up the hill, passing the 17th century Chiesa di San Francesco della Pace, built on the spot where the wolf befriended by St Francis spent the rest of its days, in benevolent harmony with the townspeople roundabout.

The Dotto train pulling out of the Piazza Grande, right on time

The lady driver speaks perfect English and is very proud of her new tourist train.

Time for a brief restorative siesta


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 19 December 2015.


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