Although most of Gubbio, in northern Umbria, is of medieval construction, the first buildings that welcome visitors to the town are Roman. In addition to the well-preserved first-century arcades of a Roman theatre, there is also a mausoleum, a monumental tomb of which the burial chamber has survived.

Roman theatre remains, Gubbio

The town is built on a steep hill, meaning that buildings are on several different levels. On the bottom level can be found Gubbio’s finest church, San Francesco, construction of which began in the mid-1200s.

Church of San Francesco, Gubbio

In the left apse of the church is a fresco cycle by Ottaviano Nelli, born in Gubbio in 1375, with ‘Scenes from the Life of Mary’, painted in the, then fashionable, International Gothic style.

Ottaviano Nelli ‘Stories from the Life of Mary’ (c.1408 – 13)

Ottaviano Nelli ‘Birth of Mary’ (c.1408 – 13)

Ottaviano Nelli ‘Birth of Jesus’ (c.1408 – 13)

The right apse is split into two parts, the lower part being a chapel with frescoes from the early-fourteenth century. They are attributed to the Maestro Espressionista di Santa Chiara and depict, on the ceiling, Christ and the four Evangelists, although Matthew has been lost, and on the walls, the figures of six saints.

Maestro Espressionista di Santa Chiara ‘Christ with Evangelists and Saints’ (early-14th century)

On one of the upper levels of the town is the impressive Palazzo dei Consoli, begun in 1332, which overlooks Piazza Grande with its amazing views over the town and the surrounding countryside. The building, which is in the Gothic style, now houses the Museo Civico. The Sala dell’Arengo, which occupies the entire first floor, was used for popular assemblies in the fourteenth century.

Palazzo dei Consoli, Gubbio

On the town’s highest level can be found the impressive duomo, dedicated to Saints Mariano and Giacomo. It was first founded in 1229 and built on the site of a previous Romanesque church. The interior has frescoes from the sixteenth century, mainly by local artists.

Gubbio Cathedral (facade)

Gubbio Cathedral (interior)

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