Length: Km. 64
Trip to Gubbio
It is a direct route from Villamena to Gubbio through Monte Serra and Casa Castalda.
You start your way in a typical Umbrian landscape, which has been kept as it was, because the area, not completely depopulated, has undergone a decrease in births and this has helped to avoid to build popular modern houses spoiling the beauty of the place. The second part of the route is along the Chiascio valley.
After leaving Villamena, turn left; when you are at the crossing, turn right into the communal road first asphalt then gravel, going up towards the ancient “balia” of Paradiso.
On your way you meet: St.Anna, the wood of Vaglie (keep right) and after about 4 km, in a place called St. Presto (restaurant), the road meets the S.S.444 asphalt road for Gualdo Tadino.
Go for a few hundreds meters on the S.S. (mind the sign) then turn left towards “Casa Castalda”.
Drive carefully because the asphalt road taking to Casa Castalda is narrow. (The landascape is gentle and green).
You go through the land which was the scenery of brigand “Cinicchio”‘s deeds.
Nazzareno Guglielmi was born in Assisi in 1830 and was called “Cinicchia” or better “Cinicchio” because he was very short.
He was arrested for suspicion of theft, he escaped from prison and there was a rumour that he was good notwithstanding he had killed his brother.
Cinicchio, who was a sly fellow, had success in his deeds because the Italian state was weak and mountain people were very poor and lived by their wits.
Many young people in order to help their families, were obliged to evade military service and to take to the bush not to be arrested by the Police.
Cinicchio was always looked as one who did justice to people and a dispenser of riches taken to the rich and given to the poor and in this he was supported by the police who made the mistake of ascribing him the responsability of many crimes (while he was absconding). For instance in 1863 he was charged with the murder of a captain of the guards murdered near Valfabbrica while it was found out that some people from the same town had slaughtered him at night fo personal reasons.
When you are at San Presto and you go on the small road for Casa Castalda, you’ll notice on the left the old castle of Porziano, a refuge of the brigand and where from he left for the last legendary attack to the builders “York” who had been ordered to build the railway Rome/Ancona by the Pope.
Cinicchio reached the pass of Rocca di Postignano and arrived in Valtopina where, together with a handful of ten fellows attacked the train and immobilized the garrison of lancers going towards Fossato di Vico, and seized the coffer with 200.000 francs which were to be used to pay the workers and the sleepers of the railway lines.
Then he disappeared and a document found among the papers of a printer proves he emigrated to Argentina, sailing from Civitavecchia; and lived in Buenos Aires where he died of old age.
When you are at Casa Castalda, turn right (S.S.318) for 4,5 km, then turn left into the four-lane highway and follow the sign “Gubbio”.
Gubbio appears to you with all its monuments, like in the stage of a theatre.
Dante writes “……the water flowing from the Hill…. of the blessed Ubaldo…” that is the river Chiascio that laps Gubbio, mount Igino which overhangs the valley and St.Ubaldo the patron Saint of the town.
Gubbio raises as an Umbrian town then dominated by the Romans. In 1444 a peasant gave to the Commune of Gubbio in exchange for a farm, the most extraordinary document found in the place: “Le tavole Eugubine”, seven written bronze plates: 5 in Umbrian and the others in Latin; from them they learnt that Gubbio consisted of two built-up areas: Fisia in the upper part fwith a temple for the observation of birds and Tota, lower, sorrounded by walls.
The town was attacked by Totila and often allied with Perugia in the Communal period.
Go up to “Palazzo Ducale”, go down to “Palazzo dei Consoli”, one of the most interesting civil building of the middle ages, go along Via dei Consoli looking at the numerous “porte del morto”: a door which, in medioeval houses, they used to take the coffin of the dead person out and then it was closed; others maintain it was a door which was built high from the ground for safety reasons; during the day there was a short step-ladder which was drawn back at night.
In the lower town there is the very well preserved Roman theatre.
Gubbio is the native town of Ottaviano Nelli, an important painter belonging to the school of Gubbio and representative of the “International Gothic” (St.Francis church)
In 1500 coming from lake Maggiore, arrived in Gubbio Giorgio Andreoli called “Mastro Giorgio” who invented the art of the ceramics of “reverberation” that is the reflection of gold, of pearl, of ruby in the colours of the plates and of the vases handed down to his sons who died without revealing the secret of it.
Recently the town has regained possession of a piece of work by Mastro Giorgio, bought on the international market and now in exhibition in a room in the “Palazzo dei Consoli”.
Francis passed through Gubbio: “at the time where Francis lived in “Agobbio”……a wolf appeared that not only devored animals …but also men….”Francis spoke and soothed the animal”…and then…..the wolf lived for two years in Agobbio and entered like a domestic animal the houses and two years later Friar Wolf died of old age…. “(Fioretti XXI).
If you get the funicolar on the right of the town it is possible to climb up to the top of Mount Igino and enjoy a marvellous view even as far as Assisi and its Rocca.
In the church there are the huge “Ceri”, every year on the 15th of May they are taken at full speed from the town to the top of the mountain.