Palazzo Ducale, Gubbio

Gubbio (Iguvium) was a very ancient settlement of the Umbrians. It is certainly one of the most characteristic and picturesque cities not only of Umbria but of Italy, thanks to its largely untouched mediaeval structure. Situated at the foot of Monte Ingino, the streets lead up dramatically to the wonderful suspended Piazza Grande, where you see the façade of the Palazzo dei Consoli. Above that, is the Palazzo Ducale which was constructed for Federico da Montefeltro in 1476-1480. Federico (Gubbio 1422- Ferrara 1482), Lord of Urbino, was not only a military strategist, but also an intellectual and politician. The palace was modelled on the larger one he owned in Urbino, and his wood-panelled study in Gubbio can now be seen in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The courtyard, built of sandstone and red brick, is a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture, and is noted for its fine acoustics. The Palazzo Ducale now belongs to the State, and is used for temporary exhibitions and concerts. Underneath the structure lie five centuries of archaeological excavations that are open to the public. To complete the scene, there are suspended Italian gardens on the lower floor from which you can admire a panorama of the ancient city.