Today we want to write about a very famous town in Umbria, situated in the province of Perugia that was founded between the 8th and 7th centuries BC. A long time has passed since an eagle stole the tablecloth of the founding fathers and dropped on the hill where Todi was built, but its ancient beauty has reached our day. We will propose visiting three particularly beautiful places. It is then up to you to continue on this journey that is absolutely worth taking!
1) Piazza del Popolo.
The historian Gregorovius called it one of the most beautiful medieval squares of Italy. To cross it means to step back in time and find ourselves catapulted into the Todi from centuries ago.
The square is located in the highest point of the city and is overlooked by key buildings of power:
- The Palazzo del Popolo: it was built in 1213 in a lombard-gothic style and was the Town Hall.
- The Palazzo del Capitano: built in the 1293, it has a spectacular staircase and is connected to the first building, with which it houses the seat of the Civic Museum of Todi.
- The Palazzo dei Priori: this building was finished in 1347 and dominates the square with its trapezoidal tower, rivalling with the cathedral, situated on the opposite side. The building was restored in the 16th century and exhibits the eagle as the symbol of Todi on the highest part of its façade.
What makes this square truly unique is that it was built on top of ancient Roman baths, which have been perfectly preserved and can be still visited: they are he crown jewel of underground Todi.
2) Co-cathedral of the Santissima Annunziata.
This building is known as the Cathedral of the Annunziata and is the most important place in Todi. Its travertine steps dominate the Piazza del Popolo and are located opposite to the Palazzo dei Priori.
The current structure of the building has undergone restorations after the fire of 1290 and the earthquake of 1246. It is characterised by a wide, Romanesque façade (with three imposing doors) crowned with a splendid rose window.
The interior has three aisles full of noteworthy art pieces, amongst which the fresco on the counter-façade stands out. It is a work dating back to the late 16th century by Ferraù di Faenza and represents the Last Judgement. But there is more!
- Continuing towards the altar, you can admire rich Spanish tapestries (one representing the Holy Trinity) and a majestic painted crucifix from the 13th century, which dominates the apse.
- The crypt, dating back to the 12th century, retains three precious statues attributed to Giovanni Pisano and Rubeus (first located on the façade).
A fun fact: if you are able to visit the Cathedral of Todi at the right time, you will be flabbergasted by the light spectacle of the Sun coming through the rose window.
3) Santa Maria della Consolazione.
Just outside the city walls you can find a majestic, sui generis building, contrasting with the medieval architecture of Todi’s city centre.
We are talking about the famous “Tempio della Consolazione”, considered as one of the most relevant examples of Renaissance Italy.
The construction works begun in 1508 (according to a project by Bramante) and finished about a century later. The church has a central plan (Greek cross) and, at the centre of the arms, an imposing dome stands out.
It houses twelve plaster statues representing the twelve Apostles, located in wide recesses on the wall and the famous painting of the Virgin, with miraculous powers, according to legend. It is indeed told that a mason found her covered in dust and spider webs, under the remains of a small chapel in ruins. Hi cleaned her with his handkerchief, which he then used to wipe the sweat from his forehead, automatically healing from a severe eye injury.
Following this miracle, it was decided to build a church dedicated to the virgin, destination of many believers who, every year, on the 8th of September, remember this event with a peculiar ceremony concluding with a firework show.
We have proposed three places, now it’s up to you to continue exploring this small but impressive Umbrian jewel, which is said to be one of the “most liveable” cities in the world…