Last week I wrote about the charming, medieval town of Gubbio – located in Italy’s Umbria region.
If you’re there on a clear day (as we were), you don’t want to miss out on spectacular views over the medieval tile rooftops from the peak of Mount Ingino – a small peak of the Apennine mountains overlooking the town.
The hiking path is easy and it’s well worth the trip just to see the church dedicated to Gubbio’s patron saint – Sant Ubaldo. Sant Ubaldo was a 12th centry bishop, whose remains are housed in then Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo.
The Basilica and adjoining convent were built in the early 1500s, and they ca be reached by a gentle hike up Mount Ingino on an easy path that offers beautiful views over the town.
In the basilica, the traditional ceri are stored year-long and come out only on 15 May – to celebrate the Saint’s name day. I definitely need to get back on that day, because the Corsa dei ceri is held – a tradition dating back to medieval times.
Each of the three ceri weighs 300 kg, In ancient times, each guild was responsible for racing with one of the wooden containers topped with a saint statue. The saints are associated with each tradesman’s guild ( Sant Ubaldo for the masons, Saint George for the merchants, and Saint Anthony for the peasants).
The ceri are brought down to the Palazzo dei Consoli, where the three teams – dressed in traditional gold, blue and black clothes that indicate their guilds/teams – hoist up the ceri and race through Gubbio’s medieval streets with them, making their way to the Mount Ingino path we climbed (at a slower pace, and without a 300 kg burden) to be the first to reach the Basilica of Sant Ubaldo.
It must be a spectacular event to watch, and I will get back to do so one year.
After we admired the basilica, we continued the hike to the top of the mountain. There are gorgeous views from the top, with all of the green mountains of the Apennines surrounding Gubbio.
When we came back down with the last afternoon rays of light, we also had the nice surprise of watching “Italy’s biggest Christmas tree” (or, as they claim, “The world’s biggest Christmas tree”) light up. The tree is created with lights hung from trees the length of Monte Ingino (along the path we hiked), and it is visible from the town and then surrounding countryside.
The illuminated tree is 650 meters tall, with a huge star at the top (we hiked under it when we reached the top), It’s comprised of 300 green lights and 250 multi-colored lights – and it must be quite a task to set up each year, but it is stunning.
Enjoy your hike up Gubbio’s Monte Ingino.