Gubbio, Italy: The Story of St. Francis & the Wolf plus the Incorrupt Body of Saint Ubaldo
The hill towns of Italy are known for their picturesque views of the country-side and their ancient fortresses. Too often people stay in the large cities and miss out on these unique towns, where the life-style is much more down to earth.
That is the case with the little-known hill town of Gubbio, where the widely-known story of St. Francis and the wolf originated!
Gubbio is rich in history and architecture and offers many fascinating sights including the incorrupt body of its patron saint, Bishop Ubaldo, on display in the Basilica of Saint Ubaldo high above the town! Ubaldo was elected as bishop of Gubbio in the year 1126 was known for his patience and gentleness. Following his death in 1160, many miracles were attributed to his intercession. He is celebrated in an annual procession on May 15th, the evening of his death, although his Feast Day is May 16.
You can take a cable car up to the base of the Basilica and then a series of stairs completes the trip.
A special event takes place on the eve of his feast day each year (May 15), the Corso dei Ceri, or “Running of the Candles”. Three “candles” (actually 30 foot-high wooden pillars) crowned with statues of saints are paraded around the town by “ceraiuoli” and then run up the streets of Gubbio to the Basilica of Saint Ubaldo.
Saint Ubaldo is patron saint of people with autism, sick children, obsessive compulsives, and the towns of Gubbio and Montovi, Italy
It is a beautiful medieval town with cobblestone streets, alleyways, buildings and lively local markets that make this town a delight to visit. Market day is on Tuesday, for a real Italian experience. There is also a beautifully preserved Roman amphitheater, second largest in the world, dating from the 1st century B.C.
Traveling to Gubbio:
Gubbio is a bit off the beaten track which makes it an ideal town to visit. No huge crowds of tourists, but plenty of local atmosphere.
It is north of Assisi: the nearest train station is about 20 miles away in Perugia, and from there bus service takes you in to town. There are several hotels here and it makes a peaceful stopover if you are traveling on your own. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.
Unfortunately, most groups do not stop here but you may find one that does, or if you have time to break away on your own we highly recommend it.
Address: via Sant Ubaldo, Gubbio PG, Italy
GPS coordinates: 43° 21′ 23.0436” N, 12° 35′ 4.9776” E
Tel: (+39) 075 927 3872
The Basilica does not have its own website, but click here for the town’s website that does give additional information.