06024 Gubbio, Province of Perugia, Italy
Mysterious GubbioGubbio is said to be a perfect medieval city, but I found that it had an oddly shadowy vibe. Umbrians joke that people in Gubbio are crazy, that the isolation of its location has created a hothouse for kookiness (you can even get a certificate of being pazzo). It was here that Saint Francis once helped the people rid themselves of a troublesome wolf. Long before that, the Romans settled here, built a theater that still stands, and reoriented the town to its present unusual dimensions in defiance of ancient sites of worship. And Gubbio is also the site of the oldest surviving texts in ancient Umbrian. Pretty colorful, but there is something more, if you are quiet, you can hear the walls whsipering. Maybe it's the curious double doors, one for people to enter, another (smaller, higher) for reasons that are in dispute, though most believe it's for carrying out the dead. Whatever it is, there's an energy in Gubbio that is even more compelling than the beautiful piazza and palace. Plus, there is a birdcage like funnicular to take you up the hill, sure to get your heart pumping if the shadows don't first.