Città di Castello has a long history starting with the first settlement of the Umbrians (neighbours of the Estruscans). The town was then an important Roman municipium under the name of Tifernum Tiberinum, was destroyed by Totila’s Goths and re-built by the bishop Florido (saint protector of the town), it was conquered by the Longobards that named it Castrum Felicitatis, was then under the Frankish dominion and later on it was included in the Papal State.
In 1100 the town organised itself in a medieval commune under the name of Civitas Castelli and nothwithstanding the claims for hegemony of the Emperor, of the Papal State, of the florentine Signoria and of the town of Perugia, it had a long and intense period of prosperity.
In the last part of that period, the history of the town was marked by a fight among the most important families that ended after alternating ongoings with the supremacy of the Vitelli family, supported by the florentine Signoria, that marked noticeably the town’s economical development and political importance. This family generated many remarkable personalities of the time standing out as army leaders and patrons that collected in Città di Castello some famous architects and artists, such as Luca Signorelli and Raphael, to embellish the town with squares, palaces, frescos and so on, many of them still intact.
After that the town was a part of the Cisalpine Republic for a short period and then it went back under the Papal State till its annexion to the Italian State.
Thanks to its history Città di Castello can show remarkably valuable monuments such as: the Town Tower (that had a twin tower now destroyed at a short distance; both of them works of Angelo from Orvieto), the Palace of the Priors (also a work by Angelo from Orvieto), The Cannoniera Vitelli Palace (one of the 5 palaces of the Vitelli family and now seat of the Town Museum), the Sant’Egidio Vitelli Palace (with a big park to be restored), the Albizzini Palace (seat of the Alberto Burri Museum), the Cathedral with its majestic round bell tower, Saint Francis’ Church (dating from 1300 and in which Raphael painted the Marriage of the Virgin now in Milan at Brera Museum), the park of Montesca (including a splendid villa situated in a centuries-old wood with rare botanical species once property of the barons Franchetti) and much more. The town has several museums such as the Centre of Popular Traditions at the Villa Cappelletti, the Palazzo Albizzini Foundation, where a great part of painter Alberto Burri’s works are collected (Alberto Burri was born and lived here for a part of his life), the Town Museum (with works by Luca Signorelli and Raphael), the Cathedral’s Museum, a Railroad Model Museum, the Umbrian Textile Manufacturing Collection ”Tela Umbra”, a Graphic Arts’ Museum, a Museum of Tobacco and so on.
It is possible to take part to many events during the period May/October: the chamber music Festival of Nations, with concerts taking place in the nicest churches (end August), the Saint Bartholemew Fair (23-24-25 August), the National Antiquarian Book and Print Fair (end August – beg September), the National Horse Show (mid September), the Permanent Handcrafted Furniture Show (at Centro Valtiberino), the Days of Historical Handcraft (end August) and so on.
There are many sport complex that you can visit during your stay: riding places, golf camps, thermal centres, swimming pools, a canoa club (that produced two world champions) and so on.
Some pictures of the town:
Thanks to its favourable position it is possible to reach in few hours the most important towns in central Italy and to organize daily excursions of great historical, cultural, gastronomic and landscape interest.
|Rome, Bologna||2 hours and 30 m’|
|Florence||1 hour and 30 m’|
|Arezzo, Urbino, Todi||1 hour|
|Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio||40 m’|
|Adriatic Sea (Fano)||1 hour and 30 m’|
|Lake Trasimeno (Castiglione del Lago)||1 hour|
|Mount Nerone and Furlo Pass||1 hour|