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Todi – one of Umbria’s most mesmerising medieval towns

  • Todi – one of Umbria’s most mesmerising medieval towns

    East of Orvieto is hilltop Todi, a bewitching medieval town with one of Italy’s dreamiest squares. Despite its Etruscan and Roman origins, Todi feels like a medieval fairy-tale. The town transcends its quiet charms, from labyrinthine alleyways to the set-piece main square of Piazza del Popolo. The lovely view from Piazza Garibaldi is enhanced by scents from the gardens below. Piazza del Popolo, seat of the civic and religious powers, is represented by the Gothic Palazzo dei Priori, today’s town hall, with its crenellations, battlements and mullioned windows. The grand staircase leads to a Museo-Pinacoteca but the frescoed main salon mostly overshadows the art.

    On the same square stands the medieval Duomo, which rests on the site of a Roman Temple to Apollo. The three-tiered façade and bold rose window reveal a dusky interior, fine choir and stained-glass windows. The Gothic bell-tower, built 100 years later, strays from the fine Romanesque style.

    A brisk walk around the hill leads to the church of San Fortunato and more views. In keeping with Umbrian tradition, it is a large vaulted church, a variant on simpler, low-pitched Tuscan “barn” churches. Given its charm, Todi has become the haunt of history of art buffs and a smugly knowing expat set.

    Address: Todi Tourist Office: Piazza del Popolo 38–39, 06059 Todi
    Web: www.umbriatourism.it

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