Todi, Umbria, Italy, walking tour

Todi, Umbria, Italy, walking tour

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The hill towns of Italy are magnificent places  to explore, and in this program we are taking a   deep dive into one of the finest of all of them.  It's called Todi in Umbria. We'll be focusing on   the little pedestrian lanes and the piazzas, lined  with historic buildings. We will see monumental   arches in the old, fortified walls and some modern  shops. We'll have a look at the main Piazza Del  

Popolo in the daytime and at night, and take a  walk along the main shopping street that extends   out from the piazza. But mostly we are strolling  through those charming little pedestrian lanes.    The town of Todi is another one of the medieval  gems of Umbria. It's very ancient town,   origins go back 3000 years. It was first  settled by the local folks, the Umbri,   built a wall around it, and then the Romans  conquered and built their wall around it,   2000 years ago, and then during the  medieval times in the Middle Ages,   the third wall was built around Todi. So it was  very well protected and incredibly preserved.  

All of the buildings within these medieval  walls are original stone structures,   most of them are at least seven or 800 years old.  So it's really like walking through a castle,   like a huge, fortified castle. It's almost  like a Walt Disney fairytale come to life.    In fact, there's been quite a few movies  that have been shot on the main piazza   and around the various alleys of Todi. But  it's a thriving, local, prosperous town,   lots of young and old, the piazza in the evening  is just filled with people socializing and that   Italian-style passeggiata. The map shows the  entire old town, which is rather compact. It's   just one kilometer from north to south, but  look at all those white spaces that represent   the piazza and the tiny little side lanes that  we will be exploring. You could spend many days   wandering through this little town. We'll explore  the central main piazza with adjacent alleys,  

and we'll walk you to the north end of town, and  also show you the south end trying not to get too   lost, as we follow these narrow, winding, twisty  little lanes, going up and down the hills. Get   ready for a medieval adventure. The central Piazza  Del Popolo will always be the main focus of your   visit, a good home base, with its attractive cafes  and strategic location. You'll come back here  

many times as you wander north and south, and east  and west. It just takes fifteen minutes to reach   the edge of town from here in every direction.   It has been the center of town for 2000 years,   ever since the Romans established their forum  here. Just below the piazza we enter the main   shopping street of town Corso Cavour. Let's have  a look at the upper blocks of Corso Cavour, which   is the main cluster of shops in the town. They  don't have a department store or a shopping mall,   but here along this retail strip of Corso Cavour  you'll find a nice variety of goods – there's   clothing, there's food, jewelry, gift shops, shoe  stores. It's especially nice in the evening when  

the shops stay open until 8 PM. And it's probably  about as far as most tourists ever get when they   visit the main piazza a block away. They'll come  down here, but unfortunately they miss out on   everything else that we're going to show you in  today's program. There is so much more to see.    Let's begin our walking tour. A lane on the right  side of the Duomo will lead you into the northern  

part of town. We will return to the piazza  later and bring you inside the Duomo,   and show you this plaza at night, but for now we  are heading north. Looking up at the steep side   wall of the Duomo from this narrow lane almost  makes it look like you've entered a canyon,   as we continue along via Del Duomo. Our route is  taking us north with some little side trips in the   little back lanes. Continuing on via Borgo, then  reaching the Perugino gate at the end of town.    Via Del Duomo is the main street of this  neighborhood - rather straight and nicely paved,   an easy downhill stroll, with intriguing  little side lanes branching off that   beckon some investigation. Sometimes it's  just a residential courtyard leading into the   private homes, and you'll see dozens of short  arches that are connecting the buildings together   and stabilizing them from earthquakes. These large  stones are part of the first city wall constructed  

in the third century BC by the Etruscans,  which are some of the oldest remains in Todi.    We'll see remnants of the later two walls  coming up soon, but first a little look down   some side lanes. It's via Della Maleretta. It  goes right next to the Duomo, as via Del Duomo,   and then it keeps going down and down, and changes  names a few times. There's some cross streets.   And it is worth exploring. Let's go see what's  down at the end of this road. While walking along,   your eye is going to be attracted to these  little side lanes on both sides. Sometimes   it's a courtyard, other times it's an alley with  an arch, such as Vicolo dei Bovalini - translates   loosely as cow path. There are some surprisingly  tall buildings here, a reminder that way back as  

far as the Middle Ages, they lived in multi-story  apartment buildings. Secondo Cerchio delle Mura.    This arch is part of the second wall that  goes around the town, which would've been the   Roman wall. The earliest wall is the Etruscan  wall, in the center of town. Then the next biggest   one out was the Roman, and then finally, the third  wall in the larger version was the medieval wall.    We'll get to that outer wall in a few minutes, but  first we've got a walk there. This gateway marks   the boundary of the ancient Roman city, and it's  also the point at which this road changes names   from Prassede to Borgo. Todi became a Roman  colony and a municipium the first century BC,   and experienced the typical Roman development,  with fragmentary remains found throughout town.   

And it's a busy street. Cars come driving  right through the ancient arch. (Car noise)    There are many arches through  the various walls of this town,   and many arches on the little lanes. It's really  a beautiful collection of old stone architecture.    While there are nearly a dozen of  these monumental arches still standing,   we know from historical records there are many  others that have disappeared, yet it's amazing how   many of the old buildings of town are preserved,  and fully utilized as contemporary housing. The  

view from that main lane is somewhat constricted  by the buildings around it, but step off into   the side lanes and you can look out across the  lower town, and across the fields in the lower   Tiber River Valley, with productive farms and  rolling hills in the distance. Return, over to   via Borgo and continue walking north. And then if  you walk all the way down the hill you get to the   final series of arches that are in the outer  wall. Porta Perugina was built in the middle of   the thirteenth century as part of the medieval  wall around the town. It has an elaborately  

fortified multi-arch structure. And because there  are not very many exits from this walled city,   it's a fairly busy roadway, and spectacular  from the outside. They built this larger   medieval wall because the population of the town  kept increasing, and today the wall extends for   four kilometers all the way around the town. From  here you connect into the Umbrian road system.   There's also a bus stop with a fairly extensive  local bus routing available for you. There's  

something very special about the beautiful scenery  all around Todi - it's just a sublime rhythm of   low hills and lush vegetation, especially colorful  in the late afternoon golden light. Heading back   inside the city walls, you'll notice more of the  residential cluster. It's like the small town is   divided up into even smaller villages. To reach  the slightly out-of-the-way places, and experience   something beyond the usual tourist sites,  it's helpful to spend a night or two in Todi.    It's easy walking downhill, but then you gotta  turn around and hike back up. It's about 1/2 a  

mile and fairly steep, but worth it to see  the entire extent of these medieval walls.    From here will walk back up to the main piazza,  retracing our steps. It's not far. You can   get there in ten minutes- not difficult, and  proceed from there, and to our next adventure.    It's inevitable that you'll be returning to the  central Piazza Del Popolo numerous times during   your visit. It's a lively place with people out  walking and magnificent architecture all around.  

The Cathedral and three major public buildings  form a perfect outline of one of the most   beautiful piazzas in the country. But if you  come quite early in the morning you can have   the whole piazza to yourself, along with some  workers, who are keeping it clean. It's really   quiet at this time of day. Another nice thing  about spending a night in Todi, get up early   and appreciate the grand architecture of this  beautiful plaza. Piazza Del Popolo has several   important historic buildings, including Palazzo  Del Capitano, which houses the municipal offices   and a museum, and the Palazzo Del Popolo, where  the governing people's commune used to gather.   A large external stone staircase joins these two  palaces together. Palazzo dei Priori stands at  

the southern end, which houses the courthouse  and more city offices. It's 800 years old.   The rectangular tower was added in 1367. The  Cathedral is a bit older than that, constructed   from the 12th-century and what's called the  Lombard style, similar to the Romanesque.   In later centuries it was frequently renovated and  altered, with the facade completed in the early   1500s. The nave is flanked by two wide aisles with  rows of Corinthian columns and graceful arches,   with a stained glass rose window  from the early sixteenth century,   and a frescoed last judgment similar to  Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. You're always   welcome to come and pray or perhaps even attend  mass if the service is on during your visit.   

In the evening the piazza is even more beautiful  than during the daytime, especially at twilight,   that magic hour. And you might be lucky enough to  catch a beautiful sunset just around the corner   at Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the famous  vistas and lookout points of the city. Down below   are the Fountains of Scannabecco, built  in 1241, with four water basins used as   a sink for the ancient housewives, as well as a  source of drinking water for people and horses.   

Time for the Italians to enjoy their  passeggiata, that social stroll that   ends the day when there is still blue sky,  lights come on and it's time for dinner.    Todi is not a big city but it has many fine  restaurants, all within easy walking distance   of the main piazza, serving excellent food, of  course, and the prices are always reasonable.    You'll find that most of the restaurants in  town are quite casual with the rustic style   and some very old interiors. And very often  the restaurant calls itself a pizzeria,   but they generally have a full-service menu with  fresh pastas and fish, salads and all kinds of   delicious dishes, and pizza. Or maybe just grab  a quick bite, perhaps a sandwich at a standup   café. From the piazza we're walking south through  more little lanes. We'll climb the belltower of  

San Fortunato Church for an overview. We'll have a  stroll in the park and then walk up along the main   shopping street on our way back to the Piazza.   Exiting the southwest corner of the main piazza   soon brings us to Piazza Jacapone, which leads  on into the little lane of via Lorenzo Leoni,   that will take us deeper into the heart of  southern Todi. There are a few cars that   will squeeze through on what seems to be a  pedestrian lane, but after all, there have   to be deliveries made and people live along  the street and need to be able to drive home.    Some of the side lanes, however, are strictly for  pedestrians. This lady walking downhill in her   stilettos finds that it's not even a street - it  becomes a staircase, the via Della Misericordia.   

It's fun to take these little detours while you're  walking along on the main lane. You see the side   street going down, a staircase going up, you  don't know what's around the bend, so go ahead   and go down, check it out, have a look. Walk  back up the seen little via Della Misericordia,   picking up where we left off on the via Lorenzo  Leoni. Shoppers beware: there are no stores on   this lane, but is it still makes a fascinating  walk through this residential neighborhood,   marveling at how cars and trucks can  squeeze between these old stone buildings.   

It's a busy intersection leading off in  three different directions, including heading   towards the church of San Fortunato where we are  heading next, to climb the tower for the view.    Construction began in 1292, and yet they never  quite finished the upper part of the facade.   The central portal leads directly into the nave.   Elegant rib columns support the Gothic vaulting   with thirteen side chapels, some decorated in the  Baroque style. All of that is nice, but we have   really come to climb the steps up to the tower  for the viewpoint, and you will see that it's   quite a hike. You don't want to run up, but we're  speeding things along for you so it doesn't take   all day to reach the top. Actually it's a pretty  easy climb, just take your time. You'll find  

it's worth the effort. It is a grand view of the  main part of town with the Duomo in the distance   and the green hills beyond. The Renaissance  church of Santa Maria della Consolazione,   located next to town on the southwest side,  was designed in the style of Bramante.    Porta Amerina is one of the original surviving  gates of the outer wall on the south edge of town,   with more clay tile roofs and old buildings around  it. Next we're going to take a walk along via Roma   and some related side streets. But first we'll  have a quick look behind the church at the   Parco della Rocca. From here you get some lovely  views, and there are many little paths and stairs  

and green lawns that you can enjoy here, scattered  throughout the park, but we're just taking a quick   look and walking downhill from here back into the  urban part of town, down a two-way staircase.    Nice view looking back up at San  Fortunato's bell tower that we just climbed,   which now leads us down to Porta Aurea,  a gate through the second or Roman wall,   which leads us into the medieval hilltop  quarter along via San Maria in Cammuccia.    It's another narrow residential lane with  no shops, but marvelous old buildings with   many houses and apartments clustered in tightly.  Have a look at some of the courtyards and hidden   staircases as you walk along. We are definitely  into the far back lanes, well off the beaten track   of most tourist itineraries, but now we've  gotten back to the main shopping street.   

This is a busy little intersection with a few cars  going by, and pedestrians and are dog waiting for   his master here. It's called via Roma, but it  changes names a few times as we will soon see   while following it along, and were also going to  dive into couple of the side streets right here.    Vicolo san Silvestro looks promising. Sometimes  you have no idea what's down the alley,   but one thing leads to another, and maybe you'll  get lucky and find some new interesting sites,   such as these very old tall buildings,   showing different layers of elaborate stonework  on the edge of town, with a bench to rest on.   

Returning now to the lower portion of our  main street. Here it's called via Matteotti,   mostly residential down there. But as we turn  and walk uphill, we find another splendid gate,   Porta Catena, in the second ring of walls. The  eagle is holding a tablecloth in its claws, which   symbolizes the founding of Todi by the ancient  Umbri tribe, way back in prehistory, because he   snatched the cloth from people in the valley  below and flew up here and dropped it, which   they took as an omen of a place to build a city.   I dropped into a friendly restoration workshop  

to have a quick look at what was going on. Old  towns have great need for restoration studios.    At this arch the road changes names from via Roma  to Corso Cavour. This gateway is Porta Marzia,   one of the oldest in the city tucked away on  the inner ring of the walls, dating to the   Etruscan period, but rebuilt in the seventeenth  century. We're almost done with our visit, but   there are two more little neighborhoods to have  a quick look at on both sides of the main piazza,   starting to the east along via San Lorenzo.  Typical of all of Todi this too is a residential   neighborhood with quiet little lanes, even though  we're just blocks from the busy center of town.   

With people living in close proximity, it's  quite easy for the parents to walk their   kids to the local elementary school, and for  others, it's a nice place to walk your dog. It   is that kind of small-town atmosphere were anybody  seems to know each other, and even the dogs know   each other. (Dog barks) As they play around with a  frisky greeting. Little dog encounters always give   neighbors a chance to stop for a friendly chat.   Around the corner I found an amazing place to eat,   Ristorante Umbria, serving traditional Umbrian  local wines, soups, game, pasta with aromatic   herbs, vegetable fries, truffles and porcini  mushrooms. Chef Fausto Todini was among the   first Umbrians to receive a Michelin star back  in the 70s. While the dining rooms are beautiful,  

the terrace in the back provides probably  the finest outdoor place to eat in Todi,   transforming this into a destination restaurant  that people flock to from many miles away.    And our final neighborhood of the visit is  just to the west side of Piazza Del Popolo.   The lanes step down and up, they become  staircases. Many don't have labels. It's almost   like entering the Bermuda triangle where you are  sure to get lost, but it's a very small area. And   it's a residential neighborhood. Typical of the  Italian hill towns, the homes are packed in very  

tightly together in an efficient use of space.   The Archbishop lives here too, since we are right   next to the Cathedral. You're free to walk around  in these narrow lanes, and when I went down the   staircase to this courtyard, I found a little  surprise. It looked like some kind of a well.   And yes, there was water in this cistern. Looking  around at the stonework and up at the arch, you  

can't help you get the feeling this is an ancient  neighborhood. It must be many centuries old.    Then you'll arrive at a terrace where the space  opens up dramatically with this grand view   looking out across the countryside. The Convent  of Montesanto dates back to the year 1235,   built as a monastery for nuns. It later became  a fortress during the medieval wars and then  

converted once again back into a convent  for nuns, which it remains to this day. It's   sometimes possible to stay here for a few nights  on a spiritual retreat. When you turn around and   look at the views from this terrace in another  direction, you see the backsides of the old stone   houses of Todi nestled along the hillside, their  wood fireplaces blowing picturesque smoke out the   chimneys. We get these views from the terrace  of another monastery, which has been converted   into a museum, with a beautifully painted interior  and artifacts from the ancient days of sculpture   and ceramics, displayed in the former church  of the convent now called the Lapidary Museum.    It's got one of the most ancient collections  in Umbria and displays the long history of the   town from the Roman age, to the Renaissance, and  up to modern times. The museum is located just a   block away from the Duomo and the Piazza  Del Popolo, so it's easy to get here.   

You'll enjoy the best views of the sweeping  grandeur of this hillside town from the Oberdon   garden. It's a terrace with a great lookout,  and it's also the place where you can catch the   funicular that goes down to the public parking  lot, where you can get your car and drive away,   completing your visit to this amazing town.   This service is called the ascensore, or funivia,   and it's completely free. It operates from seven  in the morning until midnight, which makes it very   easy to park your car down below in this large  parking area, because tourists are not supposed to   drive their cars inside the old town. I'd like to  end with some practical information about how to   get to Todi. You can drive by car, that would be  the easiest way if you rented a car. You could get   here from Rome in about an hour and 1/2. If you  don't have a car and use public transportation,  

you might find that the best way to get here is by  bus, which connects from many of the main cities   of Umbria, and the bus will deliver you very close  to the old town, very short walk. If you're coming   by train, it's a little challenging, but it  can be done. The station's about three miles   outside of town and so you'll need to connect  into town with a local bus or a taxi. And the   train line is not part of the regional Italian  train system. On this train map of Umbria, the   red lines show the regional railroad routes. The  train to Todi is on a private Umbrian train line.  

It's not part of the main Italian rail system.  So you can connect into this train line, in   one of several major cities such as Perugia,  or in Terni. That's another place where   the Italian train line and the local Umbrian train  line connect. That completes this tour of Todi,   but we do have another movie about this beautiful  town, showing many more sights that we did not get   to in this video, so be sure to look for it in  our collection. We frequently upload new movies   so please subscribe to our channel and click  that little alarm bell so you'll be notified.   And if you enjoyed the movie, how about a thumbs  up, and we always welcome comments down below. Or  

if you have questions about the destination, make  note and we'll answer them. Thanks for watching

2021-02-09 13:23

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