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yuliangpang Todi - A travel report by yuliang
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Todi,  Italy - flag Italy
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yuliangpang's travel reports

Todi- The Town of Eagle

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Todi is a walled and hilltop town in the heartland region of Italy, Umbria. It is becoming a favored trendy retreat for foreign expats, but it is still less popular and less well-known than two neighboring towns, Orvieto and Spoleto.

The town of Eagle
The town of Eagle
I visited Todi just two weeks ago, but I almost forgot what it looked like. I had to resort to some particular things to remind myself of the experience there, one thing came to mind: eagle. Right, that was the things that I saw the most, which easily became my most immediate connection with Todi. But I had to find out why eagle is almost at every corner of the town, I got a clue from Wikipedia's documentation about Todi, eagle is the municipal coat of arms of Todi.

Todi is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of Tiber. It is a strategic location to command the distant views in all direction, and has a stunning panaroma if you approach it from the motorway E45. But it does take some efforts to get to the center of the Todi, even by car. Todi is built along a triangular hill, therefore you may approach it from three gates, Porta Perugina (North), Porta Romana(East), Porta Amerina or Porta Orvietana( West). It is a little difficult to get there if you do not have your own transport, because there is no direct train to get here, you need to take a private owned train, Ferrovia Centrale Umbra (FCU), from Perugia to get there. And then you need to change the bus to get the center of the town.

I arrived at Todi a little bit earlier, 8 clock in the morning. When I got off the car, I was frozen. It was so cold that I had to get back to car to have some food and water to make sure I have enough energy before I can really afford to walk around. My trip started at Porta Perugia, I took a picture of the gate, which proved to be smart thing to do. Because when I got back, I was lost and even did not know which gate I parked my car, so I showed the local people the picture I took, they recognized easily it was porta Perugia.

Todi was extremely quiet in the morning, and had quite fresh air especially after rain. But I loved the narrow small stone or brick street, winding throughout the town. Nobody disturbed you, you might fully enjoy your journey.

Favourite spots:
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo
You may easily get to the heart of the town, Piazza del Popolo where all the main sights are revolving around. The more I was travelling around in Italy, the more I found that the main squares in many towns had the common name, People's Square. But in China, many cities give the same name to their main squares. I am wondering People's Square may be quite normal around the world, if we make a survey to find the most commonly used name of the main squares.

The Church was quite impressive, it was sitting in the north of the square, but inside it was quite dark and also not allowed to take any pictures. There was a middle-aged woman who stared my every movement to make sure that I did not do anything against the no-picture rule. It was a little bit frustrating, but I understood that. There were two things quite special to me inside of the church. One was the counter-facade giant fresco depicting the Universal Judgement by Ferrau Faenzone. Unfortunately It was doing maintenance. [continue]

What's really great:
Rose Window, out of hand the maladroit Westerner?
Rose Window, out of hand the maladroit Westerner?
The other interesting thing inside the church is striking carved choir. It had a Gothic altar and a magnificent wooden choir-enclosure. It gave the church a home feeling. The soft candle light was shining on the rows of benches, a woman sitting in front was praying. But the rose window of the church was my favorite part in Todi. I was born to believe that complicated hand work, such as embroidry, is the priviledge of orientals. You can imagine how stunned I was when I saw the rose window. It was so delicate that I could not believe it was out of the hands of maladroit westerners.

Palazzo dei Priori was just opposite to the church. It had a trapezoidal tower, but the more special thing was a bronze eagle hanging on the wall. It was made by Giovanni di Giliaccio (Actually I did not know anything about him, just put here for your reference) in 1347. This was the first time that eagle catching my attention.


Fonte Scannabecco
Fonte Scannabecco
Palazzo dei Popolo and Palazzo del Capitano stand at the east side of Piazza dei Priori. There was a turist office there. The Palazzo del Popolo claims to be one of the most ancient communal palaces in Italy. It comprises two great halls: the "Sala Grande Inferiore", or "Sala delle Pietre", and the "Sala Grande Superiore", housing the city's Art Gallery. Palazzo del Capitano is namely the new communal palace.

Walking along the main street Corso Cavour a little bit further south, you may come to a fountain, Fonte Cesia. You will find the image of eagle again here. There were still water running. On the east of Fonte Cesia, was Piazza del Mercato Vecchio (Old Market), you may find Nicchioni Romani, it was just four big and slightly overgrown arches left. But now it remains to be a mystery and nobody knows what purposes they are building for.

There was a nice place nearby called Fonte Scannabecco, it had 8 arches and used to serve as the town's lifeblood social meeting place. [continue

Via G. Mattotti
Via G. Mattotti
Fonte Scannabecco used to serving as the lifeblood of the town and social meeting place until the advent of piped water. But now there is no water running and therefore it become an abandoned place.

Walking a little bit further and then acrossing Porta Catena, you will arrive Via G. Mattotti, at the very end of which would be Porta Romana, there are several nice places around, Chieasa di San Filippo, Chiesa di San Nicolo de Criptis and Roman Amphitheater. You will arrive at the foot of the hill, and looking back you will find the stunning view of the bell tower of Palazzo dei Priori. It is also an ideal place to have a look at the walls of Todi. Todi has three sets of walls, marking Todi's Umbrian, Roman and medieval history.

At the foot of Porta Romana you will face two choices, one is walking along the wall, you will find several gates, Porta Nuova, Porta S. Stefano, porta Amerina, and then you may come to another main sight, Tempio di S. Maria della Consolazione. [continue]

the other option is walking back along Via G. Matteotti and then turning left at Porta Catena. I chose this way. It would not be an easy one, particularly from Porta Aurea to Porta Libera. You would find lovely olive groves here, but the steepy stairs consume huge energy to arrive Tempio di San Fortunato.

Both my travelling book Rough Guide and wikipedia have documented the importance of Tempio di San Fortunato to Todi, but for me it seems not quite impressive to me, just made some quick shots there and left.

Walking a little further, you will come to the corner of Parco della Rocca. There are two lions left, the place is called il Mastio, I did not know what does mean, but I guess it is a remains of a temple. nothing interesting.

Parco della Rocca
Parco della Rocca
Parco della Rocca is a nice place to hang around, because I saw many local people running around, or walking their dogs here. Via della Rocca from Tempio di San Fortunato to Il Mastio was an very nice road to me.

From here there is a road down to Tempio di S. Maria della Consolazione, called viale della Serpentina. According to my poor italian, it may mean road of snake. It does not mean there are many snakes around, but depicting the road winding through the forests is really like a snake. At the end of the road stands Tempio di San Maria della Consolazione, another major image for Todi's tourist promotion. three apses are polygonal and that on the north side is semicircular. The church was begun in 1507, but inaugurated only in 1607. The apse is surmounted by a square terrace with 4 eagles at the corners, from which the dome rises. The church has a stunning view outside, but inside is quite boring.

Eagle, Municipal coat of arms of Todi
Eagle, Municipal coat of arms of Todi
I just copied some information from my travel book for your reference. The best-known restaurant is the Umbria, prices are quite high(25 Europ and up for a full meal), but the panorama from the terrace makes it all worthwhile. Cheaper alternatives include Cavour at Corso Cavour 21, Piazzeria Giubilei Italo in Piazza B. d'Alviano.

Other recommendations:
Tempio di S. Maria della Consolazione
Tempio di S. Maria della Consolazione
Just be mindful of your route. The center is at the top of the hill, while Tempio di S. Maria della Consolazione is at it foot. If you park your car somewhere in the town, but you finish your trip at Tempio di S. Maria della Consolazione, you would have no energy to get back to the top of the hill. Do not worry there is bus service availble, but it is better you start your journey with Tempio di San Maria della COnsolazione first, and then park your park at the centre, you may leave directly from there after finish your whole trip in Todi.

Published on Friday November 28th, 2008

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Sun, Dec 07 2008 - 11:06 AM rating by rangutan

I am so pleased to read so much on Italy, we had so little before you joined us. Thanks, grazie!

Mon, Dec 01 2008 - 02:14 PM rating by jorgesanchez

every new of your rreports is better than the previous ones

Sat, Nov 29 2008 - 09:15 AM rating by davidx

Very good report. I had Todi in mind for a couple of nights next time I am in Umbria and you have confirmed that intention.

Sat, Nov 29 2008 - 02:45 AM rating by bineba

Digital cameras do come in handy!
Vey nice report.

Fri, Nov 28 2008 - 07:40 AM rating by marianne

A very interesting secret spot.

Fri, Nov 28 2008 - 06:44 AM rating by pesu

Yulinang, thanks for sharing this report and the pics about a not very well-known town in Italy.

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