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Monday 18 December 2017
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Gubbio

The Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo and the Ceri Race


Via Sant'Ubaldo runs steeply uphill from the small square opposite the duomo, up the slopes of Monte Ingino to the basilica of Sant'Ubaldo at 827 metres above sea level.

Affresco di Sant'Ubaldo
In 1194 the bishop Ubaldo was buried in the ancient Pieve di San Gervasio. Between 1514 and 1525, by order of the countesses Elisabetta and Eleonora della Rovere, the basilica that exists today was erected with its five naves. Since then the church has been dedicated to St Ubaldo, whose uncorrupted body lies on the high altar in a richly decorated gilt bronze and glass urn. For most of the year the right hand nave contains the Ceri, that appear on the coat of arms of the region of Umbria and which are borne here on the shoulders of the city's young men in a crazy race from Piazza della Signoria. The Ceri are three carved wood contraptions shaped like superimposed octagonal prisms and mounted on a platform that is equipped with long poles. The three Ceri are each surmounted by a different statue. The first is St Ubaldo (patron of the masons corporation). The second is St George (patron of the traders and artistans corporation). The third is St Anthony (patron of the farmers corporation).

La Corsa dei Ceri
Every citizen of Gubbio, whether they live here or not, is involved in this unique event, which is also a popular attraction for thousands of visitors from all over Italy. Considerable skill and strenght are necessary to carry the Ceri, which each weigh around 400 kg and are particularly liable to topple over on account of their height. The race runs through a series of narrow, curvy Medieval streets up a 300 metre high slope. Frequent changes are necessary along the way to substitute tired Ceri bearers with fresh strength.
In early June the event is repeated by younger Ceri bearers in the so-called Festa dei Ceri Piccoli.
The basilica of Sant'Ubaldo can be reached also by car, as well as by walking along the steep route taken during the Ceri race. From Porta Metauro take the road in the direction of Scheggia. Alternatively there is the funivia lift that leaves from Porta Romana.

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