Gualdo Tadino's origins stretch back in time. Under the Romans it was a prefecture, colony and then municipium. In 217 BC it was first laid to waste by Hannibal, and then in 49 – 48 BC by Cesar during the civil war with Pompey who was allied with Gualdo Tadino. During the Barbarian invasions it was one of the few towns able to resist Totila, King of the Ostrogoths, who was defeated and killed here by Narses, leader of the Longobards.
In 996 AD the troops of Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, destroyed the town that was later rebuilt for the second time. By the middle of the 11th century it was known as Gualdo (from the German word "wald" meaning forest). The third reconstruction of the town, after a devastating fire in 1237, came about when the inhabitants were helped by Benedictine monks and Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Shortly after, various vicissitudes led to domination of the town by Perugia and then by the Papal States, until the Unification of Italy.
ART AND CULTURE
Gualdo Tadino has many prestigious monuments and collections. The Rocca Flea fortress stands out at the top of the hill and is a superb example of military architecture originally built in the 12th century, reconstructed by Frederick II in 1247 and recently restored. Inside is the Museo Civico, municipal museum, with an a fine polyptych by Alunno, sculptures, ancient ceramics and archaeological finds.
Some of the religious buildings worth a visit are the cathedral of San Benedetto (13th century) with a splendid Romanesque-Gothic facade decorated by Matteo da Gualdo, an illustrious artist from the town and painter of the Crucifixion and the Madonna with Child and St. Francis; and the church of Santa Maria dei Raccomandati (13th century) containing the Madonna with Child and Saints Sebastian and Rocco triptych by Matteo da Gualdo.
On the main square can be found the Palazzo Comunale, town hall, featuring a fine 18th century facade; the Palazzo del Podestà, of which only the tower, Torre Civica (12th century) remains, while the other buildings were added later. A lane next to the Town Hall leads to the church of Santa Maria di Tadino, the oldest church in the historical town-centre, now headquarters of the Ente Giochi de le Porte, the organising body of a historical re-enactment held in September, which is a characteristic challenge between the town quarters in full period dress.
Also worth a visit is the Museo Regionale dell'Emigrazione, the Regional Emigration Museum, that was designed as a place of remembrance to provide not only information but also a sense of wonder and pathos.
Hawthorn flowering and feast day of Beato Angelo (15 January)
Sacred Portrayal of Good Friday
May Day festival – in Fraz. S. Pellegrino (30 April)
La Notte del Fuoco e "Guazza di San Giovanni", historical re-enactment and bonfires – in Fraz. Grello (23 June)
Corsa della Botte, wine barrel race – in Loc. Rigali (6 June)
Giochi de le Porte, historical re-enactment (last week of September)