Todi is a city rich in history, culture and architectural beauty. Follow me in this article and discover all the fantastic things to see in Todi in a day or more!
Todi is a charming medieval town located in Umbria, a region in central Italy known for its beauty, with charming villages, art cities, rural landscapes, sanctuaries, lakes, parks and archaeological sites. This area also boasts a favorable climate as well as food and wine rich in genuine flavors. So if you’re planning a weekend getaway or vacation in Umbria, Todi is a must-see.
This town, in the province of Perugia halfway between Spoleto and Orvieto, is surrounded by rolling hills and offers breathtaking views of the Tiber Valley. The village is known for its ancient charm; there is even a legend about its origin. Its history is fascinating, and what makes this place so famous is a combination of interesting elements.
It was founded by the Romans and owes its name to “Tutere”, an Etruscan deity, hence the name of the inhabitants of Todi: “Todeschi”. Here, in fact, you can admire traces of this past such as: Roman cisterns, Etruscan remains and medieval buildings, all immersed in a “slow” atmosphere that will make you feel out of time. Also, one of the most famous figures born in Todi is Jacopo de Benedetti, known as Frà Jacopone da Todi, a 13th-century friar and poet.
Todi has received the honor of being named the “most livable city in the world”, according to research by the University of Kentucky. A place so serene, so much so that the famous director and screenwriter Paolo Genovese, known for films such as “Perfect Strangers,” has his home here.
A curious aspect is Todi’s connection with cinema. Even the film “Men on the Sidewalk“, released in fall 2023, was shot entirely in Todi. In terms of seasons, Todi is splendid throughout the year. Each period offers its own particular charm, ranging from the golden hues of autumn to the vibrant green of spring. The choice depends on your personal taste.
I invite you to follow me on this exploration as we discover what to see in Todi in one day. You’ll get the most out of the town, even if you only have a day to spare.
What to see in Todi in one day
1. Piazza del Popolo
This square is the heart of Todi and is dominated by the majestic Palazzo del Capitano, which houses the Todi Town Hall, and the Palazzo del Popolo. Between these two buildings, you will find a lovely loggia known as “i Voltoni”. These palaces are also home to the Archaeological Museum and the Municipal Art Gallery, which hold an extraordinary collection of works of art and historical artifacts.
2. Palazzo dei Priori and Bishop’s Palace
The Palazzo dei Priori is another important historical building in Todi and is located in the heart of the city. This palace was built in the 13th century and is one of the oldest town halls in Italy. Inside, you can admire frescoes and works of art of great historical and artistic value.
The Bishop’s Palace, built in 1593, is a historic building that played an important role in local ecclesiastical administration. The bishop’s former private halls now house the diocesan library. Both of these buildings are historically and architecturally significant and well worth a visit.
3. Cathedral of Todi (Cathedral of the Santissima Annunziata)
The Cathedral of the Santissima Annunziata is commonly known as the Cathedral of Todi. This magnificent religious building is known for its Gothic structure and works of art. The construction of the cathedral dates back to the 12th century, and it is a remarkable example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The cathedral has undergone changes and additions over the centuries, but has retained much of its original appearance. Inside, you will find works by renowned artists, creating an atmosphere of spirituality and beauty.
4. The Gates of Todi
Todi is famous for its historic gates, each of which has its own history and unique features. Among the most notable are Porta Marzia, one of the oldest, Porta Perugina, Porta Romana, Porta della Catena, and Porta Amerina. Each gate is an entry point into the history and charm of Todi, and each is worth a visit to discover its special features.
5. Church of San Fortunato
The church is dedicated to St. Fortunato, the patron saint of Todi. Inside the church, you will find the tomb of Jacopone da Todi, an important historical figure connected to the town that I have already told you about. The church is a place of great religious and historical significance. One of the unique features of this church is the panoramic view it offers of the town of Todi and the surrounding countryside. You can climb to the bell tower to enjoy this spectacular landscape.
6. Municipal Theater
Todi’s Municipal Theater is another cultural gem in the town. This theater offers performances of various kinds, from music to dance and theater itself. It is a great place to immerse yourself in the local cultural scene and enjoy high-quality performances.
7. Lucrezie Monastery and Lapidary Museum
The Monastery of Lucrezie is a place of great historical and cultural interest in Todi. Founded in 1830, it takes its name from the Accademia delle Lucrezie, a literary and scientific society that was active in Todi in the 17th century. Inside, you’ll find the Museo Lapidario, which houses a collection of archaeological finds and ancient tombstones. This place is a dive into the history of Todi and Umbria.
8. Painted House of Todi
Todi’s Painted House is one of the city’s most unusual and unique attractions. This house is entirely decorated with frescoes and wall paintings, depicting scenes of daily life and decorative motifs. It is an extraordinary example of art and culture that offers a glimpse into the past.
9. Arch of the Monastery of St. Francis
This ancient arch is a significant architectural feature of Todi. It is located near the monastery of San Francesco and is a site of great historical interest. The arch represents a crossing point between the city’s religious and civil history.
10. Piazza del Montarone
This is an evocative place worth exploring, both for its beauty and for its special history. This square is known for a legend that surrounds it. In this place, in 1428, Matteuccia da Todi, an expert connoisseur of medicinal herbs, was burned alive. She thus became the first woman in Europe to be condemned to the stake because she was accused of witchcraft.
11. Church of the Santissima Nunziatina
This 18th-century neoclassical church is dedicated to the Santissima Nunziatina and is another place of worship of great historical and religious importance. The building can boast of remarkable architecture and works of art inside, making a visit to this church a spiritual and cultural experience.
12. Garibaldi Square
Piazza Garibaldi is another of Todi’s charming squares. You can stroll around and immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of this Umbrian town. The square could host local events and parties, offering a unique opportunity to interact with the local community.
13. Piazza del Mercato Vecchio with the Roman Nicchioni
Piazza del Mercato Vecchio is a place that draws on Todi’s Roman history. Here you can admire the “Nicchioni”, ancient stone structures dating back to Roman times, which have important historical value. This is a fascinating place that combines Roman history with a lively market atmosphere.
14. Church of San Silvestro
This Church is a place of historical and religious interest that reflects Romanesque architecture and sacred art of the medieval period. The first known portrait of Jacopone da Todi is displayed here. In addition, the church houses nativity scenes, with a permanent exhibit that allows visitors to immerse themselves in Christmas art and tradition.
15. Porta Aurea and Church of San Giuseppe
Porta Aurea is one of Todi’s historic gates, and is particularly known for the famous “hundred stairs” that wind through the historic center toward Porta Libera. These stairways offer breathtaking panoramic views of the city. The Church of San Giuseppe enriches this area with its architecture.
16. Temple of Santa Maria della Consolazione
The Temple of Santa Maria della Consolazione is an outstanding example of Renaissance architecture. This church features a central Greek-cross plan and a lavish facade. The interior houses valuable works of art and is richly decorated. Its architecture and beauty make it one of Todi’s main attractions.
What to do in Todi?
This town offers a variety of unique activities and experiences for visitors. Here is a complete list of things to do in Todi:
- Todi Underground: explore the secrets of the underground city, a labyrinth of tunnels and hidden chambers that tell the story of the town. Definitely among the most unique and fascinating things to see from Todi in a day.
- Walk in Todi’s Rocca Park: enjoy a walk in the Parco della Rocca, where you can admire nature and enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.
- Beverly Pepper Park: this park is home to a series of art installations created by American artist Beverly Pepper. It is a great place to admire outdoor art and soak in the beauty of nature.
- Discover the City’s Art Treasures: visit Todi’s many historic sites, churches, museums and art galleries to discover its artistic and cultural heritage. An essential stop if you fully wish to visit Todi is the Etruscan Museum, which offers a fascinating overview of this ancient civilization. You can discover artifacts and artifacts from the region.
- Fountains of Todi: Admire the town’s fountains, including the famous Scannabecco Fountain and the fountains of Sant’Arcangelo. These architectural elements are an integral part of this town’s beauty.
- Photograph iconic places: capture the beauty of Todi with your camera! From historic squares to scenic views, there are many opportunities to take unforgettable photos.
- Savor Local Cuisine: enjoy Umbria and Todi cuisine in typical trattorias and eateries. Try traditional dishes and authentic flavors of the region.
- Street Food: If you want a quick snack, explore local street food to savor local specialties.
- Shopping in the Center: store the streets of downtown Todi, where you can find stores offering unique handicrafts and souvenirs.
- Local Craft Traditions: discover the traditions of local crafts. Todi is famous for typical products such as ceramics and textile art, which you may wish to purchase as souvenirs. Don’t forget the ceramics of Deruta, an ancient craft since Etruscan times. More recent is the processing of cashmere, another symbol of Made in Italy.
- Sports Activities: participate in a variety of sporting activities, such as e-bike tours, walks in city parks or walking tours of the city to learn about its history. If you don’t know what to do in Todi in a day, the city lends itself to being able to practice outdoor sports: horseback riding, archery, hiking, climbing and others.
- Excursion to the Tiber River Park: if you want an adventure, plan an excursion to the Tiber River Park, a nature reserve overlooking the Tiber River.
- Visit Nearby Towns: Todi is strategic for visiting other charming towns nearby, such as Spoleto, Orvieto, Perugia, Montefalco and others. These towns offer additional artistic and cultural treasures to explore. On your trip, don’t forget to visit the Teatro Concordia. The world’s smallest theater, located in Monte Castello di Vibio, a town about 15 kilometres from Todi.
Local food and wine
Todi’s food and wine is a true treasure trove of genuine, traditional Umbrian flavors. This city offers a wide range of culinary and cultural experiences for visitors, from gastronomic traditions to artistic events, that will enrich your visit and fully immerse you in the atmosphere of this fascinating city. Here are some of Todi’s most famous dishes and local specialties:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Umbria is famous for its high-quality olive oil, and Todi is no exception. Extra virgin olive oil is delicious and often used in local cuisine.
- Wines such as Grechetto di Todi: The Umbrian region is famous for producing fine wines, including Grechetto di Todi, an aromatic white wine that pairs perfectly with local dishes.
- Torta al Testo: This focaccia is an Umbrian specialty, often stuffed with ham, cheese or vegetables. It is a popular street food in Todi.
- Pan Caciato: a traditional bread from Umbria, often accompanied by local cheeses.
- Palomba alla Ghiotta: this pigeon meat dish is a treat for lovers of traditional Umbrian cuisine.
- Pasticcio di Jacopone: a puff pastry roll with pork or veal, ricotta cheese and vegetables, dedicated to the famous friar Jacopone da Todi.
- Truffles: Umbria is famous for truffles, which you can enjoy in various dishes and tastings.
The city offers a variety of cultural and recreational experiences for residents and visitors. Here are some suggestions on top events if you don’t know what to see in Todi:
- Todi Festival: a cultural festival that presents performances, concerts and a variety of art events throughout the summer.
- Todi Arte Festival: a festival dedicated to contemporary art with exhibitions, installations and performance art. Emerging and established artists perform in various locations around the city, making Todi a cultural center during the event.
- Feast of St. Fortunatus: a religious festival dedicated to the patron saint of Todi, with processions and celebrations in honor of St. Fortunatus.
- Todi Antiquaria: this antiques fair attracts collectors and enthusiasts from all over Italy. It is held in the historic streets of Todi and offers a wide selection of vintage objects, antique furniture and more.
- Truffle Festival: an event dedicated to truffles, with tastings and special dishes.
• Local Food Tasting: many wine bars and restaurants organize tastings of local specialties, including wines, olive oil and cheeses.
- Gran Premio Mongolfieristico: is an annual competition involving hot air balloons from different parts of the world. They gather here in Todi to participate in hot air balloon races and shows in the sky.
- Festival of San Fortunato: This religious celebration is dedicated to San Fortunato, the patron saint of Todi. The town comes alive with processions, concerts, fireworks and other religious and cultural events.
- Todi in Musica: A festival that brings classical music to the heart of Todi. Famous artists perform in historic locations, creating a unique experience for music lovers.
- Todi Fiorita: a colorful summer event that transforms the town into a sea of flowers. Gardens and squares are decorated with flowers and plants, creating an enchanting atmosphere.
How to get to and visit Todi
To get to Todi and get around the surrounding area, you can choose from several transportation options. Here is a brief introduction on how to get to Todi:
- By Air: The closest airport to Todi is Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi International Airport (Aeroporto Internazionale dell’Umbria), which is about 40 kilometers from Todi. You can reach the airport via domestic and international flights. From here you can rent a car or take a cab to reach the city.
- By Train: The nearest train station to Todi is Todi Ponte Rio Station. However, many people prefer to use the Orvieto Train Station, which is well connected to major Italian cities. From Orvieto, you can take a local train or bus to Todi.
- By Bus: Todi can be reached by bus from many Italian cities. Buses arrive at the Todi Bus Station, which is well connected to the city center.
- Getting around Todi: Once in Todi, the historic center is easily explored on foot. However, if you wish to visit surrounding areas or nearby towns, you might consider renting a car, as this will give you more flexibility. There are also cab services available in town. In addition, some tourist activities, such as bicycle tours, are organized to allow you to explore the surrounding area in a fun way.
Now that you know all the best things to do in Todi, explore these amazing places! You will have the opportunity to discover the deep beauty and charm of this town, travel to Umbria with Italia Delight! 😎
Cover photo: pixabay, Manne1409
Featured photo: pixabay, Angeloni95