Built on the lower slopes of Mount Ingino, the fascinating hilltop town of Gubbio is contender for the title of "Italy's most perfect medieval town". In ancient times, Gubbio was one of the Umbrian people's most important towns due in part to its strategic position, which made it easy to defend. After the Roman conquest in the 2nd century BC, the town remained important; this is indicated by the size of its Roman theatre, the second-largest surviving in the world.
Gubbio continued to prosper throughout the Middle Ages, and this was only enhanced further in 1444, when the town's unique treasure was discovered. The seven bronze plaques known as the Eugubine Tablets date from about the 2nd century BC, and are written in the ancient Umbrian language. They rank amongst Italy's most important sacred texts - giving important information about religion in the ancient Gubbian community. Their discovery resulted in an influx of pilgrims and wealth arriving in the town. Much of the compact, historic heart of the city dates from about that time; here the terracotta-tiled houses are built almost on top of each other at angles on the steep, narrow streets.
In later years Gubbio generally declined in importance, and it was acquired by the Papal States in 1631. It was later incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy in the late 19th century, and by this time its immense appeal as a beautifully preserved town was just being discovered. Ever since that time, Gubbio has enjoyed welcoming many visitors from all over the world.