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Gubbio was a very ancient Umbrian settlement, testified by the famous EUGUBINE TABLETS: they are seven bronze sheets, now visible at the Civic Museum, discovered in the 15th century, written in Umbrian language using the Latin and the Etruscan alphabets, fundamental epigraphic document of the Umbrian civilization; dating to the end of the 2nd century BC, they report religious prescriptions, information about places and about the government system of the town.
Allied with the Romans in the beginning of the 3rd century BC, Gubbio in 90 BC became Municipium belonging to the Crustumina tribe; it was an important centre during the Empire, and was later destroyed by Totila.
Gubbio recovered and by the 11th century it had become an independent and important Commune, first Ghibellin, then Guelph.
In 1350 the town became a seigniory ruled by the Gabrielli, and after various events – rebellions, armed intervention by the Papal State, popular government – the town submitted itself to the Montefeltro's rule, enjoying a long period of peace and prosperity.
In 1508 the Montefeltro were succeeded by the Della Rovere and the last member of this family ceded the town to the Pope in 1624.
Later there was the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy.
Gubbio is surely one of the most picturesque and characteristic towns, not only in Umbria but in Italy, thanks to its nearly intact medieval aspect: set in the higher part of a plateau at the foot of Mount Ingino, it has a rather simple plan, that is five parallel streets running at different levels on the slopes of the hill and connected each other by alleys.
The buildings are mainly Romanesque in shape, with ogival arches inserted; typical of the town is the so-called door of the dead, a narrow pointed arch door placed above street level, which, according to tradition, was reserved for the passage of coffins.
Much more reliable the other interpretation explaining it as the main entrance to the house, placed above shops or warehouses: by retracting, in the evening, the wooden steeps, the house was more protected and safe even in the dark of the Middle Ages.