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A collage of soft-stone houses, palazzi and belfries pasted to a hillside, Todi looks freshly minted for a fairy tale. Wandering its steeply climbing backstreets is like playing a game of medieval snakes and ladders. The pace of life inches along, keeping time with the wildflowers and vines that seasonally bloom and ripen in the valley below.
Like rings around a tree, Todi’s history can be read in layers: the interior walls show Todi’s Etruscan and even Umbrian influence, the middle walls are an enduring example of Roman know-how, and the ‘new’ medieval walls boast of Todi’s economic stability and prominence during the Middle Ages.
Just try to walk through the Piazza del Popolo without feeling compelled to sit on the medieval building steps and write a postcard home. The 13th-century Palazzo del Capitano links to the Palazzo del Popolo to create what is now the Museo Civico e Pinacoteca Comunale. The cathedral , at the northwestern end of the square, has a magnificent rose window.
The postcard home you’ve just written most likely features Todi’s famed church, the late-Renaissance masterpiece Chiesa di Santa Maria della Consolazione. Inside, architecture fans can admire its geometrically perfect Greek cross design, and outside, its soaring cupola-topped dome.