Todi offers the traveller a splendid array of art, culture, events and festivals across the region. This, together with the unique Umbrian cuisine offered through a large variety of local ingredients prepared in small trattorie and restaurants, and the celebrated wines, provides many great opportunities for a broad range of interests and activities.
Thanks to its geographic positions in the middle of Umbria, Todi provides the ideal starting point to reach all the interesting features and typical localities within Umbria, in a short time.
The town of Todi rises up above a hill, more than 400 metres high, in the middle the Tiber Valley. Legend recounts that intense activities for the construction of the town had already begun on the shores of the river. One day, while the men were getting ready to eat their lunch, an eagle landed in their midst and carried off the tablecloth between its claws, transporting it to the highest peak of the hill. The inhabitants of the valley thought that it was a mark of destiny and so built the town of Todi on top of the hill instead. The origin of the name seems to be uncertain, but many believe it originated from the Etruscan name "Tutere" that means boundary. Todi, in fact, from its lofty position, dominated the valley of the Tiber and bordered the ancient territory of the Etruscans.
Todi was conquered by the Etruscans between the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C. and it is in this period that the large circular wall that contains the town was first built. In the 1st century B.C. Todi became a municipality of Rome and remains of the Roman settlement can be seen in such things as the impressive Roman cisterns situated under the central Piazza del Popolo. During the Middle Ages the town took on all the typical aspects of a castle stronghold, ruled by powerful local fuedual lords. In 760 Desiderio, King of the Lombards, and Pope Paul I agreed on the boundaries of the territory of Todi, especially on the side of the Duchy of Spoleto. For more than a thousand years the town of Todi expanded and prospered as a free Comune.
In 1236 the town saw the birth of one of its most eminent citizens, the Franciscan poet, Jacopone. He was an important legal advocate for 32 years, but after a particularly difficult episode that touched his inner being, he converted and devoted himself to the rigours of a poor monastic existence. Of Jacopone’s literary work, above all is remembered the laudi in which he expresses a great sense of separation between the human condition and the figure of God.
From the beginning of the 14th century there began a period of slow but continuous decline for the town of Todi. However, thanks to the intervention of Bishop Angelo Cesi in the early Renaissance, the city turned its fortunes around and once more began to bloom. In fact, under Cesi’s leadership, there began an important and intense period of activity in city planning and architectural construction that saw the building of the Fontana della Rua/Cesia, the Chiesa del Crocifisso and the Tempio della Consolazione, completed after his death.
At the beginning of the 90’s, the University of Kentucky, based on a series of qualitative factors, elected Todi the “Ideal City”, a place in which nature and man, history and tradition combined to a point of world-wide excellence. Todi was unexpectedly chosen as the most livable city in the world.