Todi is a town and comune (municipality) of the province of Perugia (region of Umbria) in central Italy. It is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber, commanding distant views in every direction.
In the 1990s, Richard S. Levine, a professor of architecture at the University of Kentucky, chose Todi as the model sustainable city, because of its scale and its ability to reinvent itself over time. After that, the Italian press reported on Todi as the world's most livable city.
According to the legend, said to have been recorded around 1330 BC by a mythological Quirinus Colonus, Todi was built by Hercules, who here killed Cacus, and gave the city the name of Eclis.
Historical Todi was founded by the ancient Italic people of the Umbri, in the 8th-7th century BC, with the name of Tutere. The name means "border", being the city located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. It probably was still under the latter's influence when it was conquered by the Romans in 217 BC. According to Silius Italicus, it had a double line of walls that stopped Hannibal himself after his victory at the Trasimeno. In most Latin texts, the name of the town took the form Tuder.
Christianity spread to Todi very early, through the efforts of St. Terentianus. Bishop St. Fortunatus became the patron saint of the city for his heroic defense of it during the Gothic siege. In Lombard times, Todi was part of the Duchy of Spoleto.
After the 12th century the city started to expand again: the government was held first by consuls, and then by podestà and a people's captain, some of whom achieved wide fame. In 1244 the new quarters, housing mainly the new artisan classes, were enclosed in a new circle of walls. In 1290 the city had 40,000 inhabitants. Communal autonomy was lost in 1367 when the city was annexed to the Papal States: the local overlordship shifted among various families (the Tomacelli, the Malatesta, Braccio da Montone, Francesco Sforza and others). Although reduced to half of its former population, Todi lived a brief period of splendour under bishop Angelo Cesi, who rebuilt several edifices or added new ones, like the Cesia Fountain that still bears his name.
In July 1849 Todi received Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was fleeing after the failed democratic attempt of the Republic of Rome.
Todi is the birthplace of the Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi, who is buried in a special crypt in the church of S. Fortunato.
Almost all Todi's main medieval monuments — the co-cathedral church (Duomo), the Palazzo del Capitano, the Palazzo del Priore and the Palazzo del Popolo — front on the main square on the lower breast of the hill: the piazza is often used as a movie set. The whole landscape is sited over some huge ancient Roman cisterns, with more than 500 pits, which remained in use until 1925.
The Cathedral (11th century) is a Gothic edifice on the Lombard plan, said to be erected over an ancient Roman building, probably a temple dedicated to Apollo (here an ancient bronze statue of Mars , now at the Vatican Museum, was found). The current church was almost totally rebuilt after a fire in 1190. The main feature of the squarish façade is the central great rose-window, added in 1513. Of the same period is the wooden door of the portal, by Antonio Bencivenni from Mercatello, of which only the four upper panels remain today.
The church follows the plan of the Latin cross, with a nave and two aisles. Bonifacio VIII allegedly had a second aisle on one side, commonly known as "La navatina". The counter-façade is occupied by a giant fresco depicting the Universal Judgment by Ferraù Faenzone, called "Il Faenzone", a work commissioned by Cardinal Angelo Cesi, in which the influence, if nowhere near the genius, of Michelangelo is easily discerned. The choir includes the Gothic altar and a magnificent wooden choir-enclosure (1521) with two floors. One important work of art is the 13th century Crucifixion of the Umbrian school.
Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo ("People's Square") is a Lombard-Gothic construction already existing in 1213, and is one of the most ancient communal palaces in Italy. It comprises two great halls: the "Sala Grande Inferiore", or "Sala delle Pietre", and the "Sala Grande Superiore", housing the city's Art Gallery.
Palazzo del Capitano
The "Captain's Palace", in Italian Gothic style, was built around 1293 and named "New Communal Palace" to differentiate it from the former one. It is on two distinct levels: the first floor housed the Justice Hall (currently, seat of the Communal Council), with the Judges's offices in the lower. The latter is now occupied by the City Museum, with findings and remains of Todi's history. It includes a saddle used by Anita Garibaldi. Some rooms are frescoed with histories of the city and portraits of its most illustrious men.
Palazzo dei Priori
The Prior's Palace is located in the southern side of the Piazza, facing the Cathedral. It was begun in 1293 and later enlarged as seat of the podestà, priors and the Papal governors. The trapezoidal tower was originally lower, and had Guelph merlons. The façade includes a big bronze eagle by Giovanni di Giliaccio (1347).
Located at the left of the Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace was built in 1593 by Cardinal Angelo Cesi at his own expense. His crest is visible over the great portal, attributed to Vignola. The upper floors include a room frescoed by Ferraù Fenzoni and a gallery frescoed by Andrea Polinori in 1629.
The church of San Fortunato and the sparse ruins of a medieval fortress (Rocca) lie on the other crest of the hill on which the city is built. San Fortunato is a Palaeo-Christian temple (7th century) of which two lion sculptures on the entrance portal remain. In 1292 the construction of a new Gothic edifice was begun by the Franciscans, with a "hall" structure. Works, however, were halted during the plague of 1348. The lower part of the façade was finished in the second half of the 15th century. The nave and the two aisles have a portal each: these are enriched by fine decorations portraying saints and prophets, with briars representing Good (the vine) and Evil (the fig). The whole apse is occupied by a wooden choir finished in 1590 by Antonio Maffei, from Gubbio. The crypt houses a sepulchre containing the remains of St. Fortunatus of Todi and other saints, as well as the tomb of Jacopone da Todi. Another noteworthy artpiece is a Madonna and Child by Masolino da Panicale.
The domed Renaissance church of Santa Maria della Consolazione (begun in 1508), located on the flank of the city hill, just outside the walls, is often attributed, although without sufficient reason, to Bramante. It has a Greek cross plan: three apses are polygonal and that on the north side is semicircular. Architects who worked on it include Cola da Caprarola, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Baldassarre Peruzzi, Galeazzo Alessi, Michele Sanmicheli, Vignola and Ippolito Scalza. The church was inaugurated only in 1607. The apse is surmounted by a square terrace with 4 eagles at the corners, from which the dome rises. In the interior, the altar houses a miraculous image of the Madonna, which, according to the tradition, was discovered by a worker during the founding works. 12 niches in the first three apses house giant statues of the apostles. Also noteworthy is the wooden statue of Pope Martin I, a native of the Todi area.
Todi is surrounded by three more or less complete concentric walls: the outermost is medieval, the middle wall is Roman, and the innermost is recognizable as partly Etruscan. Sights include also a colossal Roman niched substructure of uncertain purpose (the Nicchioni), the slight ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, about a dozen smaller churches, and a few Renaissance or classical palazzi, among which the most important is one by Vignola, round out the sights. The neighbourhood of the city has many historical castles, fortresses and ancient churches including the famous Todi Castle in Umbria which was once used for the purpose of war has now been restored by the Santoro family and is used as a vacation spot for visitors.
A.S.D. Todi Calcio
Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Todi Calcio is an Italian association football club, based in the city.
Todi currently plays in Serie D group E.
Todi - Bella Umbria
San Fortunato Church
Bill Thayer's site
Official website of A.S.D. Todi Calcio