Travel and Culture in Umbria
Todi has got legendary origins, which inspired its inhabitants when they carried out the town’s insignia, in 1200. In fact these insignia represent an eagle which is keeping a cloth in its talons and the open wings of two eaglets, which refer to Amelia and Terni, strongly bound to the town.
The first settlement was created by the Umbrian populations between the 8th and the 7th century B.C. and it was called Tutere, that means boundary town between the Etruscan and the Umbrian territory, as it is confirmed by Plinio in his Naturalis Historia.
Later, in the 4th century B.C., the town was conquered by the Romans and after the Republican period it achieved the status of municipium. After the Romans and the barbarian period Todi extended and in the 12th century the communal territory extended to the South as far as Alviano castle, to the North as far as Piano dell’Ammeto near Marsciano, to the East as far as Mounts Martani’s top and to the West as far as the Gole del Forello, above the Tevere.
In 1230 Jacopone da Todi was born in Todi. He was an illustrious figure who dedicated his life to poetry and who heavily criticized pope Boniface VIII and his corrupted court.
In 1244 the town’s walls had been supported, so today it is still possible to admire them in all their strength.The village’s decline arrived with the loss of its autonomy in favour of the Papal State, in 1367, when the population decreased considerably because of the plagues that troubled Italy beginning from 1348 until 1527.
Thanks to the Bishop Angelo Cesi, Todi lived its full splendour from 1566 to 1606 and was beautified by the palaces that characterize the town’s structure still today. With the reform of the Roman States, in 1809, Todi became the chief town of a wide neighbourhood, which included Amelia, Orvieto, Acquapendente, Ficulle and Marsciano. During the Restoration and then later, until the unity of Italy, many inhabitants of Todi entered some secret societies as the Giovine Italia and the Carboneria and in 1849 they greeted Giuseppe Garibaldi and his wife Anita, who were escaping from the Papal and the Austrian troops. On that occasion a cypress was planted in the today’s Garibaldi Square, which still waves its top in their honour. After Garibaldi’s passing until the Third Independence War, many inhabitants of Todi wore the Redshirts and fought for the unity of Italy.