No one knows for certain how long the valley from Umbertide to Perugia has been protected by the watchtower called Gudiolo. Some of the stones indicate that it has been standing since at least the 13th Century, a hundred years before Lucrezia Borgia is said to have ordered the construction of another tower across the valley. Throughout the turbulent centuries that followed, Gudiolo must have given shelter over time to all manner of refugees, exiles, and wanderers; and although Gudiolo was already in ruins by the time World War II arrived in the valley, the people from the hamlet of San Giovanni del Pantano used the woods behind it to hide when German soldiers occupied their homes.
Many years ago, we asked the locals the origin of the word "Gudiolo." Some told us that it might come from "godere," the Italian verb for "to enjoy." That was good enough for us; we never asked again, applying the Italian maxim of "Se non è vero è ben trovato.