Cagli boasts very ancient origins: under the Byzantine dominion it was one of the strongholds of the inland Pentapolis; under the Roman Empire, the old Cale played a key-role because it grew along one of the most important highroads (as it can be seen from the many finds kept in the Archaeological Museum and from the still existing artifacts, such as the Mallio Bridge).
Over the following centuries, Cagli became one of the most productive and artistic trading hot spots in the whole Region: telling signs are the many Churches (rich in extraordinary works of art), the magnificent and sumptuous buildings, the Fortress and the Tower designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, the Municipal Theatre and the unparalleled beauty of its town centre.
Vittorio Sgarbi once said: «Cagli is a beautiful Town, with big palaces hiding unforeseen beauties». And Cagli is indeed a Town of love in the Romantic Itinerary. Here, in 1826, the great love story of Lucia Ugolinucci and doctor Vincenzo Piccinini took place and today it is possible to visit all the spots where this story was consummated.

On 22 January, in the year 1826, a young doctor called Vincenzo Piccinini enters Cagli riding on his horse through the Arch of Massara Gate. He has grudgingly agreed to be an interim doctor in the town of Cagli. In fact, he yearns to work in Rome. But soon after his arrival in Cagli, the beauty of that town, its narrow alleys, its churches and in particular its Renaissance Tower which is seen as a true emblem of the place, impress him to such an extent that he perceives a sort of spell in the air without yet grasping its matrix.

Some months have passed since his first entrance into Cagli and Vincenzo has already earned a good reputation.
On 22 October he is summoned at Ugolinucci Palace to examine the noble Lord Nicola Ugolinucci, rich owner of the Palace. The doomed encounter between Vincenzo and Lucia, who is the noble Ugolinucci’s daughter, takes place during the visit. Not only Lucia is beautiful, but a strong and decisive personality shines through her gaze, gestures and all her bearing, thereby to harmonize respect for tradition, self- esteem and determination to succeed according to her desire.

Vincenzo falls in love at first sight and so does Lucia who in turn immediately burns with passion for the young doctor.
But after an ardent first kiss, Lucia exhorts him to get over her since she has already promised herself to a Vincenzo’s fellow and it’s now impossible for the girl to break off the engagement without being disinherited by her father as well as forever singled out by the whole community.
Vincenzo is now convinced that the sole opportunity to bypass the obstacle of Lucia’s betrothal, is to present everyone with a fait accompli by means of the so-called “clandestine marriage”, actually with an exchange of vows to be man and wife declared before two witnesses plus one unaware chaplain who, in turn, must be taken by surprise.
Vincenzo discloses his desperate plan to Lucia, and, being well aware of her disapproval, tries to persuade the girl of the unique thing to do to solve the issue.

Lucia is so madly in love with him that ends up accepting, allowing fate to take its course. On the evening of 15 December, in
the year 1826, Vincenzo and Lucia, together with their two witnesses Giuseppe Patrizi and Battista Fabbri, head towards the house of Father Gaspare Carpineti, namely the priest of St. Bartolomeo Church. They knock on the main door and, giving Piccinini’s confrontation with the chaplain for things of utmost importance as a pretext, they are then introduced into the Clergyman’s room where he is now in bed. The four of them immediately surround him so that Vincenzo, addressing his words to the Clergyman and to the witnesses, utters: “This is my wife”, and Lucia utters: “This is my husband”, everything happens in the blink of an eye, so much so that father Gaspare has no time to say a single word.
The day after, on 16 December, “Father Gaspare Carpineti goes before the Bishop of Cagli” and officially reports on the misdeed. On the order of Vicar General of the Diocese of Cagli, doctor Vincenzo Piccinini is put under arrest meanwhile he is actually hiding
himself in the Ugolinucci Palace. Lucia is with him.

While the Brigadier Commander of the Cagli Brigade together with the Carabinieri units are handcuffing Vincenzo, Lucia throws herself in the arms of him, in despair. Shortly afterwards, all Cagli sings the song of Vincenzo and Lucia. A double-sided song reflecting the two diametrically opposite faces of Cagli, the traditional one and the transgressive one.
There are those who put the blame on the couple hoping for a stiff punishment and there are those who actually lower their voice on sweeter notes, on the chant of the heart, on the breeding ground for poetry and for the miracle of love.
Thanks to these two spirits of the community, the Vicar General returns a measured verdict and therefore, not too strict: “... Decreed that the defendant-appellee Noblewoman Lady Lucia, would be put under home arrest in the House of the Nobleman Sir Carlo Ugolinucci, namely her Relative, and Cousin from whom she would be well supervised, and guarded, not been able to exit but for an issued command.

He ordered, that the Witnesses would get down on their knees in the middle of the Church for the whole duration of the festive Mass and ordered that doctor Vincenzo Piccinini would withdraw himself in the Reformed Fathers’ St. Andrea Convent of Cagli to
held Spiritual Retreats at will, then he fined him 100 scudi, not included the expenses for his capture etc.”
Served their term, as expected by Vincenzo, the two lovers join in marriage with a standard ceremony and live happily their life in Cagli.