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PERUGIA

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Umbria
Perugia district

 

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Church of San Domenico
Church of San Domenico

Church of San Francesco
Church of San Francesco

Church of San Bernardino
Church of San Bernardino

Rocca Paolina
Rocca Paolina

Art treasures

The Etruscan-Roman nucleus of the city enlarged progressively, reaching the maximal extension in the 13th and the 14th centuries, when the suburbs were incorporated in the city by new walls in three directions: Corso Garibaldi towards north-west, Corso Bersaglieri towards north-east, Corso Cavour and Borgo XX Giugno towards south-east.
Numerous are the churches, the palaces and the monuments which make the artistic patrimony of Perugia extremely rich: in this page are mentioned the most important ones.
THE CHURCH OF SAN PIETRO – At the end of Borgo XX Giugno stands the complex of the church and the abbey of San Pietro, built at the end of the 10th century in the place where was the old cathedral of the town; in the archive are preserved documents, papal licences and imperial diplomas from the 11th and 12th centuries. On entering the structure one can admire the 17th century courtyard by Martelli, where is the church door: the interior, a basilica divided into three naves by old columns, comprises many works of art; the magnificent choir-stalls represents one of the masterpieces of Renaissance art for wood-carving and intarsia-work. Notable the hexagonal bell-tower, whose upper part was rebuilt in the 15th century by Bernardo Rossellino.
THE CHURCH OF SAN DOMENICO – Situated in the delightful small square dedicated to Giordano Bruno, along Corso Cavour, the church was built in the first years of the 14th century, projected, according to what Giorgio Vasari says, by Giovanni Pisano; the works finished in 1458. Originally it was a large Gothic "barn church", characterised by ten octagonal pilasters, massive ogival arches and great windows with stained glasses. The interior of the church was totally rebuilt by Maderno in 1632: it is white and very simple, with three long naves, and the apse is brightened by a huge window with a beautiful stained glass. There are important works of art, and in the annexed convent is located the NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF UMBRIA, where are displayed prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman materials. THE ORATORY OF SAN BERNARDINO – San Bernardino da Siena stayed in Perugia five times during the first half of the 15th century: the Saint influenced greatly the life of the town and this fact is proved by the reform of the statutes (Statuta Bernardiniana) and by the spread of the devotion to Jesus Christ's name testified by the three letters IHS inscribed on many architraves. Bernardino was canonised in 1450 and the Priors soon decided to honour his memory with the erection of the oratory: a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, the façade was decorated by the Florentine Agostino di Duccio; the interior, with three naves, is in Gothic style.
Adjacent to the Oratory is the suggestive CHURCH OF SAN FRANCESCO: erected at the half of the 13th century by the Friars Minor, it has one nave with transept and polygonal apse; it was often restored to prevent collapses owing to the crumbly soil. In 1926 the original façade was brought back to its original condition. The church, besides housing the tombs of Braccio Fortebraccio and of the jurist Bartolo di Sassoferrato, comprised many works of art, later transferred elsewhere: the "Sposalizio di Santa Caterina" by Alfani (Louvre), the "Resurrezione" by Perugino (Pinacoteca Vaticana), the "Incoronazione della Vergine" by Raffaello (Pinacoteca Vaticana), the "Deposizione" by Raffaello (Galleria Borghese).
THE ROCCA PAOLINA – In this part of the town Malatesta Baglioni had his family's houses built in1436, in the same place where before stood Guidalottis'houses, demolished at the end of the 14th century. In 1540 pope Paolo III ordered the construction of the citadel to control better the town after the "Salt War". To build the structure were demolished Baglionis'houses, other private houses, about 25 towers, 3 churches and a monastery. The project was by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger: the building was composed of a large central nucleus linked to the town by a long passage; inside the fort there was the Palace of the Captain, planed by Alessi. The structure, symbol of the papal power over the town, was seriously ruined during the Rising of '48, and then definitively destroyed.
Under the ruins of the Rocca there is the Via Bagliona, a suggestive underground way where the time seems to have been stopped in the remote Middle Ages.

 

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