Perugia Introduction Walking Tour, Perugia

Perugia Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Perugia

Perugia was one of the twelve foremost cities of the Etruscan Federation. It was mentioned by Quintus Fabius Pictor, a Roman historian. He tells of a military expedition of Fabius Maximus Rullianus against the Etruscan League and Perugia in 309 BC.

By 216 BC, Perugia had seen the light and allied itself with Rome in the Second Punic War against Carthage. Things went swimmingly until 41 BC. Lucius Antonius, brother of Mark Antony, holed up behind Perugia's imposing walls with his army. The city fell to Octavian. Octavian erased the city save for a couple of temples.

Perugia was restored and achieved Colony status under Emperor Gallus in 252 AD. In the ninth century, with the aid of Charlemagne, Perugia came under the rule of the Popes. During the 11th century the city commune made itself felt and Perugia began its centuries-long career of independence.

In the middle ages and the Renaissance there were near endless wars among the cities, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Byzantines and, yes, the Popes. During this time great painters Pietro Vanucci and his student, Raphael, created their masterpieces. In 1860 the city became a part of a completely united Italy.

Among things to visit and enjoy in Perugia today are its churches and monumental Palaces and Squares. The 4th of November Square is the center of old Perugia. The Great Fountain, a 12th century fountain, dominates the Square. Decorated with animals, saints and gods, it connects to the ancient aqueduct from Mount Pacciano.

The 15th century Baroque Cathedral of San Lorenzo is a treasure house of art. The Town Hall, completed in 1353, houses the National Gallery of Umbria, and the College of the Exchange Guild. The Church and Abbey of San Pietro is a model of early Christian basilica architecture.

The city is host and venue for festivals, concerts and conventions. In July, welcome to the Umbria Jazz festival. The Umbria Music Festival is for fans of classical and chamber music. There is Music Festival Perugia in summer. And there is the incomparable Eurochocolate, a sweet tooth festival held every October. Explore the city and have a taste of Perugia.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Perugia Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Perugia Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Perugia (See other walking tours in Perugia)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Piazza IV Novembre (4th of November Square)
  • Fontana Maggiore (Great Fountain)
  • Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall)
  • Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence's Cathedral)
  • Arch of the Aqueduct (Arch of the Appian Way)
  • Arco Etrusco o d'Augusto (Etruscan Arch)
  • House Museum of the Bourbon di Sorbello
  • Palazzo di Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People Palace)
  • Rocca Paolina (Paolina Fortress)
  • Piazza Italia (Italy Square)
  • Vannucci Street
  • Nobile Collegio Del Cambio (Noble College of the Money Changers' Guild)
  • National Gallery of Umbria
Piazza IV Novembre (4th of November Square)

1) Piazza IV Novembre (4th of November Square) (must see)

At the end of World War I, the main square in Perugia got a new name. It was called 4th of November Square to mark the date of the surrender of Austria-Hungarian forces to Italy. In Perugia, all roads lead to the 4th of November Square because the square has been the starting point for the five main streets of the city, the "Royal Streets."

The square is the site of the original Roman forum of the ancient Etruscan city, Perusia. The Cathedral of San Lorenzo was built on the forum in the 9th century. In the 10th century the square became the political and religious center of the city. The Great Fountain (Fontana Maggiore), the monumental symbol of Perugia was installed in 1277.

In the 13th century the city commissioned the remaking of the so-called "Great Square (Latin: Platea Magna Comunis)", the area between the Cathedral and the present day Republic Square (Piazza della Repubblica). The intervention was needed for the enlargement of the cathedral and the building of the Town Hall (Palazzo dei Priori).

4th of November Square is a venue for the Umbria Jazz Festival, held each summer. In the autumn it is the scene of the Feast of the Dead (Fiera dei Morti) held every year since 1260. In June there is Perugia 1416, a re-enactment of the conquest of the city by Braccio Fortebraccio, an exiled native son who had made good as a warlord.

From March 25 to April 3, The square plays host to the annual Eurochocolate Festival. A Square of Chocolate --Wonderful!
Fontana Maggiore (Great Fountain)

2) Fontana Maggiore (Great Fountain) (must see)

Boninsegna Veneziano had done a miracle. It was a miracle of hydraulics. He had made water flow uphill without pumps. The water came from Monte Pacciano by means of a forced pressure duct. It arrived at the acropolis of the city through the new aqueduct. In 1275 fra Bevignate da Cingoli built the Great Fountain to celebrate.

The fountain, made of stones from Assisi, was preassembled in a workshop and moved to the square in sections. It is made of of two concentric polygonal marble basins. There is a bronze cup at the top holding a group of nymphs spouting water. The lower basin has 25 mirrors, each divided into two tiles describing the signs of the Zodiac.

In the upper basin 24 statues represent saints, mythological and biblical figures. There is Augusta Perugia, holding her cornucopia, she offers wheat. Domina Iacus, the nymph of Lake Trasimeno has fish. There are the characters of the city, Saints Peter and Paul and naturally, John the Baptist, who makes the water sacred.

In the lowest frame there is an invitation in Italian: "Look, you who pass by this fountain with its bubbling, if you look closer you can see wonderful things."
Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall)

3) Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall)

The Town Hall of Perugia is a prime example of a public palace of the eta comunale style of the 11th century. It sits on the 4th of November Square, bordering the Corso Vannucci as far as the Via Boncambi. It is, to this day, a part of the town hall and home to the National Gallery of Umbria.

The Town Hall is basically Gothic, constructed between 1293 and 1443 in various stages. The oldest part of the Palace is the Room of the Notaries. The room is still in use. It has three trifora windows and a trefoil portal facing the square. There are ten triforas and four-light windows facing the Corso.

The west (hidden) side of the Palace contains all of the Captain of the People Palace (Palazzo Capitano del Popolo), formerly the tower house of Madonna Dialdiana. In 1325 the Major Portal, the main entrance of the Palace was built. Between 1326 and 1443 the facade and the palace were extended, incorporating two churches and adding the College of the Exchange Guild.

The Town Hall was extensively altered over time but it was restored to its original condition after 1860. Through the Major Portal one enters the National Gallery of Umbria. The gallery contains the most important collections of Umbrian art. It is said, "all roads lead to 4th of November Square." The Town Hall may be reached from anywhere in Perugia.
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence's Cathedral)

4) Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence's Cathedral) (must see)

Duomo di Perugia (Perugia Cathedral), also known as the Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Lorenzo, is a Roman Catholic church and the most prominent religious site in Perugia.

The construction started in 1345 and was completed in 1490. However, the cathedral wasn't consecrated until 1587. The external decoration in white and pink marble lozenges was never completed; a trial section of it is still seen on the main façade, enhanced by a Baroque-style portal designed by Pietro Carattoli in 1729.

Unlike most cathedrals, the one of Perugia has its flank towards the city's main square. Here you can see the statue of Pope Julius III by Vincenzo Danti (1555), regarded as a hero in Perugia for having restored the local magistrate, previously suppressed by Paul III.

The massive tower was built between 1606 and 1612. The 68-foot hall of the church contains three naves of equal height. In the right nave is the Sacrament Chapel, designed by Alessi (1576), with the altarpiece of the Pentecost by Cesare Nebbia (1563). The next bay leads to the Baptistery Chapel, with the Renaissance perspective view in marble by Pietro di Paolo di Andrea da Como (1477). In front of it is the venerated image of Madonna delle Grazie, by Giannicola di Paolo, who was the follower of Perugino. The right nave ends with the Chapel of St. Bernardino, enclosed by a 15th-century railing. Its altar houses the most important artwork of the church, a Deposition from the Cross by Federico Barocci (1567–1569).

The sacristy was entirely frescoed by Gian Antonio Pandolfi in the 1570s. The cloister houses several architectonic and sculptural fragments, including a head attributed to Giovanni Pisano and a Renaissance bust of the Redeemer.

The reliquary of the Holy Ring, considered one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance goldsmith's art, is kept in the chapel of San Giuseppe, for which Perugino had painted his famous Marriage of the Virgin (1501-1504), now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Caen. Replacing it is the work by Gian Battista Wicar of 1825.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Arch of the Aqueduct (Arch of the Appian Way)

5) Arch of the Aqueduct (Arch of the Appian Way)

In 1254 Perugia completed building an aqueduct 10 miles long from Monte Pacciano to the city's Piazza Grande, now known as 4th of November Square. The aqueduct followed a route along the Via dei Condotti, now called Via del Fagiano, and the ancient Via Appia. The last part of the of the structure ran along the Etruscan town walls.

By 1812 the route became a popular walkway. The aqueduct was lined with railings on the top of medieval arches through the Arch of the Aqueduct or the Arch of the Appian Way to the old town. The aqueduct finally ends at the Great Fountain, built in 1275, in the center of the 4th of November Square.

The Arch of the Appian Way became a part of the aqueduct in the late 13th century. The old Etruscan walls are visible on either side. The arch was renovated by architect Giulo Danti in 1516. The aqueduct is just a four minute walk from the Great Fountain.
Arco Etrusco o d'Augusto (Etruscan Arch)

6) Arco Etrusco o d'Augusto (Etruscan Arch)

Built sometime in the third century BC, the Etruscan Arch was one of seven gates granting access to the city of Perugia through its massive walls. Ensconced between two great trapezoidal turrets or donjons, this gate is the best preserved of all the seven gates of the city.

The gate has changed its name on several occasions over time. It has been Porta Terzia, Porta Borca, Arco Trionfale, Porta Vecchia and Porta Pulchra. Besides the two turrets it has a facade with an arch. Above the arch on the left is a Renaissance loggia. At the foot of the same tower is a 17th century fountain.

The arch is also called Arco Augusto for the Emperor Augustus, also known as Octavian. The words "Augusta Perusia" were inscribed on the arch two centuries after it was built to mark the conquest of the city by the Emperor. In the year 40 BC civil war had broken out between Augustus and his former ally, Mark Antony.

Antony's brother, Lucius, had holed up in Perugia with his army and Augustus laid siege to the city. Eventually Lucius surrendered and Augustus sacked, looted and burned the city. But he spared the temples of Vulcan and Juno, so it wasn't all bad. Augustus repented a bit. The citizens could rebuild the city with the name "Augusta Perusia."

In the period 251 to 253 AD the Emperor Gallus honored the city, awarding it the status of Colony. Gallus' antecedents were Perugian. Gallus himself died in yet one more civil war two years later.

Going through the arch, follow Ulisse Rocchi Street and arrive at Corso Vannucci, really the main street of Perugia to this day.
House Museum of the Bourbon di Sorbello

7) House Museum of the Bourbon di Sorbello

In the historical center of Perugia is the Piazza Piccinino. Here stands the House of the Bourbon di Sorbello. The house was built in the 16th century. That's new compared to many other monumental buildings in Perugia. It had various owners from the nobility until 1780, when it was acquired by the Marchesi Bourbon di Sorbello.

The entrance of the house is paved with an external wooden parquet. This type of external flooring is rare and it is perhaps the only one of its kind in all of Umbria. The blocks of wood are of turkey oak, used to dampen the noise of carriage wheels. A grand staircase grants access to the piano nobile, the main floor of the residence.

Here are frescoed vaulted ceilings, 17th and 18th century chandeliers and furnishings, a plentiful collection of art and rare books. The paintings include, among the landscapes and portraits, works by Carlo Labruzzi, Francesco Appiani, Pietro Benvenuti and Francois Fabre and other great foreign and Italian artists.

The library has more than 25,000 volumes, and rare editions, for example: Spera Mundi, an astronomical tome dated 1478, and the 1770 Encyclopedia Francaise of Diderot. There is a collection of fine porcelain including a 19th century table service by Ginori and an original 1775 set of Qianlong Chinese porcelain with the Marchesi crest.

A visit to the Palace offers up a sense of the culture and tastes of Etruscan and Umbrian nobility of the 18th-19th centuries. At the top of the residence-museum is a terrace with stunning views of Perugia and its milieu.
Palazzo di Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People Palace)

8) Palazzo di Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People Palace)

The Piazza Matteotti was originally known as Piazza Sopramuro, "Plaza above the wall." It was built in the 13th century, standing on the edge of a steep cliff. The square is supported by walls erected against the hillside, thus the name "above the wall." The square was used as a market place with a view of the valley until 1472.

The Captain of the People Palace and the Old University of Perugia closed off the view by 1481. Lombard architects Gasparino di Antonio and Leone di Matteo built the Palace to have a doorway akin to the doorway of the Town Hall. Its two windows are edged with Renaissance wreaths. The lunette over the door has a statue of Justice.

A severe earthquake in 1741 demolished the third floor of the palace. The floor was replaced by a mezzanine. The ground floor has gothic arches. The Old University was constructed in 1453, adjacent to the palace. By 1514, to comply with the designs of Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, two additional stories were built.

Gothic archways to the left of the palace lead to the Lanari Room. The Lanari Room, once in a while, is used as a venue for arts and crafts. There are also a covered market with underground parking, elevators and a terrace with views of the valley and the south part of town.
Rocca Paolina (Paolina Fortress)

9) Rocca Paolina (Paolina Fortress) (must see)

Pope Innocent VI had his papal eye on Perugia. He was wasting away in exile in Avignon. Cardinal Aegidius Albornoz, Innocent's military factotum, was a crusty old campaigner. He got Perugia back in the Peace of Bologna in 1370.

In 1373 Albornoz capped the whole affair by commissioning a fortress to be built on the Colle del Sole, the highest hill in Perugia. Let the locals look at that. The fortress was designed by Gattapone da Gubbio. It was the biggest and best around. Nonetheless, the locals soon tired of looking. There was an uprising. The fortress was destroyed.

Popes may come and go but mainly they stay. In 1540 Pope Paul III noticed that Perugia had not paid the papal salt tax. Salt was used in those days as a food preservative. Perugians rebelled. They refused to salt their bread or pay the tax. Legend has it that to this day, bread is not salted.

But this was irksome. The Pope sent in troops. The Perugians lost the Salt War and the Pope knew he needed a bigger fort. He commissioned Antonio da Sangallo the Younger to build a super-sized fortress. This one would be on the city's other hill, the Colle Landone.

Antonio would not disappoint. Entire districts of the city were razed, including the houses of the Baglioni family. The Pope really hated the Baglionis. The new fortress stood more or less until the unification of Italy in 1860, when it was basically destroyed.

The only parts of the fort visible today are the base walls on the Via Indipendenza and the east bastion on Via Marzia. Entrance to the foundations of the fortress is through here. The Gothic doorways of the old stone houses can still be seen among the brick walls of Lord Sangallo (Signore Sangallo).

Escalators extend from the underground parking of Piazza Partigiani through the Paolina Fortress under the portico of the Government Palace and into the Italy Square. Behind the Carducci terrace gardens, setting on the bones of the fortress, offer more great views of Perugia.
Piazza Italia (Italy Square)

10) Piazza Italia (Italy Square)

Riding the escalators from the underground car park of the Piazza Partigiani through the gigantic Paolina Fortress and under the portico of the Government Palace, established in 1870, one arrives at the Italy Square. The square was built to remember the events of 1860-1861 that resulted on the final unification of Italy. A nation reborn.

The square is surrounded by buildings put up since the demolition of Paolina Fortressa in 1861. Buildings of note are: Albergo Brufani built in 1880, Bank of Italy built in 1871, Cesaroni Palace built in 1897, the Residential condominium built in 1872. Both of the last two were designed by Gugliemo Calderini of Perugia, who also designed the Palace of Justice in Rome.

The square also is home to the distinguished La Rosetta Hotel built in 1716, and the Donini Palace built in 1724. The Donini Palace contains magnificent frescoes. In the center of the Square green is a bronze statue of King Victor Emanuel II erected in 1890.
Vannucci Street

11) Vannucci Street

Vanucci Street has always been the Main Street of Perugia. It dates from Etruscan-Roman times, the all-important cross street of a serious settlement. It is named Vanucci Street in honor of Pietro Vanucci, a native son and master painter of the Renaissance. A bit of a Rock star in his day, he changed his name to Perugia.

Vanucci Street today is essentially a pedestrian avenue. It is a favorite shopping venue lined with palaces, museums, one cathedral and various government offices. There are naturally, shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. The kind of places that invite one to linger and explore the inviting narrow side streets along the way.

The street is mostly a broad avenue that reaches from 4th of November Square to Italy Square. In warm weather there is outdoor seating on the street. In the evenings, locals and visitors alike don't mind a leisurely stroll.
Nobile Collegio Del Cambio (Noble College of the Money Changers' Guild)

12) Nobile Collegio Del Cambio (Noble College of the Money Changers' Guild)

The Nobile Collegio del Cambio is a historic seat of the Money Changers' guild of Perugia. From 1452 to 1457 the corporation of local bankers, known as "Arte del Cambio", established their headquarters at the Palazzo dei Priori in Corso Vannucci. The Guild's coat of arms – griffin above the coffer – adorns the building to this day.

The architectural design was by Bartolomeo di Mattiolo and Lodovico di Antonibo; the pictorial inner decoration – notably that of the Sala delle Adienze (Audience Hall) – was entrusted to several artists, the most famous of whom was Pietro Perugino. Inside the Hall are the series of lunettes frescoed by Perugino.

The College's main door, designed by Lodovico di Antonibo himself, was carved by Antonio da Mercatello in 1501. The wooden furnishings made by Domenico del Tasso feature the grotesque decoration used in this type of furniture for the first time.

The College Chapel of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), built in 1506 - 1509, was painted entirely by Perugino's pupil, Giannicola di Paolo, between 1515 and 1518. In the vault, the Eternal Father is depicted among the apostles, evangelists, doctors of the Church, and the patron saints of Perugia. In the altar there is a Baptism of Christ and on the sides – an Annunciation (1515-1516). Contrary to what some may mistake for the ostentation of wealth, the lively coloring of the walls, accentuated by the great profusion of gold and lapis lazuli, is meant to brighten up the space in the absence of windows.

The collection of coin weights, displayed here, is the world's richest: containing over 550 items used for verification of coins circulated in Perugia, the Papal States and other Italian city-states between the 15th and the second half of the 19th centuries.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
National Gallery of Umbria

13) National Gallery of Umbria (must see)

The National Gallery of Umbria is housed in the Palazzo dei Priori. Its collection comprises the greatest representation of the Umbrian School of painting, ranging from the 13th to the 19th century, strongest in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries. The collection is presented in twenty-three galleries in the Palazzo.

The origins of the collection lie in the founding of the Perugian Accademia del Disegno in the mid-16th century. The Academy had its original seat in the Convento degli Olivetani at Montemorcino, where a collection of paintings and drawings began to be assembled. With the suppression of religious houses imposed by the Napoleonic administration, and imposed once again by the united Kingdom of Italy, much of the heritage of Italian art that had come to be the property of the Church became the property of the State.

In 1863, the civic paintings collection was formally named to commemorate Pietro Vannucci, but the problem of establishing an appropriate site to house the collection was not solved until 1873, when it came to be housed on the third floor of the Palazzo dei Priori, in the center of Perugia. With the addition of acquisitions, donations and bequests, the pinacoteca became the Regia Galleria Vannucci in 1918, under the patronage of the king.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Perugia, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Perugia

Create Your Own Walk in Perugia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Perugia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Perugino and Renaissance Art Walk

Perugino and Renaissance Art Walk

Perugia today is a well-known cultural and artistic center in Italy that regularly plays host to a multitude of annual festivals and events. The most glorious period in the history of the city, from an artistic standpoint, lasted from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

Perugia’s most celebrated artist, Pietro Vannucci (1450–1523), better known as “il Perugino”, nicknamed so after his...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles