Key to Umbria: Perugia

Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)

Following the unexpected death of the Emperor Henry VI in 1197, the new Pope Innocent III (who was elected in January 1198) had a unique opportunity to enforce the ancient temporal claims of the papacy.  He seized control of the Duchy of Spoleto and was strong enough in the summer of 1198 to make a formal progress.  He travelled via Spoleto to Perugia, where he reconsecrated the altar of the Duomo that the imperial antipope Callistus III had apparently consecrated in ca. 1175.  He returned to Rome via Todi, from whence he issued a privilege that took Perugia under his protection. 

In legal terms, the effect of the papal privilege was to make Perugia immediately subject to the Apostolic See.  However, the city retained a great deal of its former independence and its influence over its neighbours.  For example, in 1200-1, Perugia (rather than Innocent III) acted as intermediary to end the war between Foligno on the one hand and Spoleto and Spello on the other, staging the reconciliation of Spoleto and Foligno in the piazza in front of the Duomo.

During the rebellion at Assisi that had followed the death of Henry VI, many of the nobles who were driven from the city had found refuge in Perugia.  Perugia declared war on Assisi in 1202, ostensibly because its demands for compensation on their behalf went unheeded.  Assisi secured the support of a number of the other Umbrian cities, including Nocera, Bevagna and Spello.  Nocera switched its allegiance from Assisi to Perugia later in 1202, which brought Gubbio into the fray as an ally of Assisi, but Assisi was nevertheless defeated in the Battle of Collestrada in 1202.  (The future St Francis was taken prisoner during this war.  He languished in jail in Perugia for a year before his father could ransom him and then returned to Assisi sick and chastened by his ordeal.  This experience probably marked the start of his conversion.)

Relations between the cities were further strained in July 1204, when Philip of Swabia issued an imperial privilege for Assisi from Germany that mirrored the papal privilege that Perugia enjoyed.  Philip recognised the liberty of Assisi and promised that he would not make peace with Perugia or with the exiles from Assisi without the consent of its Commune.  Since he seemed likely to win the civil war in Germany, many of the exiled nobles of Assisi deemed it prudent to make peace with their native city.  Assisi retook Nocera in 1204 and the war between Perugia and Assisi gave way to an uneasy peace.

In the time of the Podestà Giovanni di Guido del Papa (1205-6), the Commune commissioned a palace between the Duomo and Palazzo Vescovile to house this official and his entourage.  This necessitated the acquisition and demolition of properties that belonged to the canons of San Lorenzo.  They successfully appealed to Pope Innocent III for the restitution, but decided to accept the situation in return for compensation in 1208. 

Gualdo submitted to Perugia in 1208 and gave it the use of Rocca Flea, without any mention of the rights of the papacy

In 1210, Innocent III signed a treaty with Perugia under which it would defend Rome from any attack by Emperor Otto IV.  In return, Innocent III confirmed Perugia’s right to elect its own communal officials and agreed that the Commune would be included in any peace negotiations with Otto IV.  The fact that Innocent III thereby treated Perugia as an equal rather than as a subject underlined his dire position.  Otto IV sacked the Perugian contado shortly afterwards, and he then made a triumphal entry into Assisi.  A peace was agreed between the factions of Assisi five days later, in honour of Christ, the Virgin, Otto IV and Duke Diepold of Spoleto.  This did not bode well for Perugia, although the danger evaporated in 1212, when Otto IV was forced to return to Germany.

Faction fighting broke out in 1214 between the nobles and popolo of Perugia.  [St Francis had predicted this during a sermon that he preached (probably in 1212) in front of the Duomo, during which noisy noble youths did their best to disrupt the proceedings (II Celano 37).]  Innocent III presided over the settlement of the conflict, largely to the advantage of the nobles.  The bull in which he did so referred specifically to the parties” the “milites” (knights) and “popolo”: the latter were clearly recognisable as an organised political group, but the status of the members of this group is unclear.  Later events (see those of 1223 below) suggests that they were principally defined by membership of the guilds of Perugia.

Innocent III died suddenly during a stay in Perugia in 1216.  Jacques de Vitry described how he found the Pope’s body there, laid out but unguarded so that robbers had been able to steal its fine clothes.   [Jacques de Vitry (ca. 1165-1240) was appointed Bishop of Acre in 1216 and travelled to Perugia in 1216 to be consecrated.  He found Innocent III dead there, and was consecrated by Innocent's successor, Pope Honorius III.] 

Innocent III was buried in the Duomo of Perugia.  In the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII arranged for his remains to be re-interred in St John Lateran in Rome in a tomb (1891) by Giuseppe Lucchetti that still survives.

Pope Honorius III (1216-27)

Pope Honorius III was elected at the conclave held in Perugia in 1216.

Castello di Montone submitted to Perugia in 1216, causing great offence to the thwarted Città di Castello.

A dispute between Perugia and Gubbio over possession of a number of fortresses, including the Rocca Flea at Gualdo, led to outright war in 1216-7.  Gubbio counted Cagli and Città di Castello among its allies, but was nevertheless defeated.  The Roman Pandolfo di Figuera, Podestà of Perugia was called in to arbitrate in 1217, when Gubbio was forced to renounce all the castles along its border with Perugia.  The Perugians also retook Nocera at about this time.

The dispute between the nobles and the popolo of Perugia re-erupted later in 1218.  Honorius III supported the nobles in their bid to have one of their number, Andrea di Giacomo Montemolini appointed as Podestà.

Assisi was able to take advantage of this distraction and to take Postignano and Nocera.  In 1218, Honorius III issued a brief that demanded the end to these hostilities, but this was largely ignored. 

In 1219, Cagli submitted to Perugia, and this treaty was explicitly framed to oppose the designs of Gubbio and Città di Castello.  (Cagli had submitted to Gubbio in 1216, and this change of policy was to lead to tension between Gubbio and Perugia for decades - see below).

A dispute between the nobles and the popolo of Perugia broke out in 1223, when the nobles were driven into exile. 

Assisi took advantage of this distraction to take Bettona.  In the following year, the Bettona agreed that its Podestà and Consuls would be chosen from among the citizens of Assisi. 

The exiled nobles found support in 1223 from Assisi, Città di Castello and Gubbio, despite the fact that Honorius III had banned outside interference in these events on pain of excommunication.  The treaties that they agreed with (respectively) Città di Castello (in May) and Gubbio (in June) make explicit reference to the warring Perugian factions:

  1. the Parte Militum seu Magnatum (i.e. the exiled nobles);

  2. the Popularibus or members of the Popular Party, against whom the treaties were directed; and

  3. the Peditum de Parte Militum, literally the foot soldiers of the nobles, who sympathised with the exiles.  

The exiled nobles were able to return after a few months following an arbitration process carried out for Honorius III by Cardinal John Colonna in October 1223.  The popolo were required to dismantle the walls and ditches that they had constructed on land that belonged to the nobles.  They were also required to dismantle the political apparatus that they had put in place, which had apparently involved the officials of the guilds.  The guilds themselves seem to have been dissolved. 

In November, 1223,  Honorius III allowed the Collegio della Mercanzia (merchants’ guild) to re-form, provided that it concentrated on its commercial function rather than on its political aspirations.  The rich merchants who were its members belonged to a class known as the “popolo grasso”: this distinguishes them from the “popolo minuto”, who generally belonged to the tradesmen’s guilds.  The preference that Honorius III gave to the former probably marks the start of the divisions that were subsequently to become apparent within the Popular Party.

Factional fighting broke out again in 1225, and the nobles were once again driven into exile.

Città di Castello and its allies sacked Castello di Montone in 1227, and this and other successes enabled the exiles to return to Perugia in that year.

Emperor Frederick II (1215-50)

Frederick II finally sailed for Jerusalem in 1228, but he soon returned because of illness among his crew.  Pope Gregory IX excommunicated him and was duly driven from Rome by his supporters.  He travelled to Spoleto before taking refuge in Perugia, where he was forced to pay what was in effect a huge bribe.  In return, the Perugian popolani allowed the exiled nobles to return and accepted John of Brienne, the papal rector of the Duchy of Spoleto, as Podestà of Perugia.

When Rainald of Urslingen invaded the Duchy of Spoleto in 1228, taking a number of cities including Foligno, Bettona submitted to Foligno in order to shake off the control of Assisi and Perugia.  Città della Pieve also freed itself from Perugian domination, declaring itself a free commune under imperial protection.

Gregory IX left Perugia in February 1230, and the nobles seem to have re-established their role; Perugia was ruled by Consuls in 1230 and in 1232.  However, the Consulate then gave way to a period of continuous rule by foreign Podestàs.  The key terms were inscribed on the Petra Justitiae (Stone of Justice) in 1234, under the auspices of the Podestà Rambertus de Ghisleriis.  As a sop to the noble, it was agreed that all past financial obligations to the Commune should be extinguished.  (The inscription was originally set into the base of the campanile but subsequently moved to the he Sala del Consiglio of Palazzo dei Priori.  A copy has been set into the external wall of the right transept of the Duomo, under the Loggia di Braccio, close to the original location).

Gregory IX, who was again unsafe in Rome in 1234-8, spent much of this period at Spoleto and Perugia.  He canonised St Elizabeth of Hungary at Perugia, in 1235 and remained there until December 1236.  He was then escorted back to Rome by a Perugian military detachment led by the Podestà, Marcovaldo, who formally re-affirmed the city’s devotion to the papacy and its intention to defend the Patrimony and the Duchy of Spoleto during a stop at Todi. 

A conflict arose in 1234 when Gubbio built a fortified settlement called Pergola on a strategic site that threatened Cagli.  Gubbio settled some 140 families there and underlined the permanence of the arrangement by giving the settlers the head of St Secondus for the church they built.  Cagli (which, as noted above, had submitted to Perugia in 1219) enlisted the support of Perugia and a number of other cities, while Gubbio had sought assistance from Assisi and Città di Castello.  Gregory IX intervened on behalf of Gubbio in 1235, and so secured the adherence of this usually Ghibelline city.

When Frederick II invaded the Duchy of Spoleto and the Marche of Ancona in 1239, Perugia formed a defensive alliance with Spoleto, Todi, Gubbio and Foligno.   However, Foligno soon repudiated this alliance with at the behest of Count Napoleone of Antignano, and had sent emissaries to welcome Frederick II to Foligno in 1240.  Bevagna, Coccorone and Bettona also declared for him, and they were among the towns and cities that sent representatives to the Parliament that Frederick II summoned in the cathedral of San Feliciano.

Gubbio, Spoleto, Todi and Terni all defected to Frederick II in 1241 in return for the grant of imperial privileges, although Narni managed to withstand a siege in that year.  The Perugian nobles took advantage of the threat to achieve the reappointment of Andrea di Giacomo Montemolini as Podestà.

In 1242 joined Perugia in an alliance with Matteo Rosso Orsini (who held Rome for the Pope), by which time Assisi and Orvieto were the only other Umbrian cities who adhered to the papal cause.  Frederick II seems to have organised a coup by a faction of nobles that might well have included Andrea di Giacomo Montemolini.  Many of the nobles were yet again driven into exile, but there seems to have been a subsequent reconciliation.  From this point, the popolani achieved political control and Perugia remained unequivocally Guelf.

Pope Innocent IV formally announced the excommunication and deposition of Frederick II at the Council of Lyons in 1245.  In the following year, his spies at the imperial court managed to incite a conspiracy to murder Frederick II, but the conspirators were betrayed.  One of these conspirators, Giacomo da Morra, who had previously been the imperial Rector in the Duchy of Spoleto, fled to Rome, and he persuaded Cardinal Ranier Capocci that Spoleto itself was ripe for defection.  Ranier assembled an army from Perugia and Assisi to march on Spoleto, in the hope that this would provoke a Guelf uprising there.  However, the new imperial rector, Marino d’ Eboli marshalled the local Ghibelline forces in the plain of Foligno outside Spello, and they devastated the invaders while the jubilant inhabitants of Spello hurled insults on the Guelfs from the safety of their walls.  It was probably to this defeat that the chronicler Salimbene degli Adam referred when he related how, "a single old woman from Foligno was able to drive ten Perugians off to prison with a simple cane".  This was the start of a period of bitter hostility between Perugia and Foligno (see below).

In early 1247, imperial forces retook Viterbo, and Orvieto defected to the imperial cause.  So too did the sons of the recently-deceased Andrea di Giacomo Montemolini: they submitted their strategically important fortress at Montegualandro to the Ghibelline Arezzo, which had also captured the nearby Castiglione del Lago.  The Commune reacted furiously: they took and destroyed Montegualandro and dragged the exhumed body of Andrea di Giacomo Montemolini through the streets.  Stones from demolished Montemolini properties (presumably those in Perugia itself) were used to reinforce the the city walls.  (However, the sons of Andrea di Giacomo Montemolini survived and managed to secure reparations after papal arbitration in 1262).

The spectacular failure of the  siege of Parma by Frederick II in the summer of 1247 brought hope to the Guelfs, and Ranier Capocci was able to persuade Spoleto to renounce the imperial cause.  [Spoleto was excused of all past offences and granted effective self-rule.  Its lands (including Campello) were confirmed and indeed extended to include the previously papal lands of the Terre Arnulforum and also Trevi, which had previously belonged to Foligno, and the Abbazia di San Pietro in Valle.]  Cardinal Pietro Capocci, who replaced Ranier Capocci in 1248, failed in his attempted invasion of the Regno, but he made significant strides in retaking the March of Ancona. 

Gubbio however remained loyal to Frederick II, and sent troops to assist him in Lombardy after the fall of Parma.  In return, Frederick II confirmed Gubbio’s ownership of Pergola.  In retaliation, Cagli submitted to Peter Capocci, who granted it much of the contado of Gubbio, and transferred the diocese of Gubbio to Cagli. 

Frederick II destroyed Nocera in 1248.

In 1249, Bevagna and Coccorone rebelled against Foligno.  Bevagna destroyed a number of castles of Count Napoleone of Antignano, and in return Innocent IV granted the town the right to elect its own podestà.  However, the imperial general Tommaso d’ Aquino, Conte di Acerra retook both cities and sacked them.  Thus matters stood when Frederick II died suddenly in December 1250.

End of the Hohenstaufen Emperors (1250-68)

Innocent IV arrived at Perugia in late 1251.  He was reluctant to proceed to Rome because of his debts to the bankers there, and his reluctance intensified soon after when the Romans appointed the Ghibelline Brancaleone degli Andalò as Capitano del Popolo.  He therefore took up residence in Perugia.

In February 1251, Perugia, Orvieto, Spoleto, Narni and Assisi formed a Guelf alliance with Florence in which it was laid out that they were prepared to admit Gubbio if it should be reconciled with the papacy.  Gubbio was clearly slow to submit: in February, Innocent IV ordered Pietro Capocci to destroy the Gubbian castle of Castiglione, and in April he confirmed Cagli in its possession of territory claimed by Gubbio. 

Despite the submission of the Counts of Antignano, Innocent IV refused to absolve Foligno until Perugia agreed, and until it had paid damages to Spello and Trevi for damage that it had inflicted.  The city also experienced a period of internal conflict.  The first mention of a Capitano del Popolo of Foligno dates to this period, and it is likely that this constitutional development marked an attempt to control factional warfare in the city.

Perugia reaped other rewards for her fidelity to the papacy.  Innocent IV prevailed upon William of Holland (whom he recognised as Emperor) to confirm Perugia’s rights over Città della Pieve (which had put itself under the protection of Frederick II in 1228) and Montone in April 1251. 

Nocera formally resubmitted to Perugia soon after, and was forced to renounce its jurisdiction over Gualdo Tadino.  [Dante (Paradiso, Canto XI) was to lament the “heavy yoke” that Perugia then inflicted on them]. 

Innocent IV granted the city important privileges in October 1252 and canonised St Peter Martyr at San Domenico, Perugia in April 1253, shortly before moving to Assisi.

When Innocent IV to leave Assisi for the Regno in May 1254, Perugia and Assisi took advantage of his departure to avenge their defeat by Foligno of 1246.  They were given an excuse when Manfred, the illegitimate son of Frederick II,  defeated Innocent IV at Foggia, prompting the Ghibelline Chiaravallesi at Todi to drive the Guelf Atti out of the city.  Pandolfo of Anguillara assembled an army from Perugia, Assisi and Spoleto that suppressed the rebellion at Todi and then took Spello and laid siege to Foligno.  He diverted the course of the Topino, thereby depriving the city of water.

After a siege of seven weeks, Foligno was forced to sign a peace treaty with Perugia on profoundly humiliating terms.  The city was required to demolish its walls, to fill in the canal and to refrain from building new fortifications.  It was also required to readmit the Guelf exiles, to supply soldiers on request to Perugia and to accept a Podestà from Perugia for ten years.  Trincia di Berardo Trinci was installed as the first Podestà under the new arrangements. 

The Ghibellines of Foligno enjoyed a resurgence in 1260 in the aftermath of the Battle of Montaperti: Anastasio di Filippo degli Anastasi was named as Gonfaloniere di Giustizia.  Foligno and Spello each asked Perugia to supply a Podestà in 1261. 

Pope Urban IV died in Perugia in 1264 and was buried in the Duomo.  The conclave then held in the city elected Pope Clement IV

The period 1255-66 marks the first phase of the government of Perugia by the popolani:

  1. the post of Capitano del Popolo in Perugia appears in 1255; and

  2. the existence of  a magistracy Consoli delle Arti was first documented in 1266.

This latter body, which subsequently worked alongside the Capitano del Popolo, was initially dominated by the leading officials of the Collegio della Mercanzia and, to a lesser extent, the Collegio del Cambio (the guild of money changers).   Thus, the “popolo grasso” were in the ascendent.

Guelf Supremacy (1268-82)

The victory of Charles d’ Anjou at the Battle of Tagliacozzo (1268) and the subsequent execution of Conradin, the grandson of Frederick II and the last of the Hohenstaufen, boosted to the power and self-confidence of the communes of the Guelf cities, notably Perugia and Orvieto. 

In Perugia, this was first evident in the commissions of three fountains for prestigious site in the civic centre. 

  1. The first of these commissions came in 1277, when work began on the Fontana Maggiore in what is now Piazza IV Novembre.  The Silvestrine monk Fra Bevignate and the hydraulic engineer Boninsegna Veneziano had built an aqueduct to bring water from Monte Pacciano to the centre of the city in the period 1257-77.  Fra Bevignate then acted as overseer on the construction of the new fountain that it fed, working to a design by Nicolò Pisano, who was then the most important sculptor in Italy.  A series of fine reliefs from his workshop were used on the fountain to underline the civic pride of Perugia.

  2. In the same year, the Perugians asked Charles d'Anjou to release Nicolò's pupil, Arnolfo di Cambio to work on a second fountain in today’s Corso Vannucci.  He was  documented in Perugia in 1281.  The so-called Fontana Minore was dismantled in 1308 but fragments survive in the Galleria Nazionale.  Arnolfo di Cambio must have been accomplished by this time since he had such an illustrious patron, but these surviving fragments are his first documented works. 

  3. Records exist of a third fountain on which Angelo da Orvieto and Lorenzo Maitani were at work in 1317, but no trace of that survives.

In 1271, Perugia fought a was with Fabriano over the Rocca d' Appennino.  The war continued to the end of the century, after which Perugia emerged for little to show for its trouble.

In 1279, the city statutes imposed financial penalties on those who had damaged the monument to Pope Urban IV during disturbances between Guelf and Ghibellines.

By the end of the century, Guelf supremacy in Italy meant Perugian supremacy in Umbria.  Perugia controlled the towns around Lake Trasimeno, Città di Castello, Assisi, Spello

Decline of Guelf Supremacy

The Guelf cause in Italy suffered a decisive blow when a revolt in Sicily (the so-called Sicilian Vespers) drove Charles d’ Anjou from the island in 1282. 

One example of this occurred at Foligno, where the Ghibellines once more posed a threat.  According to Salimbene degli Adam, "the Perugians prepared to go out against Foligno and destroy it.  But [Martin IV] sent a message saying that, in no wise, under threat of excommunication were they to attack Foligno for [it] was papal territory.  Yet the Perugians did not desist; they made the expedition and laid waste to the entire district up to the very moats of the city.  They were, therefore excommunicated.  But they were indignant at this, and so they made straw images of the Pope and the Cardinals and dragged them shamefully throughout the whole city and up to the top of the mountain.  They burned the image of the Pope dressed in red, together with the Cardinals, saying, ‘This is Cardinal so-and-so and this is Cardinal such-and-such’ ".   

Perugia enjoyed the support of Spoleto, Assisi, Nocera, Bevagna, Montefalco, Spello, Narni and Bettona.  The attack began in early 1282, and the subsequent excommunication of Perugia had little effect.  Only when Foligno inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Perugians in October 1283 did they relent.  Martin IV granted them absolution on payment of a large fine in November 1283.    

Martin IV, who resided in Orvieto in 1281-4, was driven from that city by the Ghibelline resurgence there and moved to newly compliant Perugia.   When he died there in 1285, he became the third pope to be interred in the Duomo.  In 1287, the College of Cardinals asked the Commune to appoint Fra. Bevignate to oversee the construction of his funerary monument.  It is possible that statues of SS Laurence and Herculanus that now decorate the pulpits of the Duomo came from his original monument.  During later reconstruction, all three papal monuments were destroyed and the bodies of the three popes were placed in an iron cask.  The remains of Innocent III were later sent to Rome as described above.  [Remains of other two?].

The conclave held in Perugia in 1285 elected Pope Honorius IV (1285-7).

Perugia was involved in the pacification of Orvieto in the period 1284-6.  She also arbitrated a dispute between Orvieto and Todi over the castle of Montemarte in 1286.  The city arbitrated between Terni and Narni and between the factions of Todi in 1287.

War with Perugia re-erupted in 1288 when Perugia formed an alliance with Todi and ravaged the contado of Foligno.  Pope Nicholas IV sent Cardinals Benedict Caetani (the future Pope Boniface VIII) and Matteo Rosso II Orsini to arbitrate between the parties.  Perugia remained defiant and the legates placed the city under interdict.  Perugia (whose allies included Todi, Spello, Spoleto, Città di Castello and Camerino) responded by invading the contado of Foligno and taking the castles of Antignano and Torricella near Bevagna. 

The people of Foligno underlined their desire for peace by appointing the Guelf Corrado Trinci as Podestà in 1288, followed by his brother, Trincia Trinci in 1289.  Corrado acted as Foligno’s delegate to Perugia in 1289, and managed to reach a settlement. Foligno submitted to Perugia in August 1289 and paid reparations in the following October.  Nicholas IV withheld absolution until late 1290 and extracted a huge fine.

Castel della Pieve submitted to Perugia in 1289.

Perugia arbitrated between Narni and Todi in 1290.

Spello confirmed its submission to Perugia in 1290 and sought its protection against the Rector of the Duchy of Spoleto, who was trying to take control of the Rocca Paida.

Cannara, which had been a traditional gathering place for Perugian exiles, submitted to Perugia in 1291.

Gualdo Tadino resubmitted to Perugia in 1292 at its own request.

During the papal vacancy (1292-4), Perugia once more attacked Foligno.  Although the cardinals went through the motions of excommunicating Perugia, they were sufficiently unconcerned that they moved the conclave to the city in October 1293, while hostilities were still in progress.  Boniface VIII absolved Perugia in March, 1296.

The guilds of Perugia, who had steadily  increased their political power within the popular government in the period from 1266, and assumed almost total control of the government of the city in 1295.  Over this period, power within the guilds as a whole had seeped from the “popolo grasso” to the “popolo minuto”, who generally belonged to the tradesmen’s guilds.  For example, the representation of the Collegio della Mercanzia on the Consoli delle Arti was reduced from four to two in 1284, allowing the Collegio di Cambio to provide the third consul and the other guilds to provide a further two on a rotating basis.  The guilds as a whole increased their power, and in effect assumed the government of the city in 1295. 

Urban Development

Urban Centre

As noted above, the Commune succeeded in invading what had been an ecclesiastical space around the Duomo when they expropriated land between the Palazzo dei Canonici and Palazzo Vescovile in 1205-6 for the new “Palazzo Comunis”.  This palace provided administrative space for the communal council, and also housed the Podestà and his household (hence the alternative title of Palazzo del Podestà).

When the new magistracy of the Capitano del Popolo was introduced in 1255 alongside that of the Podestà, new premises were rented in a nearby tower house that belonged to “Madonna Dialdana”.  The first discussion of the possibility of building a new palace for this magistracy seems to have taken place in 1273.  However, the project had to give way to another for bringing an adequate supply of water to the city centre, because the aqueduct from Monte Pacciano had been blocked since 1262.   This project culminated in the construction of the Fontana Maggiore in 1278 and Fontana Minore in 1281.

The decision was taken in 1279 to acquire or rent the land and buildings necessary for the extension of the existing Palazzo del Podestà and the building of a new palace for the Capitano del Popolo: 

  1. Work on the extension of Palazzo del Podestà began in 1282.  The plans were probably changed in 1284 to accommodate Martin IV and his retinue during his stay in Perugia.  The project as modified involved vaulting the road between the existing palace and Palazzo dei Canonici to the right, so that the extension could be built above it.  Part of Palazzo dei Canonici itself seems also to have been incorporated into Palazzo del Podestà at this time, notwithstanding the objections of the canons.   The project seems to have been complete by 1292, albeit that further internal work was carried out in 1297. 

  2. The tower house of “Madonna Dialdana” was adapted after 1279 by the incorporation of other adjoining properties.  In 1292, the Consoli delle Arti resolved to acquire these and the adjoining rented properties so that work could begin on the new palace for the Capitano del Popolo (the  "Palatium Novum Populi").  This project (which was in fact the first phase of the construction of the present Palazzo dei Priori)  was completed in 1297.


The development of suburbs outside the Etruscan walls of Perugia began in the 12th century, as people moved here from the surrounding countryside.   The first of these suburbs, which was documented in 1152, developed outside Porta Marzia and Arco di Sant' Ercolano and extended towards the Abbazia di San Pietro.   Other suburbs developed around the other four main gates in the ancient walls.

As noted above, the inhabitants of these suburbs (the popolani) came into conflict with the nobles as their prosperity and political aspirations increased.   The terms of the arbitration process carried out for Pope Honorius III by Cardinal John Colonna in 1223 (mentioned above) required (inter alia) that the popolani should dismantle the walls and ditches that they had constructed on land that belonged to the nobles returning from exile.  This illuminates the sporadic way in which the suburbs came to be enclosed within a new circuit of walls.

The list of city gates published in 1273 suggests that the new circuit of walls had almost reached its ultimate extent during the intervening 50 years.  These gates (using their current names) were:

  1. in rione di Porta San Pietro:

  2. Porta di Braccio, which is now stranded in the grounds of the Abbazia di San Pietro; and

  3. Porta di San Girolamo;

  4. in rione di Porta Sole:

  5. Porta di Sant’ Antonio; and

  6. a gate near San Bevignate in a wall around the suburb of Fontenuova that no longer exists;

  7. in rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo:

  8. Porta Bulagaio; and

  9. Porta San Cristoforo (which was close to the mid point of what is now Corso Garibaldi:

  10. in rione di Porta Santa Susanna:

  11. a gate known as Porta Santa Mustiola, the location of which is unclear; and

  12. Porta Santa Susanna; and

  13. in rione di Porta Eburnea:

  14. Porta San Giacomo.

The rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo did not receive its present outer wall (which included Porta Sant’ Angelo) until 1327-42.  This took the length of the outer walls to some 6 km, about twice the length of the inner Etruscan circuit.

The vie regali (main roads that radiated “ad forum comunis Perusii” (from the civic centre) to the main gates of the five rioni) were specified in 1295:

  1. in rione di Porta San Pietro, to Porta di Braccio;

  2. in rione di Porta Sole, to Porta del Carmine and the suburb of Fontenuova;

  3. in rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo, to the gate that is beyond the crossroads at Sant’ Angelo (which seems to have been an ante-porte);

  4. in rione di Porta Santa Susanna, to Porta Santa Susanna; and

  5. in rione di Porta Eburnea, to Porta San Giacomo.

  6. Two intermediate gates were mentioned, each of which was designated as “portam civitas que vocatur ...” (the city gate which is called ...).  This almost certainly meant a gate in the ancient walls around the inner city.  These two intermediate gates were:

  7. in rione di Porta San Pietro, “Porta Sancti Petri” (probably Porta Marzia, specified to distinguish it from Arco di Sant’ Ercolano); and

  8. in rione di Porta Sole, “Porta Solis” (which was probably either the now-demolished Arco della Piaggia dei Calderari or the nearby Arco dei Gigli).

Proceed to 14th Century.  

Return to the History of Perugia.

History of Perugia: 13th century

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