Key to Umbria: Perugia

Nunneries in Perugia

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The following nunneries in Perugia have separate pages in this website:

  1. Sant’ Agnese;

  2. Sant’ Antonio da Padova;

  3. San Benedetto dei Condotti, which belonged to the Sylvestrine nuns from Sant’ Erminio (see below) from 1641 until 1820;

  4. San Bevignate, which housed a nunnery under the auspices of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem from 1324 until ca. 1507;

  5. Santa Caterina;

  6. the nunneries of the Blessed Colomba of Rieti in Corso Cavour and Corso Garibaldi;

  7. Sant' Erminio, which was a Sylvestrine nunnery from ca. 1293 until 1641, and which has belonged to the nuns of Santa Maria di Monteluce (below) since 1927;

  8. San Francesco delle Donne;

  9. Santa Giuliana;

  10. Santa Maria Maddalena delle Repentute;

  11. Santa Maria di Monteluce;

  12. San Tommaso.

Monastero delle Bartolelle (1604)

This nunnery was established under the terms of the will of Giovanni Antonio Bartolelli and under the auspices of Bishop Napoleone Comitoli.  It was in Via Torcoletti, which takes its name from the small cakes baked by the nuns.  It was suppressed in 1798, when the nuns moved to Santa Maria di Monteluce.  They managed to return a year later, but the nunnery was definitively suppressed in 1810.  It was demolished in ca. 1870 to make way for a new women’s prison.

Santa Chiara (1552)

A community of Capuchin nuns settled here in 1552, and built the church and nunnery of Santa Chiara. 

This had probably been the site of the church of Santa Mustiola, which had belonged to the Confraternita di Sant' Andrea della Giustizia before its demolition in 1537.  The confraternity, which had moved to the Oratorio dei SS Andrea e Bernardino at that time, administered the temporal affairs of the nuns until 1566.  The Jesuits of the Chiesa del Gesù were responsible for the spiritual direction of the nuns from 1556.

This community was suppressed in 1863.  The complex was adapted for industrial use in the period 1912-39, and then for residential use.  Part of it housed the State Archives from 1941. 

This portal from the 16th century church survives in Via Tornetta.  The relief on the lintel depicts a Franciscan cord around a cross. 

The complex now houses the Associazione Porta Santa Susanna.

Santa Lucia (1472)

This nunnery, which belonged to a community of Augustinian nuns, was rebuilt in 1472 after a fire that killed seven of their number.  The portal (1706) on Corso Garibaldi opens onto a flight of stairs that leads to what was the nuns’ church. 

The church was restored in 1614 [and received the relics of St Justina in 1696.] 

The church was restored again in 1815.  In 1817, the few remaining nuns from the nearby Franciscan nunnery of Sant’ Antonio da Padova were moved here, and the nuns opened a school for poor young girls.  The school and the buildings passed to the Conservatorio Antinori, an organisation devoted to the education of poor young girls, in 1851.  It retains this name but is an elementary school.

Art from the Church

Pietà and symbols of the Passion (15th century)

This panel, which is in its original frame, was moved from the sacristy of Santa Lucia to the Galleria Nazionale in 1863 .  Neither the artist nor the original location are known, but it has been suggested that the work was originally in a roadside tabernacle.

Mystic Marriage of St Catherine (1608)

Sister Dionira della Corgna, on behalf of the nuns he nuns of Sant’ Antonio da Padova, commissioned this altarpiece from Vincenzo Pellegrini for the altar of their public church.  They brought it with them when they moved to Santa Lucia in 1817.  It was documented there in 1822 but subsequently disappeared.  It turned up in the German Embassy in Rome at the end of the Second World War, and was subsequently sold on the art market.  It is now in the Bob Jones University Museum, Greenville, South Carolina. 

St Augustine in Meditation (17th century)

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Giovanni Francesco Bassotti, was documented on the high altar on a number of occasions between 1683 and 1822.  It was subsequently moved to Sant’ Agostino (presumably in 1851, when the complex of Santa Lucia passed to the  the Conservatorio Antinori).  [It is still there ?]

The altarpiece depicts St Augustine kneeling in a landscape and looking up at two visions: the Crucifixion, on the left; and the Immaculate Virgin, on the right.   Three putti around him play with his book, his staff and his mitre.

Madonna and Child (17th century)

This altarpiece, which is attributed to Giovanni Antonio Scaramuccia, came from the nunnery.  It is now in the Museo Capitolare. The full length figure of the Madonna portrays her as the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.  

Santa Margherita (13th century)

This palace in Parco Santa Margherita

stands on the site of the demolished nunnery

The hermitage of “Santa Margherita in Massa Saliarica”, which a group of Camaldolesians established outside Perugia, was documented in 1037, when the Emperor Conrad II mentioned it as a hermitage dependent on Sant’ Apollinare in Classe (near Ravenna).  It was mentioned again in this capacity in 1229 in a bull of Pope Gregory IX.

In 1248, a lady called Benvenuta di Cilino di Assisi made bequests to a number of nunneries in Perugia:

  1. Santa Caterina (later Santa Caterina Vecchia);

  2. Sant’ Angelo di Arenaria (or del Renaio), near Cenerente (some 4 km outside Porta Sant' Angelo), which later transferred to San Francesco delle Donne;

  3. Santa Giuliana;

  4. Santa Maria di Monteluce; and

  5. Santa Margherita.

This last nunnery, which seems to have belonged to a Benedictine community that had acquired the site of the old hermitage, was documented again in 1296, when the abbess requested a license from the bishop. 

In 1399, Pope Boniface IX ordered that the community should absorb that of San Bernardo (see Walk VI).  In 1428, Pope Martin V ordered that they should also absorb the merged communities of Santa Maria delle Vergini and Santo Spirito.

The community was under the control of the monks of San Pietro from 1561 until 1703, when it returned to episcopal control.  It was suppressed in 1810.  The church and nunnery were demolished in 1815, although some ruins survive.  If you want to see some of these ruins, take the steps to the left of the palace, which lead down  to a terrace and then  continue round to the back of it.  (The route from the right of the palace, which is still shown on the map at the park entrance, has in fact subsided).

Art from the Nunnery

Santa Margherita Altarpiece (1547-9)

This altarpiece from Santa Margherita in the deposit of the Galleria Nazionale was the subject of three payments made in 1547-8 to Lattanzio Pagani and the otherwise unknown Organtino di Mariano.  The date 1549 appears in the inscription:

  1. The main panel, which depicts the Madonna and Child enthroned with SS Benedict and Bernard, is not thought to be the work of Lattanzio Pagani, and is thus presumably by Organtino di Mariano.

  2. The predella, which depicts the martyrdom of St Margaret and figures of SS Christopher and Catherine of Alexandria, is usually attributed solely to Lattanzio Pagani.

Santa Maria della Colombata (ca. 1300)

This church (also known as Santa Maria di Colle Amato), which was built on the site of an ancient hermitage, became a Benedictine nunnery in 1297.

Bishop Giovanni Andrea Baglioni suppressed the nunnery in 1437 because of the bad behaviour of the nuns, and sold its goods to help with the financing of the new Duomo.  Pope Eugene IV subsequently allowed the church to be partially demolished to provide building materials for the project.

The complex was then put to a number of uses:

  1. It belonged to the Gesuati (the Order of Hermits of Saint Jerome, which Pope Urban V approved in 1367 and which Pope Clement IX suppressed in 1668) in 1454-99.

  2. A community of Poor Clares lived here in 1499-1528.

  3. It is documented as an isolation hospital in 1528.

A group of nuns from the Monastero della Beata Colomba moved here in 1528 but they were sent back to their mother house in 1575, probably because of their bad behaviour.   The complex then passed into secular use. 

All that remains of the original church is its façade of red and white marble.  The lovely portal (14th century) has a relief of the Lamb of God that probably dates to the original construction.  The nuns of Beata Colomba probably added the sculpted dove in the lunette above above.

S. Maria Maddalena delle Convertite (1562)

The Confraternita della SS Annunziata established this nunnery for reformed prostitutes in Via del Parione.  It was extended in 1603 but suppressed during the French occupation, when it was used as a brothel.  When papal authority was (temporarily) restored to Perugia in the early 18th century, the complex became a “Casa di Correzione” for women.  It was demolished in ca. 1870 to make way for a new women’s prison.

Santa Maria delle Orfane (1616)

Giovanni Battista Pontani founded a community of Poor Clares here that cared for female orphans who wished to join their order.   The sisters seem to have been associated with the Capuchins, and their establishment was also known as Santa Maria delle Cappuccinelle.

The orphanage for girls moved to Santa Maria degli Angeli in the early 19th century.  This complex then housed the boys from Santa Maria degli Angeli and those from SS Annunziata.  

San Paolo (1541) 

The original church and nunnery here was dedicated to St Elisabeth of Hungary.  The complex passed to a community of female Franciscan tertiaries in 1541, when their Monastero di San Paolo di Colle Landone was demolished to make way for Rocca Paolina.  The nuns rebuilt and re-dedicated the nunnery.  They were expelled in 186o and the complex was subsequently adapted for secular use.

A relief of the “IHS” symbol on the lintel of the garage door at number 9 Via Francolina is all that survives of the nunnery.

San Paolo di Favarone (13th century)

A private oratory here, which was documented in 1264, belonged to a community of female penitents in 1317.  From 1329, they followed the rule of the Poor Clares.  This community absorbed a similar community from Sant’ Agnese in 1429, and was absorbed in turn into Santa Maria di Monteluce in 1451. 

From 1790, the complex was used as a summer school attached to the seminary.  It now privately owned. 

San Sperandio (1262)


                           Ex-church (garage) next to       Remains from the cloister incorporated

                          number 3 Strada Sperandio                into the student residence at

                                                                                              number 5 Strada Sperandio

The Blessed Santuccia Carabotti established the nunnery here in 1262 on land given to her by a woman who had established a hermitage here.  This seems to have been the first of the nunneries that Santuccia founded outside Gubbio.  It is possible that there were originally two separate communities on the site (San Sperandio and Santa Maria Maddalena Bulgazzano) that were later united into a single community.  

The 1279 statutes of Perugia mention San Sperandio.  In 1305, after the death of Santuccia, the sisters of San Sperandio swore obedience to the new abbess of their mother house, Santa Maria in Giulia, Rome.  This may be the date at which San Sperandio and Santa Maria Maddalena Bulgazzano became a singe community.

[There seems to have been an associated monastery nearby.]

Pope Paul III placed the nuns under the guidance of the monks of San Pietro in 1542, and this arrangement remained in place until 1702, when they returned to episcopal control.

The nunnery was suppressed in 1799 and its goods were transferred to the Orfanatrofio della Divina Misericordia, an orphanage for boys that had been established at Santa Maria degli Angeli

The complex at San Sperandio was largely demolished in 1805.

Return to Monuments of Perugia.

Return to: Walk II (Santa Chiara);

Walk III (Santa Maria della Colombata; San Paolo);

Walk IV (Santa Maria delle Orfane);

Walk V (Santa Lucia; San Sperandio);

Walk VI (Santa Margherita; San Paolo di Favarone);

Walk VII (Monastero delle Bartolelle; Santa Maria Maddalena delle Convertite).