Key to Umbria: Perugia

Palazzo Gallenga Stuart (1748-58)

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Giuseppe Antonori commissioned this Baroque palace, which was designed by the Roman architect Francesco Bianchi and executed by Pietro Carattoli.  Its inspiration was Palazzo Doria in the Corso, Rome.  In 1855, the palace passed to the Martinori family from Rome.  The palace received its current name in 1875, when the Piedmontese Romeo Gallenga bought it soon after his marriage to the English Mary Montgomery Stuart.   In 1878, the young Venetian actor Carlo Goldoni made his début in the small theatre here, and the adjacent room was named Sala Goldoni in his honour.  

The palace became the headquarters of the Università Italiana per Stranieri (University for Foreigners) in 1921.  Benito Mussolini participated in the opening conference in 1922, giving a lecture on the ancient Roman navy.  Count Romeo Gallenga Stuart donated the palace to the city in 1936.  An American student (and honorary citizen of Perugia), Frederick Thorne Rider, made a substantial donation in 1935-7 that financed the building of a new wing along the back of the palace.  The architect was Dino Lilli.

Frescoes (1754-8)

These frescoes by Pietro Carattoli on the “piano nobile” depict allegories of the seasons. 

Frescoes (1862)

These frescoes by Domenico Bruschi on the vault of a room in the mezzanine celebrate the unification of Italy.

Frescoes (1874)

These frescoes by Matteo Tassi on the ceiling of  Sala Goldoni depict astrological symbols in tondi and the chariots of Venus, Diana, Mars, Mercury and Apollo.

Apotheosis of Rome (20th century)

This fresco by Gerardo Dottori is in the Aula Magna (main hall).   Aeneas and Romulus, mythical founders of Rome, appear at the top left, with the Coliseum and St Peter’s to the right.  The figures below represent the modern founders of Rome: one of them had the face of Mussolini, but this was replaced after his downfall.

Read more:

P. Belardi (Ed), “Il Palazzo Gallenga Stuart di Perugia”, (2008) Perugia

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