Key to Umbria: Perugia

The architect and mathematician Bernardino (Bino) Sozi was born in Perugia.  All of his documented and attributed work was in his native city.  He was appointed as civic architect in 1576, but gave up the post after a year at his own request.


Chiesa della Morte (1575-1603) 

The newly-formed Compagnia dell’ Orazione e della Buona Morte commissioned a design for its new church, the Chiesa dell Compagnia della Morte, from Vincenzo Danti in 1575.  Bino Sozi took over the project when Vincenzo Danti died in 1576.

[Could this design in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, which is signed “Bino Sotij nel primo offitio 1573” and relates to the addition of chapels to an octagonal church,  relate to the Chiesa della Morte ??]

The  church is in the form of a Greek cross with an internal octagonal floor plan and a high cupola.   In this site on the restoration by Antonio de Feo Restauri in 2005, it is suggested that the heavy brick cladding of the cupola was not envisaged in the original design.

The papal legate, Cardinal Bonifacio Bevilacqua commissioned the imposing portal (1604) and is commemorated in the inscription there.  The arms here are those of Pope Clement VIII, Cardinal Bevilacqua and the vice legate Alessandro Maggi, with the griffin of Perugia below the inscription.

Facade of Sant’ Agostino (1579)

The upper part of the facade of Sant’ Agostino was built in 1579, to a design that is attributed to Bino Sozi.  

Tabernacle (1579)

This tabernacle, which was some 5 meters high and stood on the high altar of the Duomo, was recorded in the 18th century as a “marvellous” work by Bino Sozi.  It was gilded by Fiorenzo di Giuliano, to a design provided by Bino Sozi and under his supervision, in 1587. 

The tabernacle was largely destroyed in 1762 so that its gold leaf could be recovered: only the upper part survives, on the altar of the Cappella di San Francesco, to the left of the presbytery of the Duomo.  [It was not there at the time of my visit of 2013]  A drawing (18th century) by Baldassarre Orsini of the complete tabernacle survives in the Accademia di Belle Arti.

Facade of the Maestà delle Volte (1584)

A document of 1584 records that the procurators of the  seminary employed two stonemasons to execute the new facade of the Maestà delle Volte, to a design by Bino Sozi.   (One of these procurators was Bino’s brother Giovanni Paolo Sozi).  The inscription on the facade records that  Bishop Antonio Maria Gallo ornamented it, using funds from the will of Marco Antonio Oradini


Organ (1584)

The organ on the counter-facade of Santa Maria Nuova was built to a design by Bino Sozi and gilded and painted in 1612 by Matteuccio Salvucci.

Stucco decoration (1584)

The stucco decoration of the altar of San Fortunato, for which Bino Sozi was paid in 1584, was presumably destroyed when the church was remodelled in 1663.

Facade of San Luca (1586)

The inscription above the portal of San Luca records that the Knights of Malta rebuilt it in 1586.  The design of its facade (or sometimes just the upper part of it) is attributed to Bino Sozi.

Altar (1586)

The altar of the Oratorio di Sant’ Agostino was designed by Bino Sozi.

Campanile of the Duomo (1606-12)


The new campanile of the Duomo, which replaced an earlier one that was demolished in 1462, was built by Valentino Martelli to a design by Bino Sozi.  Its four bells were rung for the first time on 24th July, 1612.

Read more:

M. G. Bistoni, G. Casagrande and P. Monacchia, “Bino Sozi: Architetto della Maestà delle Volte a Perugia”, Esercizi 1 (1978) 187-96

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Bino Sozi (died after 1604) 

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