Key to Umbria: Perugia

View of Colle del Sole on the right and a
Colle Landone (much-reduced since Etruscan times) on the left

The forum of the Etruscan city (now Piazza IV Novembre)

was in the hollow between these two hills

This walk follows the line of the walls of Etruscan Perugia, which were probably begun in the 4th century BC.  They seem to have been substantially rebuilt when the city passed under Roman control after the Battle of Sentinum (295 BC).  The circuit stretched for some 3 km around two hills: Colle del Sole to the north and Colle Landone to the south.  Each of these hills was later to be the site of a papal fortress that made use of the Etruscan foundations while destroying large sections of the walls:

  1. Fortezza di Porta Sole (1373) on Colle del Sole; and

  2. Rocca Paolina (1540) on Colle Landone (which was much-reduced in height during the demolition that preceded its construction).

Just over 1 km of the original circuit of the Etruscan walls is still easily visible, along with the remains of five Etruscan city gates.  Before beginning the tour of these remains, visit Pozzo Etrusco, the entrance to which is at number 18 Piazza Danti.

Cross Piazza Danti diagonally and walk along the right side of the Duomo.    Palazzo Giovio-Angelini-Paroli (17th century) opposite is at number 7, between Via Bartolo and Via Ulisse Rocchi.  Note the loggia (15th century) high on the side wall of this palace, above the advertisement for the restaurant “La Lanterna” (visible above the newspaper stand to the right in this photograph).

Leave the piazza along Via Ulisse Rocchi, which follows the line of part of the cardus maximus of the ancient city.  This thoroughfare retained its importance until 1378, when what is now Via Bartolo was built to the right of it, on the line of the moat that had run along the western side of Fortezza di Porta Sole.  It was re-named as Via Vecchia at this point, and was renamed again in the early 20th century in honour of Ulisse Rocchi (died 1903), the first mayor of Perugia after the city joined the Kingdom of Italy. 

The evocative Casa Coppoli (13th century) is at number 16-8 on the left.  [It is now a (very good) Enoteca Provinciale di Perugia.  Ask for the lights to be turned on to see the Etruscan remains that are under a transparent panel in the dining area behind the shop; these seem to have been part of the fortification of this important urban artery.  I think this wine bar has been closed.]

The street then widens, with Piazza Ansidei on the left. 

  1. The piazza was so-named in 1871 in honour of the family whose palace, Palazzo Ansidei di Montemarte, dominates it (at number 4). 

  2. It was originally called Piazza San Donato, a reference to the ex-church of San Donato at number 29-31 Via Ulisse Rocchi (just ahead, on the right), a building now occupied by a pizzeria.

Take a detour by turning right under the arch on the right at number 35.  The steps lead up to a small piazza that housed the largest Jewish community in Perugia until 1569, when the city’s Jews were expelled.  Cross the piazza diagonally and follow Via Pozzo Campana round to the left to rejoin Via Ulisse Rocchi.  An inscription on the right as you emerge from Via Pozzo Campana records the existence of the ghetto and its two synagogues. 

The building to the left at the junction with Via Ulisse Rocchi is Palazzo Brutti.  The far wall of this palace incorporates part of the Etruscan wall to the left of Arco Etrusco.  This monumental gate was the main entrance to the Etruscan city, at the northern end of the cardus maximus

From Arco Etrusco to Porta Trasimena

Walk through Arco Etrusco into Piazza Braccio Fortebracci (see Walk V) and turn immediately left along Via Battisti.  This road was built in 1902-6 and re-named in 1916 in honour of Cesare Battisti, a Socialist who was executed by the Austrians in that year.  (He had been taken prisoner whilst fighting for the Italians, and since he was an Austrian citizen, he was hanged as a traitor.)  There is a fine bust and inscription on the wall on the left.

This photograph shows the view behind you as you walk along this road.  It offers a panoramic view on the right of Rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo: this suburb, which includes Palazzo Gallenga Stuart (seen here in the distance) is visited in Walk V.  The long and well-preserved stretch of the Etruscan walls on the left provided strong foundations for the buildings above.  

Ahead of you, as the road curves to the right,  is a view of the back of the houses in Via Vezaro (see below), which also stand on foundations supplied by the the walls.


As the road crosses the aqueduct, look to the left to see Arco di Via Appia (visited in Walk III), which marks the point at which the medieval aqueduct penetrated the Etruscan walls.  The line of the walls then swings to the right so that the road crosses it.  At the end of the railings on the right , you can get a closer view of the buildings in Via Verzaro illustrated above.  The opening under the balcony of the house nearest you belongs to a small gate in the walls known as the Postierla della Conca, which provided pedestrian access to a steep track to the city centre.  (The gate to the other side of the Postierla della Conca is seen in Walk III).

Continue into Piazza Cavallotti.  The original name of the piazza was Piazza degli Aratri (of the ploughs), a reference to the market for agricultural equipment that was held here in the Middle Ages.  It was renamed in honour of Felice Cavallotti, a Milanese who fought for Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860-6 and who then served in the Parliament of the united Italy.

The entrance to the lower cloister of the Palazzo dei Canonici is on the far side of the piazza, with the entrance to an interesting archeological area is in the pavement in front of it.  (These are visited in Walk I)

Look back across the piazza, with the entrance to the cloister of the Palazzo dei Canonici behind you.  This painting (19th century) by Giuseppe Rossi, which is now in the Galleria Nazionale, shows how it looked before the demolition of the church of Santa Maria degli Aratri in 1874:
  1. Palazzo Bonucci Baldeschi (which can be seen at the extreme right in the painting) survives at the junction with Via Baldeschi; and

  2. some remains of the arches of the left wall of Santa Maria degli Aratri can be seen incorporated into the right wall of the house at 2-8 Piazza Morlacchi.


                                                  Palazzo Aureli                                          Teatro Civico

                                    later Palazzo Manzoni Ansidei              from 1874, Teatro Morlacchi

Turn left into Piazza Morlacchi and take a short detour to look at it.  This piazza took on its present form in 1874 (following the demolition of Santa Maria degli Aratri, as mentioned above), when what were then two piazze were merged:

  1. Piazza Aureli, which was named for Palazzo Aureli (now Palazzo Manzoni Ansidei) on the right; and, beyond it,

  2. Piazza del Teatro Civico, which was named for what is now Teatro Morlacchi.

The newly-created piazza and the theatre were, respectively, named and renamed in honour of the Perugian composer Francesco Morlacchi at that point.


The low building opposite Palazzo Manzoni Ansidei, which used to be the Garage  Gelsomini, was adapted in the 1960s to house the Biblioteca Umanistica of the University of Perugia.  During the work of adaptation, traces of the walls of an ancient building and of its a mosaic pavement (6th century AD) were discovered: the latter are exhibited in the Museo Archeologico.  [More recent excavation has revealed part of a mosaic (6th century AD) that seems to have belonged to a church]


                                                     Palazzo Bianchi                                  Palazzo Stocchi-Isidori

Two palaces stand on the left, opposite Teatro Morlacchi:

  1. Palazzo Bianchi (next to the Biblioteca Umanistica), which was built at the point where the two originally separate piazze met, as part of the redevelopment of the area; and

  2. Palazzo Stocchi-Isidori, beyond it.

Retrace your steps and turn left (just before Piazza Cavallotti) into Via del Verzaro.  (The term “verzaro”, which was applied to this area from at least the early Middle Ages, seems to mean “verdant”).  There is a well-preserved tower house (14th century) at number 3 on the right.  Ahead, as the road swings to the left, is the lovely church of San Martino del Verzaro.  As noted above, this church and the buildings beyond stand on the stretch of walls that you just saw from Via Battisti. 

Follow Via del Verzaro to the end and continue into Largo Ermini, which is named for Giuseppe Ermini, the rector of the University of Perugia in the period 1945-76.  There is a lovely view over Rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo from the viewing point on the right.  Palazzo Danzetta Florenzi (to the left in this photograph) is in front of you.

Turn left and then right (i.e. walk along the left of Palazzo Danzetta Florenzi) into Via Armonica and then left into Via del Poggio.  There is a magnificent view of the façade of San Francesco al Prato (visited in Walk III) from the top of the steps that lead down to Via delle Siepe.  From here, you can see a stretch of the Etruscan wall behind you and on the left as the steps descend.

Other tracts survive further along Via del Poggio:
  1. in the garden of number 20; and

  2. under the house at number 10, seen from the brick parapet between numbers 8 and 10 in this photograph.

An inscription at number 6 Via del Poggio commemorates the poet Alinda Bonacci Brunamonti (1841-1903), who was born nearby.

Turn left at the end into Via San Francesco and walk past two adjacent churches that are visited in Walk III: San Luca; and Santa Maria della Luce.  Turn right into Via dei Priori and Porta Trasimena.

From Porta Trasimena to Arco della Mandorla

Walk through Porta Trasimena and look back to see the line of the walls on the right , parallel to Via della Sposa below. 

Walk down the steps and turn left along Via della Sposa.  Turn left, just before Porta Santa Susanna (visited in Walk III), along Via Tornetta.   Immediately on the right is the secularised church and convent of Santa Chiara.  This complex was built on the probable site of the demolished church of Santa Mustiola.

Via Tornetta runs between the lines of the Etruscan and medieval walls (on the left and right respectively).  From the end o fit, you can see the line of theEtruscan  walls to the left.  However, access is restricted.  Instead, cross the car park in front of you to the “scala mobile” (escalator) on the left.  The car park stands in what was originally the gardens of Palazzo degli Oddi above.  Travel up one flight of the escalator (which then continues to Via dei Priori) and take the path on the right through the park.  Turn left at the end and walk up the stepped Via Canapina, where you can see a long stretch of walls on the left. 

The facade of the ex-church of San Benedetto Vecchio is ahead.  This is actually a double church: walk past it, following the Etruscan walls,  and look up to see the pensile apse of the upper church.

Continue into Piazza del Drago to the left.  The elementary school here is on the site of the Conservatorio Benincasa (the ochre in this photograph), which was established in 1716 under the terms of the will of Michelangelo Benincasa in order to find employment for young girls.   San Benedetto Vecchio was incorporated into it in 1777.

Continue along Via Cupa, which runs along a long section of the walls, with Parco della Cupa on the right below.  Take a short detour through the gate on the right into Parco della Cupa.  Immediately on the right you will see the Postierla della Cupa (to the left of the trees in this photograph), which was probably a pedestrian gate.  This opening, which was discovered only in 1946, spanned a path that ran to the Terme di San Galigano in Via San Galigano to the northeast. 

There is also a nice view from here of the facade of Santa Maria della Valle.  Retrace your steps through the gate and walk along Via Cupa to see this church.  Take a short detour along Via della Luna, to the left of it, to see its lovely apse. 

Continue along Via della Cupa, following the line of the walls, past the Sapienza Vecchia on the left. 

The street continues into Piazza Mariotti.  The ex-Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata and the associated ex-Monastero delle Povere on the right are built on the Etruscan walls.  (The walls can be seen in the foundations at the rear of these buildings from Viale Pompeo Pellini outside Porta San Giacomo - see Walk VII).  The ex-nunnery now houses the Conservatorio Musicale di Francesco Morlacchi.

Leave Piazza Annibale Mariotti by Via Mariotti, both of which are named in honour of the scholar Annibale Mariotti.  The inscription at number 1 (on the right as you leave the piazza) records the fact that this house belonged to him.

Continue  to Arco della Mandorla.

From Arco della Mandorla to Porta Marzia

Walk through Porta della Mandorla and take a short detour by turning right up the steps of Via Paradiso to see traces of the wall on the right. 

Turn back and look up to the other side of Porta della Mandorla to see the Torre dei Donati (14th century) above.  (Only the lower part of the tower is original).  All of the buildings on the left, up to and including this tower, are built on the Etruscan wall. 

Continue ahead along Via San Giacomo to the crossroads (with Via Parione ahead and Via San Giacomo swinging to the right).  The image of the Madonna and Child in the niche here was ceremoniously installed in 1996 on the 200th anniversary of a miraculous event that involved an earlier image.

Turn left along Via Fatebenefratelli, which hugs the terrace that supports the Viale Indipendenza.  Follow it as it turns right (becoming Via della Consolazione) and then immediately left (reverting to its original name) and continuing to follow the terrace.  This street skirts the part of Rione di Porta Eburnea that is described in Walk VII

Turn left at the end of Via Fatebenefratelli into Viale Indipendenza and continue to Torre dei Donati (photographed above) on the left.   You can look down from here along the line of the walls back to Porta della Mandorla (see above). 

Continue round  what is now the hairpin bend of Viale Indipendenza: the stretch of wall that ran along the line of this road from Torre dei Donati was destroyed in 1540-3 to facilitate the construction of Rocca Paolina (below).  The upper part of the venerable Hotel Brufani on the left stands on the site of Santa Maria dei Servi, the apse of which probably extended over the walls.  (See Walk VII for the church and the hotel).

Walk through the opening at number 7, under the terrace beyond, which leads to the excavated area under the site of Rocca Paolina.   Turn right along the subterranean Via Bagliona, which runs parallel to the line of Viale Indipendenza.  (A fuller exploration of the remnants of the fortress is undertaken in Walk VII).

When you reach the exit, look back to see the original imposts of Porta Marzia and the walls to either side of it, a few meters from where you are standing.  The walls and gate here demolished when the fortress was built.

From Porta Marzia to Piazza Matteotti

On emerging from the Rocca, look back to see the upper part of Porta Marzia, which was salvaged and embedded in the curtain wall of the fortress.  Take a short detour by turning right (as you face the fortress) along Via Marzia, with the original curtain wall of the fortress on your left.  The line of the Etruscan walls roughly follows the fortress wall.

Continue to the site of the upper part of church of Sant’ Ercolano (visited below);  the original structure here was demolished when the fortress was built. The Etruscan wall swung to the right just before this point.   According to tradition, the body of St Herculanus was thrown from these walls after his execution in ca. 548, after which  it was hastily buried on the site below on which the church was built. 

Walk back down Via Marzia (described in more detail in Walk VII) and turn sharply right and right again, along the shady stretch of Viale Indipendenza under the retaining wall of Via Marzia.  An inscription on the wall of the neo-Romanesque Casa Villani on the right records its restoration in 1922 by Ugo Tarchi.   The next turning on the right (Via Podiani) leads to Palazzo della Penna (visited in Walk IV), which stands on the site of the Roman amphitheatre.
The small park on the left was created in 1836.  The neo-classical Fontana del Nettuno (1854) that now stands at its centre is named for the statue of Neptune that adorns it.  The engineer Filippo Lardoni seems to have designed it for what is now Piazza Matteotti (see below), and it was apparently moved here to make way for a monument (1887) in Piazza Matteotti to Giuseppe Garibaldi


Continue to what was the lower the church of  Sant’ Ercolano on the left:

  1. The photograph at the centre here is of a fresco late 15th century by Benedetto Bonfigli in the Cappella dei Priori (now the Galleria Nazionale).  It shows Totila’s troops camped on the site of the amphitheatre in ca. 548, at the end of their successful siege of Perugia.  The body of St Herculanus, who has been executed on Totila’s orders, is being buried in front of an anachronistic representation of the church that was later dedicated to him.  The fresco shows three interesting details of the situation before the construction of Rocca Paolina:

  2. Porta Marzia is still in place;

  3. the upper church still has its original form; and

  4. a road leads directly down from Porta Marzia to the lower church of Sant’ Ercolano.

  5. The photograph on the left shows the ramp in the retaining wall to the left of Sant' Ercolano that probably marks the original line of this road.

Turn left on leaving the church, up the stepped Via di Sant’ Ercolano to Arco di Sant' Ercolano, which seems to have been opened in the Etruscan walls in the 12th century.  There are traces of the wall itself high up to the left.

Continue up Via di Sant’ Ercolano.   The trigram “d,m,e” (domus Misercordie) on the buildings at numbers 14, 4 and 2 on the right denote that these were part of the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Misericordia (see below).  Turn right into Via Oberdan, which follows the line of the Etruscan walls.  This road, which is now named in honour of the jurist Guglielmo Oberdan (died 1882), was previously known as Via dell’ Ospedale.  The level of the street was drastically lowered in 1581 in an urban remodelling commissioned by the papal legate, Giovanni Francesco Biandrate di San Giorgio.  The buildings on the right were built above the Etruscan walls.

Take a short detour by turning immediately left up the steps of Via Santa Lucia and right along Via degli Alunni.  This street is named for a building (probably at number 9-13) where abandoned babies could be left.  Retrace your steps and turn left to continue along Via Oberdan.

All of the buildings on the right and a number on the side opposite belonged to the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Misericordia, and many of them bear its trigram.  The portal at number 58, which has a particularly ornate trigram (illustrated above), was the entrance to the Conservatorio delle Projette, a school for orphaned or abandoned (literally “thrown out”) girls.  The ex-church of Santa Maria della Misericordia, which was at the centre of the hospital complex, has been recently restored and is now a picture gallery (at number 54).  

[A stretch of the walls can be seen under the floor and again in "La Libreria Oberdan", the excellent bookshop that now occupies two floors of the ex-hospital (at number 52).  Note, this shop closed in 2010, but there are said to beplans to re-open it.  It currently houses a branch of the clothes chain  “Subdued”.]

Continue along Via Oberdan:

  1. Palazzo Armellini is at number 40-50. 

  2. Palazzo Crispolti is at number 39-43 opposite. 

  3. The ex-church of San Giuseppe is at number 38.

Take a detour to the right along Via della Rupe on the right.  A section of the walls survives on the terrace the Ristorante del Sole on the right, and there are fine views to the west.  

Follow the road as it swings left along the foundations of the Etruscan walls under Piazza Sopramuro (now Piazza Matteotti - see below).  Braccio Fortebracci built the imposing brick arches here (the so-called Briglie di Braccio) in the early 15th century to counter the effects of erosion  His efforts were not entirely successful: only a couple of decades later, Leon Battista Alberti, who visited Perugia in 1436, observed that “ a stream at Perugia continually undermines and eats away the base of .... the hill on which the city stands” [“De re aedificatoria” (1443-52) I:VIII].

Retrace your steps and continue to the end of Via Oberdan, past the building at number 6 on the right that housed Monte di Pietà.Monte di Pietà (1462).  The Observant Franciscan Fr Barnaba Manassei established the first of these charitable institutions in Perugia.  Three branches existed by 1571, the year in which they were united here.  The building belonged to the Ospedale della Misericordia (above), as evidenced by the trigram on the architrave of its portal.

Continue into Piazza Matteotti.

Piazza Matteotti

This piazza (like many squares and streets in Italy) is named for Giacomo Matteotti, a socialist politician who was assassinated by Fascists in 1924.  It is still sometimes referred to by its ancient name, Piazza Sopramuro (piazza above the walls).  This print (1947) by Giovanni Ellero reconstructs the situation in the 13th century: Piazza Sopramuro on the left was linked by a series of side streets to the southern part of Piazza Grande (see Walk I).  The parapet that originally ran along its left side (on your right as you enter the piazza) followed the line of the Etruscan walls in a concave curve to meet what is now Via Alessi (at the far end of the present piazza).   There was a prison below the cliff where St Francis of Assisi was held as a prisoner of war in 1202.

The edge of the cliff was subject to erosion, so a sustaining wall was built at its base in ca. 1250.  The space between the two walls filled up with rubbish and with the spoil from demolished buildings.  In the late 13th century, Fra’ Bevignate buttressed this wall so that it supported a paved terrace, the so-called Campo di Battaglia, some way below the present level of the square.  This space took its name from the Battaglia dei Sassi (Battle of the Stones), an annual stone-throwing contest between representatives of the rione (the five districts of Perugia).  This tradition came to an end in 1425, when St Bernardino of Siena preached against it. 

In the early 1420s, Braccio Fortebracci further buttressed the Campo di Battaglia with new walls and arches (which you saw in the detour above) so that it was now capable of supporting buildings.  It seems to have been levelled and repaved in 1424-5 using material from the demolished Fortezza di Porta Sole.  However, it was to be some decades before the open view from the terrace was blocked by buildings:

  1. The arcade of shops on the right (number 24-38 Piazza Matteotti and number 2-6 Via Oberdan) was built in in 1472-6 by the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Misericordia as an extension to their premises in what is now Via Oberdan (above).  The architrave of what is now number 32 (illustrated here) carries the coat of arms of the hospital and the date 1472. 
  2. The Farmacia San Martino at number 26, which was founded in 1594, still belongs to the Sodalizio di San Martino

  1. The Palazzo dell’ Università Vecchia was built as two storeys above the arcade of shops in 1483-1512. 

  1. The new Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (1472-81) was built to the left of the arcade.

All of these buildings (together with the ex-Jesuit convent beyond them - see below) now house the Tribunale di Perugia (the Perugian law courts and associated offices).


                                          Loggia dei Lanari: Interior          Loggia dei Lanari: Exterior

The Gothic archway at number 18 and the one behind it lead to the 14th century Loggia dei Lanari (the loggia of the wool-merchants), which now houses an office of the Informazioni ed Accoglienza Turistica (IAT - Tourist Office).  Walk through the arch to see the outside wall of the loggia (illustrated above, to the right).


                                                      Chiesa del Gesù                    San Fiorenzo 

Continue around the open market to the terrace, the site of a lively bar that  offers a splendid view over the southern part of town and the valley below.  As you look out over the valley, the view to the left takes in:

  1. the campanile of San Fiorenzo (visited in Walk VI); and

  2. further round in an anti-clockwise direction (so you are looking away from the valley), the pensile apse of the Chiesa del Gesù (see below), high above a sustaining tower that contains three oratories, one on top of another. 

Steps to the sides of the terrace lead down to the covered market (1932), which was established on a terrace that Cardinal Francesco Armellini had commissioned in 1520 for a new college.  (This project had been aborted after his death in 1527).

Retrace your steps to Piazza Matteotti:

  1. Palazzo delle Poste (1911-6), which was designed by Osvaldo Armanni, stands on the opposite side of the piazza. [Frescoes by Annibale Brugnoli ?]

  1. the Chiesa del Gesù and adjoining convent are on the right. 

The neo-classical Fontana del Nettuno (1854) that now stands in the park next to Sant’ Ercolano (above) seems to have been moved there from Piazza Matteotti to make way for a monument (1887) to Giuseppe Garibaldi.  This monument was moved to the roundabout in Largo Cacciatori delle Alpi (see Walk VII) in 1933.

From Piazza Matteotti to Arco dei Gigli

On leaving the Chiesa del Gesù (on the right in this photograph) look right along Via Alessi, which was originally known as the Piaggia dei Calderari.  (“Piaggia” means steep road and the “calderari” made cauldrons).  The Etruscan walls swung to the left here, and an arch (Arco della Piaggia dei Calderari) opened onto the street beyond.  This arch was documented as “Porta Soli” in 1455, and some scholars believe this to be the original Porta Sole.   The wall and gate were apparently demolished in the 16th century. 
Cross the road here, to the corner of the narrow Via Volte della Pace (which runs along the left side of the narrow pink building on the left in this photograph) and Via Sant’ Andrea (ahead).  
  1. Via Sant’ Andrea takes its name from the church of Sant' Andrea, on the corner of this street.

  2. Via Volte della Pace runs along the line of the Etruscan walls as they swung to the right.

Take a detour along Via Volte della Pace.  When this street was vaulted in the 13th century, the buildings to the right did not exist, and it offered a shady spot from which the residents could enjoy the view.  The portal after number 22 on the left is decorated at the top with the arms of the Olivetan Order. 

The building under the arch next to it, which now houses a creperie (Les Cre Fantastiques), is the ex-church of Santa Lucia delle Volte.  

Retrace your steps to Piazza Matteotti and turn sharply left along Via Alessi.  A tract of the walls Via Volte della Pace survives as the back wall of the shop at number 26.  

Fork left along Via Cartolari, which is below the line of the walls.  The inscription over the fine portal at number 9 records that Galeazzo Alessi, who was called to Spain to work on “the marvellous Escorial Palace”, lived in this modest house and died here in 1572.

Continue to the end and turn left along Via della Viola.  A stretch of the walls can be seen in Via della Pazienza on the left. 

Take a short detour along Via San Giovanni del Fosso on the right to see the ex-church of San Giovanni del Fosso.

Retrace your steps and continue along Via della Viola.  Turn left along Via Sdrucciola to the  Arco dei Gigli, a second candidate for the original Porta Sole. . 

From Arco dei Gigli to Arco Etrusco

The next section of walls was destroyed in 1373 to make way for Fortezza di Porta Sole (below), and it is no longer possible to follow the line exactly.

Turn left and walk through Porta dei Gigli and along Via Bontempi (see Walk VII).  The building immediately on the right at number 48, which now forms part of Palazzo Montesperelli (17th century), blocks what was a street that followed the line of the walls to the back of San Severo (see below).

Continue a little way up Via Bontempi and turn right along Via Raffaello, which is sign-posted to San Severo (see below) in Piazza Raffaello.  The inscription on the wall of the house on the left is taken from Dante's "Paradiso" (Canto XI), and can be translated:

"Between Topino and the stream that pours down 

from the hill chosen by the blessed Ubaldo [St Ubald of Gubbio],

a fertile slope slants from a soaring mountain [Mount Subasio]. 

It makes Perugia feel the cold and heat through Porta Sole"

The facade of San Severo is on the next side of the piazza (proceeding clockwise).  The chapel at right angles to it (facing you in this photograph) houses an important fresco (1505-20) by Raphael and Perugino

The stepped street down along the right of the chapel is now a cul-de-sac: it originally formed a T-junction with the street that ran along the line of the walls from Porta dei Gigli (see above) and along the back of San Severo.

Retrace your steps, cross the facade of San Severo, and turn right along Via dell’ Aquila into Piazza Biordo Michelotti.  This is the highest point in the city and was at the heart of Fortezza di Porta Sole (1372-5).  It was originally known as Piazza Monte di Porta Sole, but was renamed in 1871 in honour of Biordo Michelotti, who was murdered in his house here (see Palazzo Verrachi below) in 1398. 

  1. The three palaces on the left stand on a terrace that was built for the fortress, the buttresses of which are visible from Piazza Piccinino (see below).  They are:

  2. Palazzo Cesarei (16th century) at number 5, which housed a meteorological station in the 19th century;

  3. Palazzo Montesperelli (17th century) at number 6 - 13 (on the left in the photograph above), which incorporates a tower house to the right; and

  4. Palazzo Mori (17th century) at number 15 - 1.

  5. The piazza contains two other interesting palaces:

  6. The palace on the right (behind you in the photograph), which has an imposing double staircase, was rebuilt after the bombing of the Second World War. 

  7. The most important building in the piazza is Palazzo Veracchi, at number 1 (on the right in the photograph).

Take the street to the right of Palazzo Veracchi into Piazza Rossi Scotti.  This piazza is sustained by a wall of arches on the foundation of the Etruscan wall: these arches once provided the foundations for Fortezza di Porta Sole (above).  The terrace here offers splendid views across the Rione di Porta Sole to the right (illustrated) and the Rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo to the left (see below).  (The campanile in this photograph belongs to Santa Maria Nuova, which is visited in Walk VI).

The important buildings in this piazza are:
  1. Palazzo Rossi Scotti on your right (as you look over the terrace);

  2. Palazzo Conestabile della Staffa behind you (with its main entrance in Via delle Prome, at number 15), which now houses the Biblioteca Augusta; and

  3. the ex-church of Sant’ Angelo della Pace on your left (illustrated here).


Leave Piazza Rossi Scotti along the right side of Sant’ Angelo della Pace and continue  along Via delle Prome. a stepped street that runs down in three zig-zag stretches, the second of which runs along the line of the walls.  There is a magnificent view of the Rione di Porta Sant’ Angelo from the top, with Sant' Agostino (visited in Walk V) prominent on the right.

The steps end in Via Bartolo, with an interesting zig-zag section of Etruscan wall opposite.  Arco Etrusco is immediately beyond it (so your circuit of the Etruscan walls is complete). 

Turn left along Via Bartolo (described in Walk V), which was built in 1378 on the line of the moat that had run along the western side of Fortezza di Porta Sole.  Turn left  at the end into Piazza Danti and continue into Piazza Piccinino (described in Walk VI) to see the buttresses of the terrace built for the fortress that was mentioned above. 

Return to Piazza Danti, where the walk ends.

Return to Walks in Perugia.

Perugia - Walk II

From Piazza Danti to Arco Etrusco & around the Etruscan Walls 

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