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PERUGIA Art and religion - Cathedral of San Lorenzo

Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo
Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo
A former church (936-1060) covered an area that corresponds to what is today the transept of San Lorenzo, having been incorporated into the design for a larger church by Fra Bevignate in 1300. In 1345 the foundation stone was laid for a new church, with works starting sometime between 1437 and 1439. The interior at least was certainly complete by the end of the same century.

Building continued until 1587, however, without ever coming to an end - as is clearly visible in the unfinished appearance of the exterior.

The pink and white stone decoration on the exterior facades was taken from the cathedral of Arezzo in 1335 but was only completed on the lateral facade facing the Fontana Maggiore.

Piazza IV Novembre
Piazza IV Novembre
The Gothic windows are also an interesting architectural feature of the building, as well as a pulpit that was assembled in the 14th century using antique fragments (some of which are Cosmatesque), from where San Bernardino of Siena preached in 1425 and 1427. The Mannerist doorway was designed by Galeazzo Alessi and sculpted by Ludovico Scalza (1568). It was moved here from the nearby Collegio del Seminario. The bronze statue of Julius III (Vincenzo Danti, 1555), was erected in honour of the pope who reinstated Perugia's city rights that had been removed by Pope Paul III in 1540. The Renaissance loggia is a 15th century addition by Braccio di Fortebraccio da Montone, to connect his residence to the cathedral when he ruled over Perugia. Although the main facade was never completed, its main doorway was designed by Pietro Carattoli in 1729.

The interior is late Gothic in style and consists of three aisles of equal height divided by octagonal pillars surmounted by crossbow vaulting. It was altered in the 18th century, with the addition of stucco and other decorations such as the false marble painting over the of the columns, the altar and the paintings of the vaults.

Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo
Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo
The chapel of San Bernardino is one of the building's noteworthy features. It contains Federico Barocci's Deposition (1567-69). The wooden choir in the apse is by Giuliano da Maiano and Domenico del Tasso (1491) and was partly destroyed by fire in 1985.

The bishop’s throne designed by Ciancio di Pierfrancesco is also here, as intended in the plans laid down by Rocco di Tommaso (1520-24). Perugia's most illustrious bishop was certainly Count Gioacchino Pecci, bishop from 1846 to 1878 when he was elected pope with the name of Leo XIII. The statue by Giuseppe Lucchetti (1892) placed in the right transept is dedicated to him.

The chapel to the right of the presbitery leads to the sacristy, which is decorated with frescoes by Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi di Pesaro (1572-78). The furniture dates back to 1494-97 and is by Mariotto di Paolo da Gubbio.

These rooms give access to the Cloister of the Parsonage (Chiostro della Canonica), where five episcopal conclaves were held in 1216, 1265, 1285, 1294 and 1305.

The nearby Museo Capitolare contains a variety of treasures including a 'Pietà' by Bartolomeo Caporali (1486), an altar-piece with a 'Madonna in trono' by Luca Signorelli (1484) and a triptych by Meo di Guido da Siena (early 14th century). The museum is currently closed for restoration.

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Piazza IV Novembre [old town centre]
Perugia, 06100

Info: Ph. +39 0755723832

Timetable of Holy Mass:
Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat: 7.20am - 8am – 9.30am - - 6pm
festive: 8.30am - 10am - 11.30am – 6pm

APM (Public municipal bus transport authority): stopped bus - Piazza Italia [only 200 meters away]
Linea 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13s, 13d, 15, 81, 82, 83, 87, bis28, bis31, bis34, bis39, bis41, bis44, bis50

Disabled access available

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