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PERUGIA Art and monuments - Palazzo dei Priori

Palazzo dei Priori and Piazza IV Novembre
Palazzo dei Priori and Piazza IV Novembre
Designs for the Palazzo dei Priori date back as far as the 1270s. A first part consisting of 3 triple-windows towards the square and 10 along Corso Vannucci was built between 1293 and 1297.

A first extension of the building took place between 1333 and 1337, with the addition of two more triple-windows towards the piazza, as well as the stairs and balcony. The lower steps were built in 1902).

After 1353 a second extension was added on the Corso, with six triple-windows, the large doorway and the originally fortified tower that surmounts the access to Via dei Priori.

A third extension was carried out between 1429 and 1443 with the addition of three more triple-windows and the section containing the Collegio del Cambio. A final extension to the rear was built on in the 16th century.

The asymmetrical and irregular facade of the building is the result of the various stages in which it was built. The perimeter of the roof was originally crenellated, symbolising the power of the free city. When Perugia fell to the papal armies the crenellations were demolished in 1610. The upper part of the tower had been destroyed in 1569. The crenellations we see on the roof did not reappear until 1860, with the unification of Italy.

the Gryphon
the Gryphon
The stairs in Piazza IV Novembre lead to a Gothic portal surmounted by the city's symbols, the griffin and lion. These are reproductions - the originals are kept in the Galleria Nazionale.

Given their size, early date and the fact that they are in bronze, the statues were probable cast in Venice in 1274.

The portal leads into the Sala dei Notari, formerly the Town Council Hall, which was allocated to the notaries guild in 1582. Their former headquarters, the Palazzetto dei Notari, opposite Palazzo dei Priori in Corso Vannucci, had had to be partially demolished to enlarge the left side of Via Calderini.

Portal of the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria.
Portal of the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria.
Punctuated by eight huge arches, the hall is completely covered by frescoes (late 1200) depicting biblical and allegorical scenes, as well as the coat of arms of the city's various podestà up until 1499. The coat of arms in the centre of the main belongs to Braccio Fortebraccio da Montone. Since they were in a poor state of repair, the frescoes were partially repainted in 1860.

A smaller door on top of the stairs leads to the current Council Hall. Edicts were announced to the city from this spall protruding pulpit.

Sala Palazzo dei Priori
Sala Palazzo dei Priori
Beneath the arches of the portico is the local tourist board, which is able to provide all sorts of useful information.

The facade that gives onto Corso Vannucci has another fine Gothic portal, dated 1346. The splay is densely decorated by allegories. The three statues in the lunette represent (from left to right) St. Laurentius, St. Ludevic of Toulouse and St. Herculanus, the patron saints of Perugia.

The lateral pillars rest on crouching lions and are surmounted by two griffins clasping calves in their claws. This is a symbolical allusion to the guild of butchers, one of the main funders of the construction. The portal leads to a typical Medieval atrium, with crossbow arches, coats of arms along the dark walls and a huge chest, once the strong-box of the free city.

A staircase leads from here up to the third floor, that houses the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria.
To the right of the Gothic portal on the ground floor there is the entrance to the Collegio della Mercanzia. Beyond runs the passageway to Via dei Priori and the Collegio del Cambio. The same ticket is valid for both visits.

Palazzo dei Priori
Corso Vannucci [old town centre]
Perugia, 06122

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, bis33, bis34, bis41, bis44

Disabled access available

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