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Città della Pieve

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Città della Pieve

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Discover Città della Pieve

Discover Città della Pieve with us 

In a part of the region that borders with Tuscany and is near Lazio, at an altitude of 508 metres above sea level, stands the characteristic Umbrian village of Città della Pieve.

Its towering position on the top of a hill affords a wonderful view of Lake Trasimeno and the Val di Chiana, some of central Italy’s truly unique gems.

The village is famous for being the birthplace of the most important exponent of Umbrian painting in the 15th century, the master Pietro Vannucci known as Perugino. The painter, who was also Raphael’s master, painted captivating landscapes in his works, places that inspired and surrounded him during his life, such as the gentle hills and the lush and enveloping vegetation. The village hosts many of the numerous works painted by the illustrious artist.

Città della Pieve is now part of the province of Perugia, but the archaeological artefacts found in the area attest to how it once belonged to Chiusi; the origins of the residential centre date back to the 7th century, a period in which the Longobards exercised their power over the Duchy of Tuscia. The present name of Città della Pieve is due to a ‘Pieve’ (church) built in honour of the martyred Saints Gervasio and Protasio, and in which pagans began to be baptized and therefore converted to Christianity.

The village also took the name of Città del Castel della Pieve, due to the presence of surrounding walls dating back to the 11th century that were built to protect and delimit a castle-like fortification, but the name turned out to be too long and similar to the town of Città di Castello, so in order to avoid confusion, the village was later called simply Città della Pieve.

Village life then began to develop within it and soon the number of inhabitants grew, especially following the hardship created in the area below, as the valley of Val di Chiana gradually became a marshy area and no longer habitable, forcing the population to find shelter in the village.

Città della Pieve was for a long time subject to the harsh dominion of nearby Perugia, which definitively limited the expansion of the village with its strong and rebellious character. Only from 1228 to 1250 did Città della Pieve experience a phase of independence thanks to Federico Il di Svevia, which led to the birth of the Free Commune (or City-State), a period in which the town planning of the village was set out as we see it today. Looking at the perimeter of Città della Pieve, you can make out an interesting and curious shape of an eagle; the territory was divided into three parts, the ‘terzieri’, which correspond to the three different parts of the eagle and also symbolize the three social classes of the time: in the head of the eagle, facing towards Rome, is the Terziere Castello, which represented the class of knights and thus the aristocracy, the belly constitutes the Terziere Borgo Dentro and symbolizes the bourgeoisie, while the wing and the tail house the Terziere Casalino, which alludes to the class of the pedestrians, the peasants.

The town planning of Città della Pieve in the 13th century is fascinating to see and understand; during periods of clashes between social classes, in fact, the wide roads that developed with a curve denoted the presence of knights, who needed more space to move; these roads were in sharp contrast to the narrower ones with a fragmented surface, which showed the presence of the pedestrian class, the peasants. This way, the knights managed to escape attacks by pedestrians equipped with a crossbow and arrow thanks to the curve in the street, while the pedestrians were able to escape attack by the knights in the narrow alleyways not accessible to horses.

The ‘Terzieri’ in Città della Pieve have often been in conflict with each other and the spirit of competition has fuelled their desire to win. To re-evoke this medieval past and to celebrate the identity of the villagers, the characteristic Palio dei Terzieri is held every year in August: the village comes alive with colours, drapes and banners, the flag-wavers perform in the streets, the shops of ancient crafts, artisans and artists re-open and the age-old taverns come to life, offering delicious and succulent specialities faithful to an ancient and authentic tradition. The alleys of the village host typical Renaissance market stalls and itinerant musicians, and shows and games are held; the Terzieri challenge each other and compete for the precious tapestry of the master Antonio Marroni, which depicts the most important monuments in Città della Pieve, various archers who pay homage to the ‘Maestro di Campo’ and the symbols of the Terzieri: the medieval Castle, the Rocca del Borgo Dentro and the Pozzo del Casalino. Among the most significant events are the Corteo Storico (Historical Procession) and the Caccia del Toro (Bull Chase).

Many of the locals parade along the most important streets in the centre wearing wonderful, elegant historical costumes, representing the members of the various social classes of the past, such as knights, ladies and commoners. Passionate musicians play and evoke sweet melodies and the procession advances through the village led by the ‘Maestro di scena’ (stage manager), the Porta gonfalone (Heraldic Standard bearer) and other important personalities. Finally, a procession of about 700 people is followed by a classically-inspired allegorical float.

The Caccia del Toro ‘bull chase’ instead represents – in bloodless fashion – Siena’s ancient bullfights; the archers of the different Terzieri, each with three arrows, challenge each other with a crossbow and try to hit their respective targets, which are three wooden figures representing Chianina bulls. The silhouettes of the bulls, each with a band representing the different colours of the Terzieri, are placed on a carousel and move faster and faster, making the competition progressively more complex and exciting.

Another fascinating event for locals and tourists is the Infiorata di San Luigi Gonzaga, patron saint of the Terziere Casalino; every year, on the streets of the village, dazzling pictures are created with colourful flower petals, on a different annual theme. The event is a unique occasion and marks the beginning of Città della Pieve’s summer events.

During Easter, the village organizes a Mostra Mercato (Exhibition-cum-Market), an event that includes a display of premium, typical products connected to the agriculture, gastronomy and craftsmanship of Città della Pieve. During the same period there is also an evocative show of Quadri Viventi (Living Paintings) in which people interpret the themes of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ in the incredible setting of the underground part of Palazzo Orca.

One of the unmissable events is definitely Zafferiamo, a festival that celebrates one of the most important symbols of the village, known in ancient times as the crocus. Città della Pieve in fact boasts an outstanding quality of saffron, with production cited in documents dating back to the 13th century, specifically in the Perugia Statute of 1279, which forbade the sowing of the spice to outsiders. It was originally used for dyeing fabrics and was a very important source of income for the village. Today Città della Pieve’s saffron is a premium product in Italy and is sold in threads to preserve and guarantee its quality and authenticity. During the event, which is held annually in October and does not focus solely on the use of saffron in food, you can take part in fabric-dyeing workshops using saffron pigments, or paint with the various shades of colour obtained from this valuable spice.

Over the centuries, the people of Città della Pieve have also specialized in the production of bricks, a particular sort with a reddish colour used for the majority of the houses in the village, from facades to flooring, and have also demonstrated their exquisite skills in the traditional production of crochet lace, lace and embroidery. Another famous product is panno cremisi (cramoisy), a very fine crimson fabric produced since ancient times and the embroidery created with the Punto Perugino stitch, inspired by the images and Renaissance decorations of the great artist Il Perugino.

Città della Pieve also promotes its genuine, high quality natural agri-foods. Here you taste Colli del Trasimeno D.O.C. wine and appreciate its fruity aroma and slightly bitter aftertaste and enjoy it with your meat and vegetable-based dinners; it is a predominantly red wine produced with Sangiovese or Trasimeno grapes. Equally important is the production of Colli Orvietani D.O.P. extra virgin olive oil, made from Leccino, Frantoio and Moraiolo olive varieties; its unmistakable and particularly fruity flavour and intensity will take your taste buds by storm.

Other typical specialties of the local culinary tradition are Cinghiale al dragoncello or Cinghiale allo spito (Wild boar with tarragon or spit-roasted) with its intense and decisive flavour and Zuppa di Fagiolina del Trasimeno (Trasimeno bean soup), a genuine, tasty dish with the fascinating and delicious flavour of a by-gone era.

Discover with us what to see in Città della Pieve

The enchanting village of Città della Pieve offers breath-taking vistas and numerous historic monuments and works of art.

One of these is the Cattedrale di S. Gervasio e S. Protasio, which is situated in the village’s main piazza and contains some relics of the two martyred brothers, along with works by Il Perugino and other artists. You can also admire the Chiesa di S. Augustino, with its many valuable works by Umbrian and Tuscan artists, such as Brunelli, Vanni, Savini, Circignani and others, but also the Chiesa di S. Francesco, now also known as the Santuario della Madonna of Fatima.

The Oratory of San Bartolomeo, seat of the Confraternita della Misericordia and located next to the Chiesa di S. Francesco, is also noteworthy for its fresco by Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio “La Crocefissione”, better known as “Il Pianto degli Angeli”, an enchanting painting in the elegant Sienese Gothic style .

Heading from the historic centre to the upper part of the city, you’ll see the lovely little Chiesa di S. Pietro, near the ancient Porta del Castello. From this superb position you’ll get a fantastic, breath-taking view over the entire valley. Inside the church you can admire a fresco by Perugino dated 1508, depicting “Sant’Antonio Abate tra i Santi Paolo Eremita e Marcello”, while inside the Oratorio Di Santa Maria Dei Bianchi, you’ll have the chance to see another magnificent work of art, considered one of Perugino’s greatest and most important masterpieces, the beautiful fresco “L’Adorazione dei Magi” (The Adoration of the Magi).

In the historic centre another of the symbols of Città della Pieve, the Palazzo della Corgna, residence of the Marquis Ascanio della Corgna, is considered the most significant noble residence in the village. The Rocca Perugina is also a fascinating building, with its grandeur and its towers, once used to ensure the village was safe from attacks.

The cathedral of S. Gervasio and S. Protasio stands on Città della Pieve’s main piazza and is an important building containing numerous works of art.

Historical sources claim that the twin brothers Gervasio and Protasio, two martyrs who lived between the 3rd and 4th centuries in Milan, were the sons of St Vitale and St Valeria. Following their parents’ cruel murder, the twins sold all the family’s property and gave all the proceeds to those most in need. They decided to spend the next ten years in prayer and meditation, but they met an unfortunate end; denounced for their Christianity, they were tortured and finally cruelly killed. Their bodies were forgotten and were found only thanks to Sant’Ambrogio on 17th June 386. In a dream, the saint received a revelation that led him to start digging near an ancient cemetery where the bodies were later found.

The story of the two saints immediately became popular and they soon became venerated in Italy and in many other places; numerous churches were also built in their honour, such as the church of San Vitale in Rome, built by a matron called Vestina.

The Cathedral of Città della Pieve was also dedicated to them and was initially built around the 8th century. Later, in the 13th century, it was rebuilt partly in the Gothic style. The exterior of the building was made with different materials, sandstone and brick, depending on the historical period in which the alterations took place. In the 16th century, a further renovation followed, which led to the construction of an external staircase and the raising of the internal floor. The apse was rebuilt in 1574 and in 1584 it was rededicated. The church was initially a collegiate church and then, in the 1600s, it became a Cathedral. Following a collapse in 1679, the roof, which was originally trussed, was rebuilt with a vault. Between the 17th and 18th centuries there were other intense periods of building improvements. An attempt was made to render the church similar to the Chiesa del Gesù in Rome, which was a symbol of the Counter-Reformation: the religious iconography and the altars in homage to God – denied during the Protestant Reformation – regained their importance.

From the outside, the church looks sombre and simple, but once inside you are surprised by a single wide, majestic nave and struck by the beautiful walls with dark pilasters in contrast with the white of the barrel vaults with their lunettes, except for the “Gloria celeste” frescoed in the dome of the apse by Antonio Circignani known as Il Pomarancio. The church has a Latin cross plan and there are six chapels, positioned respectively to the left and to the right of the nave. The presbytery is in a raised position, on three steps. There is an organ and the chapels are embellished with numerous paintings. There are works by Pietro Vannucci known as Il Perugino, such as the “Battesimo di Cristo” (Baptism of Christ), la “Madonna in gloria fra i Santi Protettori Gervasio e Protasio con lo stendardo della città e i Santi Pietro e Paolo” (Madonna in glory between the Patron Saints Gervasio and Protasio with the banner of the city and the Saints Peter and Paul), and  a 16th century sculpture “L’Addolorata”, and works by Pomarancio such as “Sposalizio della Vergine” (Wedding of the Virgin) and the “Santi Domenicani in adorazione del Crocefisso” (Dominican Saints in adoration of the Crucifix). Works by Salvio Savini include the “Madonna in trono tra i Santi Francesco, Bonaventura e un Servita” (Madonna enthroned between Saints Francis, Bonaventure and a Servite) and the “Vergine in Trono col Bambino, San Domenico e Santa Caterina da Siena” (Virgin on the Throne with the Child, St Domenico and St Caterina of Siena). Inside the cathedral there are also other frescoes by Giannicola di Paolo, Domenico di Paride Alfani, Giacinto Gimignani, Giovanni Teutonico and Annibale Ubertis.

The bodies of the two patron saints of Città della Pieve, St Gervasio and St Protasio were transferred and safeguarded for centuries inside the church of S. Ambrogio in Milan, but in 1714, Città della Pieve received a number of relics to be kept in the church dedicated to the two holy martyrs.

The church of S. Agostino was built outside the walls of Città della Pieve around the middle of the 13th century. It has been a deconsecrated church since the period of Italy’s Unification and is currently used as a venue for events, shows and conferences. An ancient Convent that stands next to the church was requisitioned by the church authorities after a number of suppressions and now houses a school.

The exterior is Gothic in style, with a simple facade and a multi-lobed portal. The bell tower, located next to the church, was built in 1741. At the time of its construction, the interior had a single nave with a square apse, surmounted by a trussed roof, like the structure of the other nearby churches of S. Francesco and the current sanctuary of the Madonna di Fatima, the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi.

In 1789, following restructuring work by Andrea Vici, the interior underwent numerous alterations and acquired a wholly neoclassical-style. The church houses numerous valuable works by Umbrian and Tuscan artists, such as the painting by Alessandro BrunelliAssunzione ed Incoronazione della Vergine” in which typical elements of the painting style of Raphael can be found, a copy of “La Fuga in Egitto” by Francesco Vanni , “Gloria di San Tommaso da Villanova” a painting inspired by Caravaggio and dated 1662, by an Umbrian painter and “San Nicola da Tolentino e storie della sua vita” by Salvio Savini. Also by Savini is a frescoed niche depicting “La Madonna della Spiga”, a painting in the apse dated 1584 and titled “Madonna in Gloria circondata da San Nicola di Bari, Sant’Agostino, Santa Chiara e da una Confraternita” and “San Girolamo in preghiera” exhibited on the altar of the sacristy. The work “Ascensione di Cristo” by Nicolò Circignani is also visible as well as several rococo-style side altars.

If you are exploring Città della Pieve, you can’t miss the Church of S. Francesco, which stands at the beginning of the ancient Via Pievaiola, just outside Porta Perugina.

The church is currently also called Santuario della Madonna di Fatima because of a venerated statue of her inside. Since 1996 the sanctuary has also been dedicated to the three youngsters who reported the apparitions.

The church was built around the 13th century by don Luigi Perriccioli in the Romanesque style, although it was almost entirely rebuilt around the end of the 18th century, presumably in 1766, by the esteemed architect Andrea Vici. The lower part of the facade, the only existing part of the original building, is in brick and has three large arches with an entrance in the centre. Travertine capitals with leaf decorations are visible and serve as bases for the arched louvers. The bell tower was erected during the rebuilding of the church.

The church’s interior is bright and elegant and in stark contrast to the external facade as regards colours and style. Among the works of art in the sanctuary are “La Vergine in Trono circondata dai Santi Francesco, Bartolomeo, Antonio, Stefano”, by Domenico Alfani, which is on the first altar to the right, and two works by Antonio Circignani (a.k.a. Pomarancio): “La Discesa dello Spirito Santo”, on the first altar to the left, and the Caravaggio-inspired painting “Ecce Homo”, visible above the door of the Sacristy.

Next to the church, you’ll see the Convento dei Francescani Conventuali and the Oratorio benedettino di S. Bartolomeo.

Not far from the historic centre, walking towards the highest part of the city, you’ll enjoy a wonderful view of the valley below and be lucky enough to see the small church of S. Pietro. It stands next to the city walls and the ancient Porta del Castello and was built in the 13th century in honour of Sant’Antonio Abate and hosted the Confraternita dei Disciplinati di San Salvatore.

Inside the church there is an important fresco that was commissioned to the greatest exponent of Umbrian painting, Pietro Vannucci, also called Perugino, in 1508, probably by the Disciplinati di San Salvatore who were taking care of church renovations at the time. The work depicts “Sant’Antonio Abate tra i Santi Paolo Eremita e Marcello” (Saint Anthony the Abbot between the Saints Paul the Hermit and Marcello) and is positioned on the back wall, where the ancient altar was originally located.

The painting depicts the three Saints inside a doorway with side columns supporting an illusory lunette representing a painting within the painting. The fresco gives the faithful and visitors the sense of a warm welcome as well as intimacy within the sacred walls. Following an earthquake in 1861, the decision was made to remove the fresco from the wall and bring it back on canvas.

The church has a single nave and bays with cross vaults and barrel vaults.

In 1815 the building originally dedicated to Sant’Antonio Abate became the seat of the Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo and also of the Confraternità di S. Sebastiano e S. Rocco.

Città della Pieve boasts a rich collection of contemporary art housed in an attractive building measuring some 650 square metres, elegantly renovated in a modern style. It stands in the lovely Giardino dei Lauri gardens and the artworks on display belong to the personal collection of Massimo and Angela Lauro, the Neapolitan art collectors who founded the exhibition space.

The ‘Collezione Lauro’ was established in 1990 and currently numbers around 300 works by famous and contemporary artists on the national and international art scene. The works can be admired both inside the building and in the garden itself, which displays about 70 works by young artists. The two collectors’ passion for contemporary art is evident in their choice of works on display, which will guide the observer on an introspective and narrative journey through the visual arts.

Visitors will be able to admire works by international artists such as Takashi Murakami, Roxy Paine, Mariko Mori, Ugo Rondinone, Michael Heizer, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, or Italian artists such as Massimo Bartolini and Maurizio Cattelan. The contemporary art collection also features works by outstanding young artists including Aaron Young, Dash Snow, Eric Wesley, Piero Golia, Piotr Uklanski, Urs Fischer, Matthew Monahan and Gary Webb.

Città della Pieve’s Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio dedicated to Antonio Verri is situated on the first floor of Palazzo della Corgna. It displays numerous objects and samples from the private collections of Antonio Verri and Paolo De Simone, both of whom lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The first, a native of Città della Pieve, was a respected geologist and lover of Natural Sciences and he also held the position of President of the Italian Geological Society and carried out very thorough studies on the environment and area of Città della Pieve. The second, who moved to Città della Pieve in 1886, was an agronomist and naturalist with a passion for collecting seeds and animal samples. The museum is owned by the Municipality and was inaugurated in 2009, but studies of the samples and the cataloguing of the materials had already started in 1994. The whole project was made possible thanks to the Cooperative IGEA, the Giovani Ecologisti di Città della Pieve and the Centro Ateneo per i Musei Scientifici dell’Università degli Studi di Perugia. The museum is divided into three rooms, displaying didactic scientific instruments used between 1800 and 1900, rocks, minerals, fossils, remains of invertebrates and, thanks to a private donation, fossils from the Arabian Peninsula .

There are also precious herbariums, entomological boxes, a spermatheca (a collection of vegetable seeds) a xylotheque (a set of wood specimens) and some taxidermized vertebrates. The museum has also dedicated a space that replicates the environments that characterize Città della Pieve and has dedicated space to a replica of Antonio Verri’s studio and created an educational laboratory in which mainly schools can carry out activities aimed at exploring the natural environment.

A visit to the museum is highly recommended for lovers of nature and the Umbria region of all ages.

If you are an art and history lover and want to delve deeper into Città della Pieve’s past, you can’t miss the Museo Civico-Diocesano, located just outside Porta Romana.

It stands in what was originally the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi, built in the second half of the 13th century. The ancient church, which has very elegant, refined and luminous walls on the inside and a beautiful crypt, bears elements that represent the various artistic currents and different periods in which various interventions took place within it.

Gothic art can be seen in the structure, which recalls the churches of the mendicant orders, with its single nave and an apse with a square cross. Traces of the Baroque style found in the interior decorations, in the stuccos and in the altars of the side chapels instead date back to the period from the 17th to the 18th century. The present museum also has numerous paintings, most of them in the Mannerist style. There were many artists who worked on pieces to decorate the church, including Antonio Circignani known as Il Pomarancio, Salvio Savini and Alessandro Brunelli, whose paintings are displayed in the side altars, the Cremoni brothers, who created numerous decorations, and Pietro Vannucci, a.k.a. Perugino. He created frescoes dating back to 1517, although only traces of the “Compianto sul Cristo morto” and the “Deposizione dalla Croce” remain. These works are found in the ancient chapel dedicated to the Madonna della Stella although they remained hidden inside a cavity until 1834, when they were brought to light by the German painter and art historian Johann Anton Ramboux.

To complete the church, a bell tower was built 1834 by the neoclassical architect Giovanni Santini.

The Oratory of San Bartolomeo is located next to the church of S. Francesco, now called the Santuario della Madonna di Fatima.

It was originally erected by the Benedictines, but was later purchased by the Conventual Franciscans in 1280, who were based at the adjoining Convent and initially used it as a Chapter House and later as a Refectory. Access to the Oratory is through the cloister, located to the right of the sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna of Fatima.

The Oratory of San Bartolomeo is mainly known for the fresco by Jacopo di Mino del PellicciaioLa Crocifissione” better known as “Il Pianto degli Angeli”. The work was painted in the second half of the 14th century by the Siena-born artist, who was one of the greatest followers of Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini, undisputed exponents of the Sienese school. The fresco is very large and is positioned on the back wall of the refectory; the room is very simple and is embellished by the elegant painting in which the figure of Christ is surrounded by sad stylized angels, in line with the Sienese Gothic style. Over time, the painting has taken on a different colour due to the oxidation of the colour of the sky, which has gone from blue to a coppery shade, such that the fresco has taken on a new, peculiar beauty.

In 1426 the Oratory became the seat of the Confraternita della Misericordia, under San Bernardino da Siena. For a limited period of time, the Oratory of San Bartolomeo also hosted a statue of the Madonna of Fatima created by a number of artists from Val Gardena, and which was then placed in the Chiesa di S. Francesco or Santuario della Madonna di Fatima).

The Chapter Room is now used as a theatre.

The Oratory of Santa Maria dei Bianchi is located in the centre of Città della Pieve and was the headquarters of the Compagnia dei Bianchi or dei Disciplinati. Some documents suggest it existed as early as the 13th century and that there was a hospital attached to it, which later became a hospice.

One of the most important works by Pietro Vannucci, a.k.a. Perugino is displayed in the Oratory, a fresco titled “Adorazione dei Magi”, which was commissioned to the him by the Confraternita dei Disciplinati or dei Bianchi in 1504.

The impact of the work is immense, with its vivid, beautiful colours and its size: it measures some 650 × 700 cm and covers an entire wall of the ancient church of Santa Maria dei Bianchi, yet it was created in just 29 days. It is one of the most complex works ever created by the brilliant Renaissance painter: in the background is a wonderful landscape, which recalls the view that can be admired from Città della Pieve to the Trasimeno and Val di Chiana and the scene is very crowded. In fact, there are more than 38 life-size painted figures, and many other smaller one. The centre of the painting depicts the hut that encloses the crib and is painted in the greatest detail because it is the observer’s focal point.

The oratory also conserves the vestments worn by the members of the Confraternita dei Bianchi and the large crosses that were carried during sacred processions.

Palazzo della Corgna is one of the most important symbols of Città della Pieve, as well as the most significant noble residence in the village. It was built by the Marquis and perpetual Governor of Castel della Pieve Ascanio della Corgna in the second half of the 16th century by Galeazzo Alessi, a well-known Perugian architect of the time.

The prestigious building is located in Piazza Gramsci, in the centre of the village, right opposite the Cathedral and is in a prominent position, as if to show the whole town the superiority and wealth of the Corgna family.

There are a number of vivid frescoes in the Palazzo by various artists such as Nicolò Circignani known as Il Pomarancio, who painted the fresco called “Concerto” in the Sala del Governatore, depicting the triumph of the Corgna-del-Monte family. The decoration in other important spaces in the residence are attributable to Salvio Savini: the loggias, the stairways and the Sala Grande of the Piano Nobile, built in 1580 at the behest of Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna. Even the ground floor area, often used as a secret place for intellectual debate, seems to have been frescoed by Savini. The Palazzo displays paintings with religious subjects in the halls that were used for public life, while the more private rooms contain works with a more mythological and erotic character.

In the past, 16th-century homes had beautiful gardens but unfortunately few remain to the present day.

Within it, the Palazzo hosts the Biblioteca comunale Francesco Melosio and the Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio relating to Città della Pieve.

Rocca Perugina is an imposing fortification built following the turbulent past between Perugia and the ancient Castel della Pieve. The latter rebelled several times against the Perugia authorities who, over the centuries, tried in every way to limit its expansion.

In 1326 the rulers of Perugia decided to build a large fortress to control the entire city and to guarantee greater security for its detachment. It still represents one of the town’s most dearly-loved monuments.

The Rocca has a triangular plan and was erected next to Porta Perugina, alongside the walls. Originally, a deep moat and a wooden fence surrounded the fortress to discourage and prevent access from the outside and to further protect the fortification.

Internally there were five towers: Torre del Castellano, a tower now destroyed, Torre del Prato, Torre Maestra, and the remains of Torre del Frontone.

All the towers were built to afford a view of the city of Perugia, thus allowing them to send visual signals in the event of danger or difficulty and to request reinforcements from Perugia.

Over the centuries the fortress has undergone numerous renovations and its uses have been numerous. From a defensive structure, it became the seat of the Perpetual Governors of papal nomination and a residence for the new magistrates, while the towers became prisons and homes for soldiers. Following the Unification of Italy, the structure became a Prison for the District of Orvieto.

Nowadays you can still admire the solemn grandeur of Rocca Perugina and relive the controversies and past events of the lively town of Città della Pieve.

Art can transmit deep feelings or emotions to those who know how to look and a great master like Wolfgang Alexander Kossuth gave Città della Pieve, its inhabitants and those who have already visited it, a large number of works to admire and to be moved by. The artist, who was of German descent, was captivated by Città della Pieve and its beauty and found profound inspiration there, so he decided to move to the town. He spent the rest of his life there, until his untimely death.

Kossuth was an excellent violinist and also became the conductor of the Teatro della Scala in Milan; art was his raison d’être and he moved between music, painting and sculpture, even though it was in the latter that he was able to express himself with greatest passion.

At the heart of Kossuth’s artistic production is the human figure, which is represented in its utmost beauty and perfection, but is often held in suspense, in unfathomable balance, thus challenging reality. His works take the form of sculptures, drawings and paintings depicting nudes, representing mainly dancers, musicians and writers.

Spazio Kossuth is an area dedicated to the artist and his works and was inaugurated on 30th May  2015, six years after his death. This project was made possible by the Associazione Ankamò, which strongly believed in it, the municipality of Città della Pieve and the Archdiocese of Perugia-Città della Pieve.

The headquarters are located in the rooms of the Bishop’s Palace, which has been completely renovated following a long period of closure. Spread out over various rooms, the museum is a fantastic showcase of contemporary art and Kossuth’s works – curated in the minutest detail – are able to transmit music, dynamism, energy and emotions through the figurative arts.

Discover with us what to do in Città della Pieve 

If you are interested in art, history and culture, you can’t miss the Museo Civico-Diocesano, situated in the ancient Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi. Here you will find art works from the Gothic, Baroque and Mannerist periods, as well as works by Pomarancio, Salvio Savini, Alessandro Brunelli, the Cremoni brothers and Perugino.

If you prefer contemporary art, Spazio Kossuth is the perfect place to contemplate and appreciate the dynamic sculptural works of Wolfgang Alexander Kossuth, who chose to live part of his life in Città della Pieve because it was a strong source of inspiration to him, and the Collezione D’arte Contemporanea in the Giardino dei Lauri, where you’ll be able to admire numerous works by nationally and internationally famous artists. At the Museo Antonio Verri, there are numerous interesting materials on display, belonging to the private collections of the geologist Antonio Verri and the agronomist and naturalist Paolo De Simone.

You can also explore the village by following different routes: the Percorso dei Vicoli and the Percorso del Paesaggio. The first route will enable you to discover the most evocative and secret corners of Città della Pieve via its picturesque alleys steeped in history and echoes of the past, since it was where the artisans had their shops and markets.

The second route will lead you on a tour with breath-taking views from numerous viewpoints in Città della Pieve; you’ll see one of the most beautiful views of central Italy with its pleasantly rolling lush green hills, beautiful surrounding lakes, mountains and the characteristic neighbouring towns and villages.

Depending on how adventurous you are, why not immerse yourself in the energy of an unspoilt natural environment and the paths of Città della Pieve by taking part in exciting and unforgettable trekking excursions? You can also expand your knowledge of the area via excursions in the native land of Perugino and experience the thrill of discovering the perfect blend of nature and the characteristic historic and artistic sights of the village of Città della Pieve.

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