Skin ADV
Perugia Turismo

Downtown Archaeological Itinerary


Introduction: Etruscans and Romans in Perugia

Perugia boasts very ancient origins, related to early settlements of the Villanovan period (or Etruscan proto), as early as the IX century B.C. During the Etruscan period, from the VII-VI century B.C., a hegemonic role in the surrounding area was gained by the city, thanks to its eminent topographical position (at an altitude of 493 m above sea level) dominating the Tevere River and the roadways, to the east, towards the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea, to the west, the Trasimeno lake and the maritime Etruria. Its progressive economic-social and cultural growth is evidenced by an extensive building program that finds its highest expression in the city walls and in the monumentalization of its doors, in the impressive works of hydraulic engineering and in the remains of Templar architecture, as well as in the crown of its necropolis, characterized by monumental tombs, such as those of the Hypogeum of S. Manno, of the Hypogeum of the Volumni, of the Cai Cutu and of the Sperandio. The progressive phase of Romanization in internal Etruria ended with the 41-40 B.C. War of Perugia, in which the city was besieged and conquered by Octavian, the future Augustus, with the consequent elimination or cooptation of the local Etruscan aristocracies in the Roman ranks and an extensive program of restoration and rebuilding of the Roman Municipium.


Archaeological itinerary down town

First part

The visit starts from the ancient Etruscan and Roman area in Piazza IV Novembre, in the basement of the San Lorenzo Cathedral, the Excavations of San Lorenzo (1), where it is possible to enter upon reservation. Then, the visit continues in Piazza Danti to gain access to the Pozzo Etrusco (2), in the basements of the Palazzo Ranieri di Sorbello.

From Piazza Danti continue along via Ulisse Rocchi, via delle Cantine and via Baldeschi, and go down to the left Via Appia, through the medieval gate, up to the Postierla (Postern, pedestrian door) della Conca (temporarily closed) (3), located on the right, before Via dell'Acquedotto.

From here, go down the steps of via Appia again, turn left into Via Santa Elisabetta up to Via Pascoli to reach the Roman Mosaic of Santa Elisabetta (4). Go back towards via Appia to turn right into via dell'Acquedotto and go up the steps of via del Fagiano until reaching Corso Garibaldi (via via Benedetta and via della Pietra). Go up a short stretch of Corso Garibaldi to the Chiesa of San Michele Arcangelo (5).

Then, go down along Corso Garibaldi up to Piazza Fortebraccio to admire the imposing Arco Etrusco (Etruscan Arch) (6), a huge symbol of the city of Perugia. It can also be seen how the Arco Etrusco connects along via Cesare Battisti with one of the most beautiful preserved tracts of the Cinta Muraria Etrusca (Etruscan walls); the interrupted walls re-emerge to the west in the gardens below via del Verzaro, visible from Via C. Battisti

Go back to Piazza Cavallotti, turn right into Piazza Morlacchi and turn right again into Via del Verzaro up to Piazza Ermini, the seat of the Faculty of Educational Science, where it is visible c / o the Great Hall, an internal section of the Cinta Muraria. From Piazza Ermini, take via Armonica to reach via del Poggio, where can be admired a beautiful view of San Francesco al Prato, right from the balcony built over the stretch of Etruscan walls, on which lays the whole street. The walls can be seen by looking out from the parapet and in the adjacent steps.

Continue along Via del Poggio and go to via dei Priori where the Porta Trasimena - Trasimena Gate (7) is located. [Another stretch of wall is present nearby via del Piscinello, near the homonymous Fonte(spring)]. From Porta Trasimena,  go down to Via della Sposa to turn via Tornetta; then, at the Pellini car park, take the first stretch of escalators and turn right into the Canapina gardens, continuing up to the Canapina stairs where, on the left, is another stretch of Etruscan wall with the church of San Benedetto dei Condotti leaning against it.

The visit continues by reaching via della Cupa to see, on the right of the Campaccio Gardens, the beautiful stretch of the Mura della Cupa, which incorporates a postierla, where the walls are deeply wedged in the curve created by the ditch of the Cupa.

It continues then along via della Cupa to Piazza Mariotti and via Mariotti, to reach the Porta Eburnea – Ivory Gate (8). Go to the right by the stairs of Via del Paradiso, along a very remodelled but evocative stretch, to go up again via San Giacomo, up to via Fatebenefratelli steps, until Viale Indipendenza is reached. Here is where the Rocca Paolina is located. Then, go via Marzia to reach the second monumental gate of the Etruscan walls, Porta Marzia – Marzia Gate (9).

Second part

Go down Via Marzia to join via Indipendenza and the Rosa e Cecilia Caselli Gardens, continue along Via Podiani to get to the Palazzo della Penna where it is possible to visit the remains of the Roman amphitheater at the Civic Museum of Palazzo della Penna (10) and continue along Via Cavour to reach Piazza G. Bruno where, in the wide spaces of the ancient Convent of San Domenico, a visit to the National Archeological Museum of Umbria (11), one of the most important Etruscan museums that exists, is recommended.

The visit goes back to Via Cavour to go back toward the acropolis along via Sant'Ercolano to see Porta Cornea – Horny Gate (12). The mura etrusche continue without interruption in via Sant'Ercolano and along via Oberdan in the undergrounds of both public and private buildings, visible inside the public places at street number 58, and continue in via Oberdan inside the Former Church of S. Maria della Misericordia (file (13)). The walls originally followed the western edge of Piazza Matteotti along the prospect of the current post office building, to continue vie Cartolari and Viola and reappear in some parts in via Alessi at street numbers 26 and 30 and in a significant stretch above the stairs of via della Pazienza.

From here take via della Viola to turn left into via Sdrucciola to finally reach a suggestive corner of the walls that open obliquely in the door of via Bontempi called Arco dei Gigli – Arch of Liliums (14).

Perugia Capitale