Umbria always gives us great emotions. This time it’s up to Perugia that excites us with its history and monuments from every era. Perugia is a small jewel that slowly unfolds before the eyes of visitors. The Umbrian town holds artistic and monumental treasures that testify to its rich past and do justice to the cultural primacy of our country . Although it retains the appearance and rhythm of life of a small fortified medieval village , Perugia has a very intense city life, mainly linked to the presence of one of the oldest universities of the peninsula (founded in 1308), as well as the largest University for foreigners of Italy.
We propose two original walks: with the first you will get to know its most famous fountains, which up to the nineteenth century provided the population with free water; with the second you will enter the world of the Risorgimento, between squares and streets dedicated to the local heroes who fought for independence.
Following the streets and fountains of Perugia
Spend at least two hours for the first walk that starts from Piazza IV Novembre , the city center, where the “mother” of all the fountains shines: the Fontana Maggiore , one of the most beautiful of the thirteenth century for the elegance of the lines and the value of the decorations, which was born from the art of the Pisano brothers, Nicola and Giovanni , based on a project by Fra ‘Bevignate , known for his engineering skills. In about five minutes, passing through Piazza Danti , you will arrive in via Rocchi at the Fonte dell’Arco Etrusco , with classical forms: it was built in 1621 close to the left tower of the Etruscan gate, in Piazza Braccio Fortebraccio, on behalf of Count Girolamo Tezii . The source collected water from an underground vein, as evidenced by the nearby streets, including via Pozzo Campana .
Now cross via Baldeschi and you are immediately at the Fountain in via Maestà delle Volte , built in 1928 to a design by Pietro Angelini ; its name refers to a Marian painting of 1297 made by an anonymous artist and called “the Majesty” . Observe the griffin carved in the central panel of the basin: it represents the symbol of the city and you can find it on other sources and public buildings.
In another handful of minutes, after having crossed via Fratti, via della Stella and via dei Priori , you are in the presence of one of the most ancient sources of Perugia: the Fontana del Piscinello , built in the same period in which the church of San Francesco al Prato , with an inscription typical of most medieval sources: “rubbish here is not thrown or washed any cloth. Watch the law “ .
In ten quick minutes, the road is downhill, you arrive at the Fonte dei Tintori , in via San Galigano , whose restoration is about to be completed. The ancient artifact was erected in 1388 by an unknown author at the expense of the Collegio dei Tintori , whose shops were located in the Conca district , whose name probably derives from tanning, rich in waters, including thermal waters, since the times of Roman Perugia. You can admire another Grifo, carved on pietra serena, between its arches returned to their new splendor.
A walk of about twenty minutes awaits you to reach Fonte di Veggio , a work designed by Matteo Salvucci (1615-1642) which takes its name from the then owner of the land; take the same time or a little longer to get to the gardens of San Ercolano in piazza Matteotti , where you can admire the 17th century Fountain of Neptune , dismantled from piazza del Sopramuro in 1854 and reassembled over thirty years later where you can admire it today. In the center of an octagonal basin, it has a column supporting a basin from which the god Neptune emerges.
Reach via Marzia and you are again near the center. Here, leaning against the wall of the Rocca Paolina , you will find the Fonte Lomellina , in travertine, built when Via Lomellina (now Via Marzia) was embellished by the will of the papal legate Lorenzo Lomellini , between 1678 and 1685.
Your final destination is the nearby Piazza Italia where two fountains stand with as many bronze statues in the center, the Siren and The Child in the Sun , by the Tuscan artist Arturo Checchi .
Discovering the heroes of the Risorgimento
For the second, shorter walk, start from Piazza Italia which was born in the post-unitary enthusiasm. As you can see, in the center stands the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II ( Giulio Tadolini, 1890 ), facing towards Piazza della Repubblica to symbolize the Perugians’ gaze towards progress.
In a few minutes you arrive at Porta San Pietro where Borgo XX Giugno begins , which takes the name of the battle that took place there on June 20, 1859 between the papal troops and the armies fighting for the Unification of Italy . Here, each stone tells the story of that day when Pius IX’s army with about two thousand men, mostly Swiss, clashed with a thousand poorly armed citizens, but with a great desire to defend the city and freedom. Their resistance was quickly broken and paid for with the death of 27 Perugians and with a looting followed by the massacre of civilians. Witness and victim of that violence was the American Perkins family: due to his presence, the Perugia massacres had an echo all over the world. Five days later, the New York Times wrote: “The enraged troops seemed to have repudiated all laws and broke into every house at will, committing shocking murders and other barbarities on defenseless guests, men, women and children . “
Even Carducci remembered the event in the sonnet “To the massacres of Perugia” , expressing strong criticism of the papal army, and overseas, the American poet and journalist John Greenleaf Whittier sugello the bloodbath in the lyric “From Perugia” .
A monument created by the sculptor Giuseppe Fringuelli has been dedicated to those fallen, always present in the memory of the people of Perugia , which you can admire at the entrance to the Giardini del Frontone , in the historic district. Also look at the internal façade of Porta San Pietro , towards Corso Cavour , where there is a plaque in memory of the victims and wounded, between soldiers and civilians, who participated in those clashes.
The most famous character of the Risorgimento, Giuseppe Garibaldi , can be admired after another ten-minute walk in Largo Cacciatori delle Alpi , next to Piazza Partigiani , where the bronze statue depicting him stands, created by the Florentine sculptor Cesare Zocchi and inaugurated in 1887: dressed in a military cape, the hero of the two worlds holds the Hungarian cap in his right hand and the hilt of a sheathed saber in his left.
Another place dedicated to him is located in Piazza della Repubblica where you can admire a plaque commemorating him: it was placed near the loggia (now part of Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso ) from which he looked out to incite the Perugians to fight for independence. of the city.
All that remains is to go on a journey! Good walk!