Umbria Blog | visit museum Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia

Perugia is a lovely city with many cosy squares and tiny alleyways. It is the chocolate-capital of Umbria. In the historical centre you can’t miss the antique churches, parks and medieval buildings with nice boutiques, good coffee bars and many shops.

Perugia houses the most important art history museum of Umbria: La Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria. This museum has magnificent works, including important paintings ranging from the 13th to the 19th century. A visit to this museum is a must for Renaissance art lovers.

The museum is in the medieval building “Palazzo dei Priori” on the main street Corso Vannucci 19 in Perugia. The entrance is on Corso Vannucci through a thirteenth-century portal, decorated with the symbols of the town of Perugia, the statues of the griffin and the lion.

The Palazzo dei Priori is built between 1293-1443 in Gothic style. This building houses the City Hall, the Sala dei Notari and the museum itself is on the upper floors. To get there one can take the stairs, but there also is an elevator.

The entrance is 8,00 Euro, but every first Sunday of the month, the museum is open with free admission for al visitors. One can get the entrance tickets on the ground floor. All national museums in Italy have free entrance on the first Sunday of the month, it can be quite busy that day.

The museum in Perugia includes various masterpieces from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Much space is given to Umbrian painters: Il Perugino, Pintoricchio and Caporali. The works range from painting on wood, canvas and murals, to sculptures in wood and stone to goldsmith’s art and fabrics. The itinerary starts with the collections of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

A wonderful masterpiece created by Bartolomeo Caporali “Madonno col Bambino e Angeli entro una ghirlanda” which means “the Virgin with child and Angels in a Garland”. This painting is completed between 1470-1479.

Painting (1467 – 1469) “Polittico di Sant’Angelo” from the early Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca. Piero della Francesca is born in the decade between 1410 – 1420 in Borgo San Sepolcro. He has spent a lot of his time in Arezzo and in San Sepolcro Tuscany.

If you want to see some other masterpieces of Piero della Francesca, in the museum Uffizi in Florence one can admire the famous portrait panels of Battista Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro.

The itinerary in the museum continues with paintings and sculptures from the 17th, 18th and 19th century in Umbria. It is a wonderful museum “La Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria” and worth a visit when you’re in Perugia. During the year there also are special exhibitions, keep an eye on the museum’s website to know more about these.

After a visit to the museum we have a nice tip for an authentic espresso: the “Sandri” bar. Sandri is in the city centre and has a long history dating back to 1860. It originally was a Swiss family. Their chocolate and coffee are of high quality. Sandri is just on the opposite side of the museum in the Corso Vannucci 32. Don’t forget to look above your head in the bar. The paintings on the ceiling are amazing!

Visiting Sansepolcro and Anghiari in Tuscany

At just 15 minutes driving from Città di Castello in the North of Umbria are the towns of Sansepolcro and Anghiari. Both are situated close to the E45, just over the border in Tuscany.

Sansepolcro

Sansepolcro is in the valley and the largest of the two towns. In the 11th century, two pelgrims on their return from the Holy Land founded an Abbey here. The remains of this Abbey are now underneath the Duomo.

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Around the Abbey a small village developed thanks to the fact that the abbot allowed for a weekly market to be held on Saturday and for a yearly market early September.

Sansepolcro became an active trading spot and still today there are quite a few markets:
– Every third Saturday of the month there is a market with local products, mainly food and wine on the main square Piazza Torre di Berta.
– Every Tuesday and Saturday morning there is the usual weekly market in the Via XX September.
– During summer every Friday there is an antique market on the Piazza Torre di Berta.
– At Half Lent there is the traditional spring fair throughout the city. This fair lasts 4 days.

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Sansepolcro also is the birthplace of Piero della Francesca. His home is now a centre of study and some of his works can be seen in the Museo Civico. To this date the centre of the town is walled. These walls have been renewed under Cosimo de’ Medici in the 16th century. He intended to defend the outskirts of his Florentine state agains the state of Siena.

A good time to visit this interesting little town would be early September when there is the Palio della Balestra. A medieval feast with archery games in traditional costumes.

Anghiari

At the other side of the E45 is the town of Anghiari. This is impressively situated against a mountain overlooking the valley and has obviously been a fortress to defend the area. Also this fortress was reinforced by Cosimo de’ Medici. There are steep alleyways, so typical of many Italian hill top towns and from here you have wide views over the Upper Tiber Valley towards Sansepolcro.

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We ate at Ristorante Da Alghiero just off the main square. Do go here: the food is excellent, not main stream, for very acceptable prices. The cook is a German lady who already lives here since 1986. It is all fresh, genuine and home made. Good wine too (!).

In the same area you can also eat at the Locanda al Castello di Sorci, for traditional Tuscan spices.

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– Posted by Saskia van der Bolt –