previous next

PERUSIA (Perugia) Umbria, Italy.

The city, 64 km SE of Arezzo, rose on an uneven hill that overlooks the valley of the Tiber. Recent finds testify to the presence of life in the Villanovan age, and continuous development from the second half of the 6th c. B.C. Perusia appears to have been a flourishing and populous center, particularly from the 3d to the 1st c. B.C. It was a Roman municipium ascribed to the tribus Tromentina. In 41-40 B.C. L. Antonius was besieged at Perusia and in 40 B.C. the city was taken and sacked by the troops of Octavian.

The ancient city was enclosed by a wall built of travertine blocks, which is preserved for long stretches; most of its circumference may be traced. Several ancient gates still open the wall. Among the most important are the so-called Arch of Augustus, flanked by two keeps, and the Marzia gate actually built into the bastion of the Paolina fortress. The gates and the walls have been variously dated. According to the most recent studies they were constructed in the second half of the 2d c. B.C. Probably contemporary with the walls is the well built of large blocks of travertine below Piazza Piccinino, at the foot of the city fortifications.

The area of habitation, which has provided very few remains, occupied the center of the modern city. A mosaic showing Orpheus and the wild beasts from the 2d c. A.D. probably comes from a bath building. It was found in the locality called S. Elisabetta, outside the ancient city walls.

Among the monuments surviving from the necropoleis that grew up around the city, particularly notable is the Hellenistic Hypogeum of the Volumni. It is dug into the earth and imitates the plan of a house. Its atrium, covered by a ceiling with a double slope, opens into various rooms. Several of the ceilings and triangular supports are decorated with reliefs. The tomb of S. Manno, a rectangular hypogeal room, is built of blocks of travertine and has a barrel vault.

The National Archaeological Museum of Umbria is housed in the former convent of S. Domenico in Perugia.


Conestabile, Dei monumenti di Perugia etrusca e romana (1855-70); C. Shaw, Etruscan Perugia (1939); EAA 6 (1965) 84-88 (Pietrangeli-Feruglio) with bibliography; H. Blanck in AA (1970) 325f; U. Ciotti in Umbria (1970) 108ff.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: