Chiesa degli Olivetani and Palazzo Murena Perugia

The 18th century monastic complex consisting of the Church and former Monastery of the Olivetans of Montemorcino is located in the Piazza dell’Universit√† in Perugia. Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli (the church) and Carlo Murena (the monastery) , the monastery is now nown as the Palazzo Murena and is the headquarters of the University of Perugia.

Chiesa degli Olivetani & Palazzo Murena Perugia


Piazza dell’Universit√† – 06123 Perugia.

Opening hours

From 09:00 till 21:00.




Chiesa degli Olivetani Perugia
Chiesa degli Olivetani

Design and construction

The monastery was built in 1740. It was commissioned by the Olivetan Monks from the Monastery of Monte Morcino Vecchio. The project was entrusted to Luigi Vanvitelli and Carlo Murena. The latter’s name was later given to the by then ex-monastery. In order to be able to build the complex, the order had had to have some 15 houses destroyed.


In 1811, following the suppression of religious orders by the Napoleonic government, the University was moved to the former monastery. After Napoleon‘s fall and the subsequent restoration of the Conservative Order, the relocation was approved. The former monastery is still the home of the Rectorate, the administration offices and the Central Library.

Pinacoteca, church

For a while the church served as the Pinacoteca Civica of Perugia. In 1950, the church was reconsecrated and returned to its original function.

Relocation of works of art

Many of the works of art that used to grace the church were moved to the Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana in Rome. Others can be seen in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Umbra.

What to see


The walls of the vast atrium are decorated with an impressive collection of 400 casts of Etruscan inscriptions. These were donated by Count Giancarlo Connestabile in 1860. The casts were made right after the originals had been excavated.


In the large cloister is a centuries-old Atlas Cedar, 25 m tall and 5 m in diameter. The tree has been adopted by the Bastia Umbra Master Trees Association for its preservation and maintenance.


Stafano Pozzi was responsible for the large painting depicting “Santa Francesca Romana”. The founding saint of the Olivetans is shown facing confessor and other monks, viewed by angels.

Traces remain of the church’s secular past. The 19th century wall decorations are academic instead of religious in nature. The two enormous statues do not depict saints two professors of law.

18th century paintings by Ludovico Mazzanti and Pierre Subleyras that used to adorn the church were moved to the Palazzo dei Priori (seat of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte).

A small door to the left of the main entrance gives access to the Renaissance chapel of the Olivetani. A relief depicting Mount Oliveto and olive branches (symbols of the Order) is visible above this door.

Palazzo Murena

Palazzo Murena Perugia

The Palazzo Murena was both designed and constructed by Carlo Murena. An inscription above the main entrance reads STUDIUM GENERALE CIVITATIS PERUSII. The same inscription adorns the relief above the smaller door next to the main entrance.

Chiesa degli Olivetani, Perugia

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