City walls Perugia (Etruscan and medieval)

Perugia is protected by city walls, the inner ring of which is very old and dates back to Etruscan times. This wall was built in the 3rd century BC, while the second, more recent one dates back to the Middle Ages.

Perugia City Walls

Etruscan walls

The Etruscan city walls of Perugia are made of large blocks of Travertine marble and are best admired in Via del Poggio, between the two city gates Porta Trasimena and Arco di Augusto (or Arco Etrusco). Other parts of this wall can be seen in Via Cesare Battisti and Via del Verzaro. An additional attraction here is the view of the Piazza San Francesco below.

In total there used to be six gates to the city, which can still be seen today (although with modifications that took place in the Middle Ages).

Arco Etrusco

This is the largest and most famous gateway to the city. The monumental arch in the Etruscan Walls of Perugia is called both the Etruscan Arch and the Arch of Augustus. The Roman Emperor himself had this engraved on it after his troops had defeated the Perugini.

Arco del Giglio

The “Arch of the Lily” is located on the north-east side, in Via Bontempi. Although the gate itself still rests on the original blocks made of Travertine marble, the pointed arch is the result of a medieval reconstruction.

Arco della Mandorla

The Arco della Mandorla is located in Via San Giacomo on the west side of the Etruscan walls. The pointed arch is medieval, since in Etruscan times the gate had a round arch.

Porta Trasimena

So called because one had to pass through this gate to go to (Lake) Trasimeno. Of this gate, at the end of the Via dei Priori, very little remains that recalls the Etruscans.

Arco di San Ercolano

This gate is located near the steps of the same name and was formerly called Porta Cornea. This originally rounded arch was made pointy in the Middle Ages.

Porta Marzia

The Porta Marzia is located in the southern part of the city walls. Antonio Sangallo later incorporated it into the Rocca Paolina.

The Medieval Walls of Perugia

Arco dei Tei Perugia
Arco dei Tei

Around the 11th century, many new residents came to Perugia. These, of course, could not all live within the old Etruscan walls, and in the 13th century it was decided to build a second wall, encompassing the Borgo Sant’Antonio and the Borgo Sant’Angelo hills. For centuries to come, these neighborhoods were mainly inhabited by the poorer residents of Perugia, as the more affluent part of the population preferred to live within the old part of the city.

The gates in this wall are called Arco dei Tei and Arco di Sant’Elisabetta.

Porta Sant’Antonio

The Porta di Sant’Antonio is also called the Cassero di Sant’Antonio and is located in what remains of the ancient walls of the Porta Sole Fortress.

Porta di Santa Margherita

The Porta Santa Margherita is a gate in the medieval walls of Perugia. It is located on Via Bonaccia and is named after an ancient nunnery.

Museum of the City Walls

The tower of the Porta Sant’Angelo (at the end of Corso Garibaldi) in the medieval walls of Perugia houses the Museum of the Walls and City Gates of Perugia. Apart from the museum itself, the view from the tower is interesting, as one can see the city in 360 degrees.

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