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 was constructed during the Middle Ages. Several of the ancient gates are still in existence.

Perugia City Walls

Etruscan walls

Porta Marzia
Porta Marzia

The Etruscan city walls of Perugia are made of large blocks of Travertine marble.

The Etruscan wall had a length of around 3 kilometers. Much of it is still visible, much has been incorporated into newer constructions.

The walls 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 the Via Cesare Battisti and the Via del Verzaro. An additional attraction here is the view of the Piazza San Francesco below.

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

There were also some smaller gates, which were called postierle. These were mostly used by pedestrians.

Arco Etrusco

Etruscan Arch Perugia
Etruscan Arch

The Etruscan Arch, also known as the Arch of Augustus, is the largest and most famous gateway in the ancient city walls of Perugia. The Roman Emperor himself had the words AUGUSTO PERUSIA 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 original gate dates back to the 3rd century BC.

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 in the 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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