The Porta San Pietro is one of the oldest city gates of Viterbo, and for tourists also one of the most important ones, as from here, through the Via San Pietro, one enters the medieval San Pellegrino neigbhorhood.
Porta San Pietro Viterbo
History and description
The Porta San Pietro is named after the nearby San Pietro Church founded by Cardinal Raniero Capocci in 1240.
It was an important gate in the defensive wall against attacks by the Roman armies. Consequently, in the 12th century, the Porta San Pietro was often closed off.
In 1630, when there was a plague epidemic in Viterbo, the gate was bricked up, only to be reopened in 1741 at the request of the monks of the San Pietro del Castagno Monastery. However, only residents of the city itself were allowed to enter.
The gate is austere in appearance. Its only decoration is a bas-relief representing the coat of arms of Viterbo, a lion with a palm.
Because of its proximity to the Castel di Salce, the Porta San Pietro is also sometimes called Porta Salicicchia. This name has been corrupted by the townspeople to Porta Salciccia, which can be translated as “Sausage Gate”.
The Porta San Pietro used to be graced by a “Madonna and Child and an Angel holding a scroll with the words civitatem protege tuam (“Protect your city”)”. This fresco is now preserved in the Museo Civico of Viterbo.