The Rocca Paolina in Perugia is a former fortress. An entire district had to be razed to the ground to obtain enough material to build the fortress. The district that used to exist on the present site of the fortress is the present underground part of the same castle. The fortress houses the Museo della Rocca Paolina. It is named for Pope Paul III, who ordered its construction.
Rocca Paolina Perugia
The address of the Rocca Paolina is Piazza Italia, 11, 06121 Perugia (tel. +39 075 5725778). The following bus lines have stops at the museum: 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13s, 13d, 15, 81, 82, 83, 87, bis28, bis33, bis34, bis41 and bis44. Opening Hours: March and November: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 13:30 and 14:30 to 17:00. Monday closed. May, June, July; September, October: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 13.30 and from 14.30 to 18.00. Monday closed. April, August: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 6 p.m. Closed: December 25 and January 1. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The Rocca Paolina was designed in the year 1540, after the “salt war”. Pope Paul III Farnese commissioned Antonio Sangallo the Younger to the work. To get material, an entire district was destroyed, while the area where the fortress is now located became its underground part.
Several medieval buildings, including even a church (the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi) were destroyed, as was the entire Santa Giuliana neighborhood and the homes of the Baglioni family.
The Rocca Paolina had no fewer than five floors, and was therefore very high. As a result, not only can the streets and the old houses of the district on which it was built still be seen underground, but also some of the towers.
A long corridor called the “pincer” (tenaglia) connected the Rocca Paolina to the Rocca Minore.
The fortress was partially destroyed in 1848, to be rebuilt by Pope Pius IX in 1860 and completely destroyed the same year. The cellars still exist, but have yet to be excavated.
What to see
Escalators already run through the underground section, which is used as an exhibition space. The exhibition is entitled “Rocca Paolina and the City” (Rocca Paolina e la Città).