Basilica of San Domenico, one of the most important churches in Perugia, overlooks a small square, Piazza Giordano Bruno, and can be seen from all over the city, thanks to the 126 meters high tower.
The Dominicans arrived in Perugia around 1230 and, between 1231 and 1260, they built a primitive church where the Basilica of San Domenico stands today. In the years to come, the Dominican order will become important and, in 1304, the construction of a new, larger church will begin. The church will be consecrated by Pope Pio II Piccolomini in 1459.
At the start of the 17th century, the nave collapsed and the church was entirely rebuilt following Carlo Maderno’s design, between 1629 and 1632.
The church has an impressive facade, which opens at the top to a stairway with a double ramp. Inside, it has the layout of a Latin cross and is characterised by simplicity.
The austerity of the nave contrasts the Gothic style of the glass windows, dated from 1411 and signed by Bartolomeo di Pietro and by Mariotto di Nardo. The top window, 23 meters high, is the largest of the era after the Duomo of Milan.
The bell-tower, built by Gasparino Antonimi at the end of the 15th century, was topped by a very high pyramid cusp which supported a ball and a cross.
Amongst the works which can still be found in the church, we can mention a large fresco by Anton Maria Fabrizi depicting the Madonna and Child, the funeral monument of Pope Benedetto XI, recently indicated as a work by Lorenzo Maitani, the chapel of San Tommaso, decorated with various votive frescoes by Cola Petruccioli, the chapel of the Resurrection which contains a painting attributed to Giovanni Lanfranco and the chapel of la Beata Colomba da Rieti, whose altar contains a copy from the 19th century of a painting by Lo Spagna, now in Umbria’s National Gallery.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest station is C. Cavour, on the Z21 bus line. From there up to the front of the church there are no more than 100 meters. If you need exact directions, use the map below.
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