Duomo (San Lorenzo)
An earlier Duomo of Perugia seems to have been built here at the end of the 10th century. In 1300, the leading citizens of Perugia took the momentous decision to build a new Duomo at a meeting that was held in the cloister of San Francesco al Prato. However, work did not begin until 1345, when Bishop Francesco Graziani persuaded Pope Clement VI to grant a plenary indulgence to those contributing to the cost of construction. Bishop Graziani laid the foundation stone soon after.
In 1373-5, the papal legate Girardo di Puy, the Abbot of Monmaggiore raided the construction site for building material for the Fortezza di Porta Sole. He also demolished the ancient campanile and perhaps also the chapel dedicated to St John the Baptist in order to build a corridor linking his new fortress to the Palazzo dei Priori. After he had been driven out of the city in the rebellion of 1375, his fortress was demolished and the material used in the renewed attempt to rebuild the Duomo.
The original church was incorporated as the bay of the nave nearest the presbytery of its successor, and its facade was incorporated into the new left wall. The red and white facing stones from the demolished chapel of St John the Baptist were probably re-used as this wall was extended. The arms of King Ladislas of Naples on the wall to the left of the present side entrance suggests that this project reached this point by 1408-14, the period of Ladislas' control of the city. Braccio Fortebracci built the so-called Loggia di Braccio in 1423 to link the new Duomo to his palace.
The work of rebuilding finally began in earnest in 1435 under Bishop Giovanni Andrea Baglioni, who appointed the Florentine Pagno di Lapo Portigiani as capomaestro. The new building reached reached the façade in 1451, and Bishop Jacopo Vannucci ordered the reconstruction of the presbytery and the building of new transept chapels in 1481.
A number of measures were taken to attract pilgrims to the Duomo in the late 15th century, presumably (among other things) to provide revenue for its decoration:
The relics of St Herculanus were re-interred under the new high altar in 1487.
The Sant’ Anello (the Virgin's wedding ring) was translated from the Palazzo dei Priori to the Cappella di Sant' Anello in 1488.
An inscription preserved in the Museo Capitolare (Room 7)records that Pope Pius II granted a perpetual indulgence for those contributing to the completion of the Duomo in 1494.
The Duomo had a chequered history in the decades after its completion. The Baglioni family fortified it in the 1480s during their war with the degli Oddi. Then, in 1500, in the aftermath of the “great betrayal” within the Baglioni family, the soldiers of Gianpaolo Baglioni massacred their enemies in the sanctuary. Gianpaolo was moved to atone by having the Duomo purified with wine.
The Duomo was finally consecrated in 1587, as is recorded by the inscription over the entrance to the sacristy. In 1609, Bishop Napoleone Comitoli translated the relics of St Herculanus from the Duomo to Sant' Ercolano.