Interior of the Duomo
The Duomo is in the form of a “Hallenkirche” (hall church), so-called because the nave and flanking aisles are of equal height. The nave culminates in a polygonal apse while each of the aisles culminates in a small rectangular chapel.
Bishop Jacopo Vannucci pierced the side walls of the church in 1481 to build transepts. The larger chapel in the right transept (the original Cappella di Sant' Onofrio) served as the bishop's burial chapel and later as the winter choir for the canons. In 1608, a dividing wall was built across it so that the transept chapels achieved their current symmetry.
The interior owes its current appearance to Bishop Alessandro Maria Odoardi, who commissioned the stucco decoration in the nave, the false marble painting over the originally brick octagonal columns and the frescoes on the vaults in the late 18th century. Bishop Gioacchino Pecci commissioned the frescoes that cover the walls and the new marble paving of the floor some fifty years later.
Monument to Giovanni Andrea Baglioni (ca. 1451)
The Renaissance monument of Bishop Giovanni Andrea Baglioni, which is attributed to the Florentine Urbano da Cortona, is on the left. Bishop Gioacchino Pecci moved it here from the Altare di San Girolamo (which was on the
left wall) in the 19th century.
The Bishop's effigy lies on a sarcophagus with reliefs of the four Cardinal Virtues, while the inscription below records his role in the reconstruction of the Duomo.
Madonna and Child with saints (1617)
This panel by Giovanni Antonio Scaramuccia hangs above the entrance. The Perugian confraternities dedicated to SS Dominic, Augustine and Francis commissioned it for
the Perugian chapel of the Holy Rosary at Santa
Maria degli Angeli, Assisi. However, by the time it was delivered, the
Perugians had exchanged this chapel for the larger Cappella di Sant’ Antonio
di Padova, and this was still in
construction. The panel was therefore taken to the church of il Gesù,
Perugia and then, in 1650, to the Duomo.
The panel depicts the Madonna and Child in Glory with:
the patron saints of Perugia (SS Herculanus, Constantius and Lawrence); and
the patrons of the Perugian confraternities that commissioned it.
Monument to Marcantonio degli Oddi (1658)
The monument of Bishop Marcantonio degli Oddi is on the right. Bishop Gioacchino Pecci moved it here from Sant’ Agostino, Perugia in the 19th century.
Martyrdom of St. Laurence (1919)
This stained glass window is by Ludovico Caselli.
The Cappella del Sant' Anello is the first chapel on the left, in the corner with the counter-facade. Continue past the side entrance to the Cappella del Gonfalone.
Cappella del Gonfalone
The processional banner (1526) that now forms the altarpiece on the neo-Gothic altar is the last recorded work of Berto di Giovanni. It was painted during an outbreak of plague, and was one of the last votive banners of this sort to be painted in Perugia before the Council of Trent. It depicts the Virgin and SS Herculanus and Joseph pleading for Perugia (represented by an interesting cityscape) before the vengeful Christ.
The lunette above the altarpiece contains a panel (1513) by Giannicola di Paolo that depicts the Risen Christ with SS Lawrence and Herculanus. This panel came from the organ screen, which was demolished in 1784: other panels from the screen (a tondo of the martyrdom of St Lawrence and panels of SS Peter and Paul) are now in the Museo Capitolare (Room 18).
Presbytery and Flanking Chapels
Bishop Dionisio Vannucci commissioned the choir stalls (1489-91) from the Florentine carpenter, Giuliano da Maiano. Another Florentine, Domenico di Tasso completed the work after Giuliano’s death in 1490. The stalls were moved from the nave to their current location in 1524, when the layout of the church was changed to comply with the requirements of the Council of Trent. The right hand stalls were destroyed in a fire in 1985, and have been replaced by copies.The changed location of the choir stalls was part of a redesign of the apse that included the commissioning of the two pulpits (1519) on the pillars framing the tribune and the bishop’s throne (1520-4) from Rocco di Tommaso da Vicenza.
The pulpits are decorated with statues of (respectively) SS Lawrence and Herculanus [that possibly came from the monument (13th century) to Pope Martin IV that was originally in the old Duomo???].
The Perugian Ciancio di Pierfrancesco built the throne to Rocco's design.
The current high altar was consecrated in 1762 and the frescoes in the apse of scenes from the life of St Lawrence were executed in 1767-8. An imposing tabernacle (1579) by Bino Sozi that stood on the earlier high altar was largely destroyed at this time. Only the upper part survives, on the altar of the Cappella di San Francesco to the left of the presbytery.
In 1784, Bishop Alessandro Maria Odoardi established the Cappella di Sant’ Emidio in the chapel to the right of the presbytery in honour of St Emidius, the patron saint of his home town, Ascoli Piceno. The altarpiece (1784) by Francesco Appiani shows the saint baptising Polisia, the daughter of the Roman prefect.
Pope John Paul II visited the Duomo in 1986, and the subsidiary altar that conforms to the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council was erected at the time of this visit.
The 15th century portal on the right wall of the Cappella di Sant’ Emidio leads to the sacristy, which Bishop Giovanni Andrea Baglioni commissioned in 1438. Giannicola di Paolo probably made the cartoons for the carvings (1494) of SS Herculanus, Peter, Paul and Costantius on the furniture on the right wall, which were executed by Mariotto di Paolo Sensi da Gubbio.
Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna, Bishop of Perugia commissioned its vaulting (1572) and it frescoes (1573-6), which include large figures of SS Herculanus, Constantius, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome (the last four being the Doctors of the Church) and scenes from the life of St Lawrence.
Cardinal della Corgna also commissioned the Sacrestia dell’ Arciprete behind the back wall of the sacristy as his burial chapel. Its altarpiece (late 16th century) of the Martyrdom of St Lawrence is by Ferraù Fenzoni da Faenza (il Faenzone).
Bishop Jacopo Vannucci established the Cappella di Sant' Onofrio in the right transept in 1481. (See the page on Art from the Duomo for details of its original decoration). The building of a dividing wall across the chapel in 1608 created the present Cappella di Santo Stefano as a pendant to the Cappella del Crocifisso opposite. The space behind the dividing wall is now the Oratorio di Sant' Onofrio.
The supposed relics of St Bevignate were transferred from the church of San Bevignate to the new altar here in ca. 1608. The present altarpiece (ca. 1608), which depicts the Martyrdom of St Stephen, is by Giovanni Baglioni. A statue (1892) of Pope Leo XIII (the former Bishop Gioacchino Pecci ) by Giuseppe Lucchettiis on the left wall.
In 1615, Bishop Napoleone Comitoli built a mausoleum on the right wall for the three popes who had died in Perugia and been buried in the old Duomo:
Pope Innocent III (in 1216);
Pope Urban IV (in 1264); and
Pope Martin IV (in 1285).
Their original monuments had probably been during the depredations of the papal legate, Girardo di Puy in 1373. Thereafter, the papal remains had been placed in an iron casket in the sacristy until Bishop Comitoli re-interred them. The present monument, which was rebuilt in 1960, contains only the remains of Pope Martin IV:
Pope Leo XIII moved the remains of Pope Innocent III to a new mausoleum that he erected in the right transept of San Giovanni Laterano, Rome in 1891.
The remains of Pope Urban IV were transferred to the cathedral of Troyes (the city of his birth) in 1901.
Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1576)
This altarpiece by Orazio Alfani is on the wall near the right transept. The Cantagallina family commissioned it for their Altare di San Sebastiano
(16th century) on the counter façade. It was moved here in 1651, when the altar was dismantled.
Cappella dello Spirito Santo (1557-76)
The entrance beyond in the right wall opens into the Cappella dello Spirito Santo, which the Archpriest Leone Baglioni commissioned from Galeazzo Alessi. The work on its construction stopped in 1559 when Baglioni died, and the chapel was still unfinished in 1572 when Alessi also died. It was ceded to Polidoro Oradini in 1573. The inscription on the external architrave records that he completed it according to the will of his brother, Bishop Giulio Oradini. The neo-Gothic decoration (1849) obscures Alessi's original design.
Cesare Nebbia painted the altarpiece (16th century) of the Pentecost, in which the Holy Spirit descends on the Virgin, the Apostles, St Mary Magdalene and another female saint. The bearded man to the right of St Mary Magdalene (the only figure without a flame above his head) is a portrait of Bishop Giulio Oradini.
Madonna delle Grazie (ca. 1515)
The gilded neo-Gothic tabernacle (1855) on the pillar just beyond the entrance to the Cappella dello Spirito Santo (i. e. the 3rd pillar on the right) contains this highly venerated image of the Madonna delle Grazie, which is attributed to Giannicola di Paolo. The inscription records the fact that Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna, Bishop of Perugia ordered its restoration in 1564 after it had been damaged by rising damp.
Bishop Gioacchino Pecci built this chapel off the right wall (next to the Cappella dello Spirito Santo). This was originally the site of a side door that Bishop Pecci closed in 1850, thereby eliminating what had been a convenient short cut used by pedestrians. The Altare della Madonna del Verde (1477), which was dismantled as part of these changes, was re-erected on the back wall of the new baptistery.
The altar has an interesting history:
It takes its name from a venerated fresco (early 14th century) known as the Madonna del Verde, which was originally painted on a pilaster in the old Duomo. This fresco was detached and transferred to canvas in 1466.
The heirs of the merchant Nicolò Bucci commissioned the new Altare della Madonna del Verde to house it. They simultaneously commissioned a Pietà and panels of eight angels from Bartolomeo Caporali, and it has been assumed that these were to be incorporated into the altar. Unfortunately, they have been lost.
The altar stood on the right wall of the Duomo until 1849, when (as noted above) it was dismantled to make way for the new baptistery.
Return to the sacristy and leave by the door into the cloister of the Palazzo delle Canoniche.