H O M E  


P E R U G I A——— FONTANA MAGGIORE

Views of Perugia
Click on image to enlarge



Perugia, a partial view



Perugia, a XV Cent view


 


Perugia, Via dell'Orso



View of Corso Vannucci.
Partial view of Fontana
Maggiore, covered for
restoration (1994).



A view of the country from
Perugia



 

 
Introduction

PERUGIA, the capital of Umbria, is located SE of Florence and N of Rome at about a distance of 60 and 70 miles respectively. The City is situated on a hill overlooking the valley of the Tiber River. Perugia was founded by the Umbrians and then inhabited by the Etruscans until it came under the control of Rome in c. 310 B.C. Then, in the 6th century A.D. it became a Lombard duchy. In the 12th century it gained the status of a free commune and gradually gained hegemony over other Umbrian cities.

Perugia was a center of learning with its "Studio Generale" which obtained university status in 1308. During the 13th-16th cent. it was a renown center for its Umbrian School of painting which reached its splendor with Perugino (1445-1523), the teacher of Raphael.

Noteworthy points of interest include the imposing Palazzo dei Priori (which houses the very important National Gallery of Umbria), the Etruscan arch, the church of San Pietro (decorated with outstanding paintings), the Gothic church of San Domenico (seat of an important archaeological museum), the 13th century Fontana Maggiore, a marvelous work with a series of sculptures by Nicola Pisano (1220-c.1280) and his son Giovanni.

Near Perugia is a large Etruscan cemetery with many chambers carved out in rock.

The Fontana Maggiore

The Fontana Maggiore, or Main Fountain, was built to celebrate the construction of the aqueduct that brought water to Perugia from the springs of Paciano, a mountain about five miles from the city center. The aqueduct was completed in 1278. The Fountain was built and decorated by Nicola Pisano (1220-c.1280) and his son Giovanni (1245-1320) between 1277 and 1278.

The Fontana Maggiore represents the masterpiece of Perugia and it is one of the most interesting and beautiful fountains of the 13th century anywhere. Its decorations are undoubtedly focused towards the civic values of man, his activities and accomplishments during his life on earth.

The Fountain is composed of two polygonal basins, the upper one with a smaller diameter. Over the upper basin there is a bronze round vessel, seven feet in diameter, with three bronze statues holding over their heads an amphora from which water pours.

 


Orientation

(Click on an image to see a larger view)
Perugia: Map of the Center
Map of Center
Palazzo dei Priori, Fontana Maggiore and Piazza IV Novembre
Orientation photo
Fontana Maggiore. In the background Palazzo dei Priori
Fontana Maggiore



(For convenience, the Fontana Maggiore site has been divided into three sections: Lower Basin, Middle Basin, Upper Basin. Click on the image to open the relative section. The images and comments of the three sections are best viewed beginning from the Lower Basin).

Upper BasinBronze vessel on top of the fountain

The bronze vessel is seven feet in diameter and has three bronze statues.






Middle basin
Middle vessel with 24 marble statues

The middle basin has 24 small statues sculpted in Carrara marble
.
They represent biblical and symbolic figures, real and mythological people of
the history of Perugia and of the world.




Lower basin
Lower vessel with  50 reliefs set in 25 panels or diptychs
The lower basin is the most complex. It has 50 reliefs set in 25 panels
or diptychs portraying:
1. The Expulsion from Earthly Paradise (one panel).
2. Political and moral history (six panels).
3. Manual work done in each month of the year (twelve panels).
4. One panel between (3) and (5).
5. Intellectual work with the Seven Liberal Arts plus Philosophy (four panels)



 


Site created and maintained by Gino Casagrande.
Copyright 2002 - All Rights Reserved. Updated 30.IX.2005


Mail: Casagrande