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Art in Umbria

Modern and contemporary art in Umbria: Citta di Castello and Perugia

A trip combining modern and contemporary

Città di Castello offers more than just Pinturicchio, Rosso Fiorentino, Signorelli or Raphael: this is the city of Alberto Burri, one of the most important contemporary artists. Practical necessities and ideal aspirations gave life to paintings and sculptures made of highly malleable waste materials.

The most substantial part of his work can be seen in the two museums here. In the centre, the Palazzo Albizzini, built at the end of the 15th century and restored under Burri's direction, offers an anthology of works spanning the years 1948 to 1989, displayed in 20 rooms. Pictures, sculptures, graphic designs, sculptures and sketches for theatre scenography can be admired here.

The former tobacco drying buildings can be found on the southern outskirts of the city. Here, everything is enormous. The 7,500 square metre pavilions, entirely dedicated to the physician and artist, contain 128 large format works produced between 1974 and 1993, divided into cycles to form a single body of work. The sculptures visible in the outside areas are also monumental: Grande Ferro Sestante, Grande Ferro K and Ferro U.

For a tasty break try a plate of yellow tagliatelle with white truffle and Umbria protected designation of origin olive oil from the Trasimeno Hills, followed by mazzafegati sausages from the High Tiber valley, a product boasting the Slow Food Presidia.
In Perugia the palazzo della Penna can be found between Viale Indipendenza and the Three Arches. The 16th-century building sits on the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre. Looking down Via Marconi you can see the tower and the medieval walls embedded in the complex.

Today the palace is used as a museum, and houses 4 important art collections; on the first floor are the works of the Perugia Academy of Fine Arts, as well as the aerofuturist painter Gerardo Dottori.


Descend the long helical staircase designed by famous architect Franco Minissi. Discover the Valentino Martinelli collection and the great room that exhibits the 6 blackboards created by Joseph Beuys in 1980 for the exhibition of his work together with Alberto Burri, who donated an important black sculpture to the city, which is still exhibited at the Paolina Fortress.