Municipal Picture Gallery - Città di Castello
Vitelli Palace, housing the Municipal Picture Gallery, that has been reopened to the public in 1995, is located at the centre of Città di Castello, next to the urban walls, in via della Cannoniera.
The sober Renaissance architecture of the building is enriched on its side facing the garden by elegant monochrome walls by Cristoforo Gherardi, probably based on the design of Giorgio Vasari, and by a porch with an overlying lodge, hosting the collection of sculptures, including a core of terracotta by Andrea della Robbia. Gherardi himself executed part of the internal halls’ decorations, together with Cola dell’Amatrice.
The art gallery, divided in 26 halls, plus further exhibition spaces devoted to temporary exhibitions, includes artworks ranging from the 14th to the 20th century, the majority of which became of public property following the post-Unitarian expropriations. Artworks of mainly foreign artists demonstrate the artistic vitality of the area, in the centre of important communication channels and cultural exchanges among different areas: Raphael, Luca Signorelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Andrea Della Robbia, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Antonio Vivarini, Raffaellino del Colle, Pomarancio and Santi di Tito.
Spaces inaugurated in 2006 host three important donations: the plaster casts gallery of the sculptor Elmo Palazzi (1871-1915), a collection of bronzes made by Bruno Bartoccini and the collection Ruggeri that includes about 20 paintings of 20th century Italian artists. A wide malacological collection will be free in the halls of the basement area.
The furniture exhibited in the different halls of the picture gallery didn’t belong to the original furnishings of the palace, but is part of the donation that Elia Volpi, responsible of the last restoration of the building as well as its owner, did to the District of Città di Castello in 1912. There are 16th century tables typically made in Umbria or coming from convents, as well as series of 17th - 18th century chairs and high-chairs.
The most valuable and interesting pieces are furnishings coming from churches and castles monasteries. Interesting is the group of Gothic stalls, carved and decorated with inlays attributed to the workshop of the most famous Florentine carpenter of the first 15th century, Manno di Benincasa Mannucci. The choir, the sacristy’s wardrobe, signed and dated 1501 as well as the big carved and gold sarcophagus preserving the body of the Blessed Margherita, are among the documents of the highly quality Umbrian manufacturing tradition of the last 16th century.