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The Rocca Paolina

The Rocca Paolina

The Rocca Paolina, or Paolina Fortress, is right in the historical centre of Perugia and one can enter via a door at Porta Marzia or the escalator system that connects Piazza Italia with Piazza Partigiani. 

A symbol of Papal power, it was built at the behest of Pope Paul III Farnese (1540 -1543) who was victorious in the Salt War that the Perugini had waged against him.

The fortress was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, the most celebrated military architect of his times, and called for the destruction of what was then a quarter of the city that included the homes of the powerful Baglioni family. The fortresses was composed of two separate forts: an upper one on Landone hill, and a lower one on the plains known as Tenaglia, connected to the former via three fortified footpaths.

The Perugini always hated them and right after the annexation of Perugia to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, the above-ground parts of the structures were razed.

The underground Rocca Paolina is open to the public during the same hours as the escalators that connect Piazza Partigiani to Piazza Italia, that is, every day from 6:15 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Some of the rooms within the fortress are now home to exhibition centres (like the CERP, the Rocca Paolina Exhibition Centre), used during exhibits and events, and the Rocca Paolina Museum, which traces some of the history of this magnificent old landmark.

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Main attractions in the vicinity