Palazzo dei Priori - Perugia
The first construction nucleus was built in the 1370s. Starting from the last decade of the 1200, the “Palace of the New People” developed around an architectural complex of private property and its execution would have occurred in subsequent phases, having as result an architecture with an irregular plant, rich with asymmetries and movement. A first nucleus of the palace, executed between 1293 and 1297, is made up of the three three-lights windows on the second floor and the portal on the square’s side, beyond that of the ten three-lights windows opening in corso Vannucci. During a first extension (1333 - 1337) on the square’s façade were added two three-lights windows to the sides of the portal and the stairway (originally not fan-shaped) , an artwork by Ambrogio Maitani (the semicircular stairway dates back to 1902) .
Subsequently the volume on the right was built embedding the pre-existing church of St. Severe in the square, by putting in front of it a porch with irregular arches. In 1353 the palace was moved to the current via dei Priori. In the following century it was further extended and, bypassing via dei Priori with an arch, also encompassed a medieval tower. A further extension was executed between 1429 and 1443. If you climb the stairway of the square’s façade, then bypass the ogival portal, surmounted by two copies of the 1200 bronze Griffon and Lion, symbols of the city (the originals are preserved inside the Palace), you can enter into the Notari Hall. Originally hall of the popular assemblies, the rectangular environment, with a vault supported by eight Romanesque arches, is entirely decorated with frescoes depicting legends, tales and biblical stories dating back to the last decade of 1200, maybe artwork of the Farneto Master and of the Expressionist Master of St. Claire, beyond that with emblems of podestà and Captains of the People who ruled the town.
The façade on the main street presents, beyond the series of three-lights and four-lights windows, that lighten the horizontal sense of the wall mass, a rich curve portal, dating from the 14th century, flanked with pillars supported by lions: the allegories of Magnanimity, Fertility and Pride are depicted on the left pillar. On the right pillar there are Greed, Abundance and Humility. Pillars are surmounted by two griffons subduing some calves, symbol of the art of Macellai who commissioned the artwork, whereas in the arch there are scenes of the man’s life.
In the bezel there are copies (the originals are in the Umbria National Gallery) of statues depicting St. Ludovico from Tolosa, St. Lawrence and St. Ercolano. On the first floor of the Palace, seat of the municipal administration, there are different mural paintings including those worthy of note of Bernardino Pinturicchio in the Council Room. On the third floor, seat of the Umbrian National Gallery, there is the Priori Chapel, frescoed by Benedetto Bonfigli with Stories of the Life of St. Ludovico from Tolosa and St. Ercolano (1454-1480). In the same building, along corso Vannucci, there are also the College of Cambio, seat of the exchange corporation, preserving precious frescoes executed among 1498 and 1500 by Pietro Vannucci called the Perugino, one of the highest examples of the Italian Renaissance Art, and the College of Mercanzia, that is of merchants, with an elegant coating in walnut wood and carved poplar probably painted by artists beyond the Alps.