Palazzo Margherini Graziani

Context: rural
Date: 17th century
Located on the slopes of a hill rising over the upper Tiber valley, the Palace Margherini Graziani enjoys a beautiful panoramic view.
The palace rises on a stronghold belonging to an earlier building, with three floors, one of which is a mezzanine. The principal façade, in late Renaissance style, that for its richness is significantly different from the other ones, includes a three-arched arcade on the second and third floor. Thanks to its slender columns, it refers clearly to the Vasari loggia of the Bufalini castle, to whom the palace seems however stylistically linked.
The front of the villa is then entirely covered with pilasters (semi-columns that are slightly protruding on the wall surface) and a string-course so to build a sort of grid bearing the pattern of square windows framed in stone serene, the slightly hollow niches and a series of walled niches on the ground floor.
The elegant tower - roof terrace rises above the hipped roof and presents an alternation of pilasters and stringcourse ledges too.
The most important room of the palace is the reception hall overlooking the loggia (that the restoration works tried to revive from a previous state of ruin). Instead on the ground floor there are the entrance hall and the gallery for carriages with a barrel vault, that provided access to the covered carriages and connected the farmhouse with the chapel. The green areas are included in a big pentagon that is entirely walled and accessible through a straight and tree-lined avenue on the right side of the villa’s entrance.
Probably the gardens used to be located seamlessly on the inclined plane of the hill. Later three terraces were built; today they are completely reorganized and two of them are in the area in front of the façade. This important noble villa was built on the orders of Carlo Graziani, an exponent of the famous family of Città di Castello in the early 17th century.
The project was entrusted to the architects Antonio Cantagallina of San Sepolcro, a pupil of Vasari and Bruni of Rome, who built the Villa on a pre-existing building whose central large tower was the only part that remained standing.
The construction works of the manor house ended in 1616 and the family chapel devoted to the Lady of Loreto could be observed in 1622 on the right side of the building. Probably the complex suffered damage during the earthquake of 1789, but it experienced the highest level of degradation from the Second World War, during which it was occupied by German troops and sacked. The renovation works started in the 1980s and are still ongoing; in 1980 the complex was bought by the Municipality of St. Giustino.
Currently the farmhouse of the villa is used by the Archaeological Superintendence of Umbria and by the University of Perugia as an operational basis for the excavation campaigns carried out in the near Roman villa of “Colle Plinio”, whereas the palace is hosting the exhibition and the warehouse of finds coming from the excavations carried out there.
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