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Basilica di San Domenico

Feel humbled by the one of the largest churches in Umbria, where impressive artistic works, intricate Gothic architecture and a pope’s tomb contribute to its grand character.

The Basilica di San Domenico is an impressive sight to behold, set in the heart of Perugia’s old town center. Visit this grand cathedral to discover a patchwork of architectural styles which are testament to its long life, as well as beautiful stained glass and some impressive historic artistic works. The cathedral’s most striking feature, however, is surely the Gothic tomb of Pope Benedict XI. 

The Basilica di San Domenico originally dates to the early 14th century and was constructed in the Gothic style. The large cathedral complex once took up much of the ancient parish of Santo Stefano del Castellare. Successive centuries and collapses, however, saw it remodeled many times. Today the interior is largely from the 17th century. Note some of the original Gothic features outside, such as those which remain on the bell tower. 

Venture inside the cavernous building and the first thing you notice will likely be the magnificent stained-glass windows. Standing a vast 68 feet (21 meters) high, the window that dates to 1411 was created by master craftsmen Bartolomeo di Pietro of Perugia and Mariotto di Nardo of Florence. It remains one of the church’s most impressive Gothic features.

The Gothic tomb of Pope Benedict XI is also found within the church, and is its most famous relic. The pope died in 1304. In addition to his final resting place, there are several other impressive features to look out for. Make sure you spend some time admiring the altar piece by Agostino di Duccio, the 17th-century organ, the inlaid Renaissance wooden choir and the 14th-century frescoes. Be aware that several other important pieces from the church have been moved to the Galleria Nazionale of Umbria. 

The Basilica di San Domenico is located in the heart of Perugia’s old town center, on Piazza Giordano Bruno. It is unmistakable due to its size and prominence. Attend one of the Holy Mass services held in the early morning and evening throughout the week, or visit in the afternoon to explore the church.


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