Sito del Comune di Panicale provincia di Perugia, regione Umbria, Italia

The History

immagine articoloThe History

Set on the eastern slope of Mount Petravella, Panicale has been called the most beautiful natural terrace overlooking the Trasimeno Lake. Panicale offers its visitors natural beauty as well as historic and monumental sites.
The earliest settlements can probably be traced back to 2000 years before Christ. During the following centuries many aspects of the town were changed by the variation in population among Indo-Europeans, Umbrians, Etruscans and Romans. For many years, Panicale's destiny was tied to Perugia's. This fact is supported by the heraldic coat-of-arms that bears the Perugia Griffin next to the symbol of the Castle (a tower decorated with ears of Italian millet). The first compilation of a communal statute dates back to 1316, drawn up in Latin by the notary Pietro di Vannuccio and later translated into vernacular in 1484 for wider distribution.
The Renaissance for Panicale is a period of economic, urban and artistic development that witnesses the completion of valuable reknown artworks thanks to the presence of "Il Perugino" and his students. In 1543, Pope Paul III bestowed on Panicale the title of "Honoured Land". Today it is considered one of the most attractive Italian small villages.
There are various meanings attributed to Panicale's name: beginning with the most probable: "The place where altars worship the god Pan"(Pani calet), to the poetic: "where everything is beautiful" (Pan Kalon), concluding with the meaning explicitly appearing on the coat-of-arms, "the place where Italian millet is cultivated" (pan colis).
Panicale still conserves the typical structure of a medieval castle, at one time surrounded by a moat, and having two gates; one facing Perugia and the other towards Florence. Panicale's three main squares are enclosed within series of concentric ellipses.
The best starting point for visiting Panicale is definitely the Church of Saint Sebastian inside of which Il Perugino's very beautiful fresco, "The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian" (1505) can be viewed. The fresco takes up the entire rear wall space of the Church and its sense of lightness is very impressive.
The same landscape which has just been admired outside, is reproduced in all its legendary fame as the background for what many have defined as the "Archers' dance" around the Saint.
In this same church a fresco of the enthroned Madonna, detached from the Saint Augustine Church and attributed to the painter Spagna, is conserved.
The faces of the illustrious figures in Panicale's history may be discovered by visiting the Pinoteca (painting gallery) collected in the rooms of the city hall: 31 canvases portray clergy, valiant soldiers and men of letters, etc.
This collection is named after Francesco Mariottini who commissioned it during the latter half of the 18th century. The ferocious Boldrino, the Jesuit Virgilio Ceppari, the famous Masolino, this same Mariottini, they all seem to be observing everything that occurrs in the city hall rooms.
Then if you enter the town through the Perugia Gate you will immediately notice the fountain from 1473, built in travertine marble.
This used to be the town's ancient well that was extended underneath the whole square. From the same spot, the rear walls of the impressive Collegiate Church of Saint Michael the Archangel can be seen. The Church, dated back to the 11th century has a typical Baroque interior design.
In the apse you can admire "The Annunciation" fresco attributed to Tommasino Fini called Masolino (1383-1447). On the rear left side the painting on wood, "The Adoration of the Shepherds" (1519) by Gianbattista Caporali (1476-1560), a student of Il Perugino.
Noteworthy is the Morettini organ (1835) restored on the occasion of the Jubilee 2000. Two other canvases adorn the Church; the canvas of "The Last Supper" (1764) by an anonymous painter and the "Crucifixion among Saint Ignatius Loyola, St. Philip the Apostle, St. Francis Saverio and St. Jerome", attributed to Bartolomeo Barbiani (1640) both can be found along the right aisle.

Across from the Collegiate Church you will notice the residence where the valiant commander of mercenary troops, Boldrino Paneri (1331-1391) lived. It was said of him that he was "luck to his friends and misfortune to his enemies".
Going beyond the famous residence you may climb up to the highest point in the town, Masolino Square dominated by the Podest Palace from the 14th century. This building constructed in Lombard-Gothic style, a work of the Comacine masters, preserves the town's historic and notarial archives.
Going down through the narrow streeets you quickly reach the Ceasare Caporali Theatre.
Originally built in the 18th century, it was later decorated by the architect Caproni in 1858.
One of the smallest Umbrian theatres, with 154 seats, a wooden structure decorated with stuccoes, it still conserves the curtain painted in 1859 by Mariano Piervittori dedicated to the handing over of the keys of Perugia to Boldrino Paneri. Leaving the Florentine Gate, just a few steps further you reach the former Saint Augustine Church (16th century). Since 2001, it has been used to house the Tulle Museum and is dedicated to Anita Belleschi Grifoni. Inside the church there are remains of antique frescoes attributed to Perugino's school and the precious altar done in grey stone (pietra serena) by Giambattista di Cristoforo from Cortona (1513).
They serve as a frame for several needlework pieces that are typical of the Panicale needlework technique known as "Ars panicalensis" This hand-made embroidery on tulle was revived in the early 1900s by Anita Belleschi Grifoni and was eventually exported beyond regional and national borders.
A short distance from the St. Augustine Church, another church worth visting is the Madonna della Sbarra, located on the previous site of the toll house. The comune ordered its construction in 1600.
The Church's interior is subdivided into three naves with five altars.
The main altar consists of four imposing gilded angels serving as pillars for the architectural structure. On the upper floor the antique hermitage houses a collection of sacred objects and vestments (from the 17th to the 19th century) divided among showcases according to different liturgical and doctrinal periods.

Within the municipal confines, Tavernelle is considered to be the economic, productive and commercial heart. The recently restored Lion fountain and the central square are worth seeing.
Just a few kilometres from Panicale, there is another example of the creative Renaissance period, the Sanctuary of the Mongiovino Madonna, a continual pilgrim destination.
What began as a simple shrine became the rich complex seen today. It was consecrated in 1646 and many talented artists contributed their work during the Renaissance and Mannerist periods. While 19th century historiography attributes the Sanctuary's architectural design to Bramante, other documents preserved in the Augu
sta library in Perugia attest to the fact that it was Rocco da Vicenza the original architect. The works of such great artists as Nicol Circignani, Giovanni Wraghe and Hendrich Van den Broek.
The Sanctuary of the Grondici, about 10 kilometres from Panicale offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding valleys.
The Church conserves an image that depicts the Virgin and Child between Saints Sebastian and Rocco painted on canvas in 1495 by Gregorio Gregori called the Teuton.

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Comune di Panicale. Via Vannucci, 1, 06064 Panicale (PG) Tel. +39 075 837951 Fax +39 075 837637 P.I./C.F. 00449310549