Perugia Papacy

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The tomb of Pope Benedict XI in Perugia Lorenzo maitani (attr.), monumento di benedetto XI, 1305 circa, 01.jpg
The tomb of Pope Benedict XI in Perugia

Perugia was a long-time papal residence during the 13th century. Five popes were elected here: Pope Honorius III (1216–1227), Pope Clement IV (1265–1268), Pope Honorius IV (1285–1287), Pope Celestine V (1294), and Pope Clement V (1305–1314). [1] These elections took place in the Palazzo delle Canoniche adjoining the Perugia Cathedral.

Perugia Comune in Umbria, Italy

Perugia is the capital city of both the region of Umbria in central Italy, crossed by the river Tiber, and of the province of Perugia. The city is located about 164 kilometres north of Rome and 148 km southeast of Florence. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area. The region of Umbria is bordered by Tuscany, Lazio, and Marche.

Pope Honorius III pope

Pope Honorius III, born as Cencio Savelli, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 18 July 1216 to his death in 1227.

Pope Clement IV Pope (1265-1268), patron of Roger Bacon & Thomas Aquinas

Pope Clement IV, born Gui Foucois and also known as Guy le Gros, was bishop of Le Puy (1257–1260), archbishop of Narbonne (1259–1261), cardinal of Sabina (1261–1265), and Pope from 5 February 1265 until his death. His election as pope occurred at a conclave held at Perugia that lasted four months while cardinals argued over whether to call in Charles of Anjou, the youngest brother of Louis IX of France, to carry on the papal war against the Hohenstaufens. Pope Clement was a patron of Thomas Aquinas and of Roger Bacon, encouraging Bacon in the writing of his Opus Majus, which included important treatises on optics and the scientific method.


The Cathedral contained the tombs of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216), Pope Urban IV (1261–1264), and Pope Martin IV (1281–1285). [1] These were destroyed by Gérard du Puy, the cardinal-nephew of Pope Gregory XI (1370–1378). [2]

Pope Innocent III 12th and 13th-century Catholic pope

Pope Innocent III, born Lotario dei Conti di Segni reigned from 8 January 1198 to his death in 1216.

Pope Urban IV pope of catholic church 1261–1264

Pope Urban IV, born Jacques Pantaléon, was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 August 1261 to his death in 1264. He was not a cardinal; only a few popes since his time have not been cardinals, including Gregory X, Urban V and Urban VI.

Pope Martin IV pope

Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion, was Pope from 22 February 1281 to his death in 1285. He was the last French pope to have held court in Rome; all subsequent French popes held court in Avignon.

During du Puy's tenure as papal governor during the War of the Eight Saints he pillaged the Duomo construction site for materials for his private fortress. [3] According to Heywood, due to du Puy's construction, "so certain did it appear that the Papal Curia was about to be transferred to Perugia that foreign merchants began to negotiate for the hire of shops and warehouses in the city." [3] The tomb of Pope Benedict XI (1303–1304) is still extant in S. Domenico.

The War of the Eight Saints (1375–1378) was a war between Pope Gregory XI and a coalition of Italian city-states led by Florence, which contributed to the end of the Avignon Papacy.

Pope Benedict XI 194th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XI, born Nicola Boccasini, was Pope from 22 October 1303 to his death on 7 July, 1304. He was also a member of the Order of Preachers.

San Domenico, Perugia basilica church in Perugia, Umbria, central Italy

San Domenico is a Roman Catholic basilica church, located on Piazza Giordano Bruno and via del Castellano in the city of Perugia, region of Umbria, central Italy.


At least five popes spent significant periods of residence in Perugia.

Pope Gregory IX 178th Pope

Pope Gregory IX was Pope from 19 March 1227 to his death in 1241. He is known for issuing the Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition in response to the failures of the episcopal inquisitions established during the time of Pope Lucius III through his papal bull Ad abolendam issued in 1184.

Pope Innocent IV pope

Pope Innocent IV, born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was the head of the Catholic Church from 25 June 1243 to his death in 1254.

Pope Boniface IX pope

Pope Boniface IX was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 2 November 1389 to his death in 1404. He was the second Pope of the Western Schism. During this time the papal claiments of the Avignon Obedience, antipope Clement VII and Benedict XIII, maintained the Roman Curia in Avignon, under the protection of the French monarchy.


Pope Zacharias convinced Lombard King Ratchis to abandon his siege of the city in 749. [1] The city was also included in the "Donation of Pepin", and thus added to the Papal States. [1]

Ratchis Italian noble

Ratchis was the Duke of Friuli (739–744) and King of the Lombards (744–749). His father was Duke Pemmo. His Roman wife was Tassia. He ruled in peace until he besieged Perugia for reasons unknown. Pope Zachary convinced him to lift the siege, and he abdicated and entered the abbey of Montecassino with his family. After the death of Aistulf in 756, he tried once again to reign over the Lombards, but he was defeated by Desiderius and retired to a cloister.

Donation of Pepin document providing a legal basis for the erection of the Papal States, which extended the temporal rule of the Popes beyond the duchy of Rome

The Donation of Pepin in 756 provided a legal basis for the erection of the Papal States, which extended the temporal rule of the Popes beyond the duchy of Rome.

Papal States territories in the Appenine Peninsula under the sovereign direct rule of the pope between 752–1870

The Papal States, officially the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.

History as a papal residence

Innocent III

Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) was in Perugia in September 1198 to consecrate S. Lorenzo; by October, he had left for Todi. [4] Innocent III died in Perugia in 1216, where the cardinals gathered to elect Honorius III.

Todi Comune in Umbria, Italy

Todi is a town and comune (municipality) of the province of Perugia in central Italy. It is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber, commanding distant views in every direction.

Gregory IX

According to Heywood,

"During their relentless persecution of the second Frederick, the popes, and especially Gregory IX, were often resident in Perugia. There they were able to mature their ambitious schemes in safety; while the city that sheltered and protected them reaped a rich reward for its loyalty in praise and privileges. Thither, in June, 1228, came Gregory, driven from Rome by a Ghibelline revolt; and thence he directed the invasion of the Kingdom of Naples. He was still in Perugia when, in May, 1229, Frederick landed at Brindisi, and, unfurling the Banner of the Cross against the Banner of the Keys, repelled and defeated the conquering armies of the Church. Only in February, 1230, did the pope return to Rome, and, in 1234, he was again in Perugia, where he remained until December, 1236." [5]

According to Heywood, Perugia "virtually assumed the position of Papal Vicar in Umbria." [6] The two apparently had a falling out by the time of Martin IV, who excommunicated the entire city of Perugia for disobeying his order not to exact vengeance upon the Bishopric of Foligno, and he and his cardinals were burned in effigy in Perugia. [7]

Innocent IV

After the death of Frederick II, Pope Innocent IV (1243–1254) returned to Italy and reached Perugia in November 1251. [8] He did not resume his journey towards Rome until 1253, when he was summoned by Senator Brancaleone. [8] According to Heywood,

"During his residence in Perugia, he did all in his power to prove his gratitude for her unwavering loyalty, and, in a Privilege of the 3rd of October, 1252, which was addressed to the Bishop of the city and which is still preserved among the municipal archives, he recalls the exceeding great affliction and labor which she had endured 'pro fidei puritate atque devotionis sinceritate servanda erga Romanam Ecclesiam matrem suam.' Moreover, during those prosperous years, Perugia reasserted her authority over many towns which through fear of the Emperor she had permitted to throw off their allegiance." [9]

Urban IV

Pope Urban IV (1261–1264) resided in Perugia in 1264, while fleeing with his Curia from Pietro Di Vico, who was planning to ambush him in Orvieto. [10] Urban Iv remained in Perugia until his death.

Benedict XI

Pope Benedict XI (1303–1304) took refuge in Perugia upon his election where he died in July 1304, triggering an eleven-month election in the "Palazzo del Papa." [11] Pope Clement V (1305–1314) was elected, who moved the papacy to Avignon, causing the Avignon Papacy. [11]

Boniface IX

Pope Boniface IX (1389–1404) resided in Perugia from September 1392 until 1393 during the Western Schism. [12] His legate, Pileo, the archbishop of Ravenna had been guarding the citadel and the city in his absence. [12] While in the city, Boniface IX recalled the Guelphic exiles and achieved a military victory against Giovanni Sciarra da Vico. [12] One of these exiles was murdered in the streets in July 1393 and Pandolfo de' Baglioni, a noble, interfered with the Podesta's ability to hand down a sentence; in retaliation, an angry mob killed Pandolfo and much of his family. [12] As the city erupted in violence, the pope and his aides fled to Assisi. [12]

Papal Palace

A portion of the Canonica (rectory), which had previously been "invaded" by the civic magistrates was occupied by the popes, and later became known as the Palazzo del Papa; it was later used as the residence of the papal governor (Palazzo del Governatore). [13] The Canonica was connected to the Bishop's Palace by massive arches which now comprise the Via delle Volte. [13] The Great Hall was capable of seating 600 persons. [13] The palace, then the residence of the papal governor, burned to the ground in 1534. [14] Pope Pius IV (1559-1565) granted the site and the remains to Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna. [14]

The Piazza della Paglia was renamed Piazza del Papa in 1816, when a statute of Pope Julius III (1550–1555) was moved there. [15]

Later papal relations

In 1375, Perugia was one of the first cities to join Florence in rebellion against Gregory XI in the War of the Eight Saints. [1] Pope Boniface IX (1389–1404) reclaimed the city in 1403. [1] In 1416, Pope Martin V (1417–1431) recognized Braccio da Montone as lord of Perugia. [1] Pope Julius II (1503–1513) conquered Gian Paolo Baglione in the city in 1506, and Pope Leo X (1513–1521) ordered him decapitated in 1520. [1] Thereafter, Perugia was again an immediate dependency of the Holy See. [1] The city rebelled against Pope Paul III's (1534–1549) salt tax in 1540. [1] Pierluigi Farnese suppressed the rebellion for Paul III, who built a fortress in the city. [1] Pope Julius III (1550–1555) restored many of the cities privileges thereafter. [1] When the Perugians rebelled again in 1848 they demolished Paul III's tower. [1] Pontifical troops retook the city again in 1859. [1]

Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903), a former bishop of Perugia, made the see an archdiocese upon his election. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Perugia". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. Keys to Umbria: City Walks. May 22, 2009 (retrieved). "Interior of the Duomo Archived 2009-01-07 at the Wayback Machine .".
  3. 1 2 Heywood, 1910, pp. 254-255.
  4. Heywood, 1910, p. 65.
  5. Heywood, 1910, pp. 69-70.
  6. Heywood, 1910, p. 70.
  7. Heywood, 1910, p. 74.
  8. 1 2 Heywood, 1910, p. 75.
  9. Heywood, 1910, pp. 75-76.
  10. Heywood, 1910, p. 77.
  11. 1 2 Heywood, 1910, p. 101.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Creighton, 1882, A history of the papacy during the period of the reformation, Volume 1 , p. 121-22.
  13. 1 2 3 Heywood, 1910, p. 353.
  14. 1 2 Heywood, 1910, p. 350.
  15. Heywood, 1910, p. 265.

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