Basilica di San Pietro, Perugia

Abbey and Basilica in Perugia

Basilica Di San Pietro, Perugia
CC BY-SA 4.0 / AliasXX00

The Basilica di San Pietro, part of the Catholic abbey established in 996 by Abbot Pietro Vincioli (later canonized as Saint Peter), stands on the foundations of a former cathedral reportedly built as early as the 4th century AD for the first bishopric of Perugia. The land beneath the basilica had been sacred to the pagan Etruscans and Romans for many centuries prior.

Historical Background

The abbey coexisted peacefully with the people of Perugia until 1398, when locals burned it down. This act of arson was in response to Abbot Francesco Guidalotti’s arrangement of the killing of a leader of the Raspanti Party, to which most Perugians belonged. Understandably, this infuriated the populace. Following the death of the last monk of San Pietro in 1899, the property was taken over by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences of the University of Perugia.

Architectural Features

The main court of the abbey features a 13th-century polygonal clock tower. The Romanesque blind arches on the basilica’s façade are products of later restoration. Inside, the basilica’s interior resembles an early Christian temple and includes:

  • Gothic Choir: Made of wood and dating back to the 16th century.
  • Triple-Arched Portal: Designed by Galeazzo Alessi in 1571.

Artistic Treasures

The sacristy, added in 1451, is adorned with numerous frescoes and paintings by renowned artists such as Perugino, Parmigianino, and Raphael. Highlights include:

  • Perugino’s Smaller Paintings: Depicting Santa Scholastica, Santa Ercolano, Santa Constantino, Santa Pietro Abbate, Santa Mauro, and Santa Placido.
  • 17th-Century Copies by Giovanni Battista Salvi (Sassoferrato): Located above the door leading to St. Joseph’s Chapel in the right aisle.
  • Perugino’s Pietà: Found in the Sacramento Chapel in the left aisle, where Perugino portrays himself as Giuseppe di Arimatea.


The Basilica di San Pietro is not only a significant religious site but also a treasure trove of historical and artistic marvels. Its rich history, combined with its stunning architecture and artworks, makes it a must-visit destination in Perugia.

The Basilica di San Pietro, Perugia appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Perugia!

This website uses affiliate links which may earn a commission at no additional cost to you!

Visiting Basilica di San Pietro, Perugia


Tuesdays to Saturdays h. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm / 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

The church is free for worshippers Sundays and Mondays h. 7:30 pm – 12:30 pm / 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm



Address: Abbazia di San Pietro, Borgo XX Giugno, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

Nearby Attractions