Panicale rises at 441 metres above the sea level. It is a natural terrace on the lake Trasimeno. The place had already been settled since the II millennium B.C. and became a fortified military post all along the hills.
The alleys of elliptical shape reach piazza Umberto I, where there is a fountain, an old water reservoir. In the Square of Saint Michele that faces the homonymous Church Collegiata, Piazza Masolino in the upper part, Where the Palazzo del Podestà, a medieval landmark of civic power is worth to be seen. The old walls were enclosed by a moat, where the two main gates are, Porta Perugina, which overlooks Perugia and Porta Fiorentina that overlooks Tuscany. A great citizen was the mercenary Boldrino Paneri (1331-1390). He is still remembered for his tall stature. According to the legend, he was more than 2 metres tall and for this reason everyone feared him. His corpse was embalmed and his soldiers still took him with them to battles in order to make their enemies afraid of that giant and fierce man.
Panicale between the middle Ages and the Renaissance was under Perugia, and became a strategic point for food supplying and an outpost towards ovest. The town coat of arms, infact represents a tower with a spike of panìco together with the griphus of Perugia. There are different theories about the origin of the town’s name. Its name could come from the Latin Pani calet, “place where the altars of the God pan burn” are, or maybe it could come from the Greek Pan Kalon “where everything is beautiful”. According to the third theories, it seems that the name originated from the growing of panico, pan colis, that is why there are two spikes on the coat of arms. During the Renaissance Panicale was a lively cultural centre. The main artworks were made in this period. Pope Paolo III Farnese in 1543 called this village “terra insigne” . In 1540 both Perugia and Panicale were annexed to the Papal States remaining part of it until Italy’s unification. The Theatre of the Sun was built in the XVIII century and was renovated in the XIX century. The theatre was renamed after Cesare Caporali. In 1930 Anita Belleschi Grifoni founded an embroidery school in order to preserve and transmit to the new generations this local tradition of embroidery on tulle with needle, also known as Ars Panicalensis. The works of this local school are displayed at the Museum of Tulle in the church of Saint Agostino.
Panicale got the ambitious orange flag of the Italian touring club in 2007 and since 2008 it has been one of the most picturesque villages in Italy.
TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
CHURCH OF SAINT SEBASTIAN > Built in the XV century after the spread of a bubonic plague next to an hospital and renovated during the 1600s, the Church of Saint Sebastian is famous for the gorgeous fresco dedicated to the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian painted in 1505 and signed by Perugino. This masterpiece shows a great landscape and gentle hills. He got the inspiration from the view of the Lake Trasimeno that you can enjoy from the public garden just next to the church. In the church it is also possible to admire another fresco that used to be in the Church of Saint Agostino and had soon to be removed from there due to the presence of humidity on the walls. The fresco is attributed to Raffaello.
To check opening times and tickets, please go on the webpage dedicated to the museums of Panicale
THE TOWN HALL > The seat of the local authority of Panicale has been since 1870 Palazzo Zucchetti, just outside the Perugina gate. In the town council hall, there is a collection of 31 portraits, called Collezione Mariottini, depicting the most popular heroes of Panicale and dating back to the XVIII century.
THE FOUNTAIN IN PIAZZA UMBERTO I > Today where the fountain is, there used to be the weekly market and an old water reservoir that supplied water to the local community. The coat of arms of Panicale representing a castle and the gryphons of Perugia that hold a shield is still visible.
COLLEGIATA OF S. MICHELE ARCANGELO > The church dates from the XI century and was restored during the XVII century, turned into an elegant Baroque-style church. Inside, behind the main altar there is an Annunciation attributed to Masolino da Panicale (XV century). In the two side chapels on the left side of the apse an “Adoration of the shepherds” by G.B.Caporali, dating back to the year 1519 and a wooden Christ dating back to the XVII century, which shows Christ carried in the procession on Holy Friday can be seen.
Open to public every day. The entrance is free.
BOLDRINO PANERI’ S HOUSE > It was situated in the square of San Michele. Today, a marble plaque indicates the exact place where his house was. Boldrino Paneri lived there in the XIV century.
PALAZZO DEL PODESTÀ > Situated at the highest point of Panicale, the Palazzo del Podestà is a building that dates back to the XIV century. The building made of sandstone provides access to the notary archive and to public, historic and legal records. It is possible to enjoy a breathtaking view from the square that overlooks both the Lake Trasimeno and Tuscany.
Open by reservation only. For bookings and fares, please contact email@example.com
THEATRE C. CAPORALI > A splendid architectural jewel and among the smallest theatres in Italy, the theatre of Panicale was designed by the architect G. Caproni in the middle of the XIX century. Due to its shape, still well preserved and thanks to some restoration works, it represents a typical Italian theatre. It offers theatre acting classes, an opera festival and prose shows. Mariano Piervittori painted the curtain on the stage in the XIX century that depicts Boldrino from Panicale who is receiving the keys of Perugia.
The visit of the theatre is included in the full itinerary of the historical centre. Please go on the webpage, dedicated to the museums of Panicale
THE CHURCH OF SAINT AGOSTINO > It dates from XIV century and was completed in 1502. The church today is the seat of the Museo del Tulle A. Belleschi Grifoni was the founder of a local school of embroidery during the 1930s. She wanted to encourage the young generations to preserve this local tradition and helped the growth of the local economy with the purchase of her precious handmade manufactures. Veils, babies Christening dresses and gowns, stole, gloves and tablecloths with refined flower-drawings. Here, you can admire this female art tradition and all the handmade manufactures embroidered with needle on tulle.
The visit of the Museum is included in the full itinerary of the historical centre. Please go on the webpage, dedicated to the museums of Panicale
MADONNA DELLA SBARRA > This Baroque-style church was built after the decision of the local community who wished to worship an image of the Virgin, painted on a fresco inside a church niche. Inside there is also a collection of sacred furnishings which dates back to the XVII and XX centuries, and coming from the churches of Panicale.
The visit of the Museum is only possible on request. Please go on the webpage, dedicated to the museums of Panicale