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Quartier of Peccioverardi

Quartier of Peccioverardi

In Roman times entrance gateway Porta Pretoria (“face to the enemy”), which was also called “Porta Veranda”, “Porta Peccioverarda or even “Peccioverardi” in the Middle Ages, was located on the South-East side of the city walls of Cortona, which prove the succession of ancient historical events. In the 13th century, after the construction of the beautiful church and convent of the Dominican Friars, the gateway took the name of “Porta San Domenico”.
A flat street called “Rugapiana” (which once was part of the decumanus, the East-West oriented road in Roman times) links the periphery with the main square of the town and is the main street of Quarter Peccioverardi, which also includes the neighbourhood of S. Domenico. The Quarter derived from the pre-existing organisation of the town in three quarters (S. Maria, S. Marco and S. Vincenzo, in 1248), which were regulated in conformity with the Statute of 1325.

San Domenico, the church of the quarter

The church of the quarter, dedicated to Saint Dominic, was built in the 13th century and enlarged in the 15th century. The adjacent convent (which was largely demolished in 1817 to be replaced by the public gardens) has accommodated Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, called Fra Angelico, an excellent painter whose grace is primarily shown in the Annunciation that is displayed in the Diocesan Museum of the town.

The palaces and the Peccioverardi's door

At the beginning of the 13th century, a huge political and social urbanisation movement of the city classes, in which architect Elia Coppi from Cortona, first general minister of the Franciscan Order, took actively part, changed the town planning of Cortona and the borders of neighbourhoods were redefined. Peccioverardi was thus called the “Quarter of Sunshine” thanks to its prominent southern exposure.
The neighbourhood is characterised by many palaces of historic and architectural relevance, such as Palazzo Alticozzi; the elegant loggia related to the visit of Pope Leo X; Palazzo Marri; Palazzo Ferretti di Castel Ferretto; the palace that belonged to the Coppi family (now seat of MADI s.r.l. and seat of the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena); Palazzo Venuti (“the old”), Palazzo Venuti (“the new”), made by Francesco Berrettini, Pietro Berrettini's uncle; Palazzo Ristori, where there once was Porta Peccioverardi, which was demolished in 1861 in order to facilitate the transit on Rugapiana, the current via Nazionale.

German knight friars and soldiers

The “Ordo Sancte Mariae Allemannorum”, an order made of German knight friars and soldiers, friends of Frederick II, established their seat in the neighbourhood of San Domenico in order to take part in the crusades. During the periods of peace, they devoted themselves to charitable activities. As experts in medicine, they built within the neighbourhood (around 1232) a Church dedicated to Saint Mary and a hospital, which was inspired by penitent Saint Margaret, a Franciscan tertiary, whose assistance and hospital activity culminated in the foundation of the “Fraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy” (1285), in order to gather the hospitals located inside and outside the city walls of Cortona, including those of Peccioverardi.Afterwards, the quarters' fate was closely related to the domination of Florence, of the Lorena family, of Napoleon I and then the unification of Italy.

Via Nazionale, called Rugapiana

The history, arts, culture and landscape of the valley below piazza Carbonaia make Cortona a popular tourist destination and a town very appreciated by scholars. Quarter Peccioverardi offers them the first nice impression with its lovely Rugapiana and the picturesque narrow streets, which have an angular layout and reach the main street both from uphill and downhill.
“Rugapiana”, as it is called by the citizens instead of via Nazionale because this name recalls both old traditions, inner meanings and modern life, is really unique and is considered as the social gathering point both for citizens and foreigners, who can meet here in a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.

E. Baracchi

The quarter and the Joust

The quarter of Peccioverardi, animated by a fresh competitiveness, is also actively involved with the other quarters of the town in the “Archidado Joust”, in which it has been awarded the first prize 5 times in 1996, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.