Day 741: Perugia

Leaving Tuscany, Laetitia and her group began the day’s tour in Perugia, the capital city of Umbria.  Perugia is also a university town and an art center. Laetitia and her group went to two art museums.  The Collegio del Cambio was once the money-changers guild hall.  During the Renaissance, the guild hired local painting master, Pietro Perugino, to decorate its walls.  The presence of the frescoes made the building a natural as an art museum.  Afterwards, they went to the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria to view its twenty-three galleries of works by Umbrian painters, mostly from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries.

Like Tuscany, this part of Umbria was once Etruscan territory.  They began the day visiting an Etruscan well and a chamber tomb followed by a trip to the National Museum of Umbrian Archeology.  The Etruscans had a written language and inscriptions in their language abound, but scholars have been unable to decipher it.  Thus, what is known of them is speculation based primarily on their art.  Available data suggests that they were a much more egalitarian society than their Roman and Greek contemporaries.  Writers from these neighboring groups generally portray them in a bad light but not everyone finds their opinions believable.  When D. H. Lawrence lived in Tuscany, he was fascinated with the Etruscans and wrote a collection of essays entitled, Etruscan Places.  In it he wrote: “the Etruscans were vicious … we know it, because their enemies and exterminators said so … Who isn’t vicious to his enemy?”

Those Romans who viewed with abhorrence
Etruscans who once lived near Florence
Were simply pernicious,
Their claims were fictitious,
Said the British writer, D. H. Lawrence.