Rocca Paolina
Rocca Paolina
4.5
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  • Andrzej W
    Czech Republic75 contributions
    Overrated monument
    Interesting place but lot of video presentation were out of order. Good location close to historical centrum, very cozy view to block of mountains on horizon. I recommend combination with local Minimetro and leave car on free parking.
    Visited February 2023
    Written February 15, 2023
  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom9,314 contributions
    A Subterranean City
    The Rocca Paolina was the most unusual thing we saw in Perugia. Wandering through it, was like being in an underground, abandoned medieval city. It was a maze of underground passageways, with mysterious nooks and crannies, long, dark tunnels, archways and alleys, and cavernous spaces with towering vaulted ceilings. It was quite fascinating. What you see here are the remains of a 16th century papal fortress built by Pope Paul III alongside the remnants of medieval palazzos that once belonged to the wealthy and powerful Baglioni family. Interestingly, the fortress was not built to keep enemies out but to protect from the enemy within. It served as a bulwark against internal revolts. In the 1500s, the Church had lost its influence in Perugia. Wealthy families ruled as lords, riding roughshod over papal power. By 1534, Pope Paul III had re-asserted control. The church was back in charge, the ruling families were suppressed and Perugia lost the right to self-government and their trading rights. It was a testing time. Pope Paul III immediately built the biggest and strongest fortress as he could, demolishing the palazzos of the troublesome ruling nobility and building right over the top of them. All that remains today is the basement. Even so, the scale of the place is amazing. There are a number of free displays, including some scattered modern sculptures, a model of the fortress and some videos (although these weren’t working when we were there). There are also a number of signs with good information in both English and Italian. We entered via the escalator alongside Palazzo della Provincia but there are a number of entry points. Today, it is integrated into the modern city. A set of escalators run through the middle connecting the lower levels of Perugia with the city centre and commuters use it to get to the bus station. If you park at Piazza Partigiani car park, walking up through Rocca Paolina is the most direct way to enter the city centre. If you have kids with you, this is the sort of thing that they will find a lot more fun than churches and cathedrals. Entry is free.
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 19, 2023
  • Stephen K
    Wagga Wagga, Australia6 contributions
    Great time and free, yes it is free
    The experience was more than we had expected as so many items all have a cost. Imagine the surprise when we find no one asking for entry fees or such. The video room with 3 projectors running an unbelievable run through history of Perugia was fantastic to see. The enormity of the town which has been built over excelled. If you have to do one thing in Perugia then travel back in time and have a look in here. Make it a must on the list.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Andrzej W
Czech Republic75 contributions
Feb 2023
Interesting place but lot of video presentation were out of order.
Good location close to historical centrum, very cozy view to block of mountains on horizon. I recommend combination with local Minimetro and leave car on free parking.
Written February 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephen K
Wagga Wagga, Australia6 contributions
Sep 2023 • Friends
The experience was more than we had expected as so many items all have a cost. Imagine the surprise when we find no one asking for entry fees or such. The video room with 3 projectors running an unbelievable run through history of Perugia was fantastic to see. The enormity of the town which has been built over excelled. If you have to do one thing in Perugia then travel back in time and have a look in here. Make it a must on the list.
Written September 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Theresa
Morgantown, WV18 contributions
Jun 2022
we had the luxury to stay in Perugia for 5 days....this was my children's favorite spots so we visited it twice. It is an amazing underground castle...and you will definitely enjoy the 360-degree video of Perugia history showing at the entrance of the castle!!
Written July 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

liucy752
Taipei, Taiwan1,228 contributions
Feb 2019 • Family
The majestic fortress was originally built in the 14 century. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times in the history.

Today the remains is an evocative maze, like an underground city containing hall of the papal guards, streets, arches and rooms (serve as exhibition centers and museums).

The underground paths are now connected by a series of escalators and stairs, and is used as a commuting route. It is open to the public freely from 6:15AM to 1:45AM.

Visiting the Fortress is not only for a tour but also walking in a path between the upper old town and the lower new city. Amazing
Written April 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jefferson G
Reisterstown, MD203 contributions
Apr 2018 • Couples
This was one of the most remarkable things we saw and experienced on our two-week trip to Venice and central Italy. In 1540, Perigia was part of the Papal States, under the direct rule of the Pope in Rome. When Pope Paul III imposed a new tax on salt (compare, e.g., the Boston Tea Party), the Perugians, led by their leading family the Baglioni, revolted. The Pope’s troops crushed the revolt, and to keep the Perugians down, he expelled everyone from the upscale neighborhood around the Baglioni mansion and then partially destroyed and buried or completely razed some 300 houses, a basilica that contained the tombs of many of Perugia’s noble citizens from centuries past, seven churches, two convents, and a number of palaces of noble families, some with towers. In their place, he erected a massive stone fortress with a papal palace known as the Rocca Paolini (Castle of Paul) on top of it.

This lasted until the end of papal rule in 1860, when the Perugians in turn happily tore down most of it. Between 1932-1965, the Perugians dug out the surviving old streets and structures beneath the massive remaining substructures of the Rocca Paolina, and in the 1980's they built some escalators leading down into it from above and running up into it from further down the hill. Today, some of the space is sued for art exhibits and public gatherings, and some of it just serves as connecting subterranean passageways beneath the city.

We’d heard vague rumblings about some underground passageways before we arrived in Perugia, but had trouble getting a handle on what this meant until we took a staircase down next to the Prefecture Building that fronts on the public square called the Giardini Carducci in front of the Hotel Sina Brufani. And then we were there, and open-mouthed in amazement. This is a can’t miss thing to see when you’re in Perugia.
Written February 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ValerieJo18
Chicago, IL221 contributions
Jul 2018
If you park in the Piazzale Partigiani car park near the bus station, a series of escalators take you to the heart of this area before you pop out to the piazza and old town. Rocca Paolina is a Renaissance fortress built in the 1500's for Pope Paul III. This destroyed a large number of Etruscan, Roman and medieval buildings, including the Baglioni family tower houses as well as over a hundred other tower-houses, gates, churches and monasteries. It turned the former streets of the historic city center into underground passageways, which are now open to the public. A fascinating place to wander around before heading out to the old town. There is a very interesting and artistic film playing you should also see when there. I have been here about 9+ times in the last 5 years and although the area is getting better with lighting, exhibits and such I still would love to see more explanations of what exactly I was seeing but still definitely worth the time!
Written July 23, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

marcyMontr_al
Porto, Portugal97 contributions
Apr 2012 • Couples
On a hot sunny day, THE place to be! Medieval tunnels go on forever, in every direction and take you to different parts of the old town. Shops of chocolate, jewelry, bedding, meats etc. are set up here and there under the arches. Fun and enjoyable.
Written June 1, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sanmarcospass
Ojai, CA2 contributions
Dec 2011 • Business
Once in Perugia, you Have to visit the Rocca Paolina, an old town that you can reach via escalators. Old homes and shops perfectly kept will bring you straight into the middle-age. Amazing, one of a kind.
Written December 31, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Annie M
Glasgow54 contributions
Jun 2019
An amazing subterranean passage down through the layers of Perugia. The top entrance is off the Piazza Italia.
Written July 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carol K
New York City, NY440 contributions
Dec 2016 • Couples
This fortress was built at the direction of the mid-16th century Pope Paul III to make sure that the citizens of Perugia couldn't escape from his political control. In order to build it, a medieval part of town was destroyed and replaced by this gigantic structure with internal corridors (used in winter for Christmas market vendors). The scale of the whole place is amazing, even though some external parts of it have been removed over time. It is well worth a short stroll. At street level, you will find an escalator (rolling stairs) going down to the level where the shops were and where your kids will like peeking into one or another room before returning to the corridor. There are other escalators going to the lower part of town. At the base is a frontispiece to the entrance that dates from about 200 BC. It's the remains of an arched gateway entrance with fragments of sculptured figures above the arch. This is an earlyish example of the use of a grand arch, and it's in some art history survey books despite some damage and reuse in a new context.
Written January 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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