Perugia was an Etruscan city importance as testified by monuments such as the Etruscan Arch, the Marzia gateway, the Etruscan well.
In the II century a.C. the emperor Ottaviano sieged and conquered Perugia declaring it “August Perusia.” After the fall of the Roman empire the city suffered numerous invasions until it constituted a free Commune in the XI century and it was in that period that the city started to assume that urban order, with rich palaces, sculptural works, and paintings of exquisite value, that distinguishes it still today.
During this time the city was frequently divided by feuds among the main families, such as the Michelotti’s, the Piccinino’s, the Fortebraccio’s or the Baglioni. The later prevailed and dominated until 1531, when the bloody “Salt War” erupted.
This war was caused by the pontifical states implementing a new tax on salt. The Vatican winning the war, occupied the city, and the Pope, Paolo III Farnese, to demonstrate the Vatican supremacy built the impressive Rocca Paolina architected by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane. The rule of the Vatican lasted until 1860, when Perugia became a part of the Italian kingdom.