The National Gallery of Umbria’s collections have been hosted since 1878 on the upper floors of the Priori Palace (Palazzo dei Priori), one of the most interesting examples of Gothic civil constructions in Italy.
The Museum's collection is the most exhaustive and complete of the region, both for the variety and the large number of the works of art it possesses. This is the artistic evidence documenting that chronological arch of time that goes from the 13th to the 19th century. Part of the preserved and featured works here constitute the rich heritage —once in use for didactical purposes— from the Academy of Fine Arts of Perugia, which was founded in 1573. To the initial collection, more works of art from private donors have been added, together with others that became state-owned, at the time of the suppression measures imposed on religious orders and corporations, first by the Napoleonic government and after by the Italian State.
The great consistency of the collection —in pieces, number and value— led to the establishment in 1863 of the Pinacoteca Civica, the gallery dedicated to the painter Pietro Vannucci. The gallery was given to the State and took the name of Royal Vannucci Gallery in 1918; it later became the National Gallery of Umbria (Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria).
The curatorial management established the Museum’s mission in its current exhibit design in December 2006, and the display of the works of art has been held in chronological order since then. The works, witnessing the period going from the 13th to the 15th century, are exhibited on the third floor; those from the 16th up to the 19th century can be found on the second floor; monographic sections, dedicated to Umbrian weaved textiles, goldsmith, ceramics, ancient graphics and topography, are spaced out here and there along the pathway.