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The monumental centre of Perugia is represented by the Piazza IV Novembre together with the steep alleys which lead as far as the oldest walls of the original Etruscan nucleus reachable through the ancient gates Porta Marzia, Porta Sole, Porta Cornea, Porta Trasimena, Porta della Mandorla and the Arco Etrusco. The piazza is justly considered one of the most beautiful squares in Italy; it is surrounded by splendid buildings, and in the centre stands the Fontana Maggiore. This beautiful medieval fountain was erected in the second half of the 12th century, ending an important public work, the aqueduct which carried water to the town from Mount Pacciano. Architect and supervisor was Fra Bevignate da Perugia, while the sculptural decorations were made by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The structure is composed of two superimposed polygonal basins, covered by splendid slabs of marbles representing biblical and mythological personages, saints, animals, and personifications of months, sciences, virtues, and places. The monument, one of the best examples of Gothic in Italy, is very important also from the symbolic-politic point of view: it represented the city at the top of its power, combining civil and religious aspects, and sacred and profane themes.

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