This shapely small town, set in the vineyard dotted valley of the Cesano, has a surprising wealth of churches and smart palazzi, many of which date back to
the founding of the town in the 13th Century.
The church of San Francesco, in the medieval quarter of the town, was founded by contemporary disciples in
1255, less than thirty years after St Francis' death. Many of the other churches, including the beautiful octagonal domed Santa Maria delle Tinte, date from the 17th and
18th centuries, when the town was a flourishing centre for craftsmen and artists.
But above all, Pergola is famous for the Bronzi Dorati, extraordinary gilded bronze statues of two equestrian
figures and two women, which date back to the 1st C AD. They were discovered in 1946 in pieces, buried in a field.
There are various theories as to who the figures represent. The most popular of these is that the statues
represent Livia (wife of the Emperor Augustus, mother of Tiberius) Agrippina (wife of Tiberius' nephew Germanicus) and her sons Drusus III and Nero and that the statues
were carted away from Rome when Tiberius fell out with Drusus and Nero and ordered the damnatio memoriae which included the destruction of all images of the family.
Another theory is that they were caste in a bronze foundry at Sentinum, some 20 km from Pergola, in the
1st century BC and represent members of the family of a senator who fell into disgrace after being party to the murder of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.
You'll find them in the specially prepared Museo dei Bronzi Dorati next to the church of San Giacomo. To find out more, visit this well-made Bronzi Dorati website.
The town's other attraction is a heavily perfumed purple wine made with local red grapes and sold as Vernaccia di Pergola.