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For a major Italian city and provincial capital, Perugia has a pretty disappointing cathedral, at least from the outside. First raised in the early 14th century on the Gothic model of the German hall churches, it didn't take its present form until the 16th century. Unsure whether the front on Piazza Danti or the flank facing Piazza IV Novembre should be the facade, Perugians slapped a bit of desultory decoration on both.

The interior is a bit gaudy (those columns are painted, not real marble), but there is a handful of good paintings. The first chapel on the left aisle is the Cappella del Sant' Anello, where a gilded reliquary protected by 15 locks supposedly holds the wedding ring of the Virgin Mary, stolen from Chiusi in 1473. Church officials solemnly take out the ring -- set with a pale gray agate whose color they swear changes, mood-ring style, to reveal the character of the person wearing it -- to show the crowds on July 29 and 30.

In the Cappella di San Bernardino (first on the right aisle) is baroque painter Frederico Barocchio's finest work, a tumultuous Descent from the Cross painted in 1567. Against the third pillar of the right aisle is the Madonna della Grazie, whose hallowed status is given away by dozens of ex-votos and burning candles surrounding it. It's attributed to Perugino's early-16th-century student Giannicola di Paolo. Just beyond it on the right aisle, in the Cappella del Sacramento, Luca Signorelli's 1484 Madonna altarpiece is provisionally installed.

The cathedral cloisters and former clergy dorms contain the mildly interesting Museo Capitolare (tel. 075 5720-4853; adults 3.50€, 2.50€ 12 to 26 years and 65 and over 65; free for children 12 and under), open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 12:30pm and 3 to 5:30pm (use the separate entrance on the far corner of Piazza IV Novembre at no. 6), with its collection of rare religious artifacts, paintings by Luca Signorelli and Benedetto Bonfigli, and Etruscan/Roman funerary art excavated from the city's ancient necropolis.