A tiny city on the hills of Umbria, Perugia is the city of chocolate, perfect for a peaceful getaway. Here’s how you can visit Perugia.
Intro to the city
Perugia is a lovely medieval city located in Umbria. This destination is rich in history and art, with both Etruscan and Roman heritage. The modern part of town is identified by the presence of its prestigious university, home to thousands of Italian and International students. Hence,Perugia has all the lively characteristics of a typical university hub, filled with lively spots.
Because of its location, it is also perfect as a starting point for daily excursions to places such as Assisi, Spello and Gubbio.
From the 6th to the 1st century BC, Perugia was part of the Etruscan kingdom. The city came under the Roman rule around 40 BC. The town is still rich of archaeological sites, alive memories of the eras. The most outstanding of all are its walls and gates, which are still well preserved. Visitors can then enjoy the charm of the old city as well as catch a glimpse of modern day life.
Sounds like fun? It’s time to visit Perugia!
Facts about Perugia
Perugia overlooks the landscape on top of a hill, a typical sign of the Umbria region. The city began as an Etrurian settlement. Later, it was absorbed by the growing Roman Empire. These different and varying influences are visible in the architecture.
For example, the Etrurian Well is both a touristic attraction and the main water source in the city. Besides the well, there are many Etrurian tombs, still well-preserved.
After the Romans, Perugia developed as any other medieval city. The construction of churches and palaces began. The Palazzo dei Priori took 150 years to build. Finally finished in 1443, nowadays it hosts the City Hall.
But the main historical attractions are definitely the numerous churches. The San Lorenzo Cathedral is one of them, as it is also nice to visit the San Severo chapel, which features a beautiful fresco from Raffaello.
Perugia is the home of the largest international university in Italy with over 8000 students. Unfortunately, in recent years Perugia and its university made front page news for the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Every year, Perugia hosts the Umbria Jazz festival, one of the most important jazz events in the entire world. Another international event is the International Journalism Festival that takes place in April and attracts journalists and sympathizer from all over the World.
Speaking of the economy, Perugia is mainly an agricultural town. Still, it’s a wealthy city and it’s becoming a tourist destination. It is also the home of the food icon Perugina. This is the chocolate factory that created the famous Bacio, the kiss.
Indeed, the city is full of potential.
Visit Perugia: what to see
From the historic center to the modern restaurants and bars, there is something for everyone. But the tour has to start from the main square, the Piazza IV Novembre.
Palazzo Dei Priori
This lovely medieval structure was built during the 13th century and underwent numerous modifications over the years. Here, you can come across some beautiful frescoes in the Sala dei Notari, as you climb up the stairs along Piazza IV Novembre.
As you enter the palazzo through Corso Vannucci, you will come across the Galleria Nazionale dell’ Umbria, which has an extensive collection of art from the Umbrian region, dating back to the 13th century, up to the 19th . This gallery also showcases some beautiful works of art from local painters. Inside the Collegio della Mercanzia, one can find exquisite panels of wood and inlays designed by German craftsmen during the 15th century. In the Collegio Del Cambio, you will be able to enjoy Perugino’s frescoes from the 15th century.
Church of San Severo
The Church of San Severo was originally built on the site of a Pagan temple and it was again reconstructed during the 18th century. It is especially known for a frescoed 14th century chapel within its walls. The upper part of the church was painted by Raffaello, whereas its lower part is the work of Perugino.
Oratory of San Bernardino
This small church has a lovely façade and was built in the honor of Saint Bernardino. You can come across some interesting combination of colors used here including rose, aqua and white. 14th century bas reliefs and sculptures are also part of the interesting artistic wealth of this building. The main altar has been designed from the 4th sarcophagus of the Blessed Egidio, once a friar follower of St. Francis of Assisi.
Church of San Pietro
This Benedictine Abbey was founded in 10th century, but its best features date to the 15th and 16th . It comprises an interesting collection of Renaissance art and paintings, including frescoes by Raffaello, Vassillacchi, Perugino and Parmigiano. It also has one of the finest 16th century wooden choir in Umbria.
Just around 13 km from Perugia, you can visit this village perched on a hilltop, from which you can enjoy an amazing view. Corciano is easily reachable from Perugia by bus. The service departs every hour from Piazza Italia, and the trip takes about 45 minutes.
Visit Perugia: the details
How to get there
Perugia is served by a small but efficient airport, Sant’Egidio, located at about 12 km from the town center. Bus and train services to and from the airport are available, and are usually based on the scheduled departure and arrival time of flights.
Another option is to fly to Rome, which is a mere three hours away. From Rome, you can travel by train (a cheap and efficient option), or opt to rent a car and take the A1 highway in the Milan direction.
Hotels and Accommodation
Perugia offers a wide range of hotels and accommodation. Most of the hotels include swimming pools and car parking. You can book in advance to avail of some special discounts and choose the best room as per your liking and preferences. There are also plenty of Bed & Breakfasts. Apartments to rent are also offered to travelers who wish to enjoy more privacy and comfort amidst these amazing surroundings.
Eating and Drinking in Perugia
In Perugia, you will come across numerous restaurants, offering some of the finest Umbrian cuisine. Typical dishes on offer are roasted pork and delicious varieties of pasta. You can also find plenty of pizza outlets and there are some good takeaway options as well. Family owned restaurants offering some great food amidst a lovely ambience are also popular in town.
And don’t forget to try the famous chocolate Perugina!
Edited by Francesca Bezzone