Many people often tell us “You’ve explored the world but you don’t even know your country!“, and we want to make them stop 🙂 It’s actually true, one often prefers to visit far, exotic countries instead their own. We always thought “There will be time to see Italy and Slovakia when we get old” (our natives countries. You knew this, didn’t you?), but we’re slowly changing our minds. Of course, we won’t stop our travels in America, Asia or Africa, but we decided to travel more within our familiar borders.
That’s why we decided to visit Perugia and the surroundings. That’s how we fell in love with this city, and how we left a good part of our hearts in Assisi. The history behind their ancient city walls is still there, waiting for you. If you’re an “Italy lover”, you just can’t miss these places!
Are you ready? Keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Perugia. We’ll write another article about Assisi soon, so stay connected!But first, we ask for a second of your time: click here and like our Facebook page! Thank you!
Where is Perugia?
It’s in Umbria, one of the greenest regions in Italy. Surrounded by green hills and snowy mountains – in the winter season – Perugia lies in Central Italy. Quite close to many other breathtaking places, it takes just about half an hour to go from Perugia to Assisi. So, be sure to visit both of them!
How to get there
As always, we prefer to drive around. No timetables, no limits and we stop whenever and wherever we want. However, Perugia is reachable by train, quite easily from the major Italian hubs: Milan, Florence and Rome. So, in case you don’t wanna drive, the train is the best solution.
Flixbus has also a few buses going to Perugia. It can be convenient, depending from where you start your trip. Worth a check!
What to do in Perugia in two days
Two days are enough to visit this beautiful city, that sometimes feels like a town rather than a city. Before going deep in what to do here, we’re going to give you some tips:
- Wear comfortable shoes. Perugia is all ups and downs, and you don’t want to have your feet too tired after a long day of walking;
- Bring a nice camera with a couple of lenses. The views here are amazing and you may want to capture them all!
- Be prepared to eat like there’s no tomorrow. Seriously, the food is incredible. It’s influenced by the surrounding cuisines of Tuscany and Lazio, and it’s delicious. Homemade pasta, sausages, tender pork or wild boar meat, legumes, truffles. It’ll be an orgy of flavours 🙂
On the first day, dedicate your time to the history and the culture of the city.
Start from Rocca Paolina. It’s an old fortress, built between 1540 and 1543 by the Pope Paolo III, in order to represent and maintain the power on the city of Perugia, till 1860. It’s one of the symbols of the city and there’s no better starting point for your visit. There is a system of escalators that will bring you from the downtown of Perugia up to Rocca Paolina. After the second escalator, you’ll be inside the fortress, probably amazed by its beauty. It’s like going back to the 17th century, and you can walk between the medieval alleys just under the surface.
Piazza IV Novembre
Then, take a scenic walk on Corso Vannucci towards the heart of Perugia: Piazza IV Novembre. Corso Vannucci is an elegant pedestrian street full of charming old buildings. Take your time, taste the atmosphere and in less than 10′ you’ll be in one of the most beautiful Italian squares. Here, this is the quintessence of the city. Piazza IV Novembre has Fontana Maggiore at its center, a medieval monumental fountain built in the 13th century. The northern side is occupied by the splendid Cathedral of San Lorenzo, while the south-eastern one is closed by Palazzo dei Priori. Those buildings are so old and yet well kept, a feast for your eyes. Visit the Cathedral and the Palace, and dedicate 10 minutes to admire the fountain and its incredible details.
Close to the square, you’ll find two interesting sites. The first one is the National Gallery of Umbria, mainly a collection of incredibly old paintings. If you like Giotto and that historical period, that’s your thing. Even if you’re not an art lover, it is worth a visit.
A few steps away from the northern side of Piazza IV Novembre, there is Pozzo Etrusco. Do you know who were the Etruscan, right? The ancient civilization that colonized a good part of central Italy more than 2700 years ago. They founded Perugia, and nowadays you can still find something from that age, like this well. The entrance fee is just 3 Euro, and we warmly suggest you to go. It’s an impressive, huge well, that we struggled to believe was 2200 years old.
The whole visit to these three places will take you all the day, probably. Save your energy for the dinner, you’ll need them!
We’ll talk about food soon, but first let’s see what to do on the second day.
On your second day, you’ll get to see the most scenic spots of Perugia by foot. Be careful, because you may want to stay and never leave after you’ll have seen all this beauty.
Start your walking tour from Giardini Carducci. These small gardens are just below Rocca Paolina. It’s more like a panoramic terrace, not really a garden, but the view is impressive. During a clear, sunny day, you’ll be able to see the beautiful valley below and the mountains in the background. It’s a true romantic place 🙂
About 1km north-east from Giardini Carducci, you’ll find Porta Sole. There, you’ll find the most beautiful landscape of Perugia. We were almost without words, and if you like photography, you’ll spend a good half an hour, trying to get the best shot. Continue down onto the old stairwell, and go toward Via dell’acquedotto.
This street is probably the most famous of the city. Acquedotto means “aqueduct”: Built between 1254 and 1280, the purpose of the aqueduct was to bring water from Monte Pacciano to the Fontana Maggiore. It’s an incredible work, also noticeable for its beauty. The red bricks are incredibly scenic, and you can walk on it, down to Porta S.Angelo. Again, if you’re a photography lover, it’ll be your thing. Be ready to shoot dozens of portraits and landscape photos!
Get lost in the historical center
As always, one of the best things to do in a unknown city, is to get lost in its center. Perugia is quite small, so you’ll never be *really* lost, but it’s interesting to see the narrow medieval streets and to enter a couple of churches.The atmosphere is quite unique, and you better get the most out of you trip!
What to eat in Perugia
The food in Umbria is dangerously good. We mean it. One of us is Italian, so we’re not really amazed if the food is not perfect, but in Perugia we were incredibly surprised. The food is not the lightest one, but who cares for a couple of days! The local products like cold cuts (ham, raw ham, salami, wild boar salami and so on), game meat, pork and homemade pasta, are excellent. Then, they have typical hearty soups of lentils or beans, super tasty cheeses, and great wines.
We tried many restaurants, and we must suggest you a couple of choices. Guys, these places are not to be miss! Do it for your belly.
Osteria a Priori – It’s an incredible place. With more than 270 local wines, and the most delicious menu ever, this place will win your heart. Try the colt cuts, the many types of pecorino cheese, and the homemade pasta. Unforgettable!
Locanda del Bartoccio – A lovely place with great food. We had the most delicious and huge dish of BBQ pork with Porcini mushrooms, after a delicious first course of homemade pasta. Be prepared to eat like you’re gonna die tomorrow 🙂
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