The 12 Best Things to Do in Perugia, Italy - Italy We Love You (2023)

Perugia is a little gem that still maintains the look and pace of life of a medieval fortified city. The Umbrian city also has notable artistic and monumental treasures.

Perugia is located in the heart of central Italy, on an acropolis set amidst the magnificent Umbrian countryside. In 2 and 3 hours of travel, by car or train, it is easily accessible fromflorence,Romaand the Adriatic coast withRiminiand the Republic ofSan Marino. Its historic center, small and rich in history, can be visited in one day.

Perugia's history dates back to the ancient Etruscans, who settled here many centuries before Christ. Subsequently, the Romans established an important colony (lost), while in the Middle Ages the city became a free municipality, remaining prosperous and powerful until the 16th century, when it came under the control of the papacy.

November 4 Square

The 12 Best Things to Do in Perugia, Italy - Italy We Love You (1)

The visit of Perugia can start in the central squareNovember 4 Square, site of the old Roman Forum but with a medieval layout. Some of the most important historical buildings in the city face the square, from the Palazzo dei Priori to the Cathedral of Perugia. The works of the Cathedral dedicated to San Lorenzo, one of the patron saints of the city, began in 1345 and ended in 1490. However, both the lateral and main façades remained incomplete. The lateral side faces the “Fontana Maggiore” fountain, and a geometric pattern of pink and white marble rhombuses only decorates the lower side. The main façade, on the other hand, faces Piazza Danti square and is characterized by a Baroque portal from 1729. In the cloister of the Cathedral you can visit the Chapterhouse Museum, which houses important works of art.

priory palace

The 12 Best Things to Do in Perugia, Italy - Italy We Love You (2)The "Palazzo dei Priori" was the public palace of the city, seat in the past (and in part still today) of the Municipality of Perugia. It is one of the best examples of medieval Gothic style palaces of its kind in Italy. Inside, there are several rooms, such as the “Sala dei Notari”, with arches and coffered ceiling, richly frescoed, while the Council Room has a fresco by Pinturicchio. In the Palazzo dei Priori there is also the “Collegio del Cambio”, the former headquarters of the bankers' guild of Perugia. The “Sala delle Adienze”, painted between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, is the masterpiece of Perugino, one of the best artists of Italian painting of the 15th century. Some parts of the frescoes were completed by one of his students, Raphael.

main source

In the center of the Piazza IV Novembre square stands the splendidmain source, one of the most beautiful fountains in Italy and symbol of Perugia. The fountain was built between 1275 and 1278, according to a design by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, with two pink and white stone basins and surmounted by a bronze basin. The Fontana Maggiore in Perugia was previously fed by the aqueduct that drew water from Monte Pacciano. Built in 1245, it was an extraordinary work because without the use of pumps it was able to bring water to a city as steep and full of unevenness as Perugia. Deactivated in the mid-19th century because it was too expensive, the aqueduct now offers one of the most beautiful walks in Italy. The upper part, in fact, is covered by stairs and defended by parapets, thus representing a passageway in all aspects. The most characteristic part is the one that goes from the Porta Sant'Angelo gate (near the Cathedral and the Fontana Maggiore) with a bridge supported by a dozen spans with large arches and low and colorful houses.

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vannucci course

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From Piazza IV Novembre begins Corso Vannucci, which with its shops and historical facilities represents the center of Perugia's social life. From Piazza IV Novembre you can choose an address and stroll through the ancient streets of the city center that are now home to restaurants, shops and artisan workshops. The most popular streets that cut the historic center in two are Corso Vannucci and Via Baglioni, which end at the Carducci Gardens from where you can enjoy one of the most fascinating views of the city.

The National Gallery of Umbria is located along Corso Vannucci, on the upper floors of thePalace of the PriorsI. The Gallery houses one of the richest artistic heritages in the entire region. The works cover a period from the 13th to the 19th century. Among all, the masterpieces of Duccio di Buoninsegna, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Pinturicchio and Perugino stand out.

Rocca Paolina

Rocca PaolinaIt is an old fortress built by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane for Pope Paul III. The fortress was a symbol of papal authority until 1860, when it was demolished after its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy. A section of the retaining walls and the bastion that incorporatesPuerta Marzia(an ancient Etruscan door) of this ancient building are visible.

The heart of medieval Perugia extends fromSaint Francis Square, with the homonymous church that preserves two frescoes by Raphael. Continue along the narrow Via dei Priori, which skirts theTorre Sciri, one of the most influential families in Perugia in 1480. The tower is 46 meters high and was recently reopened to visitors.

(Video) Perugia Food Tour

Oratory of San Bernardino

The Oratory of San Bernardino da Siena has a splendid polychrome façade by Agostino di Duccio and is Perugia's most distinguished Renaissance monument and church.

Basilica of San Domenico

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The imposing structure ofBasilica of San Domenicoit dominates the Perugia skyline even from afar. The large Gothic-style church has undergone numerous restorations and part of its furniture has been looted throughout history. However, it is worth a visit to admire its frescoes, the large stained glass window, the organ and some valuable funerary monuments, including that of Pope Benedict XI.

etruscan well

Perugia also has a rich Etruscan past to tell visitors about. To visit Etruscan Perugia, just walk along Via Marzia and admire part of the ancient walls,Puerta Marzia, one of the seven surviving gateways and the Etruscan Arch. It is also interestingetruscan well, a large hydraulic work excavated in the rock dating from that time (3rd century BC). The well measures 37 meters deep by more than 5 meters in diameter and in the past served as a water reservoir. Currently, the well can be accessed thanks to a system of stairs that allows the visitor to descend to the deepest point. The short descent into the depths of the earth is preceded by a video explaining the history of the well and the refined construction techniques.



Perugia is also home to one of the most famouschocolate factories in italy, the "Perugina". The chocolate factory is located outside the historic center of Perugia, in San Sisto, and it is possible to visit it, learning about the history of the company and, above all, observing the production of other “Baci” chocolate products. the visit toCasa de Chocolate Peruginaallows you to visit the historical museum that covers more than a century of history of the famous chocolate, including old photographs, equipment and detailed explanations on the various stages of cocoa processing, a visit to the chocolate production lines, a beautiful and rich tasting of Perugina Products and finally access to the internal store. In fact, the entire city of Perugia turns into a huge open-air chocolate shop in October, during the “Eurochocolate” event, totally dedicated to chocolate and its universe, which includes stands, cooking shows, special events, chocolate sculptures, themed gadgets and more. .

Hypogeum of the Volumnus family

Outside the historic center of Perugia, on Ponte San Giovanni, there is an extraordinary place from Etruscan times: it is thehypogeum two Volumni, the oldest and best preserved funerary monument from Etruscan times. The tomb of the 3rd century. B.C., discovered in 1840, is part of the vast necropolis with more than 200 tombs, of which only a part can be visited. The hypogeum takes its name fromVolume, a wealthy and noble Etruscan family, of which it houses the remains. The beauty of the building lies in its characteristic Etruscan-Roman house shape and comprises an atrium and seven rooms.

Lake Trasimeno

Lake Trasimeno, the largest lake in central Italy and the fourth largest in the country, is just a half-hour's drive from the center of Perugia and is perfect for a day trip. If the weather allows it, you can also go swimming: there are beaches in Castiglione del Lago, Tuoro al Trasimeno, Magione and Passignano sul Trasimeno. Otherwise, the coastal road around the lake is lined with charming medieval villages to visit and beautiful landscapes to admire.

Perugia food

Before leaving Perugia, you must try its cuisine, linked to the Umbrian gastronomic tradition, simple, genuine and of quality. Hams, sausages, cheeses and sausages are the true protagonists of the tables. In the restaurants, among the traditional dishes, you can taste the “Strangozzi” (homemade fettuccine with truffle), the “alla leccarda” guinea fowl (topped with a sauce based on chicken liver and white wine), the “Torta al testo ” (a flatbread made with flour, water and oil) and several recipes whose main condiment is truffles. Another Peruvian specialty is the “Parmigiana di gobbi”: a dish made with cardoon, mozzarella, meat sauce and Parmesan. Fish dishes abound: “tegamaccio” (a flavored fish soup), crab, trout and carp cooked according to tasty recipes. To complete the lunch there are desserts. In addition to chocolate, the most famous are: the "pinocate", made with pine nuts, and the "torcolo", a fritter with raisins and candied fruit.

(Video) A night walk in Perugia, Italy on November 2022

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