This post is for Janine, who writes Destination Umbria. Perugia is her town and as well as being famous for chocolate it is a gorgeous hilltop town in the green heart of Umbria. It is a university and language school town and has a lively atmosphere in its historical centre.
We parked outside the old city in a huge free carpark opposite the station and took the cute mini train up to the centre…what a great idea.
We began our visit in the stunning main square, Piazza 4th November. It is surrounded by magnificent buildings, including the Cathedral of St Lawrence. Its history dates back to 1,000AD, but it was in the 16th century that the building took its present appearance. The loggia dates from 1423 and below that, sections of Roman wall are still visible. It is presided over by a stern looking gentleman.
The interior is spectacular.
Opposite the cathedral is the equally special Palazzo dei Priori…begun in 1270 with modifications and extensions over the next few centuries. A griffin and a lion guard the entrance.
Inside the building is the amazing Notaries’ room with a ceiling supported by 8 Romanic arches.
There is another entrance around the corner, with a fabulous doorway.
In between the 2 buildings is the Great Fountain, the end of the aqueduct that brings water to the centre of the town. It was built in 1277 and the decorative sculptures were built by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. It was intended to present a city at the height of its political and cultural power. It seems to be doing a fine job still.
By now it was time for coffee and we lucked onto the Sandri, in Via Vannucci,which has been serving coffee and delicious pastries since 1860.
We wandered around the narrow, winding (always) streets and found the most amazing and grand old buiildings.
The views over the countryside are lovely.
There is a pretty park in Piazza D’Italia.
We did a tourist thing and had lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants in Via Vannucci at the appropriately named Il Bacio ( Perugia is the home of Baci chocolates). Our pizza was excellent.
It is easy to see why Janine is a Perugia fan.