Perugia is a place of some style - at least
in its old centre - and a city proud of its
attractions, its universities, its sights
and its Serie A football team. A drink on
the Corso Vannucci , its
great central street, reveals a buzz you won't
find elsewhere in the region, a sense of dynamism
embodied by the cosmopolitan Università
Italiana per Stranieri - created
by Mussolini to improve the image of Italy
abroad and now, privately run, the country's
largest language school. This same dynamism
remains evident in the city's above-average
number of films, concerts and miscellaneous
cultural events, and is highlighted further
at Umbria Jazz (held in July),
Italy's foremost jazz festival, whose stars
have included Miles Davies, Stan Getz, Wynton
Marsalis and Gil Evans.
view of Perugia
In terms of sights, Perugia's interest -
for al that it's an Etruscan town - is essentially
medieval. In addition to the Palazzo
dei Priori, home to the Galleria
Nazionale and the Perugino-painted
Collegio del Cambio, there
is the duomo and a full quota
of churches - the glittering interior of San
Pietro the most celebrated, the rotunda
of Sant'Angelo the most ancient.
Idiosyncratic one-offs give plenty of reason
for wandering the city's streets, the best
being Agostino di Duccio's facade for the
Oratorio di San Bernardino
and the Gothic sculpture of San Domenico,
Umbria's largest church.
Medieval Perugia hinges
around the Corso Vannucci,
one of Italy's great people-watching streets,
its broad expanse packed from dawn to the
early hours with a parade of Umbria's style-makers
and followers. Named after the city's most
celebrated artist, Pietro Vannucci, better
known simply as the Perugino, the street has
several of the city's key sights, not to mention
the most atmospheric cafe in the city - the
Pasticceria Sandri at
no. 32 - and one of the better central places
for coffee and lunchtime snacks - the cafe
del Cambio at no. 29.
The Corso strikes off from Piazza
Italia, a largely nineteenth-century
ensemble, concluding in the medieval Piazza
IV Novembre, former site of a Roman
reservoir. On opposite sided of it are the
city;s two traditional power centres: the
Palazzo dei Priori, still
the home of the council, and the duomo.
At the centre is perhaps the most graceful
fountain in Italy , the Fontana Maggiore,
stunningly restored to as near a pristine
state as its 700-year-old sculptures allow.
Getting to Perugia by
From the north (Milan, Florence), the best exit
for Perugia on the A1 motorway at Valdichiana,
where the superstrada SS75bis branches into Umbria
at Lake Trasimene and continues towards Perugia.
From Rome travelling northwards along the A1 motorway
the best exit for reaching Perugia is at Orte,
which is connected to the regional capital at
first by the ss204 to Terni and then by the E45
(or SS3bis) from Terni to Perugia.
The A14 motorway down the Adriatic coast of Italy
has an exit at Cesena for the E45 "superstrada"
to Città di Castello and Perugia.
The SS75bis has five exits for
Perugia (from North): Perugia-Ferro di Cavallo,
Perugia-Madonna Alta (best to reach the "Renato
Curi" football stadium) , Perugia-San Faustino
(best to reach the main railway FS station, also
good for the old town center), Perugia-Prepo (good
to reach the old town center) and Perugia-Piscille
(good to reach the old town center).
Getting to Perugia by
From the North, the main line between Florence
and Rome has a station at Terontola (on the branch
line to Lake Trasimene, Perugia, Assisi, Spello,
and Foligno), so coming from Florence take one
of the dozen daily trains to Terontola/Cortona
(1'/2 hr.) that meet up with a connecting train
to Perugia (35 to 50 min.).
From the South, the main line between Rome and
Ancona has a station at Foligno (on the branch
line to Spello, Assisi, Perugia and Lake Trasimene),
so coming from Rome, take one of the nine daily
trains on the line to Ancona, stop at Foligno
(1 hr., 40 min. to 2 hr.), where you can transfer
to a Perugia-bound train (30 to 35 min.).