Perugia Travel Guide
Perugia is a city in Umbria that is an excellent base for exploring the surrounding region. However, there is more to this place than just that – within its city limits, you’ll find amazing architecture, churches, and much more.
Begin your travels in Perugia by visiting Rocca Paolina. While officially a fortress, it served mostly as a papal residence. Pope Paul III was the first occupant in the 1540s, and it was rebuilt by Pope Pius IX in the 19th century.
Today, though, most of this building sits below ground level. As a result, it has a quality that makes it exciting to explore. However, the scale of this attraction is vast, so set aside several hours to appreciate it properly.
Next, head over to Palazzo dei Priori. While construction started in the 13th century, authorities didn’t complete it until midway through the 15th century. The wait was worth it, though, as the ceilings of this municipal structure are covered in breathtaking frescoes.
Best of all, entrance to this attraction is free of charge, making it budget traveler-friendly. However, those hoping for guided tours may be out of luck, as the building does not provide human or audio guides.
After finishing up at Palazzo dei Priori, pay a visit to Tempio di Sant’Angelo. This place predates most Christian churches in Italy, as it dates to the 6th century. Because of this, it boasts early Romanesque architecture you won’t find anywhere else.
But part of that reason is that before Christianity arrived in this area, it served as a pagan temple. Despite these origins and its age, Tempio di Sant’Angelo is often quiet. So if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path gem, don’t miss this place!
If you’re an art lover, ensure that Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria makes it on your travel itinerary. In its galleries, you’ll find some of the finest Umbrian works made from the 13th to the 19th century. In particular, you’ll predominately religious art – Madonnas are everywhere.
Have time for another church during your visit to Perugia? Then drop by Basilica di San Pietro. While it was originally built in the late 10th century, this basilica has a distinctively Gothic flavour. This is because the church was burned by protesters in the 15th century.
When it was rebuilt, the interior was redone in the style of that age. On the ceilings, you’ll find grand frescoes, as well as paintings on its walls. Lastly, there is a crypt underneath the church – all these features make this place’s admission fee well worth the cost.
Many churches throughout Italy feature stunning stained glass windows. For some insight into how they are made, spend some time at Studio Moretti Caselli. Take the one-hour guided tour, and you’ll learn about the history of stained glass, as well as the techniques used to craft it.
There are many wonderful stained glass specimens here, but none more stunning than a portrait of Queen Margherita. Best of all, there is no charge for entrance, although a donation of 5 EUR is suggested.
As you walk through the streets of Perugia, make sure you don’t miss the Fontana Maggiore. Built in the 13th century, this public artwork was a fine feat of engineering for the Late Middle Ages. Fed by an aqueduct, the fountain used a forced pressure duct to get water to flow uphill.
But it isn’t just a fountain with a good story behind it – it’s also beautiful. Featuring sculptures and finely-carved reliefs, it offers an excellent photo op for photographers.
End your trip by relaxing in the Perugia City Centre. Here you’ll find the usual sidewalk restaurants and cafes that make for excellent people-watching. Don’t miss the chocolate shops, as many travellers rave about them.
What To Eat/Drink
After a long day of sightseeing in Perugia, find a restaurant that serves Pasta Alla Norcina. This dish is made from penne or rigatoni noodles, sausage, and onions, and is cooked in white wine and a cream sauce. Topped with grated pecorino cheese, it’s a dinner you won’t want to miss.
As you wait for your pasta to come out, ask your server to bring you a bottle of Montefalco Rosso. This red is a fruity wine, with spicy notes. In addition to pairing well with pasta, it’s also suitable if you’re having white meat, soup, or charcuterie boards.
If you feel like having dessert, have some Crescionda. It’s a chocolate cake enriched with various liqueurs and amaretti biscuits. Topped with icing sugar, it’s a decadent indulgence that’s a perfect way to end your day.