Never heard about Perugia? No surprise if your answer is “yes”. I learned about it only whilst choosing the university for my Erasmus exchange and immediately fall in love with it! After spending 6 months in this city I can’t stop wondering why it’s so underrated.
Asking why? So… What if I tell you that Perugia is the capital city of Umbria, the neighbor of famous Tuscany? Or that it’s located only 25 km from Assisi – the city where Saint Francesco was born? Moreover, it was established around 310 BC, houses the oldest Italian University for foreign students, holds the EuroChocolate Festival and there’s still much more!
Sounds interesting? Read further to learn why it’s so worth visiting!
1. STUDY ITALIAN
While Perugia isn’t very popular among tourists, it’s a destination of choice for an overwhelming number of foreign students from all around the world. Most of them choose the Universita per Stranieri. Founded in 1921, it’s the oldest university oriented towards study Italian language and culture by foreigners. Living in the Italian city, surrounded by students from different countries and continents, you have perfect conditions to practice Italian on an everyday basis. If you’re not fond of studying, go there anyway to see the view from the university’s rooftop.
For the ones interested in different fields of study, there is also an ancient Universita
2. PARTY ON THE STAIRS
As a city full of students, Perugia is also a perfect place for partying. As soon as it becomes warmer, the outdoor parties are being held every night. Plus sometimes there are occasional events with free drink or DJs playing on the street.
However, the main spot is usually “Le Scale”. While Perugia is full of stairs, “the Stairs” are referring to the ones leading to the Perugia Cathedral on the main square (Piazza IV Novembre). Grab a beer from one of two nearby shops, sit on the stairs and start socializing! Just stay away from the Fontana Maggiore, as climbing it is strictly forbidden and the police are always on the watch.
3. CLIMB VIA APPIA
And when it comes to the stairs, you can’t miss another famous one, located on Via Appia. Steep stairs leading under the street from the historic center to the University neighborhood, together with 13th-century aqueduct, make the most photographic place in the whole city. A no-miss for everyone who wants to shine on his Instagram.
4. ENJOY THE VIEWS
Perugia, as a city located on the hills, offers also some amazing views. On the sunny days, you can not only admire the surrounding mountains but even go for the aperitif with the view of Assisi (Punto
Besides the view-point in Giardini Carducci and the rooftop of Universita per Stranieri, Porta Sole is a must-see place, although finding the right way may be a bit tricky.
5. ADMIRE THE ETRUSCAN ARCHITECTURE
Perugia is not only about parties and views, but also full of history. Founded around 309 BC as Perusia, Perugia was one of the main Etruscan cities and has a really well preserved ancient architecture – starting from the walls surrounding the city and ending with stunning Arco Etrusco.
6. EXPLORE ROCCA PAOLINA
Talking about historical architecture, another place has to be mentioned. Rocca Paolina, the renaissance fortress
7. TAKE PART IN LOCAL FESTS AND EAT CHOCOLATE
If you want to immerse into the medieval atmosphere, visit Perugia in the middle of June and take part in Perugia 1416 festival. The event when the whole city center with its inhabitants moves for
Summer is not your favourite period for traveling? Consider visiting Perugia in October, to take part in EuroChocolate – one of the largest chocolate festivals in Europe – and taste the delicious Perugina chocolate. If the dates don’t fit your schedule, but you’re a chocolate lover don’t forget to visit the Perugina Chocolate factory.
8. VISIT SURROUNDING CITIES
When you get bored with Perugia, consider visiting the surrounding cities. Besides the most famous one – Assisi, which is located only 45 km from the city, don’t miss also the less touristic places and their attractions.
On 15th May you can’t miss a visit to Gubbio to take part in the famous Festa dei Ceri – an exciting 4 km “race” with 5m long and 300-400kg heavy “Ceri” through the narrow streets of the city.
While in June, during the Corpus Christi, you should definitely visit Spello for their Le Infiorate festival with the beautiful flower carpets spread all over the city.
Other cities worth a visit are among others, Spoleto, Terni and the ones located by the Lake Trasimeno.
9. ENJOY ITALIAN CU
If it’s your first time in Italy, don’t forget to try the pizza! The best one is served in Pizzeria Mediterranea just next to the Piazza IV Novembre. Later, go to Gelateria Gambrinus for the delicious ice-cream dessert.