Perugia is a lively medieval walled hill town with historic buildings, people-filled squares, and modern shops. It is home to a university and a large Italian language school for foreigners. Etruscan remains are still visible in several places. The city has a lot to offer and is one of the top places to go in Umbria.
As is true of most Umbrian and Tuscan walled hill towns, one of the best things to do is to wander through the narrow streets and along the walls at the edge of town for views of the valley.
Here are top attractions:
- Piazza IV Novembre is the heart of Perugia. It is a large, open square where locals and visitors congregate. In the center is a beautiful fountain, the Fontana Maggiore, surrounded by the Duomo (said to hold the virgin’s wedding ring), the Palazzo dei Priori, and medieval buildings with shops and bars.
- The Fontana Maggiore, made of pink and white stone, is decorated with intricately carved panels showing the months of the year, astrological signs, Aesop’s fables, mythical monsters, and more.
- The Palazzo dei Priori, where the town councillors used to meet, has some beautiful 13th century frescoes and wooden furniture. It houses the National Art Gallery of Umbria and three other museums.
- The Corso Vannucci is the main pedestrian street and is lined with elegant shops, bars, and eating places.
- The Rocca Paolina is a fortress built by Pope Paul III over the houses and buildings he destroyed. You can wander through the underground remains of the streets and houses. There are also art exhibits held in the building.
- Etruscan remains include the 3rd century BC Etruscan well, the Etruscan Arch (one of the city gates), and remains of the massive Etruscan wall around the city. There are also remains of the Roman wall and Roman city gates and the Tempio di Sant’Angelo, a 5h century Roman temple.
- Perugia has several artisan shops, fashion stores, and good places to buy gifts.
- Perugia is famous for chocolate and holds its chocolate festival, Eurochocolate, in mid-October. The city hosts a huge international Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival, that runs for two weeks in July, and MusicFestPerugia, two weeks of classical music performances in historic monuments and churches in August.