My first visit to this magnificent city was with my father many, many years ago. It was his favourite place and he loved sketching and painting the scenes there. His last painting, unfortunately it remains unfinished, is of the piazza and the magnificent fountain ‘IV Novembre.’ Now, living only forty minutes away, Perugia is one of my favourite places.
Getting to Perugia has always been a challenge! It’s more of an ant hill than a rabbit warren. It has roads going in every direction with lanes appearing and disappearing and cars everywhere! It seems like we just get used to the route in when a road is closed or the direction is changed! Thank goodness for the monorail! I much prefer to park the car and hop on. It’s less stressful and great fun!
I made a video about Perugia for young children featuring this rather exciting means of transport. Just click on the link below:
Last Sunday we had planned to go to Spoleto for the afternoon but, on seeing dark clouds ahead, dived off the Riccordo and headed into Perugia, We found ourselves in Via Garibaldi near to the San Angelo Gate. (Cassero di Porta San Angelo) As this was an area we hadn’t visited before we decided to park and explore, I’m glad we did! Not only did we avoid the thunderstorms but we also had a really interesting couple of hours.
Although only a fifteen minute walk away from the University for Foreigners and half an hour from the centre, this area was so different from the Perugia of guide books. The buildings may not have been as magnificent or as ‘polished’ as in the centre of town but they had their own kind of earthy beauty. The kind that makes you stop and wonder, ‘Who lived here? What was life like? ‘.
This tower is certainly impressive to say the least. Huge! It was built to support the San Angelo Gate in the fourteenth century. At that time the city was walled and this was a gateway into the city. It is possible to climb up the tower for wonderful views over Perugia, but it was closed on Sunday. We walked up the little steps and from there found ourselves amid sunbathing students in the little garden adjoining the ancient church of Sam Michele Arcangelo originating from the fifth century.
It was a fascinating walk through narrow winding streets with arched, tiny alleyways leading into even more confined courtyards. These presented amazing opportunities for both artists and photographers. Many of the buildings were deserted but others, seemingly empty, showed signs of habitation with washing hung from balconies and windows. As we neared the University there were many outlets offering Fast Food from every corner of the Globe and beer from as little as €1 a glass!
Reaching the end of this narrow road was quite a shock. Suddenly we had reached the ‘polished’ Perugia with its immense and well maintained, majestic buildings.
We stopped at the bar below for a coffee before walking into the centre of Perugia.
This bar is lively and friendly and the prices very moderate. We will definitely visit again.
Above: Caffè Forte Braccio on Piazza Forebraccio.
Below: The University for Foreigners
We took a different route back from the Piazza IV Novembre which led us down the steps with amazing views over the city and countryside.
Watch this slideshow for the full walk. Perugia. Off the beaten track.