Perugia is a great Italian travel destination for so many reasons. Its warm-colored stones, its majestic palaces and its narrow street have bewitched poets and painters of every century. Perugia is one of the most bewitching cities in Italy, with its atmosphere of times gone by, in a truly unique rural setting. The old town stands on a hill and other hills, visible in many points of the city streets, surround it. The ancient heart of Perugia is an incredible kaleidoscope of shapes, volumes and colors: bricks, travertine, marble, columns, arches, doors, walls. Everything in this city bears traces of its long history and of the peoples and civilizations that have left it: Etruscans, Romans, the wealth of the Papal State. But do not be fooled by this: Perugia is not a city anchored to its past. Events, festivals, Umbria Jazz, Eurochocolate and its very lively University for Foreigners are just some of the contemporary aspects that make Perugia one of the best known Italian cities in the world
When to go
Perugia offers hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit Perugia is definitely spring. The calendar of Perugia is full of interesting events and festivals all year around so a look at what the city offers before leaving is certainly an incentive to visit it.
How to get there
Plane. Perugia San Francesco Airport is 12 km from the city center and connects Milan Malpensa and Trapani with the Umbrian capital. The SkybridgeAirOps company almost every day offers flights from Malpensa to Perugia and vice versa. The duration of the trip is one hour and a quarter. The company Ryanair instead makes the Trapani-Perugia route in about an hour and twenty. From Sant'Egidio airport to the city center you can take a taxi or rely on Acap public transport, which stops in piazza Italia and at the station. The ticket price is 3.50 euros.
Train. From Northern Italy, reaching Perugia can be a tortuous route, if the right coincidences do not match. Starting from Milan Central you can take a train to Florence Santa Maria Novella, then from here change with a fast regional that in 2 hours arrives in Perugia. Or, again from Milan, you can get to Arezzo with an Intercity and change for Perugia. Another option is to reach Terontola-Cortona from Florence with a regional (an hour and a half journey) then change with a regional that in about 40 minutes arrives in Perugia. From the south of Italy it is easier to reach Perugia: from Rome every day the Eurostar leave every day and in two and a half hours they arrive at their destination. The regional instead change in Foligno (about three hours of travel).
Car. From Milan to Perugia by car are about 450 km, or more or less four hours of travel: the road is very simple, you have to take the A1 and exit at Valdichiana and after the highway SS327 take the highway Bettolle-Perugia. Coming from the south (Rome or Naples), it is always better to take the A1 motorway, taking the exit of Orte, then continue on the SS204 and on the E45 from Terni to Perugia.
Bus. With the AutolineeBaltour you can reach the Umbrian capital from Milan (or from the station of Rogoredo or Lampugnano), the trip involves a change in Civitanova Marche. The Sulga line, which connects Perugia directly with Milan or Rome, is more convenient.
How to move around
Perugia is a city that can be turned on foot: the historic center is located in the hills and it is forbidden to enter by car both day and night. So even if you rent a car, be careful not to enter the old part of the city to avoid penalties. In the areas around the center there are paid parking lots, but it is not always easy to find a free place. The best solution is to leave the car at the foot of the hill and reach the center on foot. Without difficulty, because Perugia has for almost thirty years a system of underground escalators and lifts that automatically connect the RoccaPaolina to the areas below. Public transportation is also a good option to get to the heart of the city: the urban bus network of Perugia will take you to all the central points of the city, as well as the new Minimetrò, which travels between tunnels and elevated tracks.
What to see
Between museums and monuments Perugia has so much to offer. Here come some of the most interesting places you cannot miss:
National Gallery of Umbria. Twenty-seven rooms in the Palazzo dei Priori. This museum is one of the major collections of works of Umbrian art and central Italy. Different eras and different brushes: among the most famous here, Pinturicchio, Pierodella Francesca and Perugino.
Capitular Museum of San Lorenzo. Here you can admire many works of art ranging from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, among which stands the Altar of Sant'Onofrio by Luca Signorelli.
National Archaeological Museum of Umbria. It was set up in the former convent of San Domenico and is divided into two sections: prehistory and the Etruscan-Roman period. A very interesting room is that of the Perugian necropolis, with the sarcophagus of Sperandio, bronzes and other gold objects. The 'Cippo Perugino' is one of the great symbols of Etruscan Perugia.
Museum of Doors and City walls. The Cassero di PortaSant'Angelo has one of the greatest medieval gates in the embattled fortification of Perugia: here a path illustrates the construction of the walls in the three epochs that characterized the most illustrious moments of the city (Etruscan, Medieval and Renaissance). Worth visiting also for the magnificent views that can be glimpsed from the windows of the tower.
Perugia is a city full of open-air treasures. One of the most famous is the Fontana Maggiore (also called Fontana di Piazza), a symbol of Perugia located in the center of Piazza IV Novembre. Built in the late 1200s, to celebrate the city's new aqueduct, it is composed of two marble tanks decorated with representations of the months of the year, the agricultural tradition and the Bible. In the same square is worthy of note the Palazzo dei Priori, an imposing building in the Gothic style of the thirteenth century: today it houses the Town Hall and also houses the National Gallery of Umbria. The rooms of this building are truly magnificent, the SaladeiNotari and the Sala del Consiglio are full of ancient frescoes and decorations, including a work by Pinturicchio. Among the other buildings, it is worth mentioning the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo (also called 'Palazzo del Bargello'), in Gothic style and built during the Renaissance period. This building is located in Piazza Matteotti and from here the Captain managed the judicial, administrative and military powers of the city. The ecclesiastical monuments of the Umbrian capital are all interesting: the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Piazza IV Novembre is one of the most famous basilicas, as well as the Church of San Severo, with its unique frescoes bearing the signature of Pinturicchio and Raphael. The largest and most impressive basilica in Umbria is located on the hill of Perugia: the Basilica of San Domenico, which also boasts one of the largest Gothic windows built in the fifteenth century (more than 21 meters wide).
Places to discover
Some of the most evocative streets in the whole of Perugia are those where the ancient city aqueduct passes: the via del Fagiano, dell'Acquedotto and the via Appia still follow the route of this construction dating back to 1200, which brought water into the main town square (the one that today is Piazza IV Novembre) from Monte Pacciano. In 1800 this work was further enriched by the construction of parapets on the medieval arches and hanging paths that culminate with the Arco dell'Acquedotto or Arco della Via Appia. And it is always the water that acts as a common thread for the hidden places of Perugia: the Etruscan well, built around the III-II century BC, is still impressive today for its size (36 meters of height for almost 6 meters in diameter): it was the water reservoir of the city and the stairs allow visitors to reach the bottom of the well. The Etruscan city wall of Perugia has a series of doors that gave access to the city center, today one of the best preserved and monumental is the Etruscan or Augustus Arch of the III century BC, while in the medieval walls the Porta di Porta San Pietro and that of Sant'Angelo. In any case, bear in mind that all the doors of Perugia deserve to be visited for their imposing beauty. Finally, one of the highlights of this city is RoccaPaolina, a 16th century fortress commissioned by Pope Paul III and symbol of the power of the Papal States over this region until the 1800's: during the Italian Risorgimento, it was demolished, but still Today the underground can be seen forming a real 'city under the city'
Shopping in Perugia
All of Perugia is dotted with glittering shop windows of jewelers because one of the most artistic expressions of craftsmanship is goldsmithing, since ancient times. Some goldsmiths have even unearthed Etruscan metalworking techniques. Wrought iron crafts are widespread throughout the region and even in Perugia you can find lamps, candlesticks and other artifacts in this material. Ceramics and terracotta abound for pottery, dishes, tiles, often decorated with Perugian rural landscapes or with historical decorations.
Perugia with kids
Perugia does not offer children the usual playground. Perugia offers a real city of games. In fact, just a few minutes from the city center is the CittàdellaDomenica, a park created for children that combines teaching, nature, fairy tales and fun games. The children admire the free fallow deer for the park, the sleeping beauty castle, crocodiles and snakes in the reptile house and the tents of the Indians. An opportunity to spend a day outdoors playing smart and constructive. Always staying on the theme 'learning while having fun', the POST workshop for science and technology, organizes every Sunday activities for children of different ages linked to scientific experimentation. And Perugia is a child-friendly city also at the table: the Osteria di Pinocchio, for example, is a real 'toy village' for children, including fairy tales, games and tasty dishes.
Where to sleep in Perugia
The city consists of 5 historic districts (Porta San Pietro, Porta Sole, Porta Santa Susanna, PortaEubernea, PortaSant'Angelo) enclosed by the Etruscan walls that merge into the oldest part, that is the historic center.
Here are the major monuments and places of interest, the downtown area is pedestrian, perfect for a walk that combines history and tradition to the windows of many shops.
If you come by car you will have to park it in one of the many paid parking lots, or if you are lucky in the free parking lots.
But still do not worry because the city is well connected by Minimetrò. Also you can safely get to Perugia also by train and bus from various Italian cities.
The best areas to stay in Perugia
Among the best places to stay in Perugia we surely find the heart of the Historic Center. It consists of an enchanting medieval glimpse that passes through CorsoVannucci that connects Piazza IV Novembre to Piazza Italia.
Even the 5 districts that make up the Old Town are a valid option to stay in Perugia.
For example you can evaluate Porta S. Susanna one of the liveliest districts of the center, as it is home to several university faculties and the prestigious TeatroMorlacchi.
If you prefer to enjoy breathtaking views and unforgettable views of the city and surrounding countryside then the districts of PortaSant'Angelo or Porta Sole are the ideal place to stay in Perugia for you.
Finally, if you wish to immerse yourself in the historical atmosphere of the city, then you should opt for Porta San Pietro or PortaEburnea as quarters to sleep in Perugia during your stay. The area is in fact full of cultural attractions such as the Basilica of San Pietro and the architectural complex of San Domenico, home of the Archaeological Museum.
We remind you that Perugia hosts renowned events such as Eurochocolate and Umbria Jazz, in these periods it is always sold out in the structures of the city, especially the most central and well-connected so we suggest you book well in advance.