Key to Umbria:Perugia


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Perugia, the most important of the Umbrian cities and the capital of the region, has the vibrancy of a university city and a fascinating collection of monuments and museums.  It also makes a great base for touring Umbria - leave your heavy luggage here and make shorter trips to Assisi, Gubbio, Todi, Città di Castello, Foligno, Bettona and/or Spello.

You can fly directly to Perugia from Stansted with Ryanair.  You can alternatively fly to Rome.  There is a bus (Sulga) from Roma Fiumicino to the centre Perugia: if you take the train instead, you might have to change at Foligno or Terontola.  The station at Perugia is about 20 minutes by taxi from the centre, and there is also a mini-metro.   

In August 2006, I took a course in Italian at the excellent Università per Stranieri (University for Foreigners).  I enjoyed my stay in an apartment at the centrally located Hotel Priori, and have used the hotel itself in the past for a number of shorter stays.  I treated myself once to a couple of nights at the Hotel Brufani Palace - expensive but worth it.  Dinner on the terrace here is nice in the summer, and the small swimming pool in the basement has atmospheric excavations.  On my latest stay (August 2013), I stayed at the Sangallo Palace Hotel, which is comfortable and convenient (with excellent internet and Wifi facilities).

The liveliest times in Perugia are probably to be had during:

  1. Umbria Jazz, in July; and

  2. the chocolate festival, in October.

Speaking of the latter, you have to try the chocolates known as Baci (kisses), made by the redoubtable Perugina company (now owned by Nestle).  You can also visit the factory at nearby San Sisto.  The Comune runs a daily “Chocotour” in summer (as well as a more frequent city tour that is also described in this page of its website).

I was really impressed on my latest visit by the number of good restaurants and wine bars in the Rione di Porta San Pietro, which include:

  1. Énoné, 61 Corso Cavour; 

  2. Locanda Do Pazzi, 128 Corso Cavour; 

  3. Ristorante Nànà, 202 Corso Cavour (with an adjacent café and wine bar);

  4. Nadir, in the Teatro Zenith, at 11 Via Bonfigli;

  5. Pizzeria Pompei, 14 Borgo XX Giugno; and

  6. L’ Officina, 56 Borgo XX Giugno.

I also enjoyed meals at:

  1. Argentina, 39 Via del Verzaro, which serves brilliant steaks in its lovely garden on three terraces;

  2. Frittole Vineria, 30 Via Alessi, which is a wine bar with some food;

  3. il Pizzaio - il Birraio, 18 via delle Prome, which has a lovely terrace in front of the ex-church of Sant’ Angelo della Pace;

  4. Osteria del Ghiottone, 12 Via Cesare Caporali;

  5. il Settimo Sigillo, 1 Via Ulisse Rocchi; and

  6. Osteria a Priori, 39 Via dei Priori. 

I loved Stella Ristorante Vineria, 47a Via Narcisi, Casaglia, which is just outside Perugia. 

I have heard good things about:

  1. Locanda dell'Arco, 36 Via Ulisse Rocchi;

  2. Kundera Caffe Bistrot, 23 Via Oberdan; and

  3. Osteria Il Gufo, 18 Via della Viola.

Restaurants that I have enjoyed on earlier visits include:

  1. Ristorante la Piazzetta, Via Deliziosa (off Via dei Priori);  

  2. Trattoria del Borgo, 23a Via della Sposa; 

  3. Il Cantinone, 4 Via Ritorta (to the left of the ex-church of the Maestà delle Volte);

  4. Bottega del Vino, 1 Via del Sole; and

  5. Ristorante dalla Bianca, 14 Via Piantarose (off Corso Cavour).

My favourite bars include:

  1. Bar Centrale, 35 Piazza IV Novembre;

  2. Caffé Baglioni, 30 Via Baglioni;

  3. Caffé Sant’ Ercolano, 36 Via Sant’ Ercolano;

  4. Caffé di Roma, 32 Piazza Matteotti;

  5. Caffé Bonazzi, 1 Via Cesare Caporali; and

  6. Bar Milano, 2 Corso Garibaldi.

The café that belongs to Ristorante Nànà (above) is a great place for breakfast.

Sadly, the much-loved Caffé Morlacchi has closed.  However, there have been some cheering developments:

  1. The historic Pasticceria Sandri, 32 Corso Vannucci, which seemed likely to close when its owner, Carla Schucani, retired, has found a new owner and reopened in March 2014;

  2. the hip Caffe Vergnano 1882 has replaced the venerable Caffé Turreno in Piazza Danti and is good for “aperativi”;

  3. Caffé di Perugia has returned to Via Mazzini; and

  4. it has another new opening as its neighbour: Mercato Via Nova, at number 15.

Bars with great views include:

  1. Living Café, the bar of Ristorante del Sole (1, Via Della Rupe, off Via Oberdan), which is separate from the very good restaurant below and shares its lovely outlook;

  2. la Terrazza, in the market of Piazza Matteotti;

  3. il Punto di Vista, Via Indipendenza (opposite the left side of Palazzo della Prefettura); and

  4. in summer, the bar that was recently established in the Giardino dell’ Usignolo (garden  of the nightingale) of Palazzo Rossi Scotti (3 Piazza Biordo Michelotti).

Read more:

The most extensive and authoritative guide to Perugia is:

  1. M. Montella (Ed.), “Perugia”, (1993), Electa Editori Umbri, Perugia

I have also made extensive use of two more unconventional guides:

  1. M. R. Zappelli, “Caro Viario: Un Viaggio nella Vecchia Perugia Attraverso le sue Mura, Porte, Vie e Piazze”, (2009), Perugia; and

  2. B. Dozzini, “Perugia in 1420 Monumenti dagli Etruschi ad Oggi”, (1998), Perugia

The following guide is very comprehensive for Borgo San Pietro:

  1. M. R. Zappelli, “Perugia: Borgo San Pietro: da Sant’ Ercolano a San Costanzo”, (2008), Todi

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