Thursday, 29 August 2013

Perugia - chocolates and history

 Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, crossed by the river Tiber. The city is also the capital of the province of Perugia. Perugia is located about 164 kilometres from Rome in the south, and 148 kilometres  from Florence in the north so it was a natural place to stayover between those two cities. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area. I found it a very

atmospheric town, not always clean or well-maintained but with an ancient soul. It's mostly peaceful to walk around here.

The lengthy history of Perugia goes back to the Etruscan period. Perugia was one of the main Etruscan cities. The city is also known as a university town, with the University of Perugia founded in 1308 (about 34,000 students), the University for Foreigners (5,000 students), and some smaller colleges such the Academy of Fine Arts "Pietro Vannucci" public athenaeum founded on 1573, the Perugia University Institute of Linguistic Mediation for translators and interpreters, the Music Conservatory of Perugia, founded on 1788, and others Institutes.

Cesare Borgia spent his formative educational years studying here before going to Pisa University to study theology.

At left is a detail above the door of San Bernadino.

There are annual festivals and events: the Eurochocolate Festival (October), the Umbria Jazz Festival (July), and the International Journalism Festival (in April).
Perugia has become famous for chocolate, mostly because of a single firm, Perugina, whose Baci (kisses) are widely exported. Perugian chocolate is very popular in Italy. The company's plant located in San Sisto (Perugia) is the largest of Nestlé's nine sites in Italy. According to the Nestlé Usa official website today Baci is the most famous chocolate brand in Italy. We saw examples of this but did not buy - too ephemeral and not cheap.

Fontana Maggiore, is a medieval fountain designed by Fra Bevignate and sculpted by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. It's interesting though not spectacular. It is very, very old.

On one of the main streets was a musician entertaining passersby. We stopped briefly to listen to him. You can listen too by visiting this YouTube video I made.

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is worth a visit but you can't take photos inside. Oh well, it was only yet another church. After 4 you get a bit churched-out and by this stage we'd seen closer to 10 and counting.

There's a shady piazza near the top of the hill and along from a main street. Many locals were there reading newspapers, taking time out with the baby strollers. It gives you a lovely view over the town. Buy a Gelato, sit down and just soak in the atmosphere.

I enjoyed this town, marvelling at the ancient doors and windows still being used 600+ years after they were built.


Post a Comment

I welcome your comments, contributions and feedback.