Although Perugia first became popular under the Umbri tribe, it was the Etruscans who were attributed with founding the city. The city came to prominence in the 6th century BC, but actually rose to its zenith under Roman occupation, after they managed to capture it in the year 310 BC. Perugia’s popularity suffered a huge jolt during the middle ages, because of the internal feuding between the Oddi and Baglioni families, and it finally saw some stability after being was incorporated as a part of the Papal States in the year 1538. Despite years of conflict, Perugia emerged as a huge contributor to the world of arts. It was home to world famous painters such as Pietro Vannucci, who taught popular artists such as Bernardino Pinturicchio and Raphael. Over the years, Perugia also managed to imbibe itself into the hearts of countless students around the world through world-famous universities such as the University of Perugia and the Universita per Stranieri. Perugia is one of the best places to go in Italy – read on to find out why.
Time seems to stop the moment you enter Perugia, one of the most likable cities on the planet. The city centre is full of Roman and Etruscan monuments and wandering through those tiny streets feels like a walk back in time. Apart from traveling back into time, one can also enjoy a wide range of modern day delights and a fun-loving and party-crazy lifestyle in its countless bars, nightclubs and cafes. Finally, there’s a word famous jazz festival, the Umbria Jazz, to entertain you if you happen to visit Perugia in the summer months.
Palazzo dei Priori
The Palazzo dei Priori dates back to the 13th century, and is particularly famous for its striking architecture. It was once famous as the seat of the Priori, but is now known to host a fascinating art collection that features some of the most beautiful paintings in the world. Another major highlight is the Nobile Collegio del Cambio, the medieval era money exchange of Perugia, known for its beautiful frescoes. Most travellers visiting the Palazzo dei Priori are left feeling mesmerized and spellbound. Its fascinating art collection and architecture certainly play a huge role in evoking such feelings, but the fact that one can walk on the stone that predates Christ is equally responsible.
The Rocca Paolina, formerly known as the Girdini Carducci, was constructed by Pope Paolo III Farnese in the early 1500s. This ancient fort was actually built after wiping out an ancient neighbourhood, which means that there are all kinds of treasures to see. Although used as a throughway in modern day Perugia, its nooks and corners are known to host amazing art exhibits and antique markets. While in the area, make sure to visit the underground area which takes you to an ancient town and offers a beautiful labyrinth of historic alleys, statues and cannons. And if all the exploration makes you hungry, there are a number of cheap restaurants in the area as well.
Fontana Maggiore spellbinds travellers visiting the Piazza IV Novembre, the central square of the city during the Etruscan times, with its exotic pink and white designs and beautiful architecture. The fountain was built by Giovanni Pisano and Nicola Pisano between the years 1275 – 1278, and it features scenes from the seven liberal arts, the founding of Rome, the Old Testament, as well as signs from the zodiac, a lion and a griffin. It may be impossible to touch the fountain due to the surrounding fence, but you can still get up close to catch the artistic detailing of this historic fountain.
Perugia boasts of a typical Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and cold winters. The best time to visit the city is between the months of March and April or in October. The weather is just about perfect for endless explorations and the city truly comes alive during these months. Another popular time to visit the city is the month of July, because of the Umbria Jazz Festival, a world-famous jazz festival that has been an annual tradition ever since 1973.