One of Perugia’s charms is the merging of ancient and modern, for example, here you can walk under giant stone arches constructed 2,000 years ago or shop in a modern department store. The city offer a wide array of museums, so take some time to discover a few of them.
Housed in the Palazzo dei Priori, the gallery has an extensive collection of art, both Umbrian and national, from the 13th through to the 19th centuries. There is a sizeable collection of work by the local painter, Pietro Vannucci, who was more commonly called Perugino.
This is a beautiful medieval structure, first built at the end of the 13th century, and the subject of many additions and alterations over the years. Head up the stairs in Piazza IV Novembre and into the Sala dei Notari – completely covered in allegorical and biblical frescoes that date from the 13th century.
Entering the palazzo from Corso Vannucci takes you to the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria and to two further rooms: the Collegio della Mercanzia and the Collegio del Cambio. The Collegio della Mercanzia is beautifully panelled in wood, probably done by German craftsmen in the 15th century. The Collegio del Cambio has two rooms, the second with stunning late 15th century frescoes by Perugino.
Piazza IV Novembre was the main square of the Etruscan city, and the Roman Forum. In medieval Perugia, it was the point at which the five principal roads crossed and even today it is at the heart of Perugia. As an open-air venue it can’t be beaten: in the summer, thousands of people gather here to enjoy the Umbria Jazz Festival.
This fountain, between the cathedral and the Palazzo dei Priori, is considered to be one of the best examples of its kind in existence. It was constructed around 1275 by father-and-son sculptors from the city of Pisa.
Built in honour of Saint Bernadino of Siena, this tiny church has a very pretty façade. Aqua, rose and white in colour, with sculpture and bas-reliefs, the façade was finished in 1461. The interior has been modernised, though have a look at the altar– it’s made from a 4th-century sarcophagus and contains the remains of Beato Egidio, one of St Francis of Assisi’s friars.
The 11th century church of San Severo (Cappella di San Severo) was built on the site of a pagan temple. Rebuilt in the 18th century, it is noteworthy for the fresco in its 14th century chapel: the upper part is by the great Renaissance painter Raphael, the lower part by Perugino.
This is a delightful little church that dates back to the 12th century but was rebuilt in the 1317. Here you find many examples of early 14th century frescoes and other paintings and works of art made by Umbrian painters.
This is one of the oldest churches in Italy – dating from the 5th century AD. Strange symbols and references to the Knights Templar can be seen, as well as the symbol of the pentagram near the church entrance. This is a must-see.