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Perugia is the provincial capital of Umbria, one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. The ancient heart of the city, packed full of Etruscan and Roman monuments, perches on a hilltop with the modern city spread below. With a prestigious university, the city has a lively student population, good shopping, fun bars and great restaurants. If that weren't enough, Perugia is the setting for one of Europe’s best jazz festivals: Umbria Jazz.
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Do and see
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.
Galleria Nazionale Dell Umbria
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.
Palazzo dei Priori
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
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.
Fontana Maggiore
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.
Oratory of San Bernardino
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.
Church of San Severo
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.
Church of St Agata
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.
Tempio di San Michele Arcangelo (chiesa Di Sant’angelo)
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.
Airport San Francesco d’Assisi
The international airport of Umbria – Perugia “San Francesco d’Assisi”, lies in the tiny town Sant’Egidio, about 12 km from Perugia city. There is a bus stop just outside the terminal and from here you can take bus number E007 or E422 (Umbria Mobilità) to Perugia. If you choose to buy the ticket on board the bus you must have the exact change. There is also a shuttle bus service (ACAP-SULGA) running according to airline departure and arrival times. The trip takes about 20 minutes.
Public Transport
The historic heart of Perugia is made for walking, though expect to go uphill and downhill regularly. If you need a bus, most buses stop at Piazza Italia, where there’s an information kiosk where you can also buy tickets. Tickets are valid 70 minutes within the city. Do not forget to validate your ticket upon boarding. Different prices apply if you’re taking a bus out of town. The main bus station is at Piazza Partigiani.
There are taxi ranks on different locations around the city and at the airport. In the city you find one at the main railway station and in Piazza Italia. Rates are higher on Sundays and holidays. If you need to book a taxi in advance you can reach Perugia Taxi at:
Post Office
You can find the main post office in the historic centre but if you only need stamps you can buy them at a tabacchi - the small tobacco shops you can find all over town. You recognise them by the ‘T’ sign outside.
If you need medical help (including dental help) over the weekend or on public holidays Farmacia San Martino at Piazza Matteotti 26 is the place to go. It also has a night service.
Country code: +39 Area code: 075 (also dialled in Perugia) If you call Italy from abroad, you must always dial zero in the area code (do not omit it as is the general practice when making international telephone calls), e.g. +39 075 + the number.
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