A local’s guide to Perugia, Italy: five great things to do

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A writer and walking guide surviving successful Perugia for 12 years, Gianluigi Bettin is co-author of the Via di Francesco guidebook (Terre di Mezzo, €20).


Perugia is simply a large spot to bask products and specialities from each implicit Umbria. A caller edifice find was Numero Zero, wherever the owners are keen connected societal inclusion and employment young radical with intelligence wellness problems. Their doctrine is to make a spot wherever “being antithetic is not a origin for embarrassment”.

I went determination connected a archetypal date, and though that narration didn’t enactment out, I’m inactive successful emotion with the edifice for its nutrient and super-friendly service. They bash a batch of meat, each sourced from tiny farms – I had gorgeous pigeon with chard and wood fruits – but my vegetarian day enjoyed his courgette escabeche and strangozzi pasta with rootlike ragù.


Underground tunnels and chambers of the Rocca Paolina fortress.
Underground tunnels and chambers of the Rocca Paolina fortress. Photograph: Bernard Bialorucki/Alamy

Help! How tin I prime 1 spot from a metropolis with 2,500 years of history? The 2 miles of Etruscan metropolis walls? The medieval Torre degli Sciri? I’m a flâneur, a Perugian Baudelaire, and my favourite stroll is successful the dimly lit Rocca Paolina, redolent of the plots and powerfulness struggles of centuries past. It’s a fortress built successful 1543 for Pope Paul III, with a full territory – peculiarly the location of his arch-enemies the Baglionis – demolished oregon remodelled. All precise Game of Thrones. Today it’s a bid of high-ceilinged passageways nether the aged municipality – each unfastened to the public, with accumulation spaces and a museum. Continue the time-travel with a circuit (€10pp) of the excavations nether San Lorenzo cathedral, which instrumentality you into Roman Perugia, past backmost to erstwhile this was the Etruscans’ Acropolis, with a sixth-century BC temple.

Quick Guide

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Porta Sole has go the city’s originative quarter, wherever there’s ever thing caller to see: show art, thoroughfare art, poetry, trade workshops. Start with Mannaggia (nearest translation: “Damn it”) bookshop connected Via Cartolari, which specialises successful tiny publishers and does regular evening events, past travel Via della Viola past small shops and restaurants to the Post Modernissimo cinema, really the oldest successful Perugia. It closed successful 2000 but reopened successful 2014, acknowledgment to crowdfunding by a societal enterprise. The cinema has 3 screens, and a terrace extracurricular for aperitivi.

Green space

Many radical link the Tiber with Rome, but from its root successful the Apennines, the stream passes beneath Perugia, and tin beryllium reached connected a two-hour circular locomotion on Sentiero delle Lavandaie (washerwomen’s walk, portion of the 550km Via di Francesco trail). Begin astatine Porta Pesa gate, wherever the washerwomen utilized to get from the riverside colony of Pretola. Once the lone way from the metropolis to the river, the way is mentioned successful a Perugia metropolis assembly papers from 1299, but was inactive utilized by washerwomen until the mid-1960s. Every Sunday they could beryllium seen coming to cod laundry from affluent families. The footpath, reinstated successful 2011, runs alongside a stream, crossed fields and woodland to Pretola’s watermill, with its medieval tower. Download Perugia InApp for much GPS-marked walking routes.


Evening strollers connected  Corso Vanucci.
Evening strollers connected Corso Vanucci. Photograph: Getty Images

Punto di Vista bar, connected the elevation beneath the municipality hall, has a stunning presumption implicit the Tiber valley, and bully cocktails. But the champion happening to bash of an evening is rotation on Corso Vanucci, beryllium connected a barroom terrace and people-watch. Dempsey’s, adjacent the cathedral, is simply a cocktail barroom unfastened till 1.30am, with each tone successful the satellite seemingly connected offer, and fantastic margaritas. Up constrictive Via del Sole is Bottega del Vino, with unrecorded jazz connected Wednesdays and a immense prime of Umbrian wines.


Little Italy hostel was converted from an 11th-century church. Dorm beds outgo from €17, but it besides has household rooms and a treble successful a erstwhile broadside chapel. Hotel Fortuna is successful a 14th-century gathering disconnected Corso Vanucci, with extortion terrace, doubles from €77 and flats from €380 a week.