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yuliangpang Perugia - A travel report by yuliang
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Perugia,  Italy - flag Italy -  Umbria
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yuliangpang's travel reports

Perugia-My 10th Report on Via Flaminia

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Page: 1 2
I did not feel very much movitated to visit Perugia, though I was strongly recommended by friends to go there for a look. I was supposed to be there only for a report here. But when I got there, I realized that I could only love this great city.

Griffin, the Symbol of Perugia
Griffin, the Symbol of Perugia
I spent my whole last weekend, except Saturday night, on exploring Perugia. I left Rome for Perugia on Saturday morning and began to walk around the city after I got the map and a very useful handbook "Guide to Perugia" from the tourist office at Piazza Matteotti, but late afternon when I realized that I could not finish all the sights marked on the map, I decided that I had to go back home and come back tomorrow. so I visited Perugia twice, but I had a completely different experience. On Saturday the weather was very nice, though a little bit cloudy and cold, still quite shiny at most of the time. But on sunday it was snowing all the time, though the weather prediction said that it would be cloudy, no rain or snow at all. I was even more exhilarated when I saw the snow, you cound not imagine that this was the first snow that I have ever had over the past three years since I moved to Rome from Beijing. I was just simply happy to see it. You had the chance to see a Perugia at two weather scenarios from this report and the album set up for this report.

Perugia is the most important city for my whole trip along via Flaminia, it is the capital of the central Italian region, Umbria, where Via Flaminia runs through. And it is also the point where Via Flaminia converges after it divides into two direction at Narni. In a certain sense, Perugia has played an extremely important role in controlling the road at the ancient times. Chinese call those geographically strategic places "battlefields", Perugia is such a place in all senses. Historically Perugia has never stoped involving in wars, Third Samnite War and Second Punic War all happened in BC, Salt War in Middle Ages. Presently you may still appreciate the shadow of wars from the great architectures for military purposes, Rocca Paolina, Arco Etrusco, just to name a few.

The symbol of Perugia is griffin (see the picture), you may find easily around every corner of the town.


Favourite spots:
the main square, Piazza IV Novembre
the main square, Piazza IV Novembre
Perugia has excellent tourism resources to make your trip extremely easier, you should ask one phamphlet "Guide to Perugia", which also includes information for the three small towns nearby, Corciano, Deruta and Torgiano. This booklet provides you a city map and three itineraries, the most classic one is Itinerary one, you may just follow the map and the routes. I finished almost all the three itinerary on foot, except few sights out of the town. Perugia is strar-shaped and not small as you expected, I have walked to every angle of the star, fully exhausted, but extremely excited, especially walking in the snow, putting the camera in my jacket to protect it, I really looked like a penguin, people looked at me like a strange creature, took camera out immediate for a quick shot and then put it back. But who cares and I had my only way for fun! Perugia is a walled town, I had managed to walking almost a round of the wall. This also deserved a few word, it was a long march, but I did it.

What's really great:
Perugia is a great city of art
Perugia is a great city of art
The picture you see above in "your favorite sights" section is the main square of Perugia, Piazza IV Novembre. Its charm is beyond any language, you may find a few main sights here, Palazzo dei Priori, which houses the National Gallery of Umbria, Nobile Collegio del Cambio(Frescoes from Perugino), Nobile Collegio della Mercanzia ( Golden Griffin of my first picture) and Sala dei Notari, Fontana Maggiore and the Duomo of the city, Church of San Lorenzo.

The National Gallery of Umbria has the best art collections of the entire region, but most valuable things are masterpieces from greatest painter in Middle Ages, Pietro Vannucci, a native Perugian and the pride of Perugia, which you may feel it from his more well-known nickname, Perugino. He used to be the teacher of another greatest painter in Middle Age, Raffaello Senzio. You may also appreciate the great works of Pinturicchio, another native Perugian. But I liked the works of one less well-known painter Benedetto Bonfigli.

Arco Etrusco
Arco Etrusco
Perugia is not only a great city of art, but also a great city of history and architecture. In Italy, history and architecture are one, they had a tradition to preserve the ancient architectures to show you the history, therefore Italy's history is living or concrete in some ways, you may approach it as you can touch the very ancient buildings. Perugia has kept its walls from both Etruscan time and Medieval time and a great bastion of Castel Paolina. The best places to see are Arco Etrusco ( Via C. Battisti), Rocca Paolina (Viale Indipendenza) and sevaral gates along the walls, Porta Sant'Angelo, Porta Sant'Ercolano, Arco dei Gigli. I was not able to introduce them one by one, only short words for two things. One is Arco Etrusco which gave me the impression of the light tower in Great Wall, the most interesting thing is the small houses standing on a high bastion. The other is Rocca Paolina, both the bastion and the interior, I love the street running through it, Via Bagliona.

Via Volte della Pace
Via Volte della Pace
[continue] In my understanding the grandeur and beauty of Architecture do not lie only at great works from masters, but also those small things, such as, streets, stairs and doorways, balcony. Big and luxury places are either for the public or for the rich, but those humble residences crowded in narrow streets are home for our ordinary people. If a city could make those humble places so nice to stay, it would be even more valuable in terms of architecture, because they make the art of architecture an public goods, everybody is living in an enjoyable environment full of art. Fortunately Perugia has both of them. Palazzo dei Priori claims to be one of the greatest buildings in Italy, but the narrow streets are quite unique in architecture. They are vaulted, dark, narrow, curving, but among all, personalized. They are narrow, but you do not feel crowded. They are dark, but they are romantic. Do not miss Via Volte della Pace, via Ulisse Rocchi, Via Bagliona, just to name a few.


nave of the San Lorenzo Church
nave of the San Lorenzo Church
Besides art and architecture, Perugia is also a good place to see churches and religion. I looked at the map of Perugia carefully and found 30 places marked as churches, but unfortunately only the names of some big or important churches were provided and all the churches are closed at the lunch time and reopened very late, around 3 in the afternoon.

Duomo, the cathedral of San Lorenzo, is a mediaval building, built between 1437 and 1487. It has two facades, one is facing directly to the main square, Piazza IV Novembre, but the main one is at Piazza Danti. The church looks like a ugly tomb from the outside, but the interior is great, housing a nave decorated with works of Perugino. It also has four chapels, but the most important ones are San bernardino and Santo Anello.

Church of San Domenico, Church of San Pietro, Church of San Francesco are also quite big and has an impressive outlook, but they were all closed when I visited, therefore I was not able to tell you anything more.

Duomo of Perugia, Church of San Lorenzo
Duomo of Perugia, Church of San Lorenzo
[continue] It seems to me Perugians are very loyal to their religionous beliefs, I saw people practising mess very early in the moring, but what impressed me more was that the churches were more crowded than any other places around Italy. When I opened the door of a small church Sant'Andrea and Lucia ( not pretty sure the exact name of the church), I was surprised at my first sight. A mess was being held, parents and children were all sitting there, those who could not find seats had to stand. When I visited another church, Church of Gesu, some people were kneeling on the long bench before the pictures of Mandonna, praying. I even saw unexpectedly that one old lady was taking away the tears from her eyes. I did not believe in any religion, but I respected those who did and I was really moved by what what I saw in Perugia. If you have some believes, religionous or not, you have to at least, be loyal to them. But unfortunately it is becoming extremely difficult for young people.

Il Ristorante del Sole, I just appreciated the snow there, not time for food
Il Ristorante del Sole, I just appreciated the snow there, not time for food
As I mentioned at the outset, I did not stay overnight at Perugia, but I could put the information about the accommodation, restraunts, hangout all together. Hotel Priori, at the center of the town, is extremely convienent for you to explore the town. Hotel Brufani Palace, looks expensive, but has a nice location, at the right corner of Giardini Carducci.

There are lots of good restaurants in Perugia. Ristorante la Piazzetta, Via Deliziosa (off Via dei Priori); but I liked those restraunts at the most atmospheric street, Via Ulisse Rocchi, La Bocca Mia and Perugia Vecchia.

Perugia has also many bars, I found some Irish pubs near the main square Piazza IV Novembre, one was inside the long entrance to Pozzo Etrusco (Etruscan Well). I also found one restraunt or bar for Germans, Ristorante del Sole, you may find beers with Germany flavor there. For those who like caffe, there is one nice place to go, LavAzz or il Caffe di Roma near Piazza Matteotti. I found it was pretty crowded.

Other recommendations:
1. The historical center of Perugia is quite far from the station, you had better to take the bus. But I managed to get there on foot, nothing interesting on the road, but I followed the people and used the so called "scala Automobili", and got to the interior of Rocca Paolina. It was very exciting experience, I did not know where I was, but I was quite impressed by this intricate complex. Immediately out of it, I found a market for anquities.

2. For the restriction of the report formality, I could not introduce all the nice places that I found one by one, but do not worry. I am going to establish an album, you will find more there. By the way, on the map of Perugia, you may find the mark of "view", where you will have a better position to appreciate the panaroma of the town, they all deserve your visit.

3. If time allows and you may also like trekking, you may have a walk around the walls, it is also a quite interesting thing to do, you will find your own fun there.

Published on Tuesday December 30th, 2008

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Tue, Jan 06 2009 - 09:27 PM rating by krisek

Yuliang, I think this might be your best report to date. A few practical details, good recommendations, personal touch and observations, some interesting opinions and references. I am looking forward to the album as well.

Wed, Dec 31 2008 - 08:54 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Didactic and useful report.

Tue, Dec 30 2008 - 04:52 PM rating by pesu

Yuliang, you wanted to know my opinion ;-): I really like your always very personal points of view. Thus your reports invite to make one's own experiences - that's fine! And I appreciate your sense for the 'small things' for 'ordinary people' besides the great touristic or artistic places. Btw, what is Rocca Paolina? I am looking forward to your next contributions - thanks for sharing!

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