Cities & Touring - Perugia
The ancient city of Perugia sits on a hill placed at the center of the region, with its 5 historical quarters enclosed by the gigantic Etruscan walls, built 22 centuries ago and still visible for long stretches. When the city of Rome was little more than an encampment of huts, the access to the Etruscan Perugia was assured by seven gates, among which, particularly imposing, the Arch of Augusto.
The slopes and the stairways approaching the upper city are normally steep, both those dating back to the remoter ages and those traced in recent ages. Approximately twenty years ago, the city administrators set up some comfortable lifts and escalators to facilitate the rise to the upper part of the historical center. Entering from Porta San Pietro, we encounter, on our right-hand side, San Domenico Church, in whose cloister and contiguous convent finds its place the important National Archaeological Museum of Umbria. From here, walking along Corso Cavour and then climbing up the steep staircase of S. Ercolano, we reach Matteotti Square, where the 14th century Palazzo dell'Università Vecchia and Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo dwell contiguously.
Further on, after a short upward slope, one of the most important squares in Italy is unveiled: wonderful and austere, Piazza Grande, or Piazza 4 Novembre, is an impressive monumental complex featuring Palazzo dei Priori and the Cathedral at the opposite sides, with the Great Fountain right in the middle.
Walking along Corso Vannucci, the lively pedestrian street that starts from Piazza Grande and along where you can find the important museum Galeria Nazionale dell'Umbria, we finally get to a famous lookout (of it speaks the Italian poet Carducci, from here the name Carducci Garden), created in the 19th century over the base of Rocca Paolina, a fortress erected by order of Pope Paul III in 1540. The construction of the Rocca swallowed up an entire quarter of the old city, recently excavated and brought back to the light, made of suggestive sights and intricate underground lanes.
Even the fastest visit to Perugia should not leave aside the complex of San Francesco and the contiguous Oratorio of San Bernardino- masterpiece, this latter, of Agostino di Duccio - with its facade covered of bas-reliefs of charming grace. Other attractions absolutely worth a stop are Basilica di S. Pietro, with its splendid frescoes, the medieval Collegio del Cambio e Collegio della Mercanzia, the Etruscan Arch, Porta Sant'Angelo. Beside the monumental sightseeing, Perugia, a lively and international-oriented town, offers the possibility to enjoy wonderful landscapes and to live the nature with that typical Umbrian style.