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What to do with 48 hours in Perugia
Posted on 01/05/2017

CultureItaly

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A city steeped in history, Perugia is a glittery jewel in Italy's crown. Here's our guide to a short but sweet trip to the bucolic Umbrian capital.

Undulating Umbrian Capital

Undulating Umbrian Capital
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Equidistant from Rome and Florence, and only a thirty minutes' drive from its sibling city, Assisi, Perugia is better connected than the image of its backdrop of the rolling Umbrian hills might suggest. However, it by no means relies on these cities to glean some of the Italian limelight - itsrich heritage and compact historical centre more than warrant its status as a prominent Italian destination.

The hilltop city boasts a well-regarded university, and emanates a youthful ambiance, juxtaposing the ancient monuments and cathedrals, which pepper the streets, with student life. Pedestrians wander more freely than ever, thanks to Perugia's forward-thinking MiniMetrň, and in summer the city hosts one of the world's most revered jazz festivals. There's nothing sotto voce about this stunning city.

Day One

Day One
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Morning

Day one in Perugia calls for a hearty breakfast. Although Italians don't tend to advocate the full English, they do rustle up some sumptuous alternatives. For starters, head to Pasticceria Fontana and ask for ?La Colomba'. It is a dove shaped cake, somewhat resemblant of a panettone, but the latter's raisins are replaced with almonds. Have your first espresso of the day, before stopping by Edicola 518. The best way to describe it would be a kiosk that moonlights as an art bookshop and micro-gallery, it's a funky local spot well worth checking out.

Afternoon

For lunch, go to La Bottega di Perugia, a little haunt serving up some of the city's finest panini , bursting at the seams with locally sourced products. The owners are an incredibly friendly bunch, keen to let you sample a slice of the real Perugia, washed down with expertly selected wine. You're currently on the fringe of Piazza IV Novembre, essentially the epicentre of Perugia. It used to be the meeting point for ancient Etruscan and Roman civilisations, then becoming the political hub during the medieval era. All roads still seem to lead here, and studded with the majestic Fontana Maggiore, it makes a captivating backdrop for the street entertainers and jazz performers.

Evening

An early evening gelato is an essential. Maestro Cianuri have just recently opened their doors in the historic centre, and they are well on their way to becoming strong contenders for Perugia's finest ice cream.Try the Raphaello flavour, a moreish combination of white chocolate and coconut. The Italians have the right idea when it comes to wining and dining, and they don't fall short on the subject matter of aperitivi . Go on a leisurely passeggiata, peppered with Martini or Aperol Spritz, along the city's main street, Corso Vannucci. Just up the cobblestones you will stumble across Mediterranea, which serves rustic pizzas dripping with burrata.

Day Two

Day Two
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Morning

After a modest caffeine-infused breakfast, head to the Perugina chocolate factory. Although now owned by Nestlé, it doesn't for a minute dilute the significance of the velvety Baci chocolates which made the factory famous. Let's face it, it's never too early for chocolate.

Afternoon

You're going to have a lunch to remember at Osteria a Priori. Dining in a wine shop, the intimate restaurant prides itself on serving authentic Umbrian delicacies. Start with a charcuterie before trying strigozzi pasta with fresh truffles grated on top, or ravioli stuffed with fava beans and ricotta, doused in cacio e pepe sauce. Next head to the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, where you can see works of coveted artist Pietro Vannucci, along with that of his protégé Raphael, whose fame surpassed his own.

Evening

Just north of Piazza IV Novembre lie two of Perugia's most emblematic sights. First, the Pozzo Etrusco is a 37-metre deep well which dates back to the 3rd century BC. In that era it was the main water reservoir of Perugia, and later became a source of water during WWII bombing raids. About a five-minute walk away is a craggy 16th century fortress. At the top of Rocca Paolina's lofty heights lie picturesque Giardina Carducci, giving out onto incredible panoramic views across the cityscape at dusk. Dinner is served at Il Postale, Perugia's only Michelin-starred restaurant, often dubbed the city's best restaurant. Try the deconstructed carbonara - you won't regret it.

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