We first visited Perugia in 1995 that we first visited Perugia. Losing our credit card turned our attention away from enjoying the city but on subsequent trips we have had the opportunity to enjoy the architecture and the history. Conquered by the Romans, destroyed, part of the Byzantine dominions and eventually a powerful, independenet city-state allied to the Papal State. Papal rule continued until Kingdom of Italy was established in 1861.
Built on a hill, and with the historic centre being a maze of pedestrian only streets, to visit, you find one of the parking lots, and then walk up to the centre of the city. The major parking lots have a series of esculators that makes the way up the steep inclines. But, as we found in 2019, there may be an esculator on the map, but it does not necessarily mean it works!
Walk to the Piazza IV Novembre and are at the centre of the historic centre. There are steep alleys which lead to the old Etruscan walls and the Porta Marzia, Porta Sole, Porta Cornea, Porta Trasimena, Porta della Mandorla and the Arco Etrusco.
The piazza is impressive sSurrounded by grand buildings. The large Fontanna Maggiore is in the centre. The medieval fountain was built in the second half of the 12th century as was at that time the terminus of the the aqueduct which carried water to the town from Mount Pacciano. The sculpturs are by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The Palazzo Dei Priori was built in 1298 has a large stairway and a portal leading to Sala dei Notari, a vaulted roomwith great frescoes. The Palazzo also holds the National Gallery of Umbria.
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo took more than a century to complete and was finalized near the end of the 1400s.
Although Perugia is a very large city, the sights of the most interest are at the top of the hilol in the Centro Storico. The main car park for tourists is at Piazza Partigiani. From there you can take a series of escalators (hopefully most of them will be working!) up into the old town.
Rocca Paolina. It was a Renaissance fortress, built in 1540-1543 for pope Paul III to designs by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The escalators from the lower town lead up through the remains of this fortress. It was built on top of medieval streets, which were used as foundations, and before coming out into daylight at Piazza Italia you go through some of these medieval streets covered with brick ceilings when the fortress was built. Little now remains of the fortress itself.
Porta Marzia (Marzia Gate). This is an Etruscan city gate built in the 3rd century BC and much later incorporated into the city walls. It is close to the remains of the Paolina Fortress.
Fontana Maggiore. This large medieval fountain is found between the cathedral and the Palazzo dei Priori. It was made between 1277 and 1278 by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano as part of Perugia's celebrations of its independence. On the twenty-five sides of the basin are sculptures representing prophets and saints, the work of the seasons, signs of the zodiac, Bible scenes and events from Roman history.
Etruscan Well (Pozzo Etrusco), Piazza Danti 18 (To the right, just past the front entrance of the cathedral). 11.00-13.30 / 14.30-17.00, longer in the summer months. Damp and dark but an excellent way of appreciating the skills of 3rd-century BC Etruscan architects.
Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall) (Opposite the side of the cathedral, with its main entrance on Corso Vannucci). This is a large building in Italian Gothic style built in the early 1300s. On the side facing the piazza are a griffin, the emblem of Perugia, a 14th century bronze lion, and some chains, from where the keys of Siena were displayed after victory over the Sienese in 1358. Inside is the impressive meeting room, the Sala dei Notari. On the second floor is the Municipal Library. The building also houses the National Gallery of Umbria.
For many of the streets of Perugia, you do not walk the town, rather you climb it!
Even small streets have grand architecture.
Work on the cathedra commenced in 1345 and was completed in 1490. The exterior of the cathedral is covered with pink and what marble lozenges.
Walking down Corso Pietro Vannucci the street is lined with shops and many small piazza, such as here, at the Piazza della Repubblica. Lots of out door cafes and restaurants along the way.