Getting around Perugia, Italy
Perugia offers a mesmerizing panorama and an unhurried pace of life like in a real provincial town. Unfortunately getting to Perugia is not as easy as you might think if it’s true that the highway itself doesn’t go through Umbria (for landscape reasons), it’s also true that there is a highway that allows you to get to Perugia quickly from anywhere. Orte if you come from the south and from Bettollea. In addition, new high-speed routes have recently been opened for Civitanova-Marche and Siena. In addition, Perugia has several train stations (the main one is Perugia Fontivegge) and a bus station located in the center (Piazza Partigiani).
1. Useful tips
Forget about using scooters and bicycles because the uphill walks in the historic center can be very taxing on your body. It is also not a good idea to use a car. The best way to get to the historic center of Perugia is to use the Minimetr. You can easily leave your car in the completely free parking Pian di Massiano and get to the historic center by high-speed streetcar. Once in the historic center, it is best to visit it on foot. For a first experience of the city we recommend to take a walking tour with a local guide who will introduce you to this wonderful city.
1. Useful tips
2. How to get from the airport to the center of Perugia
Perugia has an international airport in Sant’Egidio, only 12 km. from the center. At the moment there are not many flights from the airport, but the list of destinations is constantly being updated. Even if you can get to the airport by public transport provided by BuSITAlia, it is not easy given the short travel times.
3. How to get around on foot
The historic center of Perugia can easily be visited on foot, albeit uphill. It is also equipped with ZTL at various times and parking is paid so the use of a private car is highly discouraged. Walking along the historic or automated staircases of Perugia and its alleys will also give you access to beautiful views, where the greenery of the vegetation is perfectly combined with the red sunset. For your first introduction to the city, we recommend participating in a guided walking tour with a local guide to better understand the city and get to know the main sights. In the following days you can stop at the places you like the most and visit individual attractions. The heart of Perugia is Piazza IV November . Here is the Fontana Maggiore, one of the entrances to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, and on the opposite side is the Palazzo dei Priori, the seat of the Umbrian National Gallery.
To get to Rocca Paolina you have to use the escalators that start on Via Masi.
3. How to get around on foot
4. How to get around by bike
For several years now, Perugia has had a bike rental service with 7 bicycle parking stations. If you are in good shape or just want to ride on the flat part of the city or on the Green Route of Cenci, you can use 30 bikes with pedals. All the information about the location of the stations and where to buy a season ticket can be found on the official website.
4. How to get around by bike
5. Public transport
Getting around by public transport in Perugia is not easy, let’s face it. Shorter hours, one-way streets and hilly terrain make a pleasant walk preferable to waiting for a city bus. However, the public transport of Umbria’s capital has the advantage that a Single Perugia ticket can be used in any way, even if it is operated by different operators.
Perugia does not have an underground subway . In the last two decades, however, the Minimetr, a kind of elevated light rail that from the free parking area of Pian di Massiano takes you conveniently to the center to Pincetto, and also allows you to make several intermediate stops, has come into use. One of these is the Fonteveggio station, where trains arrive and depart, directly connecting Perugia with Florence, Rome, and Milan.
As we said before, using buses in Perugia is not easy. In addition to the crowds and the frequency of the races, you should keep in mind that Perugia rises on several hills and the streets are narrow and often with one-way traffic. The city transport is operated by BusItalia, which connects it to the various districts and neighborhoods outside the historic center.
It is not advisable to travel around Perugia by car, especially if you do not know the city. The city traffic is heavy and fast. Moreover, most streets are one-way and in general, especially near the center, narrow and with many ascents and descents. The historic center is protected by a very strict ZTL, and where cars are allowed, you run the risk of getting stuck (in the full sense of the word) in alleys. If you are coming to town by car because you have a trip to Umbria or central Italy, the best solution is to find accommodations with a parking service.for your guests. If you are only staying for one day, we recommend leaving your car in one of the parking lots outside the center.
Perugia has a good university that attracts many international students. The city is a famous center for medieval art. Its central area is stunningly beautiful. In addition, the Umbria Jazz Festival is held there. The city itself is a major producer of candy.
How to get there
The airport in Rome is three hours away, and Milan Malpensa airport is about seven hours away. Ticket prices can be found on numerous aggregator sites, or, for example, here.
The station is located in the valley, a few kilometers from the centro storico (historical center) of the city. Once you arrive at the station, you can take the mini-metro, local bus or cab. The train from Rome to Perugia costs 10.50 euros if you take the Treno Regionale. Otherwise, the price will double.
Buses from Rome Fiumicino Airport depart from the lower level parking lot every 3 hours and cost 20 euros. Please note: Many of the buses in the tourist parking area are already hired for tours and are not available to the regular public. Some buses, such as the Sulga, may be on the upper levels of Terminal C, but don’t worry: they will arrive at the scheduled time in the lower parking level. Be sure to check the schedule online or elsewhere before you arrive to be sure of your departure time.
Perugia is close to the A1 freeway, which stretches from Rome to Milan. Approximate travel time: from Rome – 2.5 hours, from Orvieto – 1 hour, from Milan – 6 hours, from Florence – 1 hour. You can also reach Perugia from other parts of Italy by car.
When is the season? When is the best time to go
Perugia – Monthly weather
Prices for vacations
I usually book hotels on bookings on bookings (here), and you can compare prices from different sites here. If you prefer to stay in private apartments or rooms – the options and prices can be seen in this section of Travelask.
|Meal (lunch/dinner) at a cheap restaurant||902 rubles|
|Lunch / dinner for 2, 3 courses, medium-class restaurant||3005 rubles|
|McMeal at McDonald’s or similar combo-dinner||481 rubles|
Main attractions. What to see
Escalators from the lower town lead through the ruins of Rocca Paolina, a 16th century fortress. It was built on top of the medieval streets that were used as a base, and before you see the sun on Piazza Italia, you will pass some of these medieval streets with brick ceilings over which the fortress was built. Little remains of the fortress itself.
This is an Etruscan city gate that was erected in the 3rd century B.C. and much later incorporated into the city walls. They are near the ruins of the Rocca Paolina fortress.
This large medieval fountain is between the cathedral and the Palazzo dei Priori. It was built between 1277 and 1278 by Niccolò and Giovanni Pisano to celebrate the Independence Day of Perugia. On the twenty-five edges of the basin are sculptures depicting prophets and saints, the change of seasons, the signs of the zodiac, scenes from the Bible and events of Roman history.
San Lorenzo Cathedral
This cathedral has an unusual location for Italian churches: its side wall faces the square rather than the main entrance. There have been many churches here: the service in this church was last held around 1490. But this church was not finished, as can be seen from its unfinished facade facing the square. On this side can be seen the Loggia di Braccio, an early Renaissance structure. Underneath is part of the Roman wall and the basement of the old bell tower. Also here you can see the Pietra della Giustizia (“Stone of Justice”) of 1264, with the creation of which Perugia announced that it had paid its national debt, a very significant event. Also notable is the exterior pulpit from which St. Bernardine of Siena, a cruel homophobic priest, preached.
Palazzo dei Priori (City Hall)
It is located opposite the side wall of the cathedral, with the main entrance on Corso Vannucci. This large building in Italian Gothic style was built in the early 1300s. On the side facing the market square is a griffin, a 14th-century bronze lion – the coat of arms of Perugia – and several chains on which the key of Siena was displayed after the victory over its inhabitants in 1358.
Gallery Nazionale dell’Umbria (National Gallery of Umbria)
Located in the Palazzo dei Priori on Corso Vannucci. Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm; closed Monday, January 1, May 1, and December 25. The collection consists of paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries, including artists such as Pietro Perugino, Niccolò and Giovanni Pisano, Fra Beato Angelico, Benozzo Gozzoli and Pinturicchio. Admission is 6.50 euros.
The Etruscan Well (“Pozzo Etrusco”)
Bazaar Square Danti 18 (on the right, past the cathedral’s main entrance). Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., open longer in the summer months. The well is damp and dark, but it is an excellent way to appreciate the skills of the Etruscan architects of the third century BC.
St. Domenico’s Cathedral
Located on Corso Cavour, down the hill southeast to Corso Vannucci. It is a Gothic church whose three portals were the model for the later cathedral of San Lorenzo. The cathedral has faced many problems in the past. Soon after its completion, its upper part was considered unstable and demolished. In 1614 and 1615, other parts collapsed. In 1632, the restored church was consecrated.
Church of San Pietro
It is about 600 meters beyond Corso Cavour and the cathedral of St. Domenic. This church and abbey are full of beautiful works of art, including works by Perugino. There’s also an interesting hexagonal bell tower. Visit the sacristy where works by Caravaggio, Raphael and Perugino are on display.
Postal Science Center, Via del melo 34 (center near the Etruscan gate)
+390755736501. A good science center where adults and children can try their hand at science and experiment with different techniques, play with the exhibits or take part in experiments in the laboratory on Sunday afternoons in October – April (reservations can be made by phone).
What to see in the surrounding area
From Perugia you can easily reach central and northern Umbria, including Assisi. You can explore the medieval cities of Umbria by day and enjoy Perugia’s nightlife at night.
Food What to try
For most tourists, downtown Perugia will be the most appropriate place for lunch or dinner. The main pedestrian street starts from Piazza Duomo and Fontana Maggiore and ends with an impressive view of the churches of the city and the Umbrian countryside. There are many cafes and restaurants on this street.
The last hotel on the right before you reach the panorama of the area (Hotel Brufani) is five-star and offers various local dishes, specializing in bean dishes with olive oils.
At the other end of Corso Vannucci, to the right of the cathedral, is a charming pizzeria, La Mediterranea. Inside are two rooms, the first with a brick oven and a buffet, where an experienced pizziolo puts newly made pizzas on a stone hearth. This restaurant is always crowded and is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. It’s best to arrive right before opening time or after Italian dinner time if you don’t want to wait outside. Prices range from 5 to 10 euros per pizza. You can also take your pizza with you without paying for admission. Go through the doors and order from one of the waiters in white, who will take the money and bring you the pizza (wait outside for your order).
On the historic Via Volte della Pace is La Botte pizzeria. La Botte is open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. It offers many local pizzas for dinner in the restaurant, as well as pizza to take away. A takeaway pizza at La Botte costs 3.50 euros. This is the best price in town if you don’t want to spend too much.
You should definitely visit Dal mi Cocco, a traditional Perugia restaurant. A fixed menu for 13 euros and a bottle of good wine for 5 euros. Make sure you make a reservation (tel. +39 0755732511). It’s open from 8:30 p.m., which is Italian dinner time. All the food is cooked after you order. This place is also great for groups.
For dessert you can try the ice cream at Gambrinus Centro, on Via Bonazzi right in front of Piazza. It’s just delicious and with lots of toppings. Or you can go down the looping street past the pizza store. When you reach the end, turn left and walk through the historic quarters until you see the Ducal Palace, now owned by Universita’ dei Stranieri di Perugia. On the right side of the street is a delightful chocolate store that sells newly made sweets, and there is also an assortment of ice cream – the chocolate flavors are fantastic.
- Osteria Il Gufo, via della Viola 18. Open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., closed Sunday and Monday. Very tasty zucchini and salads at decent prices. There’s an Italian lemon liqueur on the menu, which is made in-house – quite a nice bonus.
- Settimo Sigillo, Via Ulisse Rocchi, 075 5724306. An excellent trattoria with good prices and serving great local food, good wines and desserts and very friendly waiters.
- Orto del Frate, Via R. Gallenga, 64, (0039) 075/5055381. Open from 12:00 to 15:00 and from 15:00 to 2:00. A pizzeria and restaurant serving local cuisine.
- Restaurant Cedro del Libano, Via Appia, (0039) 075/5997446. Open from 12:00 to 24:00. It is a two minute walk down from the Piazza. It offers quality homemade roti and cheap Lebanese food. There’s Wi-Fi and a place to recharge your gadgets, and the friendly owners don’t mind if you sit here with your laptop.
- Sandri dal 1860, Corso Vannucci, 32, (0039) 075/5724112. Situated on Corso Vannucci, opposite the Nobile Collegio del Cambio, this beautiful patisserie offers many surprises. In addition to premium cakes, cookies, and, of course, espresso, you’ll be offered a lunch and dinner buffet. This is one of the best deals in town. For only 10 euros, a good selection of delicious pastas, vegetables, salads, cheeses and meats, as well as drinks. Any similar restaurant in the city would cost you twice as much. And if you go inside and order a light breakfast (or as the locals say, apericena) directly from the cashier, you’ll save on the entrance fee of 3 euros and can sit outside and enjoy the views. And they also have free wifi!
- Umbria Jazz. The Umbria Jazz Festival takes place in many places in the region, but is concentrated in Perugia. There are many concerts, both free and with entrance fees. Over the years, almost every famous jazz musician has been to the festival. The festival takes place every year for a week and two weekends in mid-July. During this period in Perugia you can really feel the atmosphere of jazz concerts in the city center.
- Eurochoclate. Perugia is the home of candy makers Perugina and Baci. Every October there is a very popular chocolate festival.
- Music Festival in Perugia. For more than two weeks in August, MusicFestPerugia hosts classical concerts in the historic and luxurious surroundings of Sala dei Notari, Basilica di San Pietro, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo and Caio Melisso. The concerts feature internationally renowned professionals and their most promising students. MusicFestPerugia strives to keep the classical repertoire vibrant and alive. Visit the festival website (www.musicfperugia.com) for more information.
What to do.
A simple stroll. There is probably no other city in the world that so rewards the casual explorer with a variety of cityscapes. You can walk along the Roman aqueduct that connects two of the city’s many hills. You can walk along the Via delle Volta della Pace, which stretches along the Etruscan city wall, which is now completely covered by the arch of the Gothic portico. You can stumble along the cobblestone streets, which have a unique combination of slopes with small steps that only Italians seem to be able to handle. The wide, pedestrianized Corso Vannucci, named after the painter Pietro Perugino, is really something to visit in Perugia. At the end of the day you can, sprawled out, sit with students from International University a few steps from the cathedral, walk around the Corso, or sit on a bench and admire the view of the sunset hills of Umbria.
“Let’s get cooking in Umbria,” Strada Comunale San Marino 25 (Perugia), 00390755899951. “Let’s Get Cooking in Umbria” offers cooking lessons, winery tours, gastro tours, tours of the chocolate factory and olive oil workshop, truffle hunts and very popular culinary vacation programs that include excursions to remote villages throughout Umbria and Tuscany. [email protected]
Bars. Where to go
- Cafe Di Perugia, Via Mazzini is well furnished, and there is an upstairs room where you can smoke. They make really good hot chocolate there.
- Merlin Pub, Via del Forno. A good place to have a drink. Also a good community of locals and students. Good prices for beer. And remember, you have to show a discount coupon. Make sure the bartender sees it or you’ll have to pay the full price of the drink. Find Pisco, the owner, who will be happy to give you a free drink coupon.
- Punta di Vista. Near Piazza Italia. Outdoor bar, open in summer. Good cocktails and (as the name says) a beautiful view.
How to get around the city
Perugia is a big city in the hills. Most of the main attractions are on the hill in the Centro Storico (historical center). It is almost impossible to drive to the Centro Storico by car unless you have a confirmed hotel reservation. Even near the center itself, you will drive very slowly through the many paved, one-way streets, and you may end up driving in circles, as the road signs are very confusing. The best way out is to drive as little as possible and move more on foot.
The main parking lot for tourists is at Piazza Partigiani. From there, several escalators lead to the old town (let’s hope most of them will work!). You’ll see a lot of interesting things along the way, as the route was laid out through Rocca Paolina, a medieval citadel. Small buses also go to the top of the hill. The train station is some distance from the hilltop center, but the buses are easily accessible.
In 2008, Perugia opened a mini-metro. It’s a small, driverless train that can pick you up every two minutes or so from the parking lot (Pian di Massiano) near the soccer stadium or from the train station and take you to the city center; a one-way ticket costs 1.50 euros as of May 2012. However, if you plan to stay overnight in town, note that these trains stop running around 9 p.m.
In the center, it’s best to walk, although some of the hills are a bit steep. But this way you will definitely be healthy.