The 18 best sights of Perugia – descriptions and photos

Perugia

Perugia (Italy) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Perugia with descriptions, guides and maps.

City of Perugia (Italy)

Perugia is a city in central Italy, the capital of the region of Umbria. Located among the hills of the Tiber Valley and is known as the birthplace of the Umbrian school of painting. Perugia is an ancient city with a magnificent medieval historic center, which, in fact, has not changed much since the 14th century and is one of the most beautiful in Italy. Bright and lively, cultural and university, Perugia is a city full of “secrets” worth visiting.

What to do (Perugia):

Journey through the towns of the Sagrantino Wine Road

€250 per tour

Journey through the towns of the Sagrantino Wine Road

Enogastronomic trip through the cities of Perugia

The Etruscan city of Perugia.

€130 per tour

The Etruscan city of Perugia

Stroll through the historic capital of Umbria

Geography and climate

Perugia is practically in the geographical center of Italy between Florence and Rome. The city spreads out on the hills of the Tiber River valley. Lake Trasimene (one of the largest in the country) is to the west.

The climate is subtropical. The average annual temperature is about 13 degrees. The coldest month in Perugia is January (average temperature about 4 degrees). The amount of precipitation ranges from 800 to 900 mm.

Panorama of Perugia

Panorama of Perugia

Information for tourists

  1. The population is 165.6 thousand people.
  2. Area – 449.51 square kilometers.
  3. Language: Italian.
  4. Currency – euro.
  5. Visa – Schengen.
  6. Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
  7. Tourist Information Center is located at Porta Nuova and Piazza Matteotti, 18.

History

Many scholars believe that Perugia was founded by the Umbrians. The first written evidence dates back to the Etrurian period. Perugia was one of the 12 Etruscan city-states. In 310 BC the city was conquered by the Romans and became the Roman colony of Perusia. In the first century BC, Perugia was burned during the military conflict between Octavian and Mark Antony.

Perugia

Perugia

After the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 6th century, the city became the center of the principality of the Lombards. Later in the Middle Ages, Perugia was quite independent. The struggle for power in the city was between the Oddi and Baglioni families, which led to many clashes. In the struggle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, Perugia supported the former. During various conflicts and wars the Popes often found salvation and help within its walls.

During the Renaissance, Perugia became the center for the development of the Umbrian school of painting. The city gave the world such giants of art as Perugino and Raphael. In 1540 the Farnese defeated the last of the Baglioni and Perugia was incorporated into the Papal Region. During the Napoleonic wars the city became the capital of the Tiberian Republic. In the 19th century Perugia suffered several earthquakes.

How to get there

Perugia has an international airport that receives flights from London, Barcelona, Munich, Bucharest and other cities. Rome airport is 3 hours away. There are regular bus and train services to the capital of Italy and major cities.

Shopping

Perugia has many clothing and shoe stores, including well-known brands. Since it’s a university town, it’s no surprise that you can find good bookstores here.

Corso Vannucci is the main shopping street of Perugia. Many stores can be found in Piazza Matteotti, Via C. Fani, Via Baglioni and Via Oberdan. The Coin shopping center, near Piazza della Repubblica, has a good selection of clothing and accessories.

Panorama of Perugia

Panorama of Perugia

Umbrian cuisine is quite simple, but characterized by the high quality of ingredients. The undisputed star of Umbrian cuisine is truffle. Traditional dishes: spaghetti or strangozzi with black truffle, umbrichelli (perch fillet with sauce), spaghetti rancetto with bacon and cheese, pappardelle of hare with cloves, torello alla perugina, grilled meat, chicken in wine, lamb in the oven.

Attractions

Etruscan Walls

Etruscan Walls

The most important sights of Perugia are concentrated in the old town. The historic core of the city has two perimeters of walls. The outer wall dates back to the Middle Ages. Quite large sections of medieval city fortifications and gates have been preserved in Perugia. The inner wall repeats the perimeter of the ancient Etruscan city. Ancient Perugia had seven city gates. There are some remains of Roman and Etruscan fortifications.

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Piazza IV Novembre

November IV Square

November IV Square is the square in Perugia and has been the heart of the city since ancient times. In Roman times there was the forum. In the Middle Ages a square was formed which includes five streets. The piazza is surrounded by wonderful old buildings. The highlight of the piazza is the Fountain of Maggiore, built in the 13th century and considered one of the most beautiful medieval fountains in Italy. The beautiful stone sculptures are made by the famous Tuscan masters Pisano. On the west side of the square is the archbishop’s palace, the walls of which now house a natural history museum. The medieval street Via delle Volte leads to Piazza Fortebraccio.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo is a cathedral dedicated to one of the city’s patron saints. It was built between 1345 and 1490 in the Gothic style. Interestingly, both the side part and the main façade are still unfinished. The interior is in the late Gothic style, has a beautiful choir, an ancient 14th century stone pulpit and is divided by large columns. In the sacristy, to the right of the main altar, are 16th-century frescoes by di Pesaro. To the east of the cathedral is the Church of San Severo with frescoes by Raphael.

Pallazzo dei Priori

Pallazzo dei Priori

The Palazzo dei Priori is the most beautiful building in the main square of Perugia. It is a large palace in the Italian Gothic style of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. The gryphon (symbol of Perugia), the 14th-century bronze lion and the chains on the façade mark the victory over Siena. On the first floor there is a beautiful hall with ancient frescoes. Very close by is the Collegio del Cambio with frescoes by Perugino.

On the third floor of the palazzo is the National Gallery of Umbria. It presents works by outstanding masters of the Umbrian school of painting – Perugino, Pinturicchio, including frescoes by Benedetto Bonfigli, as well as sculptures by di Cambio and di Duccio. The gallery shows the development of painting in Umbria from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

San Bernardino

San Bernardino

San Bernardino is a medieval oratory with a magnificent façade of colored marble, limestone and glazed ceramics. The façade was designed by Agostino di Duccio, who also participated in the construction of the Malatesta Tempio in Rimini. The semicircular bas-relief in the central arch is the most important Renaissance work in Perugia. Saint Bernardino of Siena, who preached here, was canonized in 1450 and local Franciscan monks built a sanctuary to honor him.

San Pietro

San Pietro

San Pietro is an early Christian church rebuilt in the 12th century. The church has Gothic wooden choirs, made between 1535 and 1591, and ancient columns. The choir is considered one of the best of its kind in Italy. The gilded wooden ceiling dates from the 16th century. The interior is decorated with frescoes and paintings by Perugino, Vasari, Reni and other artists. The sacristy contains paintings by Raphael, Perugino and Parmigianino. Next to the church is the 14th century gate of the same name.

 San Arcangelo

San Arcangelo

San Arcangelo is an early Christian church built between the fifth and sixth centuries. It is located near the ancient northern gate of the same name. It includes 16 columns with Corinthian capitals, which were previously used in a pagan temple. The architecture of the church is early Romanesque with some Byzantine influences. Interesting early Christian symbols can be seen here, including a pentagram at the entrance and crosses in the style used later by the Templars.

San Domenico

San Domenico

San Domenico is a brick church in the Gothic style. The first building was built in 1305, but the nave and vaults collapsed in 1614. Reconstruction of the church continued from 1621 to 1634. The San Domenico style was an example and inspiration for the later San Lorenzo. The temple contains valuable works of art (choir, remnants of ancient frescoes, and a beautiful altar). Here is the tomb of Pope Benedict XI of the 14th century, which is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic tombstones.

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In the former Dominican monastery, which adjoins San Domenico, there is an archaeological museum with valuable and rare Roman and Etruscan antiquities. Some of its exhibits date back to the 2nd millennium B.C.

Arc d

Arco d’Agusto

The Arch d’Agusto is an ancient Etruscan arch built in the 3rd century B.C. and rebuilt under Emperor Augusta in the 1st century B.C. (after whom it was actually named). The inscription “Augusta Perusia” on the gate dates from this period. Augustus succeeded in taking Perugia only after a 7-month siege. The arches of the gate connect the two trapezoidal towers. The loggia at the top was added during the Renaissance period, and the fountain was completed in 1621.

Fortress of Paul III

Fortress of Paul III

The Fortress of Paul III is an ancient fortress and symbol of papal authority until 1860. It was built on behalf of the Pope to make Perugia a safe haven, like the Castle of St. Angelus in Rome. More than 100 buildings were demolished to build this fortification, belonging mainly to the Baglioni family, which was hated by Paul III. After the unification of Italy, the fortress was demolished. Only part of the bastion has survived.

Etruscan Well

Etruscan Well

The Etruscan well is a well 37 meters deep and 5 meters in diameter, dating back to the 3rd or 4th century B.C. The huge structure was used as a water reservoir. The well is open to the public. The bottom is covered with travertine which is also the material used for the walls. The structure is located on the square of Danti.

Interesting tours

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18 Perugia sights worth seeing

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Visiting the sights of Perugia offers many magnificent churches and historic structures, as well as fantastic museums and iconic sites, among them the local chocolate factory. In addition, the suburbs of Perugia abound with stunning landscapes and rich national parks that nature lovers are sure to appreciate.

As a tourist destination, Perugia really does have a lot to offer, and its combination of historical and natural attractions is sure to brighten up your stay in the city.

Cathedral of Perugia

Cathedral of Perugia

Perugia Cathedral | Photo: michael kogan / Flickr.

Italy boasts several notable churches that remain unfinished, and Perugia Cathedral is one such building.

Built in 1587, this cathedral is unique in that its front façade does not face the main square on which it was actually built. The front façade is a wall that remains unfinished, and it is this wall that gives the church its strange appearance. Inside, the church is completely finished and lavishly decorated.

Richly decorated with beautiful frescoes, the ceiling is supported by several marble columns. One of the chapels of this church houses the tomb of Pope Martin IV and several religious relics belonging to Pope Innocent III and Urban IV. Finally, the cathedral also houses a small museum, which allows you to look at many interesting religious artifacts and relics.

Address: Perugia Cathedral, Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Italy.

The square on the 4th of November

Piazza 4 November

The square on the 4th of November.

Piazza IV Novembre is the main square, which is located in the center of Perugia and is home to many fantastic historic buildings and the beautiful Fountain of Maggiore. In this beautiful square you can find the impressive Perugia Cathedral, Palazzo dei Priori and several other iconic places of this city.

In the center of the square is the Fountain of Maggiore, which boasts several ornate statues and a central bronze bowl through which water flows out. This charming piazza is a great place to explore the main attractions of the city.

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The address is Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Italy.

Prior’s Palace

Palazzo dei Priori

Palazzo dei Priori | Photo: Maurizio Zanetti / Flickr.

Palazzo dei Priori, decorated in a refined Gothic style, is a huge building located opposite the cathedral in Piazza IV Novembre. This ancient structure has been in the center of the city since the 1300s and plays an important role in Perugia’s politics.

At the front of the building is a large circular staircase and a series of ornate arched windows. The upper part of the palace is lined with battlements, making the palace look like a castle. Inside the building is very richly decorated – the interior is full of colorful frescoes depicting various biblical scenes.

Address: Palazzo dei Priori, Corso Pietro Vannucci, Perugia, Italy.

The Oratory of San Bernardino

Oratory of San Bernardino

Oratory of San Bernardino | Photo: Davide P. / Flickr.

Located next to the Church of San Francesco, the Oratory of San Bernardino is famous for its brilliant facade and striking design. You can find this grandiose structure in the eastern part of the Old Town about a 10-minute walk from Piazza 4 November.

Thanks to its beautiful façade, created with colored polychrome marble, this oratory is considered to be the most significant example of Renaissance art in Perugia. The interior of this delightful oratory is as good as the exterior. Inside, you will find several works of fine art and a great deal of gold decoration.

Address: Oratorio di San Bernardino, Piazza S. Francesco, Perugia, Italy.

Church of San Pietro

Church of San Pietro

The Church of San Pietro.

This ancient ecclesiastical-monastic complex dates back to the 11th century. For many years, this church has been an important place for the leaders of Perugia. The complex is located in the southern part of the city center.

Here you can see a tall bell tower and a beautiful courtyard with a small fountain. Inside the church is an important art collection, which includes a colored fresco of St. George and the dragon, as well as other works by various Renaissance artists. The walls, arches, and ceiling are covered with beautiful decorations.

Address: Abbazia di San Pietro, Borgo XX Giugno, Perugia, Italy.

Archaeological Museum

Archeological Museum

Archaeological Museum | Photo: wikimedia.

This delightful museum is located in Piazza Giordano Bruno and is located in the old monastery of San Domenico. Redesigned in 2009, the museum introduces its exhibits in chronological order. First visitors see objects from prehistoric times, then comes the Roman period, and so on.

In the individual collections you can find remarkable displays of artifacts found in the province of Umbria, including Neolithic ceramics, Bronze Age carvings, weapons, funerary objects from Perugia and a number of Roman manuscripts. In addition, here you can see an ancient Etruscan tomb that was found near the city. This museum allows you to learn a lot about the history of Umbria.

Address: Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell’Umbria, Piazza Giordano Bruno, Perugia, Italy.

Rocca Paolina Fortress

Rocca Paolina

Fortress of Rocca Paolina | Photo: wikimedia.

Wondering what else to see in Perugia? Visit Rocca Paolina, one of the most unusual places to see in Perugia. It is deep beneath the old streets and squares. The history of this attraction goes back to 1540, the period of Italian rule by Pope Paul III, a member of the Farnese family.

Perugia, ruled by the rival Baglioni family, was the last to fall to the papal armies. After the conquest, Pope Paul took revenge on them by ordering the construction of a massive fortress at Colle Landone, the neighborhood where all the Baglioni palaces and their possessions were located.

More than 100 houses, towers, churches and monasteries, some dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, were allowed to build the fortress, and their stones were taken for construction. Only in the middle of the 19th century was Perugia finally liberated from papal rule, and only then were they able to destroy the hated symbol of their subjugation. What tourists can see today are the vaulted foundations and passageways that were once streets. Now they are deep underground.

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The address is Rocca Paolina, Piazza Italia, Perugia, Italy.

Arch of Augusta.

Arch of Augustus

Arch of Augusta. | Photo: Roberto Taddeo / Flickr.

This structure, also known as the Etruscan Arch, is one of the 7 remaining arches that served as the entrance to the city of Perugia in past centuries. Built in the 3rd century B.C., this arch is one of the oldest monuments of architecture in Perugia.

It is considered one of the best examples of the original defensive structures of cities that have survived. The front façade of the arch has a very attractive design, and you can still see some original Latin inscriptions here. Over the years, the arch has become more like a fortress than a gate.

Address: Etruscan Arch, Via Ulisse Rocchi, Perugia, Italy.

Shiri Tower.

Shiri Tower

Shiri Tower.

This imposing tower is located on Via Priori and is one of the tallest towers in the city. Built in the 12th century, this tower belonged to the Shiri family. As the only ancient tower that has survived in its original state, this structure is of great historical importance and is an excellent example of the architecture of the period.

Despite the simplicity of its construction, the tower has a very solid appearance. You can climb up to the top and look at Perugia from the top.

Address: Sciri Tower, Via degli Sciri, Perugia, Italy.

Etruscan Well

Etruscan Well

Etruscan Well | Photo: Eric Anderson / Flickr.

Perugia is full of unique and interesting sights, and the Etruscan well is one of them. Located in Piazza Danti, this well dates back to the 3rd or 4th century BC and is a true architectural marvel.

The well is 37 metres deep, 5 metres in diameter and crossed by an ornate bridge. To get a true idea of its proportions of size, you can go right down to the bottom of the well. Be sure to visit this intriguing place during a walk through the city center.

Address: Pozzo Etrusco, Piazza Danti, Perugia, Italy.

Perugina Chocolate Factory

Perugina Chocolate Factory

Chocolate factory “Perugina”.

There are several well-known chocolate manufacturers in Italy, and one of them is Baci Perugina. It is known throughout the country for its breathtaking chocolate creations. Located near the city center, the Perugina Chocolate Factory is a unique attraction that is great for a tour for the whole family, and especially for those who love sweets!

The factory tour takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, during which you will see how chocolate is made, taste it, and spend time in the historical museum. Of course, there is a gift store on site where you can buy as much chocolate as you weigh yourself!

Address: Casa del Cioccolato Perugina, Viale San Sisto, Loc. San Sisto, Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Hypogee of family Volumnus.

Volumnus Hypogea

Hypogeum of the family Volumnus.

The Hypogeum Volumnus is an extraordinary place, it is another unique landmark of Perugia, located near the historic center of the city. Discovered in 1840, this ancient tomb dates from the third century B.C. and is part of a huge necropolis that consists of more than 200 separate tombs. Dedicated to the Volumni family, this series of tombs contains the remains of Perugia’s wealthy elite who lived in past centuries.

What makes this Hypogeum so special is its design and architecture – the building looks more like an ancient Roman structure with many palisades, pediments and ornate columns.

Address: Hypogeum of the Volumnus family, Via Volumnia, Perugia, Italy.

Regional Park at Lake Trasimeno

Regional Park at Lake Trasimeno

Regional Park at Lake Trasimeno.| Photo: wikimedia.

This huge body of water and regional park is located west of Perugia and can be reached by car. The trip will take about 25 minutes. With a surface area of 128 square kilometers, Trasimeno is one of the largest lakes in the region, and the fourth largest in Italy.

There are several small coastal towns around the lake that are definitely worth a visit for the tourist. In addition, visitors can rent a boat and ride it on the protected waters. On the southern part of the lake is an interesting attraction Isola Polvese – here you can find a beautiful stone castle and tourist information center.

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Address: Lake Trasimeno Regional Park, Perugia, Italy.

Monte Tesio Nature Park

View from the Monte Tezio

View from Monte Tezio mountain.

To the north of Perugia is a huge mountain, Monte Tezio, which is surrounded by a nature park. At 961 meters high, this mountain is one of the highest in the region. The slopes of the mountain are very picturesque and covered with green forests.

If you are looking for a place to hike and explore the beautiful scenery of Umbria, then you must visit this nature park. The mountain side offers amazing views of the landscape, and there are many different sites such as a radio station and old farmhouse ruins at the top of the mountain. On clear days you can also enjoy a fantastic view of Perugia.

The address is Monte Tezio, Perugia, Italy.

Monte Vibiano Wine Tour

Monte Vibiano Wine Tour

Monte Vibiano Wine Tour.

Perugia is surrounded by fantastic countryside, and in addition to its attractions, this region of Italy is known for producing fine wines. The Monte Vibiano winery is a great place to tour, and their wine tour will give you the opportunity to explore the vineyards and taste their delicious wine.

During the tour, you will drive around the complex in electric buggies and observe the daily workings of the winery. Thus, you will be able to see how the grapes are harvested, the olive harvest and the wine making process itself. The winery owners are very friendly and they guarantee that it is a tour you will remember for a lifetime.

The address is Monte Vibiano Vecchio, Perugia, Italy.

Calle Aqueduct

Calle Aqueduct

The street named after the aqueduct.

This ancient path used to serve as an aqueduct for the transfer of fresh water through the city of Perugia. Now it serves as a public pedestrian road. If you start from the end of Via Cesare Battisti and walk to the monastery of San Benedetto, you can walk the entire length of the aqueduct.

This wonderful path offers an incredible view of Perugia, here you can walk between the historic buildings in the center of the Old Town and see the original decorative arches of the aqueduct.

Address: Via dell Acquedotto, Perugia, Italy.

Umbria National Gallery

Umbria National Gallery

Umbria National Gallery.

The National Gallery of Umbria, on the third floor of the Palazzo Dei Priori, offers a look at paintings by Perugino, Pinturicchio and other artists of the Umbrian school, including Benedetto Bonfigli and Bartolomeo Caporali. It also features sculptures by di Cambio and di Duccio.

The gallery shows the development of painting in Umbria from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Highlights of the collections include a crucifix from 1272 by an unknown Perugia artist, five statues by Arnolfo di Cambio from 1281, a Madonna and Child by Duccio di Boninsegna from 1305, a Madonna and Saints by Benozzo Gozzoli from 1456, a polyptych of Saint Anthony by Piero della Francesca and a polyptych by Fra Angelico dating from 1437.

In the Cappella dei Priori there is a cycle of frescoes by Benedetto Bonfigli that was completed between 1454 and 1480 and depicts Perugia of those times. The chapel contains several works by Perugino, a polyptych of St. Augustine Pinturicchio and sculptures by Agostino di Duccio.

Address: Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, Corso Pietro Vannucci, Perugia, Italy.

Church of Santarcangelo

Church of Santarcangelo

Santarcangelo Church.

In the Borgo Santarcangelo area, near the ancient northern gate of the port of Santarcangelo, is the church of the same name, which was built between the fifth and sixth centuries. This paleochristian temple has 16 columns with Corinthian capitals, which were taken from an old pagan temple.

The architecture is in early Romanesque style with Byzantine influences. The columns separate the central nave from the ambulatory around it. The church boasts interesting early Christian symbols, including a pentagram at the entrance. The church underwent a restoration in the twentieth century during which windows were inserted and several ancient frescoes were restored.

Address: Tempio di Sant’Angelo, Via del Tempio, Perugia, Italy.

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