October 21, 2019
Perugia is one of Italy’s best kept secrets. When people think of an Italy visit, the most common names are of course Rome, Florence and Venice. Let me tell you that you are overlooking some real gems, like Bologna, Verona, and now Perugia. We recently spent three nights and two full days in the lovely region of Umbria. This post will show you how to spend two days in Perugia. Turns out there is quite enough to keep you busy for that amount of time.
2 Days In Perugia Umbria Guide:
Where is Perugia Umbria?
Umbria is located in central Italy and Perugia is its capital city. Perugia about 100 miles from Rome and about 90 miles southeast of Florence so it can be easily visited from both places, even on a day trip. Perugia sits on a hilltop so you can just imagine the views that one gets from the top.
Rome to Perugia: How to get there
Driving from Rome to Perugia:
If you are adventurous and want to drive while in Italy, you can rent a car from a site such as Auto Europe trip planner, which lets you compare prices across all rental companies to find the best price. The drive will take roughly two hours depending on the traffic.
Rome to Perugia by train:
The train departs from Rome multiple times daily and journey time is just under three hours. This is a great way to travel in my opinion. No worries about traffic, changing lanes, or missing exits. You don’t have to be there more than about ten minutes before departure and so on. The train leaves from the Termini station. You can purchase your tickets online. I like and use the Loco2 app which can be downloaded free from the Apple or Google store.
Rome to Perugia by bus:
Another way to get from Rome to Perugia is by bus. This is how we got to Perugia. The bus station was closer to our friend’s place so it was more convenient for him. There are several companies that service this route including Flixbus and Sulga, which is the one we went with.
You can purchase tickets online at their website here. The journey time was about the same as the train ride we took back so just under three hours. Our cost was €17 each because we did not make reservations. It was a pleasant journey, with WiFi provided and comfortable seats. We would definitely do it again.
Where to stay in Perugia:
Here are some of the best places to stay in Perugia:
Brufani Sani Hotel:
If you prefer to stay in the centre of town, I would recommend the Brufani hotel. Located right smack dab in the centre, it is elegant, and as of now, still the only five star hotel in Perugia. We had drinks at the cosy Collins bar. The room prices are surprisingly reasonable for that quality of hotel.
We stayed here. The Perusia hotel is located just outside of the town centre, about a ten minute walk and would recommend the place highly for anyone driving. The hotel offers free parking and has a restaurant on premises with really good food, a meeting room and free Wifi with optional breakfast.
We really liked it, and it was just five minutes walk from our friend’s place. The price was also very reasonable. We paid just under $60 converted per night (without breakfast). There is an amazing cafeteria just down the street.
Perugia Guide: Points of interest:
Perugia has a small town centre so these places are quite closely located which is a good thing.
- Fontana Maggiore
- Palazzo de Priori
- Perugia Cathedral
- National Gallery
- Corso Vannucci
- Piazza IV Novembre
- Rocca Paolina
Iconic medieval fountain in the middle of the old town. The fountain began construction in 1277 was finished in 1278 by sculptors Nicola Pisano and Giovanni Pisano. It can be found between the Cathedral and the Palazzo. It was a point for political meetings and all roads seem to lead here, so it’s hard to get lost :-).
Palazzo dei Priori:
Historic building that was the seat of the “first citizens” known as the Priori. It now houses the National Gallery and a lot of masterpieces can be found in this awesome medieval building. You get a sense of how things must have been in the past. It’s free entry so worth visiting.
Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Lawrence. It used to be the seats of the Bishops and Archbishops of Perugia. It has been in existence since completion in 1490. It took almost 145 years to build this Gothic beauty.
Piazza IV Novembre:
The main artery and focal point of the Old Town. A great place to hang out and people watch. There are nearby cafes and restaurants as well as the shopping street Corso Vannucci with all the fancy stores mixed between the artisan ones.
An old, dimly lit fortress in the old town. The fortress now has elevators that connect you from the bottom of the city to the old town centre which really saves your hide if you don’t enjoy huffing and puffing to get up there. There are a couple of souvenir shops and a model of the old fortress down at the bottom. Watch your step! A walk through history that should be experienced.
What to buy in Perugia:
Chocolate – Perugia is famous for the Baci Perugina chocolate. The chocolate “kisses” can be found all over Italy and indeed the rest of the world
Truffle – Umbria, along with Tuscany region is famous for truffle and you can purchase at good prices locally. We bought some.
Cold cuts – wonderful farm products, cheese, wine, salami etc. are delicious.
Don’t forget travel insurance for your trip. Get your free quote here:
Infamous fact about Perugia:
Amanda Knox, the American exchange student was accused of murdering her roommate and fellow student Meredith Kercher in 2007. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison, along with her Italian boyfriend. Found guilty a second time, the conviction was annulled by the Italian Supreme Court in 2015 and she can’t be tried again.
One poor African born, Italian raised sucker is now in jail for the murder.My opinion? She and her boyfriend did it while under the influence, but like others before her (O.J for example), money talks. I think a crap load of money changed hands and hopefully at least his family is taken care of.
Perugia Umbria Guide For Food To Eat:
Along with the scrumptious meals to be had, you should try a Perugia specialty and local favourite called Torta withTesto, a panini like sandwich stuffed with all sorts of cold cuts, a great place to have it is at Testone in the old town centre.
A truly delicious street food popular not just here, but in Rome as well. Porchetta is roasted to perfection pork on hot bread. Try it at Porcheterria Amato stand which has been there since 1916. It was fantastic..and fun to watch people in line asking for scraps while waiting in line :-). Make sure and ask for some salsa because those weirdo Italians eat their sandwiches dry!
When in Rome and all that! We had good pizza everywhere, including Johnny Pizza and Ferretti
Yep! We had and enjoyed pasta in Perugia. We left Perugia for Siena, and then Florence where we continued our foodie trip with gusto!.
Don’t forget dessert! There are a lot of gelato places with home made ice cream and frozen yogurt to die for.
The prices are pretty reasonable for food. The one thing l noticed that wasn’t to my liking, is that while food is cheap, drinks are super expensive! I hated that fact. No place seemed to serve regular Italian beer like Peroni or Moretti. Instead, every single place (at least the ones where we ate) served only beer from Perugia or designer fancy artisan beers, and not cheaply either.
For instance, a pizza would be 6 euros, but the beer would be 5 euro and for some odd size like 233ml or 400ml and half of it is foam! I freaking hate that. A glass of wine would be almost €6, but you can get two glasses for €10. Plain water was expensive too. I noticed quite a few students have just food and no drinks.. haha! Why pay that when you can just pop into a store and buy for 1 euro?
Things to do near Perugia:
Assisi Day Trip:
Perugia is a chill city and we enjoyed our two days spent there. Since our friend had a car, we did visit Assisi as a side trip. There are frequent trains to Assisi from Perugia and journey time is approximately twenty minutes. Assisi is of course famous being the home of St. Francis, the Italian Friar and preacher. He became the Patron Saint of Italy in 1228 when canonised by Pope Gregory IX.
The St Francis church can be seen from a distance as it seats way above a hill and it was indeed awesome to visit. It was interesting to know that he actually grew up with very wealthy parents. His life story makes for a good read. His tomb is below the church to your left as you enter. A fitting end to a noble man. Assisi itself is a quaint place and there are places to eat, have coffee or shop for souvenirs.
I can’t show you interior photos as there is no photography allowed.
Related Reading: Verona Italy
Annual events of interest in Perugia:
Chocolate Festival: Almost a million people descend upon Perugia for this all things chocolate related. It’s billed as the most delicious festival in the world. Who doesn’t love chocolate. Federico already wants to go back for this! Here is a video of what to expect:
Umbria jazz Festival: A yearly occurrence since 1973, and featuring jazz greats such as George Benson and Diana Krall and Chick Corea just to name a few. Stay updated via the link on the image if you plan on attending this week to ten day long festival.
Is Perugia worth visiting?
Perugia is definitely worth visiting. It doesn’t have the frenetic pace of big cities like Rome, but it is charming and gives you a glimpse of Italian life. It is also a family friendly place and very much a University town full of life. I think at least two days is perfect to visit for.
Have you been to Perugia or the Umbra region? Would you recommend a visit it to others if the answer is yes? If no, would you like to visit? Do you find this guide to Perugia useful?