A Day in Perugia

Perugia is the capital city of the Umbria region in central Italy, about 100 miles away from the hustle and bustle of Rome. It has a history of art and culture that dates back to the time it was known as Perusia, when it was part of Etruria, pre-300 BC. Traditionally known as one of the major artistic centres of Italy, famous artists such as Pietro Perugino and Raphael were active here in the Renaissance period. And with the large university situated in the city, it has the feel of a young, artistic, modern Renaissance city. While in this part of Italy, staying in a Chianti villa rental near the city is the perfect base for exploring Perugia.

Once you are settled in your Chianti villa, rental cars or bikes will easily get you into and out of Perugia. In the city, one of the first ports of call should be the Cathedral San Lorenzo near the city centre. The current cathedral is built on the site of a much older church, dating from 936- 1060 AD, and has seen continued renovations and changes up until 1587, but seems to have not ever been completely finished. The pink and white façade was taken from the cathedral of Arezzo in 1335 and frames gothic windows, which also serve to highlight the 14th century external pulpit.

If you can bear to stay away from your Chianti villa rental for a little while longer, cross the piazza and head to the Palazzo dei Priori (town hall). Designs for this structure date back to the 1270s and showcase Italian gothic style. It was expanded in stages up until the 16th century, which resulted in a slightly irregular and asymmetrical façade. The stairs in Piazza IV Novembre lead to a gothic entryway flanked by the symbols of the city: a griffin and lion, the originals of which are kept in the Galleria Nazionale. Inside, the huge rooms, many of which are decorated with arched ceilings and almost entirely covered in frescos, lead one into another and to a staircase that guides you to the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, housed upstairs.

Before you call it a day and head back to the peaceful location of your Chianti villa rental, stroll along the Etruscan town walls, which were built between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC. The walls were built with large travertine (limestone) blocks, many of which are still visible today. Wander in and out of the six remaining gates to the city, which were modified in Roman times. Finally, before the sun sets, be sure to walk the ancient Roman aqueduct. Built in 1254, the aqueduct is a popular walk that stretches from the hill (Monte Pacciano) on the far side of town, for three kilometres, and ends at the della Fontana in the Piazza IV Novembre – right near the cathedral where you began your walk.