Perugia: Monday

On Monday Mom, the Hubby and I took the Perugia City Tour.  We rode around in a very red bus with headphones on our ears and were allowed to be as touristy as we wanted. 

The bus took us to all five of the major neighborhoods of Perugia, and it was neat to see that we had already visited most of the sites and paths on foot.  I took a lot of video for the tour, and I hope to edit the footage together when I’m back home and have time (and iMovie) to do so. 

After the tour we went to our favorite bar, La Terrezza.  The bar overlooks the old city, the Perugian countryside, and on clear days it’s possible to see all the way over to Assisi.

After hanging out at the bar for a while, the Hubby  and I decided to follow the final city itinerary through the western neighborhood of Perugia.  We found a little inner-city park, another set of scala mobile (outdoor public escalators), a larger park nestled into the hillside near the MiniMetro terminal Pincetto and of course, more beautiful old architecture.



Perugia: Monday

Sunday: Perugia Archeology Museum

On Sunday we visited the Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell’Umbria.  The museum is located in the southern end of the city in a beautiful old building that once housed the convent of San Domenico.

Upon passing through the main arch into the museum visitors are greeted by a large courtyard with a now unused well in the center. 

View of the courtyard from the second story

Cinerary urns dating back to the 3rd-1st century B.C. line the four walls of the old cloister.



The museum is split into two major sections: prehistoric and Etruscan-Roman history.   The Hubby posed next to this poster introducing the history of man exhibit.  Yup…there’s that 96%.

Our stop at the next exhibit was one of the times during our visit that I really regretted not being able to understand Italian.  This is an interactive display discussing evolution, creation and intelligent design.  The gentleman on the left (my left)  is a professor at one of the Italian universities, and the gentleman on the right is a clergyman.   If no one is using the exhibit, both  videos are on a loop to show the men sitting calmly, twiddling their thumbs (literally in some instances), waiting to answer your questions.

Here is a close up of the computer display.  For each question you can get the viewpoint of both the scientist and the clergyman.  There are questions about evolution, creation science and intelligent design.  I’d love to hear the respones from the two speakers…and to know if the exhibit is biased one way or the other.

Further on in the museum we found a really neat room that contained two sarcophagi (-gus? -gueses?). 

This sarcophagus that the Hubby  is crouched in front of is described in one of the English-language guidebooks.  It’s not only neat because it’s a box that held an important dead dude; it contains historical information of the city.  From the guidebook:

This is the first major document of the city’s history and was made in Chiusi at the end of the 6th century B.C.  On the front is a frieze showing the return from a victorious military expedition with  a procession of soldiers carrying valuable booty: prisoners, objects loaded onto beasts of burden and herds of livestock.  Two banqueting scenes ornament the sides of the chest.

 The second sarcophogus contains the remains of it’s original inhabitant:

The Hubby gets up close and personal with  a human ancestor.

In my touristy, non-Italian-speaking, non-professional opinion, the exhibit halls were very well set up.  The displays were spread out and labelled and described in detail, the walls and spaces in each room were well-used and everything flowed in a linear fashion, i.e., we didn’t have to retrace our steps while moving from room to room.

One hallway in the museum -each doorway on the left leads to a small exhibit room.

Cool pyramid display cases – part of the museum’s amulet collection.

Copper helmet, pitchers

Slingshot projectiles display

One of the exhibits that really elicited a sense of awe from me was the Perugia cippus stone – an ancient (2nd-3rd century B.C.) boundary stone that used to be located at the edge of the city.  The writing is Etruscan, and the museum has blown-up a copy of the writing and placed it on the exhibit wall.  It highlights the different paragraphs on the stone, as well as names, places, and even mistakes made by the stonecutter.  From the guidebook:

This travertine block was a boundary marker.  The text records the agreements stipulated between the Velthina and Afuna families regarding the ownership or use of various pieces of land, on which stood, among other things, a tomb belonging to the Velthina.

Front of the cippus

Side of the cippus

An artist’s rendition of travelers or land dwellers standing around the cippus

That’s about it for the museum.  We were getting hungry and ready to sit for a while, so we headed out to find a trattoria.  But not before getting a few more pictures of the view from the museum.



More roof tiles…I love these things!

A final picture of the courtyard and the church of San Domenico rising up in the background.

Sunday: Perugia Archeology Museum

Perugia: Saturday Morning

The city of Perugia has installed several public scala mobili e ascensori (escalators and elevators) around the city to make navigating some of the steeper hills easier.  One of  the neatest set of escalators that we’ve found are those that start at the Bus Station (Piazza Partigiani) and go up under the city to end inside the Rocca Paolina, a gigantic fortress built in the 16th century and situated in the middle of the Centro Storico in Piazza D’Italia.


Stairs at the Piazza Partigiani, Second entryway to the scala mobile, Mom on the steep escalator.

Inside the Rocca Paolina:

The last escalator ends in a cavernous section of the Rocco Paolina.

One of the now empty underground rooms of the fortress.

As we left the Rocco Paolina we were delighted to discover that Piazza D’Italia and Via Vannucci had been taken over by a street market!  We wandered around the park and up Vannucci admiring the drawings, jewelry, antiques, purses, sundresses and other wares being peddled by the vendors. 

Along the way home we stopped for lunch at Gus, a trattoria and sushi joint.  We had the yummiest seaweed salad before the main sushi plate arrived.  It was this good: 

And finally, after our busy morning it was back home to the apartment for the traditional Italian mid-day rest.

Perugia: Saturday Morning

Perugia: POST Museum

On Saturday afternoon the Hubby and I went wandering around the streets near the apartments.  We were over on Via Pinturicchio when we saw these signs that said “POST” and “Scienza” and an unmistakeable symbol for museum…




A science museum in Perugia??? 

How lucky can a biodork get?

This was so fabulous that I decided to capture our visit on video.  Okay, really it was more like I just recently remembered that “Hey, there’s a video recorder on this camera!” but this seemed like a fun time and place to get some video.

Warning – these videos are all unscripted, spur of the minute, unedited recordings. I may say stupid, dorky, ignorant or just plain incorrect things in the following raw footage. Feel free to correct me if you notice mistakes, but I implore you to not be a dick about it.

Video 1: Introduction to Post.  In which I pronounce my geekiness from the hilltop.  Literally.

Video 2: Phone Exhibit.  In which I drag the Hubby into my geekiness.

Video 3: Main Hall. In which I display my embarrassingly rudimentary grasp of physics and calculus. It’s a damned parabola, okay? A parabola. Everyone say it with me…pah-rab-o-lah.

Video 4: Toilet Exhibit.  In which…okay, I got nothing.  It’s a toilet.  But it’s coooool.

See, wasn’t that awesome?  I loved that we had the whole place to ourselves, but it was a little sad that no one else was visiting the museum.  It was a children’s museum and very small – kind of one of those things you do once as a local, maybe.  Now I want to find out if there’s a big kid science museum in this city!

Perugia: POST Museum

People around Perugia

Some pictures of people being people around Perugia:

Couples and Groups







Faces and Expressions

I noticed this girl and her family because they were all carrying umbrellas as they walked through the square.  They have the palest skin of anyone I’ve seen while in Perugia.  I wanted to ask them where they are from.

This man was one our waiters at Gus Ristorante.  He’s about four tables away waiting on a lively lunch group of five friends.

This gentleman was considering the tables at Gus Ristorante with his wife.

This man was attempting to sell watches and bracelets “authentic from Somolia!” to the diners at Gus Ristorante.

People around Perugia

Perugia: Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday we went exploring.  It was our first full day in Perugia, so we started at the apartment and radiated out.  We went grocery shopping and browsed a street vendor selling ceramics at Piazza Danti.

Food from the Alimentari

Ceramics for sale on the steps of Cathedrale San Lorenzo

We discovered that Perugia is a narrow oval of a town; you can walk for a very long time in one direction, then take one side street and be not too far from where you started.  It’s hard to tell where’ll you’ll end up because the streets twist and turn in haphazard, multilevel, maze-like routes – some roads lead you uphill, some roads lead down.  Some of the streets go underneath buildings and are hidden in the corners of other streets that look like dead-ends.  Also, you can meander down a very gradual hill with lots of twists and turns for thirty minutes, and then get back home in five minutes by taking one steep stairway.  The entire town is hills, hills, hills and many people walk everywhere (according to the Tourist Information office).  You could eat pizza and drink beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never gain weight in this town!

There are frescoes located all throughout the town, tucked in back alleyways and displayed prominantly along busy streets.

A small fresco displayed above a modern clothing store in Perugia’s Centro Storico.

A close-up of the same fresco

A fresco seen on Via Ercolano

Wednesday we decided to follow one of the local walking tours that took us to the far edge of town.  We followed a gradual hill up to the Keep of Sant’Angelo – a giant castle-looking structure – and found a beautiful temple (Temple of Sant’Angelo) hidden at the top of a hill behind stone walls and a lush green garden.

The Keep from Corso Garibaldi –  the largest of Perugia’s medieval city gates (14th century)

The Keep as seen from the Temple Garden 


Me in front of the Temple of Sant’Angelo, the oldest church in Perugia (5th-6th century)


  Inside the Temple – the main center

In order to save a little space, I am condensing the following pictures  into thumbnails.  You should be able to click on each picture to enlarge them if you’re interested. 


L to R, top to bottom: temple ceiling, around an inside wall of the temple, wall fresco, fresco and cross, burial tombs(?), church bells, baptismal chamber (located off of the main gallery), side room, side room (sorry, I don’t know what these side rooms were used for), prayer candles.

On the way home we were treated to an excellent view of the Etruscan Arch (Arco Etrusco).

The Etruscan Arch – shot on the way home from the Temple of Sant’Angelo

The Etruscan Arch – shot earlier that morning

The Etruscan Arch – inside wall

And here’s a few shots from later in the evening and Wednesday night:

Roof tiling from the edge

Perugia: Tuesday and Wednesday

Nightlife and An Atheist in Perugia

The Hubby and I went out about Perugia this evening.  We left the apartment at 10:30pm and headed to a couple of bars that we had discovered earlier in the day.  We stopped at La Terrazza,  a quiet, snazzy, classy place with what I can only describe as “experimental” music playing over the speakers.

At La Terrezza bar

Then we headed to an Irish tavern named Shamrock’s Pub, where we met a bunch of English-speaking students from the Foreigner’s University.  Next we stopped and sat on the steps of the Piazza Quattro Novembre (THE fountain in Perugia) with all of the rest of Perugia’s nightlife – the steps of Cathedrale S. Lorenzo were packed with people drinking birre, smoking, laughing and generally having a great time.

At the Piazza Quattro Novembre

And then we strolled up the busy touristy street of Corso Vennucci, where the Hubby bought some gelato.  On the way back we ran into a guy who was standing with a small group of people  and wearing a shirt that said Kill Your Idols with a picture of Jesus Christ wearing the thorns and gazing upward.  I approached him with my phrasebook in hand and asked “Mi scuzi, ateo?”, which means “Excuse me, atheist?”, although with my broken Italian (did I say broken?  I meant non-existent), who knows what I really asked him.  He and a girl standing next to him looked a little worried, but I grinned and pointed to myself and said “Atheist!  I’m an atheist – ateo americana!  I didn’t expect to see too many out atheists in Italy.”  He grinned, and his friend grinned.  He said in heavily accented English, “You like my shirt?  It’s a very important message.”  To which I replied, “Yes, yes, I like it very much – may I take a picture with you?”  And there we go.

And now off to bed at the wee hour of 2:00am local time – 7pm Minneapolis time 🙂

Nightlife and An Atheist in Perugia

Rome and Perugia – Monday

Mom brought her netbook and the apartment has hardwire internet. Yay – I can save my euro and avoid the internet cafes!

The eight-hour plane ride from Detroit to Rome was sucky just because I couldn’t fall asleep and I was too tired to watch movies or read. But the ride itself was very nice. The 747 had taller ceilings, wider aisles, bigger chairs and more space between seats that I have ever had for my intranational flights. We were served free alcohol, hot dinner and breakfast (I skipped the egg muffins, but it’s nice that they were available), and there were nine flight attendants for the whole plane, so it was easy to get assistance or information when it was needed.

Arrival at Fiumicino Airport, Rome

Okay, I was very excited to be in a foreign land where a different language is spoken, but damn is it intimidating! A lot of people speak un poco English – perhaps a little more than I speak Italian! So far I’ve had one guy at the biglietto (ticket) booth at the ferroviaria (railroad) pull the “if I speak loudly and slowly in Italian she’ll understand me” routine ( and I might have, if he hadn’t been behind four inches of protective plexiglass).  The guy at the Perugia bus station gave me a disgusted look and an emphatic “no” replete with hand waving when I asked parla inglese?, and I had a really hard time communicating with the landlord; I wanted her to tell me what apartment number mi madre was in so I could ring the bell to let her know we had arrived, but she thought I wanted to make una prenotazione (a reservation) and kept telling me in broken english “we are full, no vacancy”.  Luckily I’m stubborn, have thick skin and don’t mind pestering people to get the information I need!

We made our transfer to Perugia alright, but we did get off at the wrong station once.  Happily, the train hadn’t left the station by the time we realized our mistake and we were able to get back on!

Sign over the ferroviaria tracks – I think it translates to “Danger – pirates!


Once in Perugia the Hubby and I had a harrowing taxi ride up to the Centro Storico (Historic Center) where we are staying.  There aren’t lines per se on the road, and all vehicles drive in whatever open space they can find.  Forget about turn signals – I don’t think the cab we were in had them.  Car horns they have, and use abundantly, but without (much) malice (usually).  In the small alley-like streets of the old town, people squish against the walls when cars come by.  Our driver actually tagged a guy’s arm with the passenger-side mirror.  They both swore at each other in minor irritation and then appeared to forget about it.

Perugia is beautiful.  Everything is stone, the tiles on the roofs are all the same reddish, lichen-stained colors and patterns, and there are stone arches everywhere.  We went for dinner at Da Peppone last night and learned that scaloppe is not a seafood when listed under carne on a menu.  I took a couple of photographs on the point-and-shoot as we walked through town – this place is like the MC Escher stairs from The Labyrinth, except without the upside down stairs.  The alley/streets are very steep in some cases, and little alleys criss-cross and connect through, between and under different commercial and residential structures.

View from our apartment at two streets branching out and up

Perugia Rooftops

Rooftop tiles

Via Appia – an old acquedotto

Via Cesare Battisti

More Perugia today – we’ll be exploring the Porta San Pietro area.  Ciao!

Rome and Perugia – Monday