Saturday, June 26, 2010

Umbria, Italy- Hill Towns of Perugia and Assisi

A 25 minute ride from Spello takes you to a hill town almost in the very center of Italy, capital of an area known as the "Green Heart of italy." Perugia is a lively, medieval, walled hill town with historic buildings, people-filled squares and modern shops. Estruscan ruins are still visible in certain places.

Famous for its chocolate, there is a chocolate festival in October. Otherwise, walking through the narrow streets and along the walls at the edge of town for views of the valley (see bottom photograph taken from Piazza IV Novembre) is the city's top attraction. Corso Vannnucci is the main pedestrian street which is lined with elegant shops, bars and restaurants. There are art exhibits and many points of interest including Roman walls and gates and a 5th century Temple. We loved the feel of this town, great energy!! Lots of charm and interested places to explore. Looked like reasonable hotels were available- not as nice as ours in Spello, though.

Twelve miles east of Perugia is Assisi, best known as the birth place of St Francis. It is a hill town of Roman ruins, medieval streets and sacred shrines. A very popular tourist attraction, there are 3000 inhabitants and 4-5 million visitors annually. We stayed a short time, walked around a bit and then left, overwhelmed by the crowds and not so interested in visiting all the churches.

All three photographs are of Perugia.

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