I have some more photos from my recent trip to Italy to share on this venue. We spent six days in my home town, Perugia, which is located in Umbria, the region sometimes referred to as "the green heart of Italy." Perugia is an incredibly beautiful city, and has a lot to offer to visitors. Even though I have walked around the downtown area ever since I could walk, I am not yet tired of doing so and of admiring the streets, the buildings, the works of art.
Perugia's main square is called Piazza IV Novembre. At its center there is the Fontana Maggiore (XIII century, photo under the title), the most beautiful medieval fountain there is — a very personal opinion and you can quote me on this.
The fountain has three basins and is decorated with beautiful sculptures and reliefs. The latter decorate the lower basin and come in pairs. Above you can see two of them. The top one shows the lion and the griffin (leone e grifone), the symbols of the city, which are echoed, so to speak, over the Gothic portal that provides access to the Sala dei Notari in the Palazzo dei Priori across from the fountain (photo below — this portion of the building dates back to the end of the XIII century).
The other pair shows Romulus and Remus (Romolo e Remo), the brothers protagonists of Rome's foundation myth.
In the III century BC, the Etruscans built a boundary wall (le mura) all around the city: "three kilometers of travertine winding up and down across the steep sides of the hill. Rows of rectangular rough stone blocks laid without mortar form its characteristic structure, and long stretches are still visible." One of the gates is the Etruscan Arch (arco etrusco, photo above).
In the photo above, I am showing an example of a narrow and steep street in the downtown area.
From Piazza IV Novembre you can walk along Corso Vannucci, the city's main thoroughfare (pedestrian-only). When you reach the other end, Piazza Italia, you turn around and retrace your steps, all the time enjoying the people, the buildings, the shops, the atmosphere.
One of the people on Corso Vannucci was a figure typical of this time of the year, il caldarrostaio, i.e., the seller of roasted chestnuts (caldarroste). The temperature having dropped suddenly and substantially (we went from summer to winter in a mere couple of days), he was doing well in terms of business. Roasted chestnuts warm not only your body but also your hands.
On the street parallel to Corso Vannucci, called Via Baglioni, there is a store I loved as a child and teenager, the latteria, where I used to buy fresh whipped cream to top pesche sciroppate (peaches in syrup, made by mother) or, when in season, fragole (strawberries) for our Sunday lunch dessert, and maritozzo con la panna for a sumptuous snack.
If you are interested in learning more about Perugia, on this page of the city's web site you will find a downloadable guidebook in several languages. Look also at the list of links on the left panel. Though the titles are only in Italian, on some of the relevant pages, you can find information in English as well. For example, the link Perugia nascosta (hidden Perugia) contains proposals for themed walks around the city.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the cartolina da Perugia audio file [mp3].