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].
Simona, sono stata a Perugia in gita scolastica alle medie, e ho ancora una foto di me davanti alla fontana maggiore. Che citta' meravigliosa, mi piacerebbe rivisitarla. Grazie per la cartolina.
Posted by: Laura | November 22, 2009 at 12:22 PM
Ero al liceo, non alle medie!
Posted by: Laura | November 22, 2009 at 12:23 PM
Thanks for the lovely post and sharing your photos to your hometown. I wish I could visit Peruggia and so many other beautiful places in Italy again.
Posted by: Ivy | November 22, 2009 at 09:26 PM
What a great post Simona, Loved all your photo's, what a beautiful hometown you have.
Posted by: Marie | November 22, 2009 at 10:10 PM
simo, ma sei di Perugia? io ti facevo di Milano...ho confuso qualcosa, ciao un bacio!
Posted by: astrofiammante | November 23, 2009 at 07:31 AM
Thanks for taking me to Perugia with you! I'm ashamed to say that I've never been to Umbria, although it's definitely on the "must see" list.
Posted by: Toni | November 23, 2009 at 10:12 PM
Perugia è una città dalla grande storia: era da tanto che non tornavi?
Che bello sapere che le zucchine trombetta si trovano anche in California e di certo preparare una zuppa è il modo migliore per gustarle :))
Posted by: lenny | November 24, 2009 at 11:35 AM
Ciao Laura. Mi fa piacere che tu abbia dei bei ricordi legati a Perugia.
Ciao Ivy. You can start planning your next trip to Italy...
Thanks, Marie. It is indeed a beautiful city.
Ciao Astro: sono perugina di nascita e milanese d'adozione. A Milano ho vissuto 10 anni ed e' parte di me. A Perugia sono nata e ho vissuto 20 anni. Sono affezionata ad entrambe le citta'.
Hi Toni and welcome. I hope I have given you additional reasons to wanting to see Perugia and the rest of Umbria: there are many special places in the region.
Ciao Lenny. Ero stata l'anno scorso sempre ad Ottobre. Spero che la signora che ha coltivato le zucchine trombetta lo faccia di nuovo l'anno prossimo. Io l'ho pregata molto. Adesso che so che si trovano i semi, magari riesco a convincere qualcun altro a provare a piantarle. Io purtroppo sono una frana come giardiniera e ho anche un problema di scarsa insolazione.
Posted by: Simona Carini | November 24, 2009 at 10:09 PM
Lovely! Thanks for taking us there with you! I loved it!
Posted by: Paz | November 26, 2009 at 06:33 AM
You are welcome, Paz. I hope you had a peaceful day yesterday.
Posted by: Simona Carini | November 27, 2009 at 02:20 PM
I enjoyed reading all the info and looking at you great photos-fresh whipping cream,roasted chesnuts-heavenly smells along those street!I know you miss it there........
Posted by: Jann | December 18, 2009 at 01:20 PM
Ciao Jann. I must admit I miss it this time of the year. I miss the celebrations, nativity scenes and certainly the typical foods.
Posted by: Simona Carini | December 19, 2009 at 06:02 PM