Perugia is perhaps best known for the annual events of Eurochocolate and Umbria Jazz held respectively in October and July.
With the city airport now connected to the low cost flight hubs, there is no excuse to not find out more about the regional capital of Umbria.
Tthe unique atmosphere of the city is owed to the stunning medieval centre that has been left to us from the 13th and 14th centuries when Perugia was at the height of its power.
Originally, an Etruscan settlement not unlike Orvieto, we suggest you start your discovery of Perugia by passing under the intact Etruscan arch (Arco Etrusco), still the principal gateway to the main pedestrian area, although all the old city wall entrances have their own story and fascination.
It can be quite confusing finding this particular entrance having parked your car, but as long as you are walking uphill, you'll get there eventually.
Before exploring the many narrow alleyways hiding typical Umbrian restaurants and shops, place yourself in Piazza IV Novembre and take in the magnificence of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo above (an Etruscan well marks the entrance), the Maggiore Fountain (note the reliefs from Aesops Fables and the medieval trades in our photo below) and Palazzo dei Priori (13th century home of the National Gallery of Umbria and the main image on this page).
The Cathedral has an interesting religious relic. It's the wedding ring of Mary and Joseph. It arrived in Chiusi in the year 989 having been purchased by the wife of the Marquis of Tuscany on a shopping trip in Rome looking for gems.
It seems the ring has special powers. So much so that when it was stolen in 1473, the thief lost his way in the fog of the Valdichiana and ended up in Perugia. The relic is still heavily guarded and goes on show on one day a year, the 30 July.
For the equally impressive view of the valley 500 meters below, walk along Corso Vannucci to Rocca Paolina.
Perugia is also university town and the local population has long been accustomed to the presence of visitors from other countries.
The University for Foreigners for Italian Language Studies is the oldest and most prestigious institute of its kind in Italy.
The city is only one and a half hours drive from Rome and Florence and five hours from Milan.