One of the joys of using a service like Workaway to travel, is having the ability to explore the area you’re staying in, including nearby towns and villages. During our recent month staying with our new friends Michele and Laura, volunteering at The Pet’s Academy (where we learnt about dog psychology and pet training), we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the nearby student town, Perugia.
This little Umbrian gem is home to some of the most beautiful Italian structures, with hints of Etruscan, Medieval and Renaissance influences seen throughout the city. I was also VERY happy to discover that my childhood love, Baci (the small round Italian chocolates wrapped in the iconic silver and blue wrapping) originate from Perugia, making my morning’s mission a chocolate hunt.
After stopping at one of the (unsurprisingly many available) Perugian stores to pick up a couple of them silver balls, we headed to La Terrazza Del Mercato, for a 270 degree panorama view of the never-ending green hills and valleys, and what we have coined “the real Monte Casino,” (which, for the non-South Africans reading this, means we had found a view so iconically Italian, that people whose hearts yearn for a taste of Vivaldi’s nation, should be making plans to visit Perugia).
The city centre is elevated above the residential suburbs, approx 490m above sea level, and is easily reached via the cleverly-placed 212-step stairway. Once you’ve reached the top (and caught your breath), you can turn either left or right, and just follow the smell of coffee through the tiny alleys, leading you towards the main square. And what a sight the Piazza IV Novembre is! If you’ve ever wanted to sit on romantic Italian steps to look at gorgeous architecture, like the Cathedral di San Lorenzo or Fontana Maggiore (or for some necessary people-watching), these are the steps to do it on. Apparently there is a guy in a crazy jogging suit that preaches here at the top of his lungs. Sadly, we did not witness said preaching.
We did, however, get gobsmacked by Perugia’s traditional Italian charm, and we’ll be sure to visit it again soon (definitely spending more time at the Percorso Verde doing some very necessary dog-watching).