We spent today visiting Perugia – the capital city of Umbria. Lots of people but it seems the visitors are predominantly Italian. Saturday, today, was also the antique market so it was very busy particularly in the top level of the city.
But let me backtrack. We arrived, parked at the central bus station, met Marco our guide and began our exploration upward. Perugia is a many layered city – Perugini liken it to a wedding cake, each layer perched atop the previous one.
We began by taking a couple of underground escalators upward and inside the Rocca Paolina – a fortress structure the foundations of which were built by the Etruscans, added to during medieval times, built and rebuilt repeatedly – even today construction is ongoing to convert some of the interior spaces into shops and markets.
The history of this place is very visible in the construction elements – Etruscan stones large, square without any mortar; medieval building blocks smaller, less regular, Renaissance more brick-like. Originally the main “street” was open above but when the city was taken over by the Papal States in the 12-13 hundreds the Pope decreed previous construction be demolished and the street was enclosed.
Perugia remained under the rule of the Papacy until the formation of the Italian a state in the mid 1800s. At that point symbols of Papal power were torn down and new civic buildings were erected. Each successive city incorporated the construction of earlier ones both as economical but also as a way of showing subjugation of previous rule.
To really see and understand the history of Perugia would take several visits and lots of poking around!
We ended our visit with Marco at the fountain in the upper Piazza which separates the Cathedral and the civic building showing the conflicting forces which shapes the life of Perugia.
It was now time to eat something but on our way for lunch at Da Peppone – a pizzaria – we stopped at the chocolate shop recommended by Marco (not for the tourists – for Perugini).
At lunch while eating some very tasty pizza (mine a 4-seasons with artichoke, mushrooms, ham, and cheese – I asked for 2 anchovies) the waitress walked past with what looked like an amazing meringue covered cake:
We actually sampled it, but it wasn’t what we expected. It turned out to be a dry cake iced with meringue – looked much better than it was.
Our last stop of the day was to a museum/workshop dedicated to the preservation of the old weaving patterns. Today there are very few hand loom weavers. The work we saw this afternoon was amazing.
Marta Brozetti really does wonderful work that preserves the old techniques. She does try passing on what she knows but it’s quite likely her work is a dying art.
I’ll share one last photo
This was our view as we sat on the front patio enjoying a light evening meal.
The alpaca and sheep were in for the night, the birds had settled, and we were sipping wine and enjoying ourselves.
More adventure tomorrow.