Sport…wait how do you say that in Italian? Sport. Really? you don’t have a word for that? Sure.. attività sportiva. Wait!!! those are two words and one of those is a derivation from sport!?! well attività fisica then. Again two words. You guys don’t have a word for sport. We have calcio thou!
Perugia is, simply put, an awful city for cyclists. No cycle paths, narrow roads, endless hills, cobblestone streets, lanes that end in steps and rain blowing sideways quickly put an end to most two-wheeled ambitions. Umbria, as full as it is of hills, is just as full of valleys. You could head to Ponte San Giovanni and try the riverside path along the Tevere, or the Perscorso Verde down in the valley. For bike rentals, try Ciclismo Sport. It’s way down in the valley at Via Settevalli 93/195, 075.505.2531. At the website they have a Word or PDF document that gives info about prices. Take bus d from Piazza Partigiani and tell the bus driver where you’re going. I also have to give credit where credit is due: David the Austrian pizzaiolo must be named as the leader of the BMX trend in Perugia. If you see him and his blond dreads, say tschau!
Fitness Centers >
The one most in the center is Olympic Fitness, a personable little place near the top of Corso Garibaldi at number 155. Chris, my fitness informant, tells me that its advantages include friendly owners (Cristiana, Luigi, and Italia), good rates, a convenient location, and a good place to meet Italian students. It’s open Mo-Fr 10:00-22:00, Sa 11-18, €135 for three months. Included in your membership are free group lessons, and they even have inexpensive massages! You can also sign up for Pilates. Call 075.44.931 or see www.palestraolympic.it for more info.
There’s a suitably cool place in Via Bartolo, which goes down the hill behind the Duomo (leap over the Duomo from the fountain and you’ll land in Via Bartolo). The Galleria del Billiardo (called “Master” by the Perugini, Luca tells us) is easy to miss – it should be at number 23 but the number over the door is 1. An old Italian pool shark, Walter, runs the place. He looks like Brando but is one of the nicest guys in Perugia. He also drew all the vaguely pornographic art on the walls. Note that you can play pool or billiards; the latter is a game with little pins and only three balls played on a table without pockets. Ask walter for “fifteen balls” (quindici palline) if you want to play pool. It’s inexpensive, about €6 an hour. The bathrooms weren’t for the faint-hearted before they renovated, but now you enjoy your wiz with the tiles that are “prince blue.” Walter also has beers, a full bar, and gelati.
There’s a place down in Via Settevali, which you can get to with Bus D from Piazza Partigiani. On your right, look for the Porsche dealership, then just after it the Renault dealership (with the big yellow sign). That’s the stop. Get off there, walk fifty metres down, cross the street, and go up Via Dell’Acacia to number 9, under the blue lights. Bowling is €4.40 with shoes included, billiards are €6.20 for an hour, as is ping¬pong. For hours call 075.505.4380.
Calcio (Soccer in Perugia)>
This of course gets its own entry, for obvious reasons. Having never been interested at all in soccer/football/calcio, my Australian poet-hooligan friend and co-author, Alan, has written all but the first three sentences of this entry. He’s been to tons of Perugia matches and is a big supporter of il grifo, “the griffin” (Perugia’s symbol since the Middle Ages and now the mascot of its team). The unofficial but best team website is www.ac-perugia.com (look under “Perugia Calcio” and then “calendario” for the schedule). The official website is acperugiacalcio.com (where you can also find a link on where to buy merchandise). Cheapest tickets are those for the curva, either nord (north) or sud (south), €2 to €18 depending on who the opposition is and what the ticket manager had for lunch. Under new laws you need to show an identity card to buy a ticket, and it is recommended you do so before match day. The stadium ticket office is open Mo-Fr 9-12:30, 15:00-18:30 and Sa 9-12:00, or at 075.500.6641. You can also buy tickets at the Post Office shop. Renato Curi Stadium is named after a glamor player of the 70s who took the extreme road to fame by dying in the middle of the field against the evil Juventus. Bus G passes close by the stadium, but the MiniMetrò ends across the street and is more convenient. Good advice on game times and the right colors to wear is available from Andrea at Eden. Perugia is not regularly one of flashpoints of soccer violence but trouble does flare occasionally.
Click here for the calendar of Perugia soccer games. If the team perugia is on the left it means they will play in the Perugia stadium. Time of the game might change from time to time.
Actually there are two: one is next to the church Santa Giuliana (you can see it from the gardens behind Piazza Italia). Go down the scale mobili to Piazza Partigiani and walk across the bus lot to the church. It’s open daily except Sunday but you occasionally get charged €1.50 to run around the track. Monthly tickets are also available. Renato Curi stadium is for use by the mighty Perugia soccer team and is not public, although the surrounding Piano di Massiano area is full of open space for joggers, walkers and crooners alike. Take the MiniMetrò down to Pian di Massiano. In the park “underneath” the station Sant’Anna and Piazzale Europa, there is a sports field which is almost always full on Saturdays.
Piscina Pellini is a beautiful new pool. Either go down the scale mobili of Via dei Priori all the way to the bottom and go down to the right, or take the MiniMetrò to the Cupa station and go out and down the hill. Free swim is Mo/Th, 7-15:00 and 18:30¬20:30, Tu, We, Fr 9-15:00 and 18:30-20:30, Sa 9-15:00 and Su 9:30-13:00. They have all kinds of aqua fitness classes, too. Students pay €5 a visit or ten visits for €43, for which you can go for a period of 2 months; Or you can get a monthly pass for the same price and go whenever you want. The info line is 075.571.6209 and the website is www.amatorinuoto.it.
There is a long walking track alongside the Tevere (Tiber) river that runs from Villa Pittignano to Ponte San Giovanni in the valley below Perugia. The route is approximately 9km and is quiet and pretty any time of the year. If you don’t feel like doing the whole stretch you can bus home from various points on the way such as Ponte Felcino or Ponte Valleceppi. Take any of the P buses from below the Mercato Coperto across from the entrance to the Galleria Kennedy. There’s also the Percorso Verde, the green trail, which is a long trail where you walk or ride. It’s down in the valley near the stadium (take the TS or TD); ask the driver to let you off at the Percorso Verde.
Umbria is a region with inexhaustible hiking trails. Monteluco (Spoleto) and Mt. Subasio (Assisi) each have complicated networks of trails with breathtaking views of the Umbrian valley and Appenines. Isola Maggiore on Lake Trasimeno is a less challenging walk, but no less inspiring for those who miss vistas of water in this landlocked region. A two-day trek along the Franciscan path of Peace is another local favorite of the local section of a longer European trail. The local club is not limited to Umbria.
Extreme Sports >
Nearby Perugia, but usually not that close, numerous outdoor pursuits await the adventurous. These include orienteering, downhill and cross-country skiing, hang-gliding, trekking, sailing, horse-riding and rafting. Many of them are seasonal and take place in the less-populated eastern part of Umbria around Norcia and the Monte Sibillini National Park. Windsurfing is available in warmer months at Lake Trasimeno (see side trips). As these are fairly specialized activities we are unable to include full information on all of them in this guide. Go to the T.I. and ask for the Sport e Ambiente guide. And now for a word on the most extreme sport of them all, dating (check out our not-dating guide).