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Getting Oriented

Maybe it should be disorientation. When you are new to Perugia it seems like a crazy maze of blind alleys and cryptic stairways. The city also has few landmarks visible from many other points. Don’t despair; it’ll soon start to make sense, even if you don’t have a map of Perugia. If you get lost, the simple solution is to just follow roads and paths that lead uphill until you reach the center of town again (note: the one exception to this rule of thumb is Corso Garibaldi). When asking directions, be aware that more senior residents sometimes refer to piazzas and streets by their old names.

You can find old names in fine print and prefaced by già under the new ones on location signs. Piazza Fortebraccio già grimana, for example, means the piazza is now Piazza Fortebraccio and used to be called Piazza Grimana. Familiarize yourself as soon as possible with the following places which are referred to frequently in the guide: Corso Vannucci, Piazza 4 Novembre, via dei Priori, Piazza Matteotti, Piazza Italia, (Palazzo) Gallenga, arco etrusco (the etruscan arch), Borgo Bello and Corso Cavour.
Perugia is the regional capital of Umbria, Tuscany’s underrated little sister, and sits on a hill overlooking the valley of the sun. The main part of town is shaped like a barbell: at one end is Piazza Italia (where you’ll arrive if you take a local bus up from the train station), at the other end is the perfect Italian piazza, Piazza 4 Novembre, which is a social, sun-drenched, outdoor living-room. In between runs Corso Vannucci, the auto-free street that doubles as a runway for the city’s population, a mix of sleek Italians and scraggly students. Perugia doesn’t have the flashy sites of nearby Florence or Rome but pleases you with its student life and beautiful panoramas. Walk the city’s back alleys, spend all night in the pubs with your new Italian amici, and inhale the beauty of surrounding Umbria.


thomas davisthomas davis