Places to visit in Perugia

Umbria is surrounded by a couple of very popular regions, namely, Tuscany to the west, Emilia Romagna to the north, the Marches to the east, and Lazio to the south. Perugia itself is filled with many wonderful attractions, ranging from museums to the historic city walls. A number of interesting landmarks and monuments are found in the area, and a few beautiful religious buildings are well worth a visit. In the Umbria region, families can also visit the amusement park, La Citta della Domenica.

The city of Perugia and its surrounding areas have a wealth of astounding historical attractions that are enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. Perugia overlooks the river Tiber, and marks the border between the lands of the Etruscans and the Umbrians, and boasts great city walls that surround the old town centre. There is actually two rings of Etruscan and late-Medieval walls, and the old town area consists of five different old town quarters with were built from the time of the 14th century. Motorists should be careful when driving in this area, as parts are rendered as limited traffic zones, or locally known as Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL). This restriction to motor vehicles has been put in place to preserve the old town area, and a surveillance camera captures all vehicles which are unauthorized to enter during certain times of the day and night. Some quite heavy fines are issued to those who are not residents of the area, or for those who do not have appropriate disabled driver permits.

The huge city walls, which were used as fortifications between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, are still largely visible today. There are also seven gates that were the entrances to the city, and although partly modified during the Roman times and the Middle Ages, six of these gates can still be viewed. The main entrance gate is known as the Arco Etrusco, or the Arco di Augusto, and is quite an imposing structure with trapeze shaped dungeons on either side. In the 16th century, a loggia was added to one of the dungeons, along with a fountain. The Arco della Mandorla is found in Via San Giacomo, and is mostly of a Medieval structure, and the Porta Trasimena, or Arco di San Luca, is found at the end of Via dei Priori. This gate still has its Etruscan piers. The other gates are known as the Arco dei Gigli, the Arco di San Ercolano and the Porta Marzia, decorated with the five figures thought to be of Jupiter, Castor, Pollux and the Dioscures.

Many visitors take a popular walk along the aqueduct of the city. This particular aqueduct runs for three kilometres, starting at Monte Pacciano and ending at the Piazza Grande, which is now known as the Piazza IV Novembre. The aqueduct was constructed in the thirteenth century. Much later, in 1812, railings were added to assist people with their stroll through the city. The aqueduct ends at the Fontana Maggiore, which is a symbol of the free city of Perugia. The Piazza IV Novembre is the central square of the Etruscan city, and where the city’s main streets crossed. It is also the point where the fivestrade regali roads begin to spread out to the medieval development of the town.

One of the most famous museums in Perugia is the Museo Archeologico, which can be found in the former Dominican convent of San Domenico. The museum has some spectacular collections of Palaeolithic and Aeneolithic remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages that were mostly found in the region of Umbria. The museum was actually started in 1790 by a donation from a patrician of Perugia. This collection was then enlarged in 1921 and 1948, and today consists of many wonderful items from various eras. There are a couple of Etruscan archaeological remains which date back to the Villanova and Hellenistic periods, and include objects such as urns and sarcophagi, vases and gold pieces, and works made from bronze. There are weapons as well. Most museums in Umbria are open from 09:00 to 19:00 in summer, and from 09:00 to 17:00 during the rest of the year. They are also mostly closed on Mondays and later Sunday afternoons.

A few religious buildings of interest in the Umbria region include the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Church of San Filippo Neri and the Church of Sant’Ercolano. The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is a church building that was actually never completed, and this can be clearly seen in the unfinished appearance of the exterior walls. A former church stood on the grounds of the now San Lorenzo Cathedral, but was cleared in order to make way for the new and larger building. Work began in 1345, and the interior was completed in the same century. However, although building continued until 1587, it was never completed. The Museo Capitolare is located nearby the cathedral, and houses a variety of treasures. The Church of San Filippo Neri is the only authentic Baroque building in Perugia, and is regarded as very important, while the Church of Sant’Ercolano is a great octagonal building with a structure similar to a massive tower. The church is of a Gothic style, built between 1297 and 1326.

Something a little more modern, and ideal for families with children is the Città della Domenica. This 40 hectares of park area is found in the Monte Pulito area of Perugia, and is home to a vast array of wild animals, including buffalo, lions, zebra, llama, Watusi cattle and ostriches. There are also some rare reptile species that are kept specifically for breeding purposes in one of Italy’s most important centres for conservation. Within the area there is an amusement park with a number of attractions for everyone, especially the children, featuring the fantasy worlds of Pinocchio, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood. Other attractions include the Space Base and the Castle of Sleeping Beauty. The park is open from around March to November. More information is available at

Passengers arriving at Perugia Airport will find that there are so many more attractions to be enjoyed in the Umbria region, and will also easily be able to travel to the major Italian cities of Rome, Florence, Bologna and Naples, which are all within driving distance of the airport.