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What to see and what to do in Perugia

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Perugia, with a population of 165,000, is the regional capital of Umbria. Its strategic position –  Perugia is situated in the middle of the region below the Apennines and above the valley of Tevere – make it a crossroads for people and goods in Central Italy.

Perugia is internationally renowned for its chocolate production and for the famous Umbria Jazz Festival, it is also home to a very noted and celebrated university that attracts over 25,000 students every year.

The city extends on the top of a hill, 493 metres (1,617 feet) above sea level, sitting in-between and overlooking the Tiberina and Umbra valley.

Regardless of which side you are are coming from, Perugia is going to look like it is gently resting on the hill, very respectful of the surrounding environment, but with the awareness and solemnity of an entity that has always been there.

The the use of the word “always” is often overindulged when talking about a city that almost has eternal traits. Far from being so presumptuous, but surely its origins can be traced back to immemorial times, up to one of the first peoples who ever inhabited the Italian peninsula.

Both, the Etruscans and Umbrians have indiscriminately left their mark on the genesis of the city, characterising its urban aspects as well as its economy, placing it at the forefront of the relations between the two peoples.

During the Roman period Perugia alternated times of splendour with phases of overwhelming misery, mainly due to various territorial disputes, even within the Empire itself. The battle between Marcus Antonius and Octavius, for example, when Perugia was destroyed and immediately after rebuilt and re-qualified by Octavious himself.

A succession of rules and dominations of different kinds will affect the city, until it finally becomes a Papal State. This will not be an improvement in terms of stability, especially due to Popes eager to impose their power along with certain families who would try to impose theirs or, finally, the menace of warlords from neighbouring Realms who constantly besieged the city trying to annex it to their territories. A tumultuous history marked by pitiful destructions and glorious reconstructions. An alternation that contributed to rendering Perugia one of the most multifaceted and beautiful cities in Italy. You won’t easily forget its Renaissance Palaces and the plentiful Etruscan and Roman landmarks.

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