Why you should consider a city break in Perugia, Italy

After a way too long period of time without a city break, I now find myself in Perugia, Italy. I am sitting on the balcony of hotel Ilgo, having just returned from the centre of the city where i had a fabulous ice cream in the Pasticceria Sandri (Sandri Tripadvisor). I am happy that I can sit down after a long day of walking up and down the hills of Perugia. I feel inspired to share the insights I gained while spending 4 days in this wonderful city, insights on a city break that stimulated my interests in history, nature, fitness and good food.

Perugia and surroundings

In nowadays you never stop working, the blessing of our communication oriented society can sometimes also be our curse. You can always be reached via your smartphone, you get instant notifications that some important work related email was received, you never stop reading and writing social media entries and you tend never to stop thinking about the complex issues that await you in your day to day life.

In order to really get detached from your day to day issues, I need more than just o few days off, I need a package of different activities to make it possible for my mind to wander and to forget about the things that usually provoke stress. In Perugia I found this package in just a few days:

  1. Quiet hotel surrounded by nature
  2. A medieval old city reachable by foot from the hotel
  3. Good food everywhere
  4. A city full of life, not only because of the tourists
  5. A built-in fitness program, due to the hills you have to climb every day
  6. A region full of fantastic landscapes and a lot of green
  7. Easy to reach by plane

Hotel

We found the perfect hotel, it is only 1.5 kilometers distance from the old town centre (Piazza IV Novembre), surrounded by trees and there are no loud streets near it. Here is a view of the hotel after a 7 minutes walk:

Hotel Ilgo

The service is good, but I do not recommend to book breakfast. You can find better pannini and cappuccino in the nearby bars rather than at the hotel. But you have a balcony where you can relax and write a blog, or you just want to enjoy the view.

Medieval old city, life and food

As I said before, the old city is not far away, just under 1.5 km, but you have to take into account the steep climb that is necessary to reach it. When you look into google maps, you can see that it indicates 20 minutes for the road: walk to the city. But then you are in the middle of a beautiful old town, with narrow roads, a lot of staircases, many archways and wonderful panoramic views from the top of the city.

Hilly centre of the old town

Some of the stairs and an archway in the old town.

Incredible number of archways and stairs

Some of the streets are narrower than this one, I was just not inspired to take a picture.

Narrow streets everywhere in the old town

Surrounding the piazzas in the centre, are a lot of places where tourists but also many people living in Perugia choose to eat or just have a good time. Perugia has a big university and the city is full of students. I often saw groups of students sitting together at a cafe table, just sipping their espresso and talking. For a long time. In Romania or Germany you always expect at least one or two beers on such a table. They enjoy sitting and talking on the stairs of the Cattedrale S. Lorenzo and it is beautiful to see a city pulsing with life.

People enjoying a talk on the stairs of the cattedrale

As in other cities in Italy, it is hard to find a place with food that is not good. I am a vegetarian and I enjoy the fantastic taste of fresh vegetables, that did not get ripe while being shipped to my city. The pizza is done differently in each place, but tasty everywhere, needless to say, that all pasta is al dente and never overloaded by too many ingredients. Perugia is known for it’s chocolate production. There are a lot of places where you can eat fantastic sweets. You could literally live by eating ice cream every day. And not get bored of it.

Fitness and trees

I love nature, seeing trees around you, feeling fresh air and seeing more then concrete around me is necessary to make me feel good in a vacation. Perugia is perfect in this aspects. It has a population of approx. 170.000 people, so it is not a big city. And the city is situated in a region full of hills and trees. From the top of the city you seem to see an equal amount of buildings and trees. You see green landscapes without big motorways between Perugia and it’s neighboring cities.

This is a landscape you see just 15 minutes away (by foot) from the Ilgo hotel:

Surrounded by nature

This is a view from one hill in Perugia to the old town:

Trees near the old town

The beauty of the nature combined with the hills in Perugia, inspire you to walk. To walk a lot. I have set goals for myself to run at least three times a week. I took my running shoes with me, and I was sure that I will continue running also in the 4 days here in Perugia. But I did not need it. Walking 10 kilometers does not sound as much, in a city break you can easily walk more than this. But in Perugia 10 kilometers feel as if you walked the double distance. The numerous steps and steep streets you walk on, make a great fitness program, apart from the fantastic corners you find in every part of the city.

You’ll be as happy as we were in this selfie

I encourage you to choose Perugia as a place to spend a few days and reset your brain. You get to see a lot of nature, fantastic medieval architecture, you will eat good healthy food and be surrounded not only by tourists but also people living in Perugia and enjoying the old town as much as you will enjoy it. The landscape is hilly and you will climb a lot each day. You will get a little out of breath, but you will enjoy every second of your walks. I do not know many people that visited Perugia and I wanted to express my excitement regarding my stay here. Not only do I feel relaxed physically — because of the good food and the workout walks — I feel mentally relaxed. This is why I also decided to concentrate more on writing blog entries. And I wanted to start writing them fast.

Do you know unusual places that are perfect for a city break? Places where you can pursue various activities? Where you can satisfy multiple interests?

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