Umbria - Places to visit - Perugia
The town lies in a wonderful position at 493 m. above sea level dominating the Tiber Valley on a range of hills in the heart of Umbria, of which it is the administrative centre.
An ancient Umbrian and later Etruscan centre, Perugia became Roman after the battle of Sentinum in 295 BC., which marked the end of independence for the peoples of Central Italy.
At the fall of the Roman Empire, Perugia was invaded by the Goths; later (end 6th century) the Lombards and Byzantines fought for possession of the city, the latter finally winning the struggle. After the Frankish invasion of Italy, the town (and northern Umbria) became part of the Papal States, then in the process of constitution.
Papal power, however, was frequently nominal. Only in 1540 did Pope Paul III effectively succeed in governing Perugia. From that date, the town shared the vicissitudes of the Papal States. In 1859 an attempt at rebellion was quashed with much bloodshed, and in 1860 the town became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
There is a host of ancient monuments including the Gothic Duomo (cathedral, 14th-15th century), the Fontana Maggiore (13th century, by Nico and Giovanni Pisano), the Palazzo dei Priori (13th-15th century, with Gothic features), the Collegio del Cambio (15th century with frescoes by Perugino), the Oratorio di San Bernardino (15th century, a fine example of Renaissance architecture), the Church of San Domenico (14th century, with outstanding Gothic and Renaissance decoration), the Church of San Pietro (originally 10th century), the Rocca Paolina (16th century), the Etruscan Arch.
Perugia's economy is still partly based on provincial agriculture (cereals, vegetables, olive and vine-growing, cattle-breeding), for which the town forms a busy market and distribution centre.
As far as industry is concerned, there are important food manufacturers (confectionery and pasta) as well as garment, engineering, printing and tanning works. In the services sector, Perugia has an prominent cultural position, largely due to its university and the presence of a university for foreigners.
Events: Umbrian Musical Festival (September), Theatre in the Square (July-August), All Souls' Fair (November), religious performance of the `Desolata' (Friday before Palm Sunday).
Famous People: Braccio da Montone (condottiere, 1368-1424); Bernardino Betti called Pinturicchio (artist, 1454-1513); Galeazzo Alessi (1512-1572 architect,); Cesare Caporali (satirical poet, 1531-1601); Francesco Baldassarre Morlacchi (musician, 1784-1841); Grazio Antinori (explorer, 1811-1882).
Cultural Institutions: University, University for Foreigners, National Gallery of Umbria (including works by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Beato Angelico, Benozzo Gozzoli, Pietro di Cosimo, Piero della Francesca), National Archeological Museum.
In the Province: Assisi (Museum-treasures of the Basilica of St. Francis, May Day feast); Gubbio (Franciscan Museum, Candle Day, May 15th); Foligno (Giostra della Quintana, 2nd and 3rd Sunday of September), Spoleto (Festival of the Two Worlds); Citt di Castello (capitular museum, art gallery); Deruta (Museum of Majolica Ware); Torgiano (Wine Museum); Bevagna (Antiquarium and Roman mosaic); Todi (Antiques Fair).