University of Wisconsin–Madison

Benvenuto a Perugia!

My first week in Perugia has been quite eventful and I definitely already have too much to talk about. However, before I get into all the crazy details and various occurrences from my first week, I would like to go over some of the city’s history. So Perugia is an Etruscan and medieval city and there is proof of this all over the city. The photo below is one of the city wall entrances. It was built by the Etruscans and is one of the most prominent Etruscan structures in the city. It overlooks some of the Perugian countryside and is just beautiful.

IMG_1202

The rest of the city is like a maze with winding streets and buildings plopped down sporadically. There is absolutely no formal design or uniformity, which is very characteristic of a medieval city. The picture below shows Perugia’s sporadic design in all its beautiful glory.

IMG_1218

On to the fun stuff. The most interesting and lively part of the city is the main piazza, Piazza IV Novembre. It has the main duomo with the old municipal buildings, and a beautiful central fountain. One of the most popular past times for the Perugian people is to sit on the steps of the duomo. Yes, it’s actually the most hopping place in town, and everyone and their mother is there. People chat, eat, drink, sunbathe, read; anything you could possibly think of doing on steps. Even on the weekends and at nights the steps are covered with young Italians. It’s also the place for dogs to congregate as Italians literally take their dogs everywhere. It’s quite funny to see two friends greet each other with the Italian two-kiss greeting as the dogs they have with them do the same, except there’s slobbering and sniffing. Even the dogs here have a social life and it’s great. Of course there are some strange occurances that take place on the steps and I’ve been lucky enough to experience some myself. Last week I witnessed a little girl picking through her father’s hair for who knows what, but it was very jungle-esque. I snuck a video.

All in all, the steps are a convenient and easy place to congregate with friends, and are just one of the many delights of the city.

Another charm of Perugia is that every Thursday night there’s open music all around the city. Even at the bar across from my apartment, last Thursday there was music playing and older couples doing the waltz. It was so romantic and I just had to get a video. It’s clear already that Perugia is a city full of life and what a better way to express that than through videos! Below are some videos of the different activities going on just from one Thursday evening.

My apartment is amazing. It’s pretty big and extremely nice compared to most student apartments in Italy. It’s situated at the bottom of a street that has a pretty severe incline and it just so happens that the town center is located at the top… So every day my roommates and I have to make the trek up this hill to go to class or pretty much anytime we want to be social and see friends. I’m not complaining, but my legs better be in tiptop shape after this month. Another perk of my apartment is that it has a garden in the back with gorgeous roses and a pretty nice view of the countryside. Unfortunately, there’s a gate to the garden that’s locked most of the time so whenever my roommates and I see that it’s open we freak out and dart inside. One of my roommates tried to be clever and tie the gate open with some rope. The joy was short-lived though as the rope was removed very quickly and the gate went back to being locked. Oh well. At least we have a great view from our windows.

My first experience in the garden aka the first time the gate happened to be open
My first experience in the garden aka the first time the gate happened to be open

It has only been a week and I’m already beginning to feel a deep appreciation for this city. I can’t wait to discover more and experience the true Perugian life! “Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate.” –J.R.R Tolkein (If it’s a gate let’s hope it’s not locked)