15 July 2017

The magical cities of Perugia and Assisi

This summer time is busy and I really need to keep up with my post as our travel stories mount up. 

On our travels we visit some amasing places. It is hard not to as the world is full of wonderful, breathtaking even, sites. I think that many are hidden just around the corner. But still there are some places that simply stun me with their energy and feeling I get exploring them.

On the recent trip we took to Italy two cities especially impressed me: first was the lovely city of Perugia and second energetic Assisi.


Perugia is one of the oldest cities in Italy. It is a capital of Umbria region. 

The city lies on a hill, in fact, it extends out on the tops of three interconnected peaks and fascinates with its diversity and ancient charm.

Despite its diversity and vibrancy, it gives the impression that it hasn't changed for centuries and it could be easily walked by a man of the Renaissance or a man of the 21st century.

The town is also the home of famous Baci (kiss) chocolate candies, although it is surprising that in the city itself this fact is not remarked at every turn.

Despite the fact that the city has preserved its centuries-old soul, it has been modernised in all the right areas.

So you might find a climb to the city strenuous, but you can park in a parking in several places at the foot of the city, and let the escalators take you to the top. The last part is especially interesting, as they lead you through the underground corridors of the old Perugia with signs of sights on different levels, so that you know where to get off, depending on what you want to see.

We headed all the way to the top, in the very heart of the interior of the Prefetture di Perugia, a good starting point for the visit.

First, you can stop in front of the building at the Rocca Paolina viewpoint, from which you will find a wonderful view of the Perugia and the distant landscape. The green views of the hilly landscape is enchanting.

We wanted to see the city. Thus, the boy had the freedom to run along the streets and jump on the stairs, and hubby and I had at least a little chance to look at the signs.

Exiting the Prefetture, a fair of the most beautiful crystal chandeliers glittering int the sun and other antiquity greeted us. Behind them, a wonderful view of the part of the city and the surrounding area opened up.

We continued along Via Corso Pietro Vannucci to Palzzo dei Priori and Piazza IV Novembre and visited the Cathedral of Cattedrale di San Lorenzo.

Then the we were randomly walking down the streets and enticed into those that we thought were interesting. In the city that extends over the three peaks of the hill, this also means a few steps down and then up again.

I like to walk around the city, because I have the chance to feel the pulse of the city and experience it in it soul. But above all, you can stumble upon some great sites you would normally miss if visiting only the sights. Looking at only the landmarks you never get the sense of the city.

The route led us to the Porta Sant'Angelo with a panoramic platform from where you can completely capture the vast city.

Outside the center, narrow streets leading up and down and beneath the stone bridges or the former city gates are wonderful by themselves.
Despite the fact that there was no playground where the boy could  steam off at least a bit of the energy, they were nevertheless enthusiastic, because the city is flexible due to its characteristics and offers a lot of fun for the children too.


The second city we visited that day was Assisi. Full of enthusiasm and filled with the energy of the city of Perugia, we took the short route to Assisi.

Today, the city is a well-known pilgrimage destination, known primarily for St. Francis and legend that was created around him.

Francis of Assisi was born in 1181 or 1182 in Assisi to a wealthy merchant. As a young man, he liked to spend his father's wealth for parties and friendships. But on the way to the war in Apulia, he had mysterious dreams, that made him changed the way of thinking. He devoted himself to prayer and God. Because of the newly found faith, he renounced the heritage and also returned his father the clothes he was wearing.

At that time, he fully devoted himself to secular life and to help the poor and the sick. He believed that only through humiliation he could attain the true love of God, and that way he wanted to live. 

Francis had so firmly believed in his mission that soon other joined him in his mission and lifestyle. The Franciscan Order was established.

Under the pleasant impressions of Perugia, I suggested that we leave for Assisi in the afternoon, which was scheduled for the next day. I thought that this is only a smaller place where the main landmark is the pilgrimage church of St. Francis and a few houses, but I couldn't be more wrong.

Assisi inspires at the first sight. The view from the road is magnificent (introductory picture). As if the city somehow floats, with very clear, straight lines, and symmetrically, at the foot of the hill, which gives it some kind of mystical touch. A scene from a fairy tale.

And this feeling remains within the city walls. Piazza Santa Chiara outside the Basilica of Santa Chiara is the central area of ​​gathering and entertainment. Street musicians make things happier and the square is crowded with people.

It is worth taking a look at the whole town all the way to the Amphitheater Romano and Rocca Magiore, and walk along the pleasant streets that take people to the Middle Ages.

On the day of our visit, a medieval event took place in the city, where the villagers performed in medieval clothes and in the colours of then powerful families who led the city. For this reason, the city was even more lively and the drum sounds kept us company along the streets.

Of course, do not forget to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, where you will need to pass a security check which you will pass without complications if you are not carrying items that might pose a threat. Otherwise, it is only one more wait in the queue with two tired children, which is somewhat tedious.

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