The ancient Etruscan city of Perugia sits high on its hill and basks in its modern reputation of being so fun, so chic and the home of Perugina Chocolates. Umbria Jazz is there almost 24 hours a day for 10 riotous days every summer jazz summer and Universita’ per Stranieri (famous language and culture school for all of us foreigners).

But in earlier times, it was the home of the real Plague of the Renaissance: the bad to the bone Bagnoli boys. They were undisputedly the most fearless, the most handsome and most devious and merciless mercenaries and rulers of the time, and this was a pretty war like time. All of Umbria bowed to them and tried to stay way out of their way. War and intrigue were just fun and blood sport of them. And no one was exempted. Family was fair game for literal backstabbing and this tacit alone ended up thinning their ranks considerably. And that left them when one of these warrior popes finally tipped over their apple cart, he was so exasperated with them that he built his fortress over their whole part of the town. "There! Take that, I will bury you! And your little town too."

You can see the Bagnoli’s old neighborhood now on underground escalators as you glide past streethouses and churches all sealed forever deep under the pope’ s massive fortress. So buried. Even the tops of buildings are far underground. This is a very steep Umbrian town and escalators and elevators often appear where streets might in other towns. Now that the Bagnolis are tamed down, this is a great place to visit. The best shopping, the best people watching in all of Umbria and the best Italian gelati selections are all along Perugia’s wide wide “pedestrians only” Corso Vannucci.

If you are interested in staying in the area, please check out some of our recommendations in nearby Marisciano and Panicale.

City Links: – Very nice, clean, helpful Italian site. – Good Site, but in Italian! – Good Site, but in Italian! – Umbria Jazz – Universita’ per Stranieri