Waking fresh & early and under a scorching sun, it was finally time to wave goodbye to our small stay in Florence, and embark upon a stuffy air con-free train towards the well known town of Perugia, home of Franca’s former student past as a scholar of Perugia University and the four obligatory crazy & frantic student-life years that came with it.
Arriving into Perugia we had a slight detour to check in with Franca’s former student housemate, hometown friend and hostus maximus: Alessandra.
With bags dropped & faces refreshed, we set off from the lower part of the city and moved in the direction of the centre placed directly on the top on the hill. Walking up the steep incline on some of the roads & sporadic park paths took it’s toll on some already tired legs but we made it to the top of the plateau intact with a fantastic view to behold.
I can’t even begin to imagine the stress on someones back & arms trying to carry an armful of textbooks & papers up those slopes from the student accommodation on the outskirts of town. Just imagine trying to cycle up for an early morning lecture with a backpack filled to the brim. Lucky we weren’t staying in the middle of town too, our spines may have imploded under the weight of our backpacks.
Standing on the top of the former fortification walls, staring out to the hills & the town of Assisi it was pleasant to survey the surrounding hillsides & pockets of houses that encircle the centre & the view alone was worth every step that we took.
Franca informed me that towards the direction that her finger was pointing was the small town of Assisi, home of the well know Dr. Doolittle of his time – St. Francis of Assisi. We discussed the town & it’s relatively close distance & decided that taking a ten minute train journey in that direction would be a great idea for the forthcoming days.
– Click through to see pictures from our day trip to Assisi
Having made our decisions, we made towards the main high street of the town where regular Italian brands line the way and people go about their daily rituals of morning coffees, midday coffees & a coffee to round off the day. There was one shop of note that I enjoyed, however. An independent record shop with a wide-open shop front, speaker on the floor & pumping out tracks from my favourite album of the year ‘2:54 – 2:54’.
A pleasant surprise & break from the trip, we took to viewing the cd racks that – rather than have them side on or face-to-back in pockets (as is usually the norm) – they were in racks in a style that you’d normally associate with posters & that they were all locked in so that to see the other side you had to flip the rack & take a look. Unusual but interesting.
Continuing to walk along the street we came to a small collection of people gathering around an artificial football pitch smack-bang in the middle of the pedestrianized high street. Slowly more streams of people arrived, kids with their parents in tow & passers-by who can’t help but stop & stare and see what was going to happen.
Together we decided that we’d just briefly continue to walk around the centre of the town whilst the sun was still high in the sky & then perhaps we pass back by the gathering crowds before re-meeting our friend Alessandra.
At the very top of the high street is a magnificent square that features many spending buildings, including Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (pictured above), this building to the right…
…which, though I couldn’t see the history behind, I did love the look of it. With its classic lines, French-origins in design & the lovely effect that the many decades of sun has had on the lime green paint.
Amongst the other buildings there are a few apartments with shops occupying the bottom, but the main feature building was the Palazzo del Priori.
A magnificent building which an almost Moroccan-styled appearance with it’s flat roof & elegant windows, with the fountain in front as a feature, this former local government building must have been real statement of affluence to those in the area coming into town for business.
As we travel into more towns it strikes me that the most regal of buildings always seem to be where the taxes were paid or the government sat & conducted their daily roles. Probably just a coincidence, no?
As with most big business – or now in the world of global big business – headquaters or offical buildings tend to be built not only for the celebration of those who occupy the premises, but also as a feat of engineering & a site of pride for those who are customers of the organisation or local residents proud of what their town can achieve, and offer.
If someone builds a magnificent building in my town, other people may want to come and see it much like we’re choosing to do the same in other peoples. That’s how travelling begins. That’s how tourism begins.
If it wasn’t for buildings such as this, there might not be much reason for others to pass through.
Briefly we stopped to rest our feet on the church steps. Throughout the day people sit on these steps to rest or to catch up with friends and – going back some decades & centuries – even talk business with colleagues.
Looking down this pedestrianized street – Corso Vannucci – we saw that the crowds around the football pitch were beginning to swell, so cutting short our walk of the town we hopped down the steps & lazily strolled on over to wait for the matches to begin.
– Check back later this week to read more from our time in Perugia.