Perugia is a large city in Umbria, just south of the Tuscan area where we are staying.
It is located on the usual high spot and is best known for its chocolate and Amanda Knox. The murder case that involved Knox surprisingly was the first homicide in this very busy city of 165,000 in 20 years or so.
Most car activity in the city center is removed to garages and parking lots, and there are lots of stairs and escalators up to the center. Greg’s Dad had warned him about driving in Perugia, so we took the first parking lot we saw. Our arrival after a steep climb, offered a little surprise since the final set of escalators leads you into the lower chambers of the medieval Rocca Paolino fortress, built by a Pope in the mid 1500’s. This basement of the former Papal Palace today hosts an underground city, with some art exhibits and lots of chocolate gift shop space.
There are the usual beautiful buildings, public squares and winding narrow passageways that are fun to explore. So much stone, brick and archways everywhere.
In the main square, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo is full of medieval art, with extensive ceiling paintings. One chapel in the rear of the church has numerous locks, and on display there is what is purported to be the wedding ring of the Virgin Mary, non-metallic in appearance and much larger than our idea of a such a ring.
There is a big university presence in the old town, with several universities including one for American students studying abroad.
As we came into town, we noticed an unsightly factory-looking complex that houses the Perugina chocolate company, which is now owned by Nestles.