italian jaunt: perugia and assisi
perugia, the capital of umbria is a medieval hill town. like bologna it has a large and lively student population. the architecture is obviously very different to bologna (more stone, less bricks plus small sloping and winding streets rather than flat roads) but, having just over a third of the population it has a very different energy.
the town is perched atop a hill which if, like us, you are staying at the bottom can be quite a climb. however this was my first encounter with the fabulous concept of outdoor escalators which help people explore the town from top to bottom, and vice-versa.
our favourite place in perugia was bottega di vino (via del sole, 1), an atmospheric enoteca which serves a wide selection of local wines – the staff have a lot of knowledge which they are more than happy to share – and fabulous aperitivos. in fact, their aperitivos were my favourite of the trip – slices of toasted bread either drizzled with olive oil or topped with a rich warm liver pate. we visited several times, enjoying the candle-light, jazz soundtrack and friendly service and, as a result, i now know that i like chianti. this one, which tastes of fruit, cocoa and tobacco according to the helpful barman, if we’re being specific…
as well as whiling away our time in the bottega we explored the town, collecting fabulous cakes from sandrini (corso vannucci, 32), and enjoying the views of the rolling umbrian countryside as we peeked over the town walls.
a day-trip by train to assisi was fabulous albeit crazy touristy busy! the basilica of san francesco d'assisi is truly stunning and i don’t think i’ll ever forget the luxurious decoration of painted frescoes that it contains.
our visit was only short but we did manage to find time to call into the gran caffe (corso mazzini, 16) which is an elegant coffee shop serving bEaUtiful cakes aMD biscuits (i selected several to accompany a rich, thick hot chocolate) and gelati (david succumbed, obviously).