Perugia: The Complete Guide

Umbria-perugia

Nestled in the heart of Italy, Perugia is one of the country’s oldest centers, celebrated for its vibrant social life, rich university heritage, and much more. This modern city, steeped in history, stands atop a hill in the Tiber Valley and serves as the capital of Umbria. Known as a city of art and a lively cultural hub, Perugia’s medieval origins are evident in its fortified village structure, surrounded by a mighty city wall.

The city boasts top-tier museums, stunning natural landscapes, and a famous chocolate industry, celebrated annually at the delectable Eurochocolate festival. Whether you’re drawn by its historical charm, cultural vibrancy, or sweet treats, Perugia offers a unique blend of past and present around every corner.

History of Perugia

Ancient Origins: Perugia’s history dates back to ancient times, with evidence of settlements as far back as the Etruscan period. The city, originally known as Perusia, was one of the twelve cities of the Etruscan League and played a significant role in the region. Remnants of this era include sections of the ancient city walls and the well-preserved Etruscan Arch, also known as the Arch of Augustus, which stands as a testament to the city’s early importance.

Roman Era: In 310 BCE, Perugia was conquered by the Romans, who further developed the city. It became a significant Roman municipium, integrating Roman culture and infrastructure while maintaining its Etruscan roots. The city continued to thrive under Roman rule, becoming a hub for trade and politics in the region.

Medieval Period: During the Middle Ages, Perugia experienced substantial growth and prosperity. It became a free commune in the 12th century and developed into a prominent medieval city. The construction of the imposing city walls, numerous churches, and public buildings during this period highlights its medieval significance. Perugia was also known for its internal conflicts and power struggles among noble families, such as the Baglioni and Oddi, which shaped much of its medieval history.

Renaissance and Papal Rule: The Renaissance brought further cultural and architectural development to Perugia. The city became a center of art and learning, attracting artists like Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, who taught Raphael. However, this period also saw Perugia come under the control of the Papal States in the 16th century, following the Salt War (1540) against Pope Paul III, which ended in the city’s defeat and subjugation.

Modern Era: Perugia continued to evolve over the centuries, balancing its rich historical heritage with modern growth. The establishment of the University of Perugia in 1308 marked it as a center for education and scholarship, a status it still holds today. The city played a role in the Risorgimento, the movement for Italian unification, and was integrated into the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century.

Cultural and Economic Development: In contemporary times, Perugia is renowned not only for its historical and cultural heritage but also for its vibrant social scene and economic activities. The city is famous for its chocolate production, celebrated annually at the Eurochocolate festival, and continues to be a major educational hub with its prestigious university attracting students from around the world.

Visiting Perugia for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Perugia on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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24 Best places to See in Perugia

This complete guide to Perugia not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Perugia and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, Perugia

Perugia, Palazzo Del Capitano Del Popolo
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Gianni Careddu
Originally known as Piazza Sopramuro, meaning “Plaza Above the Wall,” Piazza Matteotti was established in the 13th century on the edge of a steep cliff. The name derives from the supporting walls built against the hillside to uphold the square. Until 1472, this elevated plaza served as a bustling marketplace with panoramic views of the […]
Location: Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, Perugia

We recommend to rent a car in Italy through Discover Cars, they compare prices and review multiple car rental agencies. Book your rental car here.

Piazza IV Novembre

Umbria-perugia
At the end of World War I, Perugia’s main square was renamed Piazza IV Novembre to commemorate the date of the surrender of Austria-Hungarian forces to Italy. In Perugia, all roads lead to Piazza IV Novembre, as it serves as the starting point for the city’s five main thoroughfares, historically known as the “Royal Streets.” […]
Location: Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Piazza IV Novembre

Explore Perugia yourself with our self-guided walking tour!

Fontana Maggiore 

Fontana Maggiore, Perugia
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Monica
Boninsegna Veneziano achieved a remarkable feat of hydraulics, making water flow uphill without pumps. By using a forced pressure duct, he channeled water from Monte Pacciano to the acropolis of Perugia through a new aqueduct. In 1275, fra Bevignate da Cingoli built the Great Fountain to celebrate this engineering marvel. Construction and Design: The fountain, […]
Location: Fontana Maggiore, Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Fontana Maggiore 

Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall)

Palazzo Dei Priori, Perugia
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Robertofavini
The Town Hall of Perugia, a prime example of the eta comunale style of public palaces from the 11th century, is situated on Piazza IV Novembre, extending along Corso Vannucci to Via Boncambi. This historic building remains an integral part of the town hall and houses the National Gallery of Umbria. Architectural Evolution: The Town […]
Location: Palazzo dei Priori, Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Tuesday to Friday 8:30 – 19:00 Monday From April 1 to October 31: 12:00-19:30 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Palazzo dei Priori (Town Hall)

National Gallery of Umbria

National Gallery Of Umbria
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Sailko
Located on the upper floors of Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia’s historic center, the National Gallery of Umbria (Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria) boasts an impressive collection of artwork spanning from the 13th to the 19th century, including many pieces by Pietro Vannucci, known locally as Perugino. These collections are among the most comprehensive in Umbria, showcasing […]
Location: National Gallery, Corso Pietro Vannucci, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Tuesday to Friday 8:30 – 19:00 Monday From April 1 to October 31: 12:00-19:30 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting National Gallery of Umbria

House Museum of Palazzo Sorbello

House Museum Of Palazzo Sorbello
CC BY-SA 4.0 / PozzoEtrusco
Steps from Piazza IV Novembre and the Etruscan Well in Perugia’s historic center, the House Museum of Palazzo Sorbello (Casa Museo di Palazzo Sorbello) offers a fascinating look into the residence of the noble Bourbon and Ranieri di Sorbello families. Guided Tours: Guided tours, available in both English and Italian, last about 30 minutes and […]
Location: Palazzo Sorbello Casa Museo, Piazza Piccinino, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Spring/Summer: Monday-Saturday 10:30am – 2:00pm Fall/Winter: Monday-Friday 11:00am – 2:00pm | Price: €4 | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting House Museum of Palazzo Sorbello

Nobile Collegio del Cambio

Collegio Del Cambio
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Accurimbono
Located just steps from Palazzo dei Priori and the National Gallery of Umbria (Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria) and near the Nobile Collegio della Mercanzia (The Merchants Guild), the Nobile Collegio del Cambio (Money Changers Guild) is situated on Corso Vannucci. Visitors can purchase a combined ticket for both “Collegio” museums, saving .50 cents, and explore these […]
Location: Nobile Collegio del Cambio, Corso Pietro Vannucci, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Everyday 10:00am – 19:00pm Closed: December 25, January 1, and Monday afternoons from November 2nd to March 31st | Price: €4.50 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Nobile Collegio del Cambio

Nobile Collegio della Mercanzia

Perugia - Collegio Della Mercanzia
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Accurimbono
The Nobile Collegio della Mercanzia (The Merchants Guild) is conveniently located on Corso Vannucci, just steps from Palazzo dei Priori and the National Gallery of Umbria (Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria), and near the Nobile Collegio del Cambio (Money Changers Guild). Visitors can purchase a combined ticket for both “Collegio” museums, saving .50 cents, and explore these […]
| Hours: March 1 to October 31: Tuesday to Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm, 2:30pm-5:30pm, Sundays & Holidays 9am-1pm. Closed Mondays November 1 to February 28: Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays 8:00am-2:00pm, Wednesdays & Saturdays 8am-4:30pm, Sundays & Holidays 9:00am-1:00pm. Closed on Mondays Closed on January 1st and December 25th. | Price: €1.50 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Nobile Collegio della Mercanzia

The Etruscan Well

The Etruscan Well
CC BY-SA 4.0 / PozzoEtrusco
The entrance to the Pozzo Etrusco (Etruscan Well) in Perugia is easily missed, even when you’re actively searching for it. While the upper portion of the well is visible just around the corner in Piazza Piccinino, the subterranean museum portion is tucked away at the end of a narrow medieval passageway and partially hidden by […]
Location: Etruscan Well, Piazza Ignazio Danti, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00 am – 1.30 pm, 2.30 pm – 6.00 pm The museum is closed on Monday afternoons from May 2 to July 10 | Price: €3, € 6.00 Combined ticket (Etruscan Well & House Museum of Palazzo Sorbello) | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting The Etruscan Well

Monument of Pietro Vannucci "Perugino"

Monument Of Pietro Vannucci Perugino
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Gianni Careddu
The sculptural complex conceived by Quattrini features an all-round figure of the great master, modeled after his self-portrait in the Collegio del Cambio. In his left hand, the artist holds the end of his “robone” (ceremonial dress) wrapped around his figure; in his right hand, he holds a bundle of spread sheets, one of which […]
Location: Corso Pietro Vannucci, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Monument of Pietro Vannucci "Perugino"

Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso

Palazzo Baldeschi Perugia
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso
Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso is the former residence of Baldo degli Ubaldi, a renowned 14th-century Italian jurist. In 1369, Ubaldi decided to split from his brothers and expanded his existing dwelling by merging it with neighboring properties along Corso Vannucci, Via Danzetta, Via Baldo, Via dello Struzzo, and Via Baglioni. Architectural Evolution The building underwent […]
Location: Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso, Corso Pietro Vannucci, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Tuesday - Thursday: 3:00 pm - 7:30 pm; Friday - Sunday: 11:00 am - 1:30 pm / 2:30 pm - 7:30 pm | Price: €4 | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Perugia

Perugia - Cattedrale Di San Lorenzo
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Undergrowth90
The Duomo di Perugia, also known as the Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Lorenzo, is a Roman Catholic church and the most prominent religious site in Perugia. Construction and Architecture Notable Features Artistic Highlights Summary The Duomo di Perugia is not only a significant religious site but also a repository of rich historical and artistic heritage. […]
Location: Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: From Monday to Saturday 8.30/12.30 – 15.30/19.30 Sunday and holidays 8.30/12.30 – 15.00/19.00 | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Perugia

Civic Museum at Palazzo della Penna

Palazzo Penna - Bertel Thorvaldsen
CC BY-SA 2.0 / G.dallorto
The Civic Museum at Palazzo della Penna (Museo Civico Palazzo della Penna) is housed in the former 17th-century residence of Ascanio della Penna, a nobleman passionate about collecting fine art during his service to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The building is constructed on the ruins of a Roman amphitheater and an ancient Roman road, […]
Location: Museo Civico di Palazzo della Penna, Via Prospero Podiani, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Summer Season (May-October): Tuesdays – Sundays 10:00 am–7:00 pm April and August Only: Open 7 days a week: 10:00 am–7:00 pm Winter Season (November – March): Tuesdays – Sundays 10:00 am-6:00 pm | Price: € 3 | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Civic Museum at Palazzo della Penna

Underground Perugia

Perugia, the largest city in Umbria, boasts a rich history owing to its strategic hilltop position overlooking Lake Trasimeno and guarding the Apennine mountain passes. What makes Perugia unique is its visible layers of history, both above and below ground. Visitors can explore remnants of Etruscan and Roman temples, ancient churches, and medieval city sections […]
Location: Museo del Capitolo di San Lorenzo, Piazza IV Novembre, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: From 28 January to 15 July and from 15 September to 23 December: Monday-Friday 10.30am - 12.30pm / 2.30pm - 6.30pm Guided tours every 60 minutes. Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10.30am - 12.30pm / 2.30pm - 6.30pm Guided tours every 30 minutes.From 16 July to 14 September and from 26 December to 7 January: Monday-Sunday 10.30 - 12.30 / 14.30 - 18.30 Guided tours every 30 minutes. | Price: €10 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Underground Perugia
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Piazza Italia

Piazza Italia,Perugia
CC BY-SA 3.0 / trolvag
Riding the escalators from the underground car park of Piazza Partigiani, through the massive Paolina Fortress, and under the portico of the Government Palace, established in 1870, one arrives at Piazza Italia. This square was constructed to commemorate the events of 1860-1861 that led to the final unification of Italy, marking the rebirth of the […]
Location: Piazza Italia, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Piazza Italia

Rocca Paolina

Rocca Paolina A Perugia
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Andrea Biagi
The Rocca Paolina, built in 1540 by Pope Paul III after Perugia’s defeat in the Salt War, is a striking medieval fortress now serving as an evocative underground maze. This labyrinth of passageways includes portions of ancient towers, massive chambers, vaulted ceilings, and even remnants of a communal bread-baking oven. The area once belonged to […]
Location: Rocca Paolina, Piazza Italia, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Rocca: Daily 6:15am-2:00am C.E.R.P: Tuesday to Sunday 11:00 – 19:00 | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Rocca Paolina

National Archeological Museum of Perugia

Perugia, Museo Archeologico Nazionale Dell’Umbria
CC BY-SA 3.0 / SBAUmbria
The National Archaeological Museum of Perugia (Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell’Umbria) is an expansive and fascinating destination housed in a former Dominican monastery founded in 1223. The museum is filled with ancient finds from the Paleolithic, Bronze, and early Iron Ages, unearthed from settlements, caves, and burial sites throughout central Italy, including Umbrian and Etruscan cities […]
Location: National Archaeological Museum of Umbria, Piazza Giordano Bruno, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 8:30am – 7:30pm, Mondays 10am-7:30pm. Closed on January 1st and December 25th. | Price: €5 | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting National Archeological Museum of Perugia

Etruscan Arch

Etruscan Arch
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Bibopg79
Perugia was one of the principal Etruscan towns, with its external walls, dating back to the third century BC (with some parts from the fourth century BC), still standing as a testament to its historical significance. The entire perimeter of these walls is about three kilometers (1.5 miles) long, with many sections still visible, while […]
Location: Etruscan Arch, Via Ulisse Rocchi, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Etruscan Arch

Acquedotto Medievale, Perugia

Acquedotto Medievale Perugia
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Comune di Perugia
The construction of Perugia’s aqueduct began in 1254 and was completed in 1280 under the supervision of Fra Bevignate and Boninsegna da Venezia. Spanning approximately 4 kilometers, this remarkable feat of hydraulic engineering was designed to transport water from Monte Pacciano to the Fontana Maggiore. The aqueduct utilized a pressure-forced duct to direct water uphill. […]
Location: Acquedotto medievale di Perugia, Via Appia, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Acquedotto Medievale, Perugia
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Museum Workshop Giuditta Brozzetti

Museum Workshop Giuditta Brozzetti
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Giada6455
Perugia’s Museum Workshop Giuditta Brozzetti (Il Museo-Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti) is a gem located about a 15-minute walk from Piazza IV Novembre. Housed inside the former 13th-century church, Ex Chiesa di San Francesco delle Donne, where Saint Francis and his disciples once lived and prayed, this museum is dedicated to preserving traditional Umbrian hand weaving techniques. […]
Location: Via Tiberio Berardi, 5/6, 06123 Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 – 18:00 Saturday and Sunday by Appointment Only. | Distance: 0.90km
Visiting Museum Workshop Giuditta Brozzetti

Basilica di San Pietro, Perugia

Basilica Di San Pietro, Perugia
CC BY-SA 4.0 / AliasXX00
The Basilica di San Pietro, part of the Catholic abbey established in 996 by Abbot Pietro Vincioli (later canonized as Saint Peter), stands on the foundations of a former cathedral reportedly built as early as the 4th century AD for the first bishopric of Perugia. The land beneath the basilica had been sacred to the […]
Location: Abbazia di San Pietro, Borgo XX Giugno, Perugia, Province of Perugia, Italy | Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays h. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm / 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm The church is free for worshippers Sundays and Mondays h. 7:30 pm - 12:30 pm / 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Price: €6 | Website | Distance: 1.10km
Visiting Basilica di San Pietro, Perugia

Necropolis of Palazzone & Hypogeum of Volumni

Hypogeum Of The Volumnis, Perugia
CC BY-SA 3.0 / CyArk
The Necropolis of Palazzone is an ancient Etruscan burial site located near Perugia, in the hamlet of Ponte San Giovanni. It extends across a hill that historically overlooked the road descending towards the Tiber River. This extensive necropolis comprises over 200 tombs, making it one of the most significant and well-preserved Etruscan burial grounds in […]
Location: Ipogeo dei Volumni e Necropoli del Palazzone Via Assisana, 53 06126 Perugia PG Italy | Distance: 3.60km
Visiting Necropolis of Palazzone & Hypogeum of Volumni

Porta Sant'Angelo, Perugia

Porta Sant’Angelo
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ricci Mariagrazia
Porta San Michele, the largest medieval gate in Perugia, stands as a testament to the city’s rich historical and architectural heritage. It is the largest medieval gate in Perugia, fortified by Ambrogio Maitani in 1326, is part of the 14th-century city walls. With its multiple construction phases, strategic importance, and symbolic associations, the gate is […]
Location: porta Sant'Angelo, Via dell'Isola Romana, Bastia Umbra, Province of Perugia, Italy | Distance: 13.60km
Visiting Porta Sant'Angelo, Perugia

Castiglione del Lago

Castiglione Del Lago
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Hagai Agmon-Snir
Castiglione del Lago is a picturesque town located in the province of Perugia, Umbria, in central Italy. It is situated on the southwest corner of Lake Trasimeno. The town is approximately 59 km (37 mi) from Orvieto to the south, 21 km (13 mi) from Chiusi to the southwest, 56 km (35 mi) from Arezzo […]
Location: Castiglione del Lago, Province of Perugia, Italy | Distance: 27.90km
Visiting Castiglione del Lago
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Best Time to Visit Perugia

Spring (April to June): Spring is one of the best times to visit Perugia. The weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). The city is adorned with blooming flowers, and the countryside is lush and green. This season is perfect for exploring Perugia’s outdoor attractions, such as its gardens, parks, and the surrounding Umbrian landscapes.

Fall (September to October): Fall is another ideal time to visit Perugia. The temperatures are comfortable, generally between 15°C and 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it pleasant for walking around the city and enjoying outdoor activities. The fall foliage adds a beautiful touch to the scenery. Additionally, the city is less crowded than during the summer, providing a more relaxed atmosphere for sightseeing.

Summer (July to August): Summer in Perugia can be quite warm, with temperatures often reaching 30°C (86°F) or higher. While this is the peak tourist season, the city can become crowded, especially during the Umbria Jazz Festival in July. If you enjoy lively atmospheres and cultural events, summer is a great time to experience the city’s vibrant social scene. However, be prepared for higher accommodation prices and larger crowds.

Winter (November to March): Winter is the least popular time to visit Perugia, but it has its own charm. The weather is cooler, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F). While some outdoor attractions may be less accessible, this season offers a quieter and more intimate experience. The Christmas season is particularly charming, with festive decorations and local celebrations. Additionally, winter visitors can benefit from lower accommodation prices and fewer tourists.

Average Temperatures in Perugia

  • January 12°C 8
  • February 14°C 10
  • March 16°C 9
  • April 20°C 8
  • May 26°C 10
  • June 32°C 8
  • July 36°C 6
  • August 35°C 5
  • September 28°C 11
  • October 24°C 11
  • November 17°C 15
  • December 12°C 10

How to get to Perugia

By Air: For those flying, the closest airport is Sant’Egidio Airport, also known as Perugia San Francesco d’Assisi – Umbria International Airport, located just 12 kilometers from the city center. From the airport, you can easily reach Perugia by taxi or by using the shuttle bus service that operates between the airport and the city.

By Train: If you are traveling by train, you can connect from major cities like Florence and Rome. Direct trains run regularly from Roma Termini to Perugia. The journey takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. You can also take a high-speed train to Florence and transfer to a regional train to Perugia.  I always recommend to book your train tickets in advance as prices tend to be lower!

Book your train tickets to Perugia.

By Bus: Several bus companies, including FlixBus and Sulga, offer direct services from Rome’s Tiburtina bus station to Perugia. The bus journey can be a bit longer compared to trains but can be more economical, providing a comfortable travel experience with scenic views along the way.

By Car: Alternatively, you can drive to Perugia as part of a more extensive Italian itinerary. Renting a car and exploring Italy by road offers an incredible experience, allowing you to witness more of Umbria’s stunning countryside and venture off the beaten path.

We recommend to rent a car in Italy through Discover Cars, they compare prices and review multiple car rental agencies. Book your rental car here.

Local Transportation in Perugia: Perugia has a comprehensive local bus network operated by Umbria Mobilità, connecting the city center with surrounding areas. Additionally, the MiniMetro is a light rail system that links the lower part of the city with the historic center, providing a convenient way to navigate the city’s steep terrain. Taxis are readily available throughout Perugia, and car rental services can be found at the airport and in the city center for those looking to explore the surrounding region.

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