The Heart of Perugia, Italia

DSC_1064
My apartment building felt like it was out of some vintage Italian film. [Via Bartolo]
DSC_0682
Some of the best afternoons were spent exploring with my camera.
DSC_0652
I fell in love with the details of Perugia, especially the flower pots from the balconies.

I’ve been meaning to write some love about my beautiful city for a while now. When I mean a while, I mean for months. I’ve put it off because I don’t really know how to give this city justice…but I sure as hell can try.

I believe each city has its own personality; Perugia really makes you fall in love so effortlessly. I love how the city feeds off of the energy of the people. It’s not just a beautiful city. It’s medieval history is vividly shown through this epic ‘underground world’ that reminds me of something out of Harry Potter. The heart–or the core of Perugia is in it’s authenticity. Its found everywhere– in every restaurant, the always tempting goodies at pasticceria Sandri on display while walking Corso Vanucci, and freshly made cannolis that always run out before lunch time from that cafe that I still don’t know the actual name of. Because food is such an essential part of culture and travel, I had to share a few of my favorites in Perugia.

DSC_0025
This photo was taken as the last (for now) time at my favorite spot
when my family came to visit after my backpacking trip.
Taken during our first week, roommate out for lunch at Pizza Med for our first time
Taken during our first week, roommates out for lunch at Pizza Med for our first time.
They are the best.

Pizza Mediterranea  Better Neaopolitain pizza than I had in Napoli. These brick-oven crafted personal pizzas will raise your standards for pizza, forever. Just trust me. My friends made fun of me because I literally ALWAYS wanted to go here. I have no shame because it’s the best. We even had an accidental tradition of getting Pizza Mediterranea after weekends of traveling because it was a comfort of coming back home to Perugia. On warm days, you’ll see locals taking their pizza to-go and enjoying it on the steps near Fontana Maggiore.  Best for causal lunch/dinner date [Piazza Piccinino 11/12 Da Antonio]

This nook pizzeria is perfect for a quick slice of pizza.

DSC_0565

La Taverna Try the truffle ravioli, a house specialty and Umbrian dish that made me not only like, but love truffles. Each table is treated with complementary champagne, a veggie appetizer, and their homemade chocolate liquor.  I can’t recommend this restaurant enough–it’s a true Perugian experience. Best for impressing your family and your hot date. [Via delle Streghe]

Caffe Morlacchi This coffee shop is usually filled with Italian university students quickly taking their 1/7 espresso by the bar. My roommate Sammi discovered this place the first week or so and it easily became my go-to space to study or meet up place for a pastry and espresso macchiato. The prices are student-budget friendly and they have live music every week.[Piazza Morlacchi 6/8]

DSC_0006
No need for any excuses to sit, relax, laugh, eat, and drink on the steps–
it’s just what you do in Perugia.

Internationally, Perugia is known for Umbria Jazz, a festival held in July in the center of the city (just near my old apartment) and Eurochocolate, the chocolate festival held in the fall. Baci is Perugia’s most iconic hazelnut chocolate that is hard to miss while traveling throughout Italy. I even spotted it in “Little Italy” in San Francisco and instantly felt that Perugian love. The best part is that Perugian chocolate isn’t the sweetest part of the city…it’s the insanely beautiful views from the hilltop city that make it unforgettable.

DSC_1778
I was so blessed to have my favorite view of Perugia just up the stairs from my old apartment.
DSC_0002
A view of Via Appia, one of the most photographed parts of Perugia.
A vintage postcard I found in CA a year before I came to Perugia. Took this photo the last day I left as a reminder of how far I've come to get to where I am today.
A vintage postcard I found in CA a year before I came to Perugia.
Took this photo the last day I left as a reminder of how far I’ve come to get to where I am today.

Huge thanks to the talented Stephen Doyle for creating this video, gives me goosebumps every time.

I make a little appearance presenting research from my semester internship!

For more about my program, check out the Umbra Institute website or feel free to leave me a comment!

“The Little Blue” is a blog created by two awesome friends/staff members all on Perugia. Early in the semester, I started collaborating with them by updating photos.

4 Months Later

Four months ago I sat anxiously in the car as my dad drove me to the San Francisco airport.

It was 3 in the morning.

This is when I knew I was about to experience something life changing. My stomach started to have that aching feeling like when you’re about to go on a roller coaster or about to have an important interview. Leaving behind expectations and the familiarity of home, I was ready for an experience that would change me forever.

285276_10151215023351841_102742279_n

It’s now my last night in the apartment; my friends have now left Perugia, some back to the States, others traveling with their family. I really don’t know what was more difficult: not knowing when I’d see them again, or the realization that our adventures in Europe have come to an end.

My bed in our vintage apartment.
My bed, we said our apartment looked like a cute grandmother lived here before us

And to be honest, I can’t find the right words to describe the past few months, or how strange it feels that my time in Perugia is ending so abruptly. I wish I could accurately describe how incredible it feels when you experience a country for the first time, the exhilaration of feeling like anything is possible, and the heart-warming comfort of Perugia after a long week of traveling.

I am cognizant of the over-whelming appreciation I have felt literally everyday– towards my supporting family and friends back at home, as well as the friends that I like to call family here in Perugia.

Even though my time in Perugia is over for now, I am comforted knowing this simple truthif life is the adventure, then the adventure never really ends. 

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” -Jack Kerouac

Here’s to living fearlessly, with every intention of discovering something new. Off on my backpacking adventure.

Weekend trip to Bologna, Italia

ticket

bologna
Chiara and Meg
DSC_0062
Thinking of our friend Frida at this adorable floral shop
DSC_0068
Falling in love with these gorgeous flowers in particular
DSC_0064
I brought back asparagus to Perugia, all the fresh produce looked amazing
DSC_0043
One of many outdoor bands playing in the center square
DSC_0051
fresh, home-made for sale at a local shop

Known in Italia as a popular college town, Bologna has great shopping, outdoor musicians, and classic Bolognese pasta dishes of course. It reminded me of a larger Perugia. Our original “plan” was to eat our way through Bologna, stay the night, and leave for Verona the next day. We ended up staying in Bologna– we had to take advantage of the beautiful weather and keep eating pasta and drinking wine for 2 and half  hours (rough life, I know). My favorite area to explore is the market alley-way off of albergo delle drapperie, you can’t walk past the fresh produce and markets without feeling tempted to buy something.

After aperitivo (Italian tradition of pre-meal drinks and snacks), we met a group of friendly Italians from Milano celebrating their friend’s 23rd birthday at the table next to ours. We laughed when I got showered with gifts of a red rose and light-up mini mouse ears while we ate our dinner. Because they were some of the most sincere, non-creepy guys we’ve met this semester, we went out dancing after dinner and got a feel of the night life in Bologna. I know when I look back on this trip, I’ll be reminded of how this city brings out the fun and carefree side of it’s vistors.

Roaming around Roma

roma
Pretty outdoor lights above a glass bead shop
DSC_1574
vintage inspired postcards
DSC_1509
Spanish steps with Meg
DSC_1590
The second gelato of the day
DSC_1645
Witnessing The Notebook roma edition 😉

A day trip to Roma from Perugia means the plan is no plan. I went to wander the city in the sun and fell in love with the romance, history, and sweets of the eternal city.

il dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing…

 

Secrets of the city

Perugia

I’ve been living in Europe for a little over a month now. I’m learning to tune out the comfort of falling into a routine–I want to keep my wanderlust boundless. Granted, I have classes Mondays through Thursdays, but I believe that studying abroad is unique in comparison to traveling from place to place. It’s a luxury of  living the culture, rather than just seeing it. The lingering smell of Nutella-filled sugar donuts from the “illegal bakery” at midnight as I walk to my friend’s apartment is not a tourist attraction (it should be), but it makes me feel like I actually live in Perugia. Simply seeing a beautiful landmark and taking a photo of it is drastically different from knowing which crannies of cobblestone alleyways take you there. It’s the smile from the owner of my favorite pizzeria I visit religiously that reminds me that choosing a small town like Perugia was the right decision.

It’s easy to see the beauty of a city–it’s harder to seek out the hidden treasures, because it usually requires a dose of courage and spontaneity. And so far, that’s when my experiences get especially memorable.

Perugia, Italia

Perugia’s holiday: Feast of San Contanzo

di San Costanzo
torcolo & sweet wine

In celebration of San Contanzo, the saint of Perugia, I took a break from classes to get into the cultural spirit of the city on my own. A tent in the center of the palazzo welcomed everyone to enjoy free torcolo cake (more like a soft bread) filled with candied fruit. At first I grabbed one piece, but after seeing the locals grab three or four pieces each, I of course went back to grab more (couldn’t resist). I’m not sure if it was because I was hungry or because it was something new (probably both), but I loved it! I was then handed a small cup of dessert wine as I made my way out of the crowd.

I decided to relax and enjoy the treats on the steps near the church, a popular place to sit back and admire the city center.

In that very moment, I was completely content.

Perugia Feast, Holiday
Palazzo dei Priori
tradition
Torcolo of San Costanzo at a local pasty shop

Day trip to Gubbio, Italia

Gubbio, italy

Gubbio, Italy

Gubbio

Gubbio

Photo credit: Mike Spagnoli, the Californian-solo-traveler we picked up off the streets and invited to dinner. Instant friends! Any fear of heights had to be put on pause for the lift to see the gorgeous view of the city… we all felt a little more adventurous after the ride down (especially Meg) 🙂 The unexpected hike in wedges was enough to remind me I can do anything…

Gubbio, Italy, Nature

 

Gubbio, Cafe

Chiara and one of my roommates, Sammi, relaxing at a local caffè after taking the lift down the mountain to catch a priceless view of the city (highlight of the trip). Gubbio is rich in 15th century history; we even had the opportunity to experience it for the first time with Chiara to visit her family’s homeland.  A quick 45 minute, 9 euro bus ride from Perugia, Gubbio is a fun day trip and another beautiful Umbrian city to appreciate.

DSC_0877

Romancing: La dolce vita

la dolce vita

It’s the details in the architecture, the fresh flower pots outside the windows of the pastel painted houses, the couple kissing in the middle of the chaos of people– Europe is the epitome of romantic.

At first I thought it was just the ‘honeymoon phase’ of traveling, maybe even my hopeless romantic spirit,  but a conversation with a local Italian (with impressive English) solidified my thoughts: “The daily life in Europe is very different in Europe than in the States… how we live life” he said. A culture of not rushing through the day, but savoring it all– especially that Italian “breakfast” of a nutella-filled pastry and a cappuccino.

I could get used to la dolce vita.

Explore italy

http://inperugia.com/photo-of-the-day/perugia-on-jan-8th-exploring-the-streets-of-perugia/

The Art of Pasta-Making

Image

I kid you not, I’ve had pasta every day since I arrived to Italy a week ago. A group of us got the luxury to learn the skill of fresh, authentic pasta-making at an Italian farm down from Perugia’s hillside. Although the lesson was in Italian, the owner  and I both had a burst of laughter once I not-so-gracefully broke the egg shells into the flour in front of the whole group.

To have your own homemade pasta, start by scrambling 3 fresh eggs with flour and a dab of water to make the dough. Once evenly mixed, roll out the dough into a thin circular shape. Then cut into any pasta shape (we made fettuccine).  Fresh pasta takes usually less than 3 minutes to cook and it’s common to have it al dente in firmness (“to the bite” in Italian). This simple Italian classic differs from each region in Italy, depending on the city’s specialty. Perugia is known for Umbricelli all’aglione pasta with a Bolognese sauce.

Delizioso!