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.

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

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!