Perugina Chocolate

The Umbria Region of Italy

Umbria is a great region of Italy next to the more famous and crowded Tuscany. It is home to many great small cities worth a visit. Some of the cities we love are:

  1. Perugia
  2. Assisi
  3. Orvieto

Perugia is home to Italy’s famous Chocolate, Perugina. You can tour the factory outside of Perugia. Perugia itself has a wonderful historic center with some great hotels and restaurants.   If you are driving, the roads are very narrow and tight. Don’t try to bring a larger car into this area. There is great parking at the foot of the hill leading to the historical center. Escalators take you up the hill.

Assisi is home to Saint Francis. It is a wonderful hill town. The Saint Francis church there is a huge double church (one one top of the other) and the crypt houses his body. His original small church is inside a large church outside Assisi. Both are worth a visit.

Orvieto is a wonderful hill town with great views of the surrounding area. You can take good train service from Rome to Orvieto. Across the street from the train station is the Funicular that takes you up the hill to Orvieto. The cathedral here is massive and has frescos that tell bible stories. The food and wine here is wonderful.

Now walk these three cities with us in our YouTube video below:

– George

Categories: Assisi, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Towns, Trains, Tuscany, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuscany & Umbria Fun

In 2015 we took a week-long trip through some interesting cities of Tuscany and Umbria. This is a hilly area of Italy and the cities are hill towns with narrow streets and lots of stairs. It is Italy and the friendliness of the people and quality of the food and wine comes through.

The video below is an introduction to my Italian city videos.

 

Our trip was several weeks long but the first week was in Tuscany/Umbria and the rest was at our home in southern Campania. We flew into the Rome airport, Fiumicino, and rented a car.  Our itinerary was:

  1. Perugia – Chocolates – See are YouTube Video below
  2. Assisi – Home of Saint Francis – See are YouTube Video below
  3. Cortona – Home of Under the Tuscan Sun – See are YouTube Video below
  4. Montepulciano – The famous wine city – See are YouTube Video below
  5. Siena – Home of the famous Horse Race Il Palio – YouTube video coming soon
  6. San Gimignano – My favorite city anywhere – YouTube video coming soon
  7. Florence – Home of Italian art – See are YouTube Video below

There are so many more cities in this area worth seeing but we were limited to a week and wanted to spend time in Florence.

Perugia

This is home to the famous Italian chocolate Perugina. It is owned by Nestle now but in Italy it is made the original way with not as much sugar. The American version is sold with much more sugar. This small town has an old city center with very narrow streets that barely fit a car. See the video below for how narrow these streets actually are. As in most Italian towns, life takes place outside. Piazzas are places to sit at a bar or restaurant outside and enjoy and observe life around you.

Assisi

Assisi is a small hill town in Umbria that was home to Saint Francis and the Franciscan Monks. It is above all else an Italian city. The food and wine are great. Eating is done outside in piazzas and narrow streets. In our video we caught an Italian wedding as we were seated outside at a restaurant. You never know what will happen next but it will be fun and interesting.

Cortona

OK, we all know Cortona from the book and movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances Mayes made this small town popular to tourists from all over the world. The city is high on a hill in Tuscany overlooking Lake Trasimeno. Frances Mayes has her real home here as well as Bramasole, the home used in the movie. Walk with us through this wonderful city in our YouTube video.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a famous Italian red wine city (by the same name). Here you can walk a wonderful hill-top city and drink this and other great Tuscan wines. We stayed at a great hotel outside the city called Borgo San Pietro Hotel Cortona. You can see this city and the hotel in the YouTube video.

Siena

This video will be available on YouTube on Monday January 30th. This is a larger city with a great old center that has a huge piazza that is used twice a year (on July 2 and August 16)  run a famous Italian horse race, il palio. People crowd into the center of the piazza and horses race around them. Mud flies and everyone has a fun time. Outside race times the piazza is a place to meet friends and family and sit and relax in the sun. The border of this piazza is loaded with bars and restaurants. The food is good but they are very touristy which means high prices.

San Gimignano

This video will be available on YouTube on a Monday two weeks after the above Siena video. San Gimignano is by far my favorite city anywhere. It is a walled hill city with two main gates. It has been preserved in time from its medieval beginnings. You will notice The famous town homes that help protect families from invaders. In medieval times there were 72 of these homes measuring as tall as 70 meters (230 feet). Today there are only 14 surviving towers. Tourists have found this city and with tourists came tourists stores like Gucci but it is a great town to walk. Get off the main two streets and see the real town.

Florence

Florence was the center of the renaissance and brought art, style, architecture and culture to medieval Italy. Books have been written about Florence. It is a very large city and one of Italy’s main cities. You come here for food, wine, views and art. In our YouTube video we walk around Florence and show you great museums like the Uffizi. Florence has something for everyone. Spend some time here and get to know the city and the people.

Enjoy your travels and enjoy your life…

– George

Categories: Architecture, Assisi, Bars, Cortona, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Enoteca, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lakes of Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Ristorante, Romance, Saint Francis, Saint Peter's Basilica, San Gimignano, Siena, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Uffizi, Umbria, Under the Tuscan Sun, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Perugia, Italy

Perugia is in the Umbria region near the Tuscany border. This is Italy’s famous chocolate town. Home to Perugina (Back) chocolates. These are one of the best chocolates in the world. As you walk around the old section, each store sells these wonderful chocolates. How great to walk an old city, see beautiful vistas, be on small streets, see old architecture and eat wonderful chocolates.

The old section has very tight small streets. You may not want to drive into it. Park in the central parking lot outside the old section. See the video VLOG below for more details.

Perugia was one of the most important Etruscan cities. Etruscans were an ingenious people who ruled cities around Italy during pre-Roman times. This city has history and the architecture to prove it. This is a city to walk and explore its wonders. Many streets are narrow alley ways that twist and turn. As you enter a piazza the space and number of people increases. Piazzas have many outdoor restaurants were you can sit on the piazza under an umbrella and enjoy a drink or something to eat. These are great places to sit, relax, watch and become part of Italian life.

Please watch my video VLOG below and if you enjoy it, please LIKE it and Subscribe on YouTube. Thank you.

– George

Categories: Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, General Travel, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Museums, Parking Garage, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Ristorante, Small Towns, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Umbria, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bella Perugia

Perugia is a small town in Umbria known for its chocolate (Perugina). It is the capital city of Umbria and is very near the Tuscan border. It is also close to the wonderful city of Assisi. The Tiber River flows through this city to Rome.

This is a town that invokes a lot of emotion for me. As Jo Anne and I walked this town, we were thrown way back in time. It started on the escalator  from the central parking garage to the old city on a hill. The escalator is underground going up through old ruins. If this is your first glimpse of Perugia, it will be a lasting memory.

duomo San Gimigano

Ruins seen on escalator

As we exited the escalator and building contains its terminus, we were in a small piazza in Perugia. Life was exploding all around us. As in any Italian town, life is vibrant. Motorcycles were all around us and loud. Small and larger cars were everywhere. As I looked out at the parking around the Piazza, I was reminded of my youth playing with cars. It appeared the cars were randomly placed by some giant all around the Piazza. Cars faced both directions and some were so small they could just park backed in-between two other cars.

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Parking

Italian was being spoken loud and with passion all around us. Hands are a big part of the Italian language. I am finding I use my hands more and more as I speak. It must be contagious. Life here is very visual. You can not help be emerged in it.

From the Piazza we walked down a set of stairs away from the hustle bustle of automobiles and into a restricted driving zone. Here there maybe be and occasional car or motorcycle but it is mostly pedestrians and tourists. These streets make you feel like you are in ancient times. The architecture is fantastic. Buildings almost touch each other with narrow roads in between. These roads would be impassable to large vehicles. Some passageways I can touch both sides with outstretched arms.

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Narrow roads everywhere

Walking along these streets gives a sense the buildings are closing in on you. Soon we were out in another Piazza. Life was again happening all around us without cars or motorcycles. Restaurants with outdoor seating were everywhere. Italian life is about being outside with other people. So we picked a place and joined in.

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At a bar/Restaurant in a Central Piazza

From our table we could nourish ourselves and partake in this age-old tradition of Italians. For a day we were becoming locals. We already knew we would miss this place when we had to leave. But for now we were here and enjoying life to its fullest.

In the movie Benvenuto al Sud, they say you cry twice in the south. One when you arrive and once when you leave. I felt this way as I shed a tear on my arrival at the sheer beauty of this place and another on leaving it because I would miss it. I tend to feel this way about most Italian towns. I guess I am just a helpless romantic.

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Memories of Perugia

George

 

Categories: Architecture, Assisi, Bars, Europe, General Travel, Italian, Italian language, Italy, Mountain Towns, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Ristorante, Romance, Small Towns, Tuscany, Umbria, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Perugia Pictorial

This year we went on a 3 week trip of Italy. The first week we spent in Tuscany and the last 2 weeks at our home in Campania. Tuscany is beautiful with many old mountain towns to be explored. Too many for one trip so we will be back.

We started on an overnight flight from Philadelphia to Rome. Landing Friday morning we started our trek to Tuscany in our rental car. Perugia was our first stop. This is a beautiful city on different levels that was made famous by Perugia chocolates. It is in the Province of Umbria, region of Perugia. It has a population of about 168,000 people.

The city center is small with very narrow streets. You can only drive in if you have a hotel stay in the center. Beware that the driving is not for the faint at heart. There is a very large parking garage outside the city central with easy access. From the garage you can take a series of escalators up to the old town. The escalators run up so you will have to carry your suitcases down or take the streets.

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Our small hotel in the center

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Very narrow streets

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The Piazza in the center

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Part of the Piazza

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View from the center

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One road up to the center

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Lunch in the Piazza

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Small streets

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More small streets

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Entrance to City Center

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Plunger to block traffic

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Your hotel can lower it so you can pass in

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Street to hotel – Watch your rearview mirrors

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Hotel breakfast – Cornetti

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Dinner in a beautiful Restorante

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Parking Italian style

Perugia is a wonderful, romantic town. Walk all the streets of the center center and enjoy. Stop at a candy store and enjoy some Perugia chocolates. Nearby towns include Assisi, Cortona, Montepulciano and Siena.

Buon viaggio (Have a good trip)!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: cornetto, Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Small Towns, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why do Americans Love Italy?

Why do so many Americans vacation in Italy and buy homes there? There is a love affair going on between America and Italy. Maybe it’s that we have so many Italians in America and even more Italian restaurants that it feels familiar. I think it goes deeper than that. Italy has obvious charm:

  1. Old cities with buildings we can’t see in America
  2. Famous places we read about
  3. Clean beaches
  4. Majestic mountains
  5. Walled mountain top cities that are so unique to us
  6. Cities like Venice that are unbelievable
  7. Food that is so much better than anything we get back home
  8. Cheap table wine that rivals the best of wines
  9. Italians love for life
  10. Italians love for Americans

Is it any wonder we love Italy? Where else can you get people who love us, food that is the best, wine that is superb and views that rival any other place? Italy is unique. It was created by violent earthquakes and volcanoes millions of years ago. Today it is a pl;ace artist go to see the wonders of nature. Even places like Vesuvius, a still very active volcano, attracts us like a moth to the flame.

Is it any wonder we look to visits this country over and over again? The views take our breath away. We want a piece of it. If you haven’t yet been to Italy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go and see the major cities: Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice and Milan. See smaller cities like Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Verona (Romeo & Juliet). Get off the beaten path and see small walled cities with fantastic views. Experience chocolate in Perugia (home of Perugina chocolates – Baci). Go to Assisi and Siena and our favorite San Gimignano.  Don’t miss Tuscany, Orvieto and Pompeii.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy has so much to offer it would take a life time to see it all. So don’t wait, get started on your adventure. Be adventuresome, be romantic and enjoy your life.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Chocolate, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Italy, Milan, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Tuscany, Venice, Verona, Vesuvius, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Italy Anew

We are back from nearly a month in Italy. We spent a week Plus in Tuscany and two weeks plus at our home in Campania. In Campania we visited several old mountain and beach towns. Some we had already been too and others were new.

Let’s start in Tuscany. Our first stop was Perugia. This is chocolate town in Italy. It is the home of Perugina chocolates. The town is ancient with very small roads that barely permit a car to pass. We used GPS to navigate to our hotel, Fortuna. Getting into the old section was easy but we were on a one way street an a giant cylinder blocked are way.

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After some difficulty we discovered a button that calls the hotel on the wall. After identifying ourselves, the cylinder was lowered so we could drive very carefully down this small narrow street. After unloading the luggage and checking in, we had to move the car to a parking lot. We chose to go to a lot outside the old city. The trip back and lowering the cylinder was easy. Next we turned onto an even narrower street. From here we had to make an impossible left turn on a street that we had to move the mirrors in to fit. At this point we were ready for some wine! Lots of wine …

We got the car down to the parking area and took several sets of underground escalators back up to the old city. Like many Italian towns there was a large and small piazza. The small one had an incredible view out over the hills of Tuscany.

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Perugia is a series of very small roads (paths) off each Piazza.

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Finally after touring Perugia and eating some chocolate we found an outdoor cafe in the piazza for some much need wine.

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You are calm and feel good in Perugia (other than the initial driving). We had excellent free wifi at our hotel and a wonderful breakfast.

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You are part of an ancient medieval scene. Enjoy … Tomorrow we will take you to Assisi.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Assisi, Cafè, Campania, General Travel, GPS, Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Sweets, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Perugia, Italy

Perugia is a special city. It is home to Perugina chocolates. They are best known for their Bacci (Kiss) chocolate. The chocolate factory (with tours and tastings) is just outside the city. The city itself is medieval. What a charming place to stroll. Imagine walking on the same small walkways as people did during the medieval period. There are old squares, churches, Castles and fortresses.

Perugia

This is a great town to spend a night or two and go back in time. It is a very romantic place to spend some time. Imagine peaceful walks on old narrow streets, eating in a small trattoria, having some Perugina chocolates, sipping some local wine. Eat a Perugina back (kiss) then kiss someone special. Are you ready to go?

Perugia is near Assisi and Cortonia (where Under the Tuscan Sun took place and the real Frances Mayes home is). It is also not a long drive from Siena or Florence.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chocolate, Cortona, Florence, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Romance, Siena, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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