You may remember me taking a trip to Umbria, a region just north of Rome in Italy, last Spring when I went to Orvieto. Jared and I really enjoyed it so much that we decided to head back to il cuore verde d’Italia again. We were there for 5 days just 2 weeks ago and brought in the New Year in Perugia.
It’s always a really nice change of pace when I can get away from the city and enjoy a more quiet atmosphere in a town/city nearby. I’d heard so many good things about Assisi already that I knew I wanted to get there myself sooner rather than later. The weather wasn’t particularly in our favor as the day we got there and the day we traveled to Perugia, we hauled our luggage in the rain and wind, and it was overcast for the majority of our stay there. Regardless, we enjoyed our time there and Umbria is picturesque no matter the weather.
Both of these cities are relatively small compared to what I’m used to living in Rome. Here are my top tips for where to eat, what to see, and more in Assisi and Perugia.
Where to Eat:
Il Menestrello for pizza- located in the center so it’s relatively close to everything. The stone/brick walls make the aesthetic feel as Italian as possible. I love the intimate feel as soon as you walk in that instantly feels cozy. The pizza selection on the menu is very extensive and if you are lucky to visit around the winter time, take advantage of the truffle topped pizzas. Delish!
Trattoria Degli Umbri di Brufani Andrea for pasta- I would definitely recommend to call in advance to book a table as this place is very small and only holds a limited amount of people. A great place to treat yourself to a traditional Umbrian feast. I had soup and stuffed ravioli for dinner one night but wish the ravioli came in a bigger portion.
Osteria La Piazzetta Dell’Erba– this place was recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts and I also saw great reviews from it online. We didn’t get a chance to try it however, but they serve excellent Italian dishes with a modern twist.
Baccanale Cafe– this place definitely was my favorite meal during our whole stay in Umbria, hands down. We originally wanted to go to Trattoria Degli Umbri but got turned down because they were full, so we headed here instead, but I’m so glad we did. We were lucky to have even gotten seating. I’m a big soup lover, especially in the winter, so I went with their soup, and they even gave me a side of croutons which I’ve never seen in Italy before! My main dish was a pasta dish with green noodles, and it was so, so savory. Even though we had to wait a bit for our food to come out, it was definitely worth the wait.
What to See:
Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi– this is probably the main reason why people travel from all over to visit Assisi. We had a chance to visit and tour the inside of this beautiful church. Definitely a sight to see, so don’t miss it.
Rocca Maggiore– catch some amazing views from this medieval fortress type castle perched along the hills of Assisi. We didn’t go inside, but if you have the time and funds to, why not? The cost of admission is €6,00 each.
Cathedral of San Rufino– this 13th century church is equally a gorgeous church to visit with its beautiful decor and ornate design. There is also a stunning view of the city just outside the front of the church that gives beautiful panoramic views.
Roaming around the center- honestly just going up and down the multiple staircases of Assisi, you are bound to see picture perfect moments around every corner. I especially loved the string of holiday lights and red flowered wreaths on every door that made the streets look even prettier than they already are.
In case you are looking for a place to stay, this was our BNB which we really enjoyed. It’s loft style so everything is in the same space but I really loved the stone walls and arches throughout.
Where to Eat:
Umbrò for lunch or a quick bite– This restaurant was recommended to us by our bnb host. Think cafeteria style where you order from a food bar and then take your food and find a table. Some plates, depending on what you order, are made fresh on the spot.
Hogan’s for non-Italian- We stumbled upon this place quite unexpectedly as we were walking around looking for where to grab lunch and it wasn’t overly crowded. Call me crazy but at this point towards the end of our trip, I was craving something non-Italian since that’s all we were eating in the past week. I was very happy to see they had jacket potatoes on the menu, otherwise known as baked potatoes. I ordered the Caprese jacket potato, which was both very filling and satisfying.
Dal Mi’ Cocco– This restaurant was also recommended to us by our host. We didn’t have a chance to try it however but the reviews mention great food at a fixed price, perhaps aperitivo style, as well as a good ambiance.
What to See:
Rocca Paolina- some of the best views of Perugia can be found here. This is also where we went to watch the fireworks and welcome in the new year. It’s a beautiful backdrop for taking photos and checking out the sunset/sunrise.
Piazza Italia- there is a little square, which we walked by multiple times, where you will find antique and vintage knick-knacks being sold. We were there over the weekend, so not sure if this market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, but either way there is small square with grass that is nice to walk through, and is also right next to Rocca Paolina.
Chocolate shops- Perugia is exclusively known for being the home of chocolate. They even have a chocolate festival every year, which visitors travel to to enjoy some of the finest chocolate in the world. We, personally, didn’t get a chance to visit any chocolate shops, but if you do visit in the colder months, make sure to take advantage of the Italian hot chocolate.
Piazza IV Novembre– This huge square also has beautiful churches on either side of it. It was even more festive during our stay with a huge, beautifully lit Christmas tree right in the middle. There are several chocolate shops to visit around the square which are probably more touristy (and overpriced), but you have everything you need in this little area to just people watch and relax.
I hope you all will get a chance to visit Assisi and Perugia and try out the places I’ve mentioned above. Let me know if you’ve ever been and if you have any places that are a must to visit in either of these cities.
Where should my next Italian destination be next??
“Wandering is neither reckless abandon nor is it the idea of leaving everything behind; it is purposed exploration toward the unknown by our means of what is known.”
All my love,
UPDATE(5/23/18): I have recently teamed up with GPSMyCity to convert this blog post into an article on their app! If you would like to download it to get step by step directions on your phone next time you are in Perugia/Assisi, simply click here if you are in Perugia and here for Assisi. Enjoy!