The capital of Umbria, Perugia has more than 150,000 inhabitants, is home to one of the first universities in all of Italy (1306), a language university for foreigners, industry and has a large and fascinating historical centre. Founded by the Etruscans in the IV century BC, it sits on a vast hilltop overlooking 360° of plains and distant hilltops and mountains. While Perugia has massive Etruscan walls with numerous gates, the enormous Etruscan Arch, the Etruscan Well and a fascinating archaeological Museum, the city is also Roman and above all, in the Middle Ages, it was a free and independent township until the end of the 1300s when, after numerous military campaigns, it fell back under the control of the Papal State. The relationship with its masters was marked by constant strife and rebellion until 1540, the date of the foundation of the Rocca Paolina (which today hosts art exhibitions and events and a long escalator system through its fascinating underground streets) by Pope Paul III, marking the end to the autonomy of the city after two centuries of war and bloodshed. The heart of the city is Corso Vannucci, which from Piazza Italia leads to the great asymmetric Piazza IV November with its incomplete S. Lorenzo Cathedral and the magnificent Fontana Maggiore, one of the finest examples of sculpture and hydraulic technology to reach us from the XIII century. The Umbrian National Gallery is located inside the Palazzo dei Priori, which faces the Cathedral on the other side of the fountain. The museum features some of the finest artwork in all of Italy, a vast collection of Umbrian and Sienese pieces dating from the 12-1300s, works from the XV century all the way to the Florentine and Perugian Renaissance, including, of course, Il Perugino and Il Pinturicchio. The churches of S. Francesco al Prato and, next to it, S. Bernardino are not to be missed, nor are the Temple of S. Angelo and the tower beside it, the massive church of San Domenico, the S. Pietro Basilica, the Collegio del Cambio, with its frescoes painted by Il Perugino, and the Sala del Collegio della Mercanzia.

Municipality Web Site