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Backpacking Perugia


Jazz, Chocolate and More on a Budget!

Perched atop a hill in the heart of Umbria, the historic town of Perugia is often overlooked by travellers on a backpacking tour of Italy. But with its ancient streets and unspoiled culture, it offers an authentic taste of Italian life, which can be hard to find in the country’s busier cities.

Perugia’s culture and heritage - which includes striking collections of local artists, elaborately frescoed churches and a lively café scene - rivals that of nearby Florence yet the cost of living has remained low, which is great news for budget travellers!

And there’s even more to the Umbrian capital than picturesque palaces and idyllic countryside. Home to the Universita per Stranier, one of Italy’s largest state universities, as well as a prestigious international school, Perugia is always bustling with life.

How to Get There

Although it’s situated off the tourist trail, it’s easy to get to Perugia on a budget nonetheless. The central bus terminal at Piazza Partigiani has services from both the rest of the region and the country, and the train station is also connected to other major Italian travel destinations.

Although Perugia’s small Saint’Egidio Airport is now served by a handful of low cost airlines, it may well be easier to find a budget flight to the larger airports of Rome, Pisa and Florence, all of which are within easy reach of the town by rail.

Where to Stay

There are a number of cheap hostels in Perugia offering budget accommodation to backpackers in the heart of the medieval town and on the doorstep of all the attractions and atmosphere Perugia has to offer.

Alternatively, there are several hostels in rural Umbria that benefit from great extras such as swimming pools, and are still just a short hop by public transport from Perugia itself.


Aside from its well-preserved architecture and pleasantly lively pavement cafés, Perugia has two major draws for budget travellers, the first of which is the EuroChocolate Festival.

The town is the home of Perugina, one of the major chocolate producers in the world that are renowned for their ‘Baci’ (chocolate kisses). Tours of their factory are available all year round, but for eight days each October, the whole town is transformed into an homage to confectionary.

The central streets and piazzas of Perugia become a haven for chocolate lovers as stands and expositions crowd into the town centre offering free tastes.

Chefs take the opportunity to use the thousands of visitors as willing guinea pigs and experiment with new flavours and creations, whilst artisans construct huge sculptures that are often broken up and distributed at the end of the festival.

Umbria Jazz

But the residents of Perugia are more than just chocolate connoisseurs – they’re also jazz fans, and every summer (usually in July), the Umbria Jazz Festival takes over the town.

There are heaps of scheduled concerts and performances from internationally renowned artists (for which ticket prices vary) but the streets are also filled with bands and choir groups who gather across the town all day long and, more importantly, free of charge.

Impromptu sessions spring up as visiting musicians’ jam with students and locals on the narrow cobbled streets, making the whole town buzz with life and music.

An al fresco meal and a spot of people-watching is always likely to be a favoured activity in Italy but throughout the duration of the jazz festival, the unique atmosphere to be found in Perugia is hard to match anywhere else.


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