Category: Topography of Perugia

Micah’s People

We’ve met so many great people here in Perugia; we’ve mentioned many of them in our ‘Miss You’ post.

But Micah has some special acquaintances as well. Here they are, Micah’s friends. As the most sociable member of the family, he quickly won them over.


Ricardo, who runs the giornale stand down Via dei Priori

Ricardo supplies us with news, toys, and calciatori/mondiale Panini stickers. He’s also the coach of the neighborhood (Via dei Priori) soccer team.

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Ci mancherai, Perugia (We will miss you, Perugia)


The Palazzo dei Priori and Fontana Maggiore in the morning.

In recent weeks several topics for posts have been flitting around in my brain. Fear of becoming nostalgic has kept me from writing. Now time is running out, only a few days are left, and we owe it to a city that has given us so much to acknowledge those gifts. Each of these photos/comments deserves its own post. For now, a few brief words will have to do.

Il Parma


Alessandro, Armando, and Francesco behind the counter.

Since we have arrived, I have wanted to write something about the alimentari, Il Parma, where we bought prosciutto crudo and pecorino every day, and where Francesco always checked the dates on the milk bottles before I walked out with them (even though I assured him the boys could drink a liter of milk in one day) and Armando always gave me advice on how to prepare Umbrian specialties (we have him to thank for Jakob’s prison lentils), and Alessandro joked with Micah and gave him samples from behind the counter, and who surprised me one day in the spring speaking near-perfect English to tourists trying to buy truffles – he never spoke English to me. How will we every shop at the Greencastle Kroger again?


Armando, Simon, Alessandro, Micah, Francesco, and Jakob

Micah always helped out at the cassa:


Monia and Micah

Pasticceria Lepri

Then there is the world’s tiniest panetteria/pasticceria on via Maestà delle Volte which has many varieties of bread and pastries packed into one narrow shop (only two customers can stand inside at one time) as you could find in any large bakery. Italians appreciate variety and quality over quantity. When your favorite type of bread is gone, it’s gone. No stale bread left at the end of the day. These are also the bakers who made Micah’s birthday cake.


Macelleria Pierini


Skill with a knife: slicing chicken breasts into super-thin cutlets

And the butcher; we cannot forget the butcher. The boys will miss his chianina beef burgers and breaded turkey cutlets. I will miss walking in and getting exactly the right amount of meat, cut and/or ground to order, for the dish I want to make (typical order: 500 grams of beef ground with 300 grams of sausage for Jakob’s favorite ragù).


The Wednesday Market


On Wednesdays, when I could remember what day it was, I would leave the library half an hour early so I could pass the “Wednesday Market” on my way home. For most of the year the market was located in Piazza Matteoti, but in the lead-up to Umbria Jazz, the Comune decided to repave the piazza. In recent weeks the market has moved to Piazza Italia. The vendors highlight local Umbrian products: olive oil, wine, Deruta ceramics, etc. But there is also a produce vendor and two women who sell cheese. We became very fond of the fresh mozzarella and ricotta from Fattoria di Opagna. Jakob and I also liked the pecorino aged under wine for 18 months (the others think it verges too much on tasting like blue cheese).


Bar/Pasticceria dell’Accademia


Italian breakfast: cornetto and cappuccino

Coffee. Italy has rekindled my taste for good coffee: a perfect, hot, creamy cappuccino in the morning (with a good cornetto), and a macchiato in the late afternoon. There are bars on every block in Perugia and everyone has their favorite. After experimenting in the Fall, I settled on the Bar/Pasticcerica dell’Accademia on Via dei Priori. The pasticceria is adjacent to the bar; at night you can smell the pastries being baked for the next day. The bar is run by two men who look like they have devoted their lives to making coffee. The cappuccino is hot and made with fresh milk (none of that UHT stuff). Now when I walk in the barman reaches for a cornetto con crema and starts making my cappuccino. When the library got full during the exam period, I ensconced myself in the back of the bar and worked for hours. If my book gets published, Bar dell’Accademia will be in the acknowledgements.



There are so many people and places that made this year special for us. Thank you to all our new friends in Perugia, ci mancherete ma siete sempre nel cuore nostro.


Sunset from our apartment.





Perfect Vision

Zydeco is bouncing off the sixteenth-century bastion behind us. Umbria Jazz is in full swing. The green and grey slope of Monte Subasio sets off the fortress above Assisi with perfect clarity. A cool, dry breeze scampers up from the valley to the south. Postcard puffy clouds drift along above.

We’ve seen the view before. It’s not new, says Jakob. He wants to go home. Wednesday he’ll get his wish.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Perugian Epigraphy


The entrance to Il Parma. Why did it take us 10 months to notice the inscription?

This weekend our friend and colleague, Jinyu Liu, is visiting Perugia. She is our last guest before we depart for the States. For several weeks we have been willing ourselves to pay attention to Perugia, soak in the views, and imprint lasting images in our memories.

Yesterday we took Jinyu on a walking tour of the city along the streets and paths that we have been traversing for months. The streets are the same but the views change with the light and the seasons.  Our tour took us from the Etruscan remains under the duomo, we went up to the acropolis (Porta Sole), down to the Arco Etrusco (across from the Università per Stranieri), back up along the outside of the Etruscan walls to Piazza Morlacchi, up to the Fontana Maggiore, down Corso Vanucci to the bastion at the edge of the Giardini Carducci (the views were spectacular yesterday), under the giardini into the Rocca Paolina, and finally back to Via dei Priori (with a break at Gambrinus for gelato). As we came down the street, for some reason, we decided to look up at the facade above the Parma alimentari. First we saw the Latin inscription above the door. Then one of us noticed that there were inscriptions in the window frames of the next two stories. Jinyu’s epigrapher instincts kicked in…

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A Day in Umbria


View of Lago Trasimeno from Tuoro

Saturday we had an Umbrian day: Lago Trasimeno, Roman/Carthaginian battle site, torta al testo, a Lombard tower, an Etruscan tomb, and home-made wood-fire pizza with friends as we watched the sun set against Perugia. June 21 was the 2231st anniversary of the Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 B.C.), an epic disaster for the Romans at the hands of the Carthaginians and not generally commemorated in Italy. Nevertheless, in the morning we set out for Tuoro, the Umbrian village above the battle site (which, diplomatically, now has Lamta, Hannibal’s home town, as a ‘sister city’). From here we followed part of the battle itinerary.

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Grifo Rising

Curva Nord, Stadio Renato Curi, 4 Maggio 2014, from

On May 4, 2014, the city was a sea of red and white, as AC Perugia defeated their nearest rival for the title, Frosinone, on a do-or-die day at Stadio Renato Curi in front of 22,000 fans. The victory earns them automatic promotion to Serie B, the second tier of Italian calcio, and a level not seen here for 9 years.

Special Poster from Monday's Giornale dell'Umbria, side 1

Special Poster from Monday’s Giornale dell’Umbria, side 1

At the final whistle, the fans invaded the pitch with flares and flags:

After the match, the streets and squares filled with fans, many of them happily inebriated (we saw them filing into the grocery stores early on Sunday to buy pre-game bevande). One doesn’t often see Italians drunk, but on special days they do their best. Someone somehow navigated a full-sized coach into the Piazza IV Novembre, and the players climbed out onto the top, as the crowd surged and sang:

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