View towards Assisi (the collection of shining-white buildings on the site of Monte Subasio at center)

View towards Assisi (the collection of shining-white buildings on the side of Monte Subasio, center-top)

Perugia is not perfect.

First, it is hard to find a patch of green grass anywhere in the stone- and brick-paved centro storico. There’s one bit by the top of the scale mobile on the side of the hill with a fantastic view towards Assisi, but people use it to curb their dogs.

The park at Cupa

The park at Cupa (and its Etruscan fortification walls)

There’s green space and a playground below us at Cupa, but there one has to beware of drug dealing as well as dogs.

The Chiesa di San Francesco al Prato in Perugia

Then there’s a fine patch at the bottom of our street in front of the lovely Chiesa di San Francesco al Prato (begun in 1281), which in spring is full of students and lovers. (The complex also houses the Accademia di Belle Arti [Fine Arts] begun in 1573, and which has a wonderful museum of casts.) And the lawn in front of the circular Chiesa di San Michele Archangelo (started in 5th c.) near the city gate of the same name. There are larger parks on the edges of town, such as at Pian di Massiano, which are popular on weekends and holidays, and which are in varying states of upkeep.

Given all the hard surfaces in the town, and the nature of  its steep topography, which facilitates quick run-off of rain to the valleys below, one might not expect an insect problem. And generally, there isn’t.

There are some zanzare, the onomatopoeic term for mosquitoes, but they are not terribly numerous (unlike Minnesota). Nevertheless, every spring the sindaco, or mayor’s office, reminds the citizens not to leave out old tires or containers that might collect stagnant water in which they could breed.

No, the villain is one very nasty beastie, by which we have suffered, and which only this week we have at last caught.

Read on, if you dare.

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