Perugia, Italy

Nestled in the heart of Italy in the province of Umbria is the ancient city of Perugia. Predating Etruscan civilization, this lovely walled city has been the prize in battles by such notable historical figures as Mark Antony and the great Octavius Caesar who conquered the city. It later came under the control of various rulers including the Papal rule of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1861, Perugia was united with the rest of the province and became a part of the Kingdom of Italy.

While relatively small by European standards, Perugia is the largest city and the capital in Umbria. It is perched atop one of the many hills in the Umbria region of Italy affording a beautiful view of the region from nearly any vantage point. Umbria is also known as the Green Heart of Italy due to its expanse of woodlands and rolling green hills.

Panoramic view of Perugia. Umbria, ItalyOne of Perugia’s most notable festivals is the Eurochocolate, the annual chocolate festival that takes place each October. Perugia is renowned for its delectable chocolate and the festival attracts visitors and participants from all over Europe. The city also hosts the International Umbria Jazz Festival each July and features the biggest names in jazz music.

Throughout the city’s turbulent history, surprisingly many examples of the architecture of centuries past have managed to survive, including the ancient city walls that served as protection from invaders. These walls date back as far as the 6th century BC and are still relatively intact. There are six gates remaining of the original seven that allow access to the city.

Perugia is known for its many outstanding churches thanks to its long association with the Papacy, oftentimes serving as an alternative location to Rome for the Popes due to the safety afforded by the city walls. Within the city there are several churches of note that should not be overlooked when visiting.

One of Perugia’s most famous churches is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. A magnificent Gothic structure built in the 15th century, it is said to house the wedding ring of the Virgin Mary and is where a copy of the 12th century Stone of Justice is kept.

The Basilica of San Domencio is a fine example of an early 14th century church with outstanding Gothic and Renaissance detailing. It is also the location of the tomb of Pope Benedietto XI.

The Church of San Pietro is a Benedictine abbey that features frescoes from the 14th and 15th century, beautiful marble columns and a series of paintings of Biblical scenes from around 1600. It is also home to one of the most significant collections of artwork in Perugia and features the works of such artists as Antonio Vassilacchi, Giorgio Vasari, Raphael, Guido Reni and many others.

In the city center is the Piazza IV Novembre, the beautiful town square. Located in the center of the square is the Fontana Maggiore, a Medieval fountain in exquisite Gothic design crafted from white and pink marble. Nearby is the Palazzo dei Priori and the National Gallery of Umbria, home to a stunning collection of works from Medieval times through the present.


Viareggio, Italy

Viareggio Italy is a wonderful and exciting city for travelers coming from all over the world. It is famous for being a classic seaside resort and for being host to the well known carnival of Viareggio, which dates as far back as 1873. In this wonderful city, you will see papier-mâché floats, which have been parading down the promenade during the weeks coming up to Easter since 1925.

Viareggio is a small city that is located in Tuscany, which is in the beautiful country of Italy. It can be found in Versilia, which resides in the province of Lucca. It is surrounded by a number of beautiful and appealing cities and beach towns, and is situated on the stunning Mar Tirreno.

Carnival of Viareggio, ItalyThe city has its origins in the first half of the 16th century, at which time it became the only means of accessing the ocean for the Republic of Lucca. The Torre Matilde is the oldest historical building in the city and was constructed by the famous Lucchesi back in 1541. It was built to be a defensive fortification, which would be used specifically to battle the constant manace of corsair incursions.

Viareggio is known for its industrial and manufacturing contributions. It has an active shipbuilding industry and is home to prolific shipyards. Its shipbuilding industry is world famous and has been since the beginning of the 19th century. At this time, craftsmen in the city would build small fishing vessels down the banks of the Burlamacca canal. Overtime, this small shipbuilding craft grew into an internationally acclaimed center. The city also has fishing and floricultural industries, which are also primary sectors to the city’s economy, as well as a tourism industry, commerce and services.

In addition to the famous carnival, Viareggio is also host to the Premio letterario Viareggio Répaci for literature, which was founded in 1929. Furthermore, it is host to the Festival Gaber, which has taken place every August since 2004 to commemorate Giorgio Gaber. This amazing festival is commonly attended by numerous high profile Italian musicians.

The Passeggiata or promenade was introduced during the beginning of the 20th century. It is a popular area for tourists as well as locals, for its cafés and shops, and is aiding in building a reputation for the city to be known as the “Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea”.

Viareggio has a mild climate throughout the year. The summers can be rather hot when the Tuscan Sun is shining down in full force. June and August are the warmest months of the year, and December, January and February, are the coldest months. The summers get their fair share of intense sunshine, and rainfall during these summer months comes in the form of short and very strong thunderstorms. The winters see much more rainfall and cloudy days and the temperature is quite cool during these months but not too cold. Rainfall is quite common at any time of the year due to the city’s location being so close to the sea.

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