Food is the focus in Italy’s rural breadbasket, with fried courgette flowers served alongside fusion cocktails, regional wines and vertiginous views in Perugia.
The historic capital of the farm-rich, foodie region of Umbria, Perugia has an unspoilt medieval city centre and a glut of beautiful churches and religious art to explore. Stop for a night or two on your central Italian road trip to take in the best of it, strolling between grand museums and atmospheric palazzos, then sitting out in pavement-side bars and restaurants to taste the fruits of this agricultural province. Start your night late, as the locals do, in one of these characterful bars.
Craft-beer aficionados make a beeline for this weird and wonderful pub, where a bicycle dangles from cavernous stone arches and the bar is cluttered with ale mats and street signs. The menu lists dozens of brews, with names as diverse as Peek a Boo, Caramel Fudge and Dead Guy Ale. Ask the knowledgeable, friendly staff for their favourite pints to get a good steer. You’re likely to make a few local friends in this mingly joint.
Flirting couples occupy tall bar stools in this low-lit, intimate cocktail bar, with striking murals and motifs of skeletons and demon barmen painted onto the walls. Frothy cocktails in long-stemmed glasses come topped with dried flower petals or candied orange slices. This is the place to get something technical, like a violet mojito or a plum caipiroska. DJs get the party going late at night, as drinkers flow out into the streets for a breather.
Tribute rock bands and bewigged drag queens provide raucous entertainment at this students’ choice in prominent university town Perugia. Aperitivo snacks are generous, with a small buffet available to early evening drinkers. After 9pm, it turns party animal, with a young and lively crowd swigging beers, dancing in its cavernous indoor space, listening to live jazz or playing beer pong.
As the name and logo suggest, this hip, cluttered, football-mad pub is the place to go for an icy pint of something. Whether you’re into glossy black serves of Guinness, American pale ales or microbrewery IPAs from Abruzzo, the lads here will have something for you. The inside is absolutely tiny, so collect your beers and loiter in the streets outside, along with a pack of friendly young locals.
A softly curving, ice-white interior meets an earthy stone bar and a huge blackboard at this stylish hangout, sushi bar and gourmet-burger vendor that also specialises in upmarket cocktails and sparkling wines. This means you can get boujee bar snacks like fried courgette flowers and delicate anchovies with a fancy round of drinks. Try the green tea, ginger and gin-infused Matcha Ale or the whisky, amaro and Aperol fusion Paper Plane, sitting at smart white tables on the pavement outside.
A faded, peeling facade hides this bijou wine bar, deli and restaurant close to the city’s Etruscan well, its small outdoor deck elevated just enough to watch the people strolling by. Glam couples and local professionals pick at boards of salami, soft cheeses and tapenade-topped bruschetta, ordering bottle after bottle of sparkling Franciacorta or plummy Umbrian red. The interior is even cosier, a short tunnel of exposed stone decorated with floury salamis and prettily packaged pasta and panettone.
Not sorted your stay? Book one of the best hotels in Perugia now through Culture Trip. After spending the day exploring the city, relax with a delicious dinner in one of Perugia’s best restaurants. Why not see more of Umbria by taking a trip to some of the villages near the capital? Stay at one of the best hotels in Gubbio or check out the best things to see and do in Assisi. For the more adventurous, there’s the option to venture out of Umbria and take in the must-see sights of not-so-far-away Florence.
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