I took Colette Vacations’ Reflections of Italy tour in April 2008 with a friend. We visited Rome, Assisi, Perugia, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Venice, Lake Como and Stresa. This post will describe our one night in Perugia.
The tour bus ride from Assisi to Perugia was short but scenic. Our hotel, the Sangallo Palace, was quite modern compared to the other hotels on the tour. Our room was spacious though the bathroom was small, and our large window overlooked a roundabout in downtown. Before dinner, we went up to the old town. Taking the escalator and stairs up was scenic in itself, and looked almost like a theme park version of the innards of an ancient castle. The old town's main square was overrun with teens on Spring Break, but our goal was to find chocolate since Perugia is famous for it, and we found a cute little candy store called The Sweet, Sweet Way where we picked up chocolate Baci treats to take back to loved ones. (The next day our tour manager told us the cheapest place to buy Baci is the duty free shop at the airport, and then we wished we had known before we bought. But as it turned out, the duty free shop was closed before our flight home, so we were glad to have already gotten our treats for the folks back home after all.)
The included dinner with the tour group at the hotel was plentiful if less than memorable: bowtie pasta with tomato sauce, risotto with fresh zucchini (my favorite part of the meal) and a main course of veal marinated with balsamic vinegar. Cooked cream (like a custard or flan) with wild berries was the dessert. (This evening I noticed our group was a bit less gregarious, or perhaps obnoxious depending on your viewpoint, when wine was not included with the meal!)
Though we toyed with the idea of returning to the old town after dinner in the hope that it would be less dominated by crowds, we knew we had an early start the next morning, and we had already accomplished our main goal in Perugia so we played it safe and went to bed early. One of the biggest drawbacks of group tours is having to put that suitcase out in the hall so early in the morning, and another is having to pace yourself a bit because of the jam packed itinerary. During the night, an off-key group of drunks serenaded us, but apparently Perugians aren’t tolerant of this kind of thing, because it didn’t last long. :)
The water pressure in the Sangallo Palace’s shower was surprisingly impressive; I don’t remember ever having to dial back the water pressure in a hotel before! The included breakfast was great- more than making up for a lackluster dinner the night before-fully cooked but not overdone scrambled eggs, excellent cappuccino and yummy pastries here made this the best breakfast I had in Italy.
Obviously we didn't get to experience much of Perugia at all, but those chocolates were delicious!