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Rome and Perugia questions?

I'll be in Italy for 2 weeks this summer, one week at a conference in Perugia, the second on vacation in Rome. I think that an apartment would suit food-minded people like DH and me because we're always salivating over fresh food markets and wishing we had a place to enjoy the fruit, cheese, bread etc. But DH's cousin who lives in Rome is pushing us towards a hotel. Any opinions?

Also, recommendations for good eating in Perugia would be much appreciated. I've found relatively little on this board or elsewhere online. Is this a bad sign? Neither of us has ever been to Perugia so have no idea what local foods to look for, where to eat etc.

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  1. We rented an apartment in Rome. It was much less money than a hotel, far more space, and we could bring back the great food finds(between the restaurant eating)back to enjoy. I highly reccomend it! Check out cross-pollinate.com It is a great source for lodging in Rome, Florence and Venice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mattrapp

      ditto re the apartment. Much more relaxing (and cheaper) than a hotel, especially if you dont want to eat out 2x per day. Food shopping and cooking abroad can be a great pleasure if you are so inclined.

      1. re: jen kalb

        The beautiful vegetables and fruits at the little market around the corner from our hotel in Trastevere, and in the street market in Cortona, made me WISH I had an apartment!

        1. re: jen kalb

          an apartment in rome is the way to go for deb and me.

          i enjoy the area around the piazza farnese and the campo de' fiori. living on the economy is a refreshing change from hotel life: morning cappuccino at your favorite shop (with ft and journal from your local kiosk); grocery shopping at the campo; late afternoon drinks at a favorite wine bar; never-fail reservations at a nearby "hot" restaurant; and a chance to try out your italian on a daily basis after failing to take those lessons you promised yourself.
          it all works.

          be aware that summers in rome can be hot. if you opt for an apartment, seriously consider your need for air conditioning.

      2. The trick to staying in an apartment rather than in a hotel is finding one that's located close enough to appealing tourists sites/sights yet in a neighborhood where you'll be able to find essential residential services like a grocery store. In Rome, consider the Prati district. It's across the Arno, next to the Vatican. It's a real residential neighborhood, and you'll find find everything you need.

        Franchi is a fancy food store and there's an indoor food market at Piazza dell' Unita. The area is served by both bus and subway lines. It's a hefty walk, but I have walked from the Prati to the Piazza del Popolo and through the Tridente. Another time, I walked on the Oltrarno side to Trastevere and, then, toured that district. (I got blisters that day.)

        Matriciano, an excellent trattoria is located in the Prati. The top gelato place is Pellacchia.Vanni is a hybrid -- part restaurant/part take away counter for eating at home. I really enjoyed their vegetable preparations and on a particularly hot day, assembled a lovely meal of marinated or grilled vegetables.

        1. No food recommendations for Perugia, but if you're there on July 30th, they do the annual unveiling of Mary's ring, so add that to your plans! (I'll be there for it this year!)

          It definitely sounds like you would be better off with an apartment, but stay away from Trastevere if you want to sleep at night.

          9 Replies
          1. re: binks70

            I'd never heard of the July 30th ceremony. I get there the very next day! It's strange how little I can find on Perugia's cuisine.

            I was looking at Trastevere apartments, thanks for the warning. The area sounds so attractive but I'm sure you're right it will be noisy.

            Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I've persuaded DH that an apartment in Rome will be better than a hotel.

            1. re: cheryl_h

              looked on the Slowfood site and there are the following reccs for Perugia -
              La Lumera
              Trattoria del Borgo
              Wine Bartolo Hosteria
              also Stella in Perugia Casaglia

              unfortunately I seem to be blocked from the info detail on these now, so I cant give you addresses

              1. re: jen kalb

                Jen Kalb - I can't find these recs on the site. Can you please post the link? I checked Ginda's Umbria recs and there's nothing for Perugia. And I checked the All Italy reviews which is where I found the 3 I mentioned above.

                1. re: cheryl_h

                  Here's the SlowFood link ---you can select Province and Region from the pulldowns (can't link directly to the Perugia list.) Its only in Italian but you can at least get the addresses/closings and babelfish does enough of a translation to get an idea of what's what!

                  http://associazione.slowfood.it/assoc...

                  We'll also be in Perugia/Umbria this summer, but mainly outside of Assisi so I don't really have any other Perugia recs.

                  1. re: jinx

                    Thank you very much. I hadn't thought of accessing the website in Italian. And the other link is a good place to start too. We may spend a day in Assisi, just as a breather between the conference and setting off for Rome. From everything I've read, it is a lovely town.

                    1. re: cheryl_h

                      yeah, there has always been substantially more info on the italian slowfood site than on the international page.

                      Its a few years old but I thought you might like this link of Assisi restaurant reccs from a local resident
                      http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/restaur...

                      Since our visit to Assisi was 25 yrs ago my restaurant advice would hardly help, but its a lovely mellow town - be sure to walk down out of the town and up to the fort on top - the countryside as well as the lovely pink stone of the town is really nice. Check out the roman temple facade right in the middle of town! My recollection is that the food in this part of Umbria is somewhat rustic - lots of tasty dishes alla norcia (norcia is a town famous for pork and black truffles) good delicate cannelini.

                      the other little towns around there (Spello, Bevagna etc) are cute and have had some touristic development, but they dont match Assisi in cultural interest.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        Gubbio (where St. Francis met the wolf) does though. It is an extremely interesting small town, and well worth a daytrip. Even without a car, it is very easy to get there from Perugia by regional coach/bus. Sorry, I don't have any restaurant recs either - I still remember eating al fresco there, but it was 20 years ago.

                        Norcia is rather more remote - a top foodie destination though.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          absolutely Gubbio is a great little town (tho we were there even longer ago than you and ate at Taverna il Lupo (and stayed at their tiny hotel). The town itself is fascinating (white stone this time) and then they have that amazing ducal palace, quality pottery stores and a roman amphitheatre. Continue further in that direction and Urbino (I think over the border into Marche and golden) is also wonderful. Back toward Perugia, Spoleto (grey stone) is not nearly as attractive, for some reason.

                2. re: jen kalb

                  I cant access any info other then the names at this time. You go to slowfood.it on the homepage on the left click on scelti per voi - on the resultant page click on the same thing at the top center - you will be given a drop down menu of provinces and regions - chose umbria and perugia and you will see the regional list. Maybe you will have better luck than me at seeing the data (maybe I needed to be logged in and wasnt - I always lose the slowfood login info)

                  even if you cant see the slowfood info there is tons of other stuff if you google the names, including maps (click the translation link if you need to)

                  here is a link that consolidates the major restaurant guide recommendations for perugia

                  http://www.todine.net/perugia.html

            2. I studied in Perugia many years ago and it is still, in my opinion, one of the loveliest cities in Italy. It was too long ago to make any restaurant recs, but you will enjoy simple but tasty food. Umbria's food tends to be very rustic - lot's of grilled meats, sausages, vegetables etc. It's Italy's only land-locked province, so it's not famous for fish, except for trout and fish from Lake Trasimeno (which you should try to visit). Being there in July you'll have the best of local produce, which is a real treat.
              As far as Rome goes, I agree about the apartment and what others have said about Trastevere.

              1. I'm going to be in Perugia for a conference (well, the SO's conference) in July and will also be traveling around the area the following week! Was hoping to get some good food recommendations from your post, but it seems you are right...it's slim pickins for Perguian cuisine. Perhaps branch out to consider the whole of Umbria, if you are renting a car that is.

                4 Replies
                1. re: woohag

                  Italian friends of mine rave about a restaurant called Lillo Tatini in Panicale, a little town near Lake trasimeno - not far from Perugia. I have never been, so I can't swear by it. Just recently I read a glowing review by someone I admire of another place in the area called "Il Convento" in Corciano - also not far from Perugia. Again, not first hand experience, but the recs come from some very serious foodies.

                  1. re: bropaul

                    Oh dear, I studied in Perugia (my favourite place in the world) twenty years ago, and was back there this summer. Must try to find some of the nice restos I ate at. The general level of food is very, very good, though no spectacular restos as the best in Rome (none of the crap in touristic places like Rome either). Definitely rent an apartment there if you can - Slow Travel www.slowtrav.com is a very good site for info - there is a lovely market in the old city centre and lots of food shops within walking distance including the big COOP supermarket opposite the railway station and the smaller one in Piazza Matteotti.

                    I'll definitely get back to you about Perugia and Umbria before that! Very busy working now!

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Please do post about your favorite places in Perugia and Umbria. I've been surprised that places that are recommended in Umbria are all smallish towns outside Perugia. It's like reading about Tuscany and omitting any mention of Florence.

                      Slow Travel's website has about 3 recommendations for Perugia, posted by members, not the site itself. The recommendations are for confectionary (nice, but not what interests me) and an Indian resto (!) in case you're tired of Italian food. And a place that serves big salads. Not much to thrill the prospective visitor.

                      1. re: cheryl_h

                        We had a most memorable meal at a small restaurant called Nanà
                        NANA'
                        Corso cavour, 200/206
                        06121 - Perugia - (PG)
                        Note: Chiuso domenica (closed Sundays)

                        it is on a long road beneath the Scale S Ercolano (the big staircase) that leads to Chiesa S. Pietro (where there is a medieval simples garden and a beautiful view of the Umbrian hills).

                        When I ate with friends at Dal Mi Cocco, which is in all the tourist materials, we found it greasy and not very good, but that was years ago.

                        I'll try to remember other places. I don't care for sweets either, and the Indian resto is useful mostly for people who are living or studying there, not people there for a week, who will obviously want regional cuisine.

                        And such delicious fruits and vegetables at the local (indoor) market, just off Piazza Matteotti.

                2. Try Pizza Mediterraneo. Only pizza and only good. Walk towards the theater from the commune building and make a right. It is on your right, just past the entrance for an Etruscan well (have a peek in there, it's worth it especially if it's hot outside) and across from a gyro place. There is often a line so go early. Dinner is better than lunchtime because the oven has had more time to heat. Sandri's is a fantastic cafe, right on the main drag, with beautiful chocolates, bite size cornetti and desserts. You can even have dinner from a classic glass counter at the back, served by even more classic waiters. I think one of the best tour guides in Italy is in Perugia, called Marco Bellanca. He is a phenamenon.
                  fayefood.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fayehess

                    I looked at the slowfood.it places and they were all very reasonably priced for such recs, at from about 20-30€.

                    You don't find a lot of cutting-edge food in Perugia, but the ingredients are excellent, and in most cases prepared with care, and the medieval setting is lovely, as are the surrounding hills. After Rome or Florence, Perugian air is much, much cleaner and lighter.

                  2. We have a delicious apartment for rent - all mod cons, about 20 muinutes from Perugia! There's fabulous food around the area, typical umbrian food and great pizza (of course). We like the restaurants just outside the city (Torgianao, Bettona, Bevagna, Montefalco) but inside the city: Victoria (good food, great cityscape), La Taverna are both good.