Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
– C.P. Cavafy, Ithaka
While Perugia isn’t a top tourist destination in Italy — it’s even overshadowed by it’s neighbor Assisi — it does have its charm for visitors and residents.
This quaint town in the hills of Umbria is picturesque — the medieval architecture mixed with modern structures against a backdrop of rolling green hills and distant towns provides a beautiful view at any time of day from the edges of the old town atop the hill. Sunrise is a particularly wonderful time with the dissipating fog in the valley below.
The streets were never straight and I didn’t know which direction I faced as I wandered through alleys and peered at the buildings constructed centuries ago. I got lost like so many times before, but the roads all seemed to interconnect and I soon found myself back where I began — all roads don’t lead to Rome when in Perugia; all roads just lead into themselves once more.
Taking the stairs through the historic archways through quiet narrow streets and into the sunlight that radiates off the buildings in August, I found myself lost within myself, thinking of poetry and literature before picking up a bottle of organic Umbrian wine for 5 euros. I could take a glass of wine into the Piazza IV Novembre to sit on the steps in the shade opposite the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. I sat there reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, every now and again looking up to watch the crowds slowly walking through.
Every day I walked through the streets, turning down alleys that I thought I hadn’t tried before. Even down the streets and alleys I recognized I found new details missed on previous wanderings — it was never boring to see the same sights each day for a month. I watched the sun set over the hills and waited for the lights to illuminate the main street leading to the town square where the people would congregate for drinks and merriment on the steps surrounding the fountain.