Learn Italian in Perugia: Order an Aperitivo, Conjure, and Eat!

Study Abroad in Italy

Studying abroad can be a great way to solve these most difficult of “problems”. I have had the pleasure to do so in Perugia (Italy) for periods of one to three month every year since 2012.

Be sure to not object by claiming that you aren’t a child anymore and that you can’t sign up for the semester abroad at your university.

A classroom with a view – The 2300-year-old Arco Etrusco, the Etruscan Arch, as seen from the Universita di Stranieri di Peruugia. Rondi Adamson.

Perugia’s Universita per Stranieri

You might consider learning Italian in Italy. Perugia’s Universita per Stranieri – literally, University for Foreigners – offers Italian language and culture classes for adults at all levels and ages throughout the year. It is one of the best universities for language learning in Italy.

You will enjoy the outstanding professors and curriculum if you are keener at conjugating verbs. You don’t have to be a keen learner if you want to improve or learn Italian in a beautiful medieval city.

How many schools can you look out of a window to see an arch 2300 years old?

Learning Italian in Perugia

Perugia is a jewel, no doubt. It’s also a great place to learn Italian. Perugia, the capital of Umbria is a region that’s known as il cuore verde d’italia or the green heart, of Italy.

Beautiful hills and valleys lie outside the historic center of the city. These beautiful hills and valleys are home to agriturismo (or agritourism farms), where visitors who have been tired of city life can enjoy a taste bucolic lifestyle, often with a little wine-tasting.

You can reach Assisii in just 20 minutes by train from central Perugia. This is the home of St Francis, and the basilica that he founded. A day trip is worth it to see Martini’s frescoes, Cimabue and Giotto.

What to do in Perugia

Perugia is often overlooked by those who prefer Florence, Rome, Naples, or Milan. These are all desirable destinations that can be reached easily from Perugia by plane, train, or rental car.

Perugia is full of Italian charms: rust-colored roofs, narrow streets, stile gesticulating people, and delicious food. Its low profile means that housing is less expensive than in tourist-heavy areas. I rent an apartment. However, B&Bs and hotels are also popular choices.

Perugia’s central location makes it a great place to base yourself for weekend or day trips, while you study. However, you won’t feel bored if your stay is short or for a few days.

If you’re a chocolate-lover, this goes double as Perugia hosts the largest annual European chocolate festival, Eurochocolate

Eurochocolate Perugia

The 10-day celebration features booths from every chocolate maker you can think of. It attracts both international and Italian tourists. Corso Vannucci is the city’s main street and home to many high-end shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Perugia is also famous for Perugina chocolates. They are the makers of the Baci or kisses. You can visit their factory at the outskirts the city at any time. You should not go if you are hungry, as there is an “all-you-can-eat” portion to the tour.

You can also choose to take part in the Umbria Jazz Festival if you like the summer months, and want to study in July.

It doesn’t matter what time you visit Perugia, because there is always a wonderful fiera (fair), sagra or festa (festival) spilling onto the cobblestone streets.

One of my professors from the Universita per Stranieri said, “Italians will use any excuse to celebrate.”

Events & Festivals in Perugia

He was not exaggerating. As I was learning Italian in Perugia I also experienced the Fiera Dei Morti (literally the Fair of the Dead that begins November 1st); the Mercatini di Natale (the Christmas fair in early to mid-December); the Fiera di Paqua (the week of Easter); Eurochocolate and la Festa di San Costanzo (a street celebration on January 29 to celebrate San Costanzo’s patron saint); the Perugia Floral Show. I don’t know why it has an English name.

Perugia is home to many artistic treasures, including its Etruscan walls that were built between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC. There are too many to mention, so I’ll just focus on my favorite: For a hands-on experience, go to the stained-glass atelier Studio Moretti Caselli.

For two hundred years, the Moretti family has been making stained glass windows for Umbria’s most renowned churches, such as the Cathedral of Orvieto.

The descendants of the Moretti family still accept private and public commissions. They welcome visitors to their studio where they offer tours and workshops in stained glass art. Few outsiders know that Raphael, the Renaissance painter, studied in Perugia under Perugino.

Perugia: Where can I see Raphael’s work

One of his works, a fresco found in the small Chapel of San Severo, is the only one that remains. It is worth noting that you won’t be confronted with the masses of Rome if you have an opportunity to see an early Raphael. The Basilica of San Domenico is adjacent to San Domenico and features a distinctive bell tower from the 15th century. Also, the National Archaeological Museum of Umbria is located within the former convent.

Be sure to bring your walking shoes. Your Fitbit will be very happy walking through this beautiful, hilly city. Do you want to walk ten thousand steps per day? Child’s play.

You’ll need to be at least fifteen thousand dollars. This will allow you to avoid Vespas and Italians who are so focused on their phones that they run right into you. I am a well-traveled person and I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone so captivated by their phone.

The Aperitivo

You should feel entitled to an aperitivo after all these steps. As Italians know how best to start their morning with the best coffee in Europe (I think it’s the best), so do they know how to end it.

It would be foolish to live in Italy and not have aperitivo. Aperitivo is a drink that’s served with a variety of snacks, including chips, olives, and pretzels, pistachios, and vegetables. Depending on how many rounds you order, it can replace dinner.

Although I enjoy a glass of Grechetto, an Umbrian white wine, I only drink one because I’m usually studying in Perugia. It is important to keep up with students from around the globe, and this is not an exaggeration.

It was February, my last month there, and I had classmates from Shanghai and Cairo, Ulaanbaatar, Cairo, Ulaanbaatar, Moscow, and Dallas. Although I was not the only “mature student”, I felt old once. It was during a class on Spaghetti Western history in Italian Cinema. Clint Eastwood was the only person who could identify him.