Lifted by a hill above a valley patterned with fields, where the river Tiber runs swift and clear, Perugia is Umbria's petite and immediately likeable capital. Its centro storico (historic centre) rises in a helter-skelter of cobbled alleys, arched stairways and piazzas framed by magnificent palazzi (mansions). History seeps through every shadowy corner of these streets and an aimless wander through them can feel like time travel.
Back in the 21st century, Perugia is a party-loving, pleasure-seeking university city, with students pepping up the nightlife and filling cafe terraces. The hopping summer event lineup includes one of Europe's best jazz festivals.