The provincial capital PERUGIA is the most obvious place to kick off a tour of Umbria. A bustling university town, known for its chocolate and its jazz festival, there’s at least a day’s worth of good sightseeing here, and it’s not a bad place to base yourself if you want to explore the surrounding area: it has big-city amenities and trains run to all the major highlights, complemented by fast new roads and an extensive bus network. The town hinges around a single street, the Corso Vannucci, named after the city’s most celebrated artist, Pietro Vannucci (c1450–1523), better known as Perugino. Lined with bustling pavement cafés, this is one of Italy’s greatest people-watching streets, packed from dawn through to the early hours with a parade of tourists, students and trendsetters.
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