La Passeggiata – Perugia, Umbria, Italy

Seeing and Being Seen Since Time Immemorial

Maybe because it’s the only flat strip of land in an exceptionally hilly town, or maybe because a vibrant international student population has kept this prosperous city humming since 1270, but when it’s time for the late-aftemoon passeggiata, Perugia’s Corso Vannucci (“il Corso”) is the place to be.

Every American town has its Main Street, and every Italian town its main corso, and some innate alarm system sends every ambulatory Perugino, young and old, heading for this venue like clockwork.

Nowhere can the timeless ritual of the see-and-be-seen evening walk be experienced more fully than in Perugia. Trade and the arts flour­ished here in the Middle Ages, and much of the imposing backdrop—the Fontana Maggiore, the Palazzo dei Priori, and the Palazzo del Cambio—date from Perugia’s golden medieval period.

Observe the elegance and character of the Perugini who turn out to stop, chat, gesticu­late, argue soccer scores, union wage increases, or political scandals, and to check out the latest fashions, store window displays, new grandchil­dren, or each other.

Then it’s time for dinner: the broad Corso Vannucci empties out, and Perugia slips back into its quiet time warp—at least until tomorrow, same time, same place.

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