Perugia & Deruta

Thursday, 8 September 2022

A day of metrological contrasts today. It began with thunderstorms and rain - serious rain. In Perugia Old Town, high in the hills, the town then disappeared into the clouds. However, within an hour or so the weather cleared up and the majority of the rest of the day was spent in broken sunshine and light clouds.

Perugia has what many people thought to be an incredibly good transport system. Every city, worldwide, should copy it. On the outskirts there is a massive car park with a “mini-metro” station. These little driverless pods run into the city using a cable car style system. The journey takes around 20 minutes with five suburban stops along the route. There is always a pod waiting to board and departures are about 2 to 3 minutes apart. All for a massive €1.50.

It’s an interesting place to stroll around. Lots of pavement cafés, restaurants and fairly up-market shopping (prices to match). The views (once the weather cleared) are delightful.

We next visited Deruta, the ceramics capital of Umbria and (allegedly) where majolica originated. It’s another hilltop città alta. The couriers had been told to drop us in the lower town as coaches couldn’t reach the top. Fortunately, our guy, Steve, walked a way with us, threw the itinerary away and called for the coach. Thank the Lord he did. It was a good 30 minute walk up a very steep incline.

It was a bit of a challenge, but when we arrived there was provision for coach parking. “I’ll be putting THAT in my report,” was his only comment.

It’s a pretty little place with shop after shop selling some very beautiful ceramics. We resisted and resisted but when we visited a shop where the “artist” was painting a design and everything there had been made by her or her sister, we caved and bought a Christmas ornament.

Back at the hotel around 4:30pm, we’ve had a very enjoyable day out. It’s Courier Rest Day tomorrow. With luck, kind weather will allow us to explore the hotel’s extensive grounds and generally relax ready for the next tour.

At around 7pm at dinner, the passing of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was announced. Everyone fell silent. It had an impact on everyone, not only we British, but also on the several other nationalities present.