Madison Café Barista Jamie Oliver visits Perugia.
By Jamie Oliver - I took a week off of work in August for a road-trip around Iceland with a friend. Once I started looking into flights from Iceland to Italy, I decided to extend my stay to pursue my love of Naples and the one-of-a-kind pizza they make. I have visited Italy before, so I knew that I needed that pizza! After some research and talking with my co-workers at Caffè Umbria, I was convinced to check out the roots of our company in Perugia.
I took the bus from Rome to Perugia, a quick two-hour ride. I planned to fall asleep quickly and wake up at my destination. The beautiful scenery of the Italian countryside kept my eyes glued to the window for the entire ride.
I was full of excitement when I got to Perugia. The city is nestled into the mountain, looking like it was out of a fairy tale. The buildings went on forever making what seemed like a sea of terra cotta roofs and the small, intricate details in each building added so much character to the overall design and personality of the city. I was amazed at the beauty of this place, and was eager to start exploring.
I was given plenty of recommendations for my short trip, so I dropped my bags in my room and began to wander through the streets and alleys, stopping frequently to admire the ever-changing architecture, and take photos of all the doorknobs.
First on my list was a small shop called La Bottega di Perugia, which serves made to order sandwiches that are good enough to eat every day for lunch, which I did. I continued my walk down the colorful streets, running into amazing views around every corner. Eventually, I made my way to Augusta Perusia, an artisanal chocolate shop in the centro strorico (historic district) for dessert. Perugia is known for their chocolate, so I took the opportunity to try some out while I was there. I was not disappointed. I spent the following mornings sipping americanos at one of the many cafés the city has to offer, planning my continued exploration of the city.
Perugia is a city like no other I have ever visited. The city center is filled with energy on a Sunday night, with people coming together after their day of rest for live music and social hour. The food captured the essence of true Italian culture of bringing people together, and the coffee shared a striking resemblance to what we serve at Caffè Umbria.
I was lucky enough to share this experience with friends from home, and I’m thrilled that their first European experience was the city of Perugia. They were amazed by the city just as much as I was and said on multiple occasions that beginning their trip in Perugia set the bar too high for the remainder of their trip.
I had planned to visit Deruta, the city the creates the beautiful ceramics that are a staple at Caffè Umbria. Due to Sunday being the day of rest, the buses were not running often which led to a slight change in plans. On the bright side, this just means I’ll have to return!