Friday, October 7, 2016 – Perugia
We decided to drive back towards Assisi and stop in the city of Perugia (sounds like Perucha) today. It wasn’t a bad drive now that we know all the twist and turns of the roads to get there the quickest.
Over the last two nights, we watched the new documentary about Amanda Knox who was accused of killing the British student in Perugia back in 2007. So, now that we saw that, I guess it made sense to go and see the city!? We tried to see the house but we couldn’t find it. Seems kind of creepy though.
We also walked through the underground city. When a powerful pope back in the day ruled people did not like the power and there was an uprising. To quell the uprising, he destroyed a bunch of the city! (Seems a bit dramatic, but anyway) Beacause there was all this new space, there was a fort built. But the locals never liked the Fort because it was a symbol of outside control and power. So, when there was a change in power, the Fort was removed piece by piece. In doing so, they discovered the ancient city that was under the Fort. Now, there are escalators and little hallways and rooms going through the underground that you can explore for free. It was really cool to go through.
After our cultural visit, we went to La Perugina chocolate factory. It is one of the largest chocolate factories (now owned by Nestle) in Europe and all of La Perugina chocolates are only made in this location. In fact, Chocolate is so important to this city (Perugia) that they have a HUGE annual chocolate festival, which starts next week. I’m sad that I am going to miss it.
The tour was great. It was 9E, but I am pretty sure we each ate and took home more than that in chocolate in the sample room. There was an English tour and we were with a bunch of university students from the U.S. that are studying here for the semester. We learned about the history and the four main people who started making candy coated almonds back in in the late 1800s and then went to making chocolates, the most famous being the Baci (which means kiss). It is different from the Hershey’s Kiss in that it is hazelnut paste with a whole nut on top coated with a special chocolate.
After learning about the history, we were able to walk on an enclosed catwalk around the entire factory and see the famous Baci being made as well as these huge chocolate eggs with a big surprise toy inside. It was all very automatic but the toys for the eggs are still placed inside manually. It really was like watching Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory with the thousands and thousands of chocolates being produced every minute. Kind of crazy to think the world actually eats that much chocolate, actually. It was a great tour, however and I am glad we went.
When we got home, we put on our nice and warm clothes and walked down to a nice restaurant where we had a reservation for dinner at 7pm. It was called La Bottega Del Nobile. It was a wonderful dinner and a great experience. The servers were fun and engaging and the venue was warm. It was down under ground in a big cave. It was well lit and had great music playing – and it was warm! We had a starter board with meat, pate, and cheese. It was pretty much a whole meal. And then we had some great local Vino Nobile wine that is made here in the area. And then we had this amazing ravioli stuffed with venison. It was amazing. And the server was so funny with excellent English, which made it all the more fun. Dad had some Grappa at the end of the meal and it was served in this huge (10 foot or taller) glass tube that they poured into a little glass at the table like they were shooting with a pool cue. Mom and I had some Muscato in these cute little glasses, of which we ended up buying some! Overall, it was a fantastic dinner and so much fun.
We are all now getting over colds, so there isn’t much evening excitement going on. Sleep!