Perugia_ chocolate and power

Perugia is an ancient city, just like the others, but this one has power.  Coincide chocolate and power, money and chocolate, chocolate and gelato, religion and chocolate, chocolate and extremely impressive art. Perugia is well known for its chocolate Baci (kisses) that are wrapped in shinny blue wrappers covered in yellow stars, made by confectionery named Perugina.  We took advantage of this knowledge and found an artisan chocolate shop at the bottom of the hill, with huge, intricately decorated Easter eggs, ready for the weekend.

A city that didn’t recognize the pope as the political leader as well as the religious leader of their world.  The pope chose the most influential and wealthy neighborhoods of Perugia and decided to build his castle right on top.  He forced his power on these high class families, forcing them to partial deconstruct their homes, and construct his own castle on top of their past.  This was a pope who wanted riches and power so much that he made taxes six times higher on salt, an essential mineral that could be easily bought from Pisa for far less.  This is the reason that the Tuscans call their bread “stupid bread,” they don’t bake it with salt so the taste is somewhat flat.  This was something that was easily remedied for us by some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or dipping it in pasta sauce, but classmates of mine studying one region south, Umbria, would always ask what was wrong with the bread.  Its too bad that political and religious tirades have to mess with food too, but I guess that food is as telling about any culture and lifestyle as any.

Mysterious city below the city, and excavated part under the now demolished castle of the Pope.  Can you imagine townspeople walking down these open alleys now covered with vaults?P1090294

Etruscan gate moved during the construction of the castle by only a few feet.P1090296

Foliage detail on poet’s monument baseP1090298

Main street of PerugiaP1090304

The upper well, surrounded by spiked fenceP1090310

Detail at entry in stoneP1090319

My class, eating lunch on the steps of the Perugia duomoP1090336

Artisan chocolate shop (we visited the week before Easter)P1090339

View from city top northP1090314

Easter chocolatesP1090347

View from city east, the faint light patch on the far hill is Assisi (written about in a previous blog)



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