Discovering Borgo Bello was an amazing time. I would not have known the neighborhood was there if our class didn’t explore it. It had never been mentioned to me by local Italians or any Umbra staff. The center of Perugia gets so much praise and attention but Borgo Bello seems to me like it has the potential to be an incredibly popular location. Jane Jacobs stressed that creating a proper neighborhood requires participation from all members of the community and I believe Borgo Bello has that potential. It seems to have stores that cater to all different types of people and interests. In this compact area there are amazing cafes, bars, and restaurants to cater to the culinary crowd. A few that stood out to me were “T-Trane” which is a bar that also sells vinyl records and has a very relaxed feel. The bar has a retro theme which is becoming very popular with the youth who I believe are breathing life into a revival of 60’s culture. Another cafe was an “Italian coffee shop” which is a play on the coffee shops of Amsterdam. While I’m sure that bar gets a lot of slander from the mostly older local community I am sure the younger people and more relaxed adults love the place. Me and many other Umbra students also discovered a bar called “Quei Bravi Ragazzi” and we were able to all watch the Super Bowl there. It was amazing because it was; one, big enough to hold about 40-50 Umbra students along with a few locals who came to watch the game as well. Two, it was amazing that they simply played the game. Not many Italians care about American football so they obviously were catering to the students when they very easily could have just closed at their regular time or played a different game which I’m sure they would have preferred.
The town is also beautiful and historic which attracts the culture seekers and has many great locations for people to relax and bond. There were many churches that seemed to be built long ago and one apparently has the largest window in all of Italy. There is an open air theater and close to that, one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen, and the terrace made by the past placemaking class. My favorite location was the park at the end of the street. It is small but wonderful. In it are beautiful statues and outside is a statue commemorating the day Perugia gained independence from the Pope. Definitely my favorite piece of Borgo Bello. The powerful gryfin of Perugia is squashing the hat of the Pope, an image I can almost guarantee you will find no where else in Italy. I’m very excited to meet residents of the community and to work with them on projects they believe will improve their community. I can only imagine their ideas are endless and with our help I hope we can make all these ideas come to fruition.