Next weekend — March 9-11Perugia, Italy: 54.19 pounds round trip
Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Perugia Santegidio.
The first stop in Perugia should be the Palazzo dei Priori. The third floor houses the Gallery Nazionale of Umbria that includes local and national art. Also in the palazzo is the Sala dei Notari with eight large arches and frescoes from the 13th century. According to www.comune.perugia.it, the city’s Web site, the room is used for public lectures and concerts.
Close to the palazzo is the Fontana Maggiore, a fountain designed by a local monk and constructed by father and son sculptors around 1275.
Next, visit the Oratory of San Bernardino with its pretty facade complete with bas-reliefs and sculptures of saints and angel musicians. According to the Web site, the altar is made from a fourth-century sarcophagus containing the remains of Beato Egidio, one of Saint Francis of Assisi’s friars.
The site also recommends another noteworthy church: the 11th-century Church of San Severo with an interesting fresco that was partially painted by Renaissance artist Raphael and completed by Perugino, also known as Pietro Vannucci.
Visit the Museum of Natural History in the archbishop’s residence. The museum includes a fine collection of minerals, fossils and exotic fauna. Exhibits include artifacts from Africa collected by local explorer Orazio Antinori.
Next month — April 5-9Kosice, Slovakia: 149.28 pounds round trip
Fly SkyEurope Airlines from London Stansted to Kosice.
To explore Slovakia’s second-largest city, start in the lively pedestrian-only town square. Tourists can visit the Gothic St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral, which is the city’s oldest architectural landmark, according to www.kosice.sk, the city’s official Web site. The cathedral has a winged main altar with three oversize statutes and 48 panel paintings. Other impressive charms of the cathedral include the Gothic wall paintings and sculptures. Also found in the cathedral’s complex is St. Urbain’s Tower.
South of the cathedral is the 14th-century single nave, St. Michael’s Chapel, which was once a cemetery chapel. According to the city’s Web site, it is Kosice’s second-oldest building. Also within the town square is the State Theater, where visitors can take in an opera or ballet. Visit one of the many restaurants that surround the square after the performance for some local cuisine.
Visitors with curious minds may want to go to the Slovak Technical Museum with more than 14,000 collections in such fields as physics, astronomy, chemistry and cartography. The museum includes an interesting mining exhibition located underground to provide a miner’s view.
The East Slovakian Museum’s permanent exhibitions include golden coins from the 15th to 17th centuries. Other exhibits provide a historical background on jewelry, art and the human existence. The Kosice Web site reminds visitors that the city’s museums are closed on Mondays.
Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site www.skyscanner.net. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.