15. Perugia, Italy
Temperature: 18°C high; 8°C low
Flight time from UK: 2 hours 35 minutes
Time difference: GMT+1
It’s not difficult to get excited about a place that holds an annual 10-day festival celebrating the world’s favourite sweet treat. Every October, Umbria’s capital in central Italy hosts cooking classes, exhibitions and (most importantly) tasters to celebrate the town’s most famous export – chocolate. It’s a diabetic’s purgatory, a sweet lover’s dream and a local staple. The Belgians have their pralines, Oaxaca has its drinking chocolate and the Swiss have Lindt – but Perugia is home to baci. The word translates as ‘kisses’, and the story goes that a young chocolatier created a special sweet for her paramour, wrapped in a love letter and – naturally – sealed with a kiss. Today, baci somewhat seductively resemble a nipple, and still come wrapped in romantic proverbs and poems. Perugia is also a town rich in history and art, set on a hilltop peppered with medieval aqueducts, curious cobbled staircases and views that appear out of nowhere. By Anna Prendergast
Sustainable travel tip: You can get to Perugia relatively easily by train, but you’ll need to factor in a few layovers along the way. First, take the Eurostar to Paris, followed by a high-speed TGV to Turin (5 hours 40 minutes). Next day, catch a Frecciarossa to Rome (4 hours 10 minutes). A number of trains leave Rome for Perugia every day, but journey times vary: you’ll want one of the direct services, offered by Trenitalia, which gets you there in about three hours (these generally leave early evening or early morning).
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