PERUGIA – ITALY

Peter Secchia, an American businessman who lived in Grand Rapids, served as the United States Ambassador to Italy and San Marino from 1989 to 1993.  During the time of his appointment, he was instrumental in helping establish Perugia as one of Grand Rapids’ sister cities.

“When Grand Rapids initiated the Sister City program locally, their goal was to say ‘welcome’ to the world, come visit us, work and play with us and share in both the goodwill and economic vitality of a globally centered city and region,” said Leonardo Tombelli, member of the Perugia committee and president of GRSCI,  who has been involved with the program for 25 years.  Tombelli stated the relationship between Grand Rapids and Perugia realizes many of these goals through the variety of cultural, economic and academic programs resulting from this relationship.

25th Anniversary October 2018 reconfirmation signing with Mayor Bliss, Perugia commissioner Teresa Severini, and Perugia Sister City Committee members and friends.

Celebrating our 25th Anniversary: 1993-2018, in Perugia

Located In the center of Italy, Perugia is midway between Rome and Florence and is the capital of the province of Umbria. Perugia is a beautiful medieval hill town surrounded by valleys and mountains. As It boasts the same allure as its neighboring province of Tuscany, Perugia lends itself to being a fantastic base to explore the region. There are many things to do in Perugia. As there are several colleges and universities, the large number of students in the city ensure that there are many events, concerts, and festivals, throughout the year.

Within the Etruscan walls, the main part of the medieval city features a 12th c. fountain, palace, beautiful churches, museums, galleries, an aqueduct, restaurants, shops, and incredible picturesque neighborhoods. 

Food & Festivals:

Grand Rapids delegates at the Fieri di Morti Festival above.

In early November of each year, the city of Perugia invites its Sister Cities to participate in the Fiera dei Morti , an annual historical and traditional fair, with over 600 vendors from throughout the world, devoted to the promotion and sale of products from their respective areas. Representatives from Grand Rapids join the market by bringing traditional Michigan products like dried fruits and nuts, buttery caramel corn, maple syrup (a special favorite of our Italian customers!), and cherry wood products. Over 50,000 visitors from Perugia and many European cities attend this event, therefore it becomes an exceptional opportunity to interface with people from many nations to promote the industries of Grand Rapids and the city as a tourist destination.

Perugia and its surrounding region are famous for high quality gastronomy: 11 wines have been granted the DOC and 2 wines, the DOCG. Olive oil has been produced in Umbria since Etruscan times, all of this to complement foods in the best Italian tradition. Important events of international stature animate the city and represent it worldwide: Umbria Jazz International Jazz Festival, “Eurochocolate” International Chocolate Fair, “Sagra Musicale Umbra” Perugia Sacred and Classical Music Festival, and other exciting events

Umbria Jazz Festival

Eurochocolate Festival featuring Perugina “Baci” or kisses

“Sagra Musicale Umbra” Perugia Sacred and Classical Music Festival performed in historic churches

Additional Information:

Rina Sala Baker, an Italian living in Grand Rapids, says “You really experience the similarities between people around the world during trips to Perugia. There are common desires for a high quality education, job opportunities, safe environments for our children and loving families. The marketplace allows you the chance to feel this first-hand. This brings me back year after year.”

City Quick Facts

Sister City Anniversary: 1993
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The city of Grand Rapids just recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of being a Sister City with the city of Perugia. A representative of the city of Perugia, Ms. Severini, joined the mayor of Grand Rapids in October 2018 to renew this long-standing Sister Cities relationship.

History

With just over 150.000 inhabitants, Perugia is the capital of the province of Umbria. Founded in the VI Century B.C., elements of Etruscan, Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance history and culture make Perugia the city that it is today.

Sister Cities Traditions

The city of Perugia invites its Sister Cities from around the world to participate in the International Marketplace, devoted to the promotion and sale of products from their respective areas. Representatives from Grand Rapids join the market by bringing traditional Michigan products like dried fruits and nuts, buttery caramel corn, maple syrup (a special favorite of our Italian customers!), and cherry wood products. Over 50,000 visitors from Perugia and many European cities attend this event, therefore it becomes an exceptional opportunity to interface with people from many nations to promote the industries of Grand Rapids and the city as a touristic destination.

University Life

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Perugia is rich of University life. About 30,000 students each year attend not only the University for Foreigners (founded in 1921), but also one of Italy’s oldest universities, the State University, founded in the thirteenth century.

 [Photo by unistrapg.it]

Apply by March 15, of each year!!! https://grsistercities.org/college-scholarship-program/

Food & Festivals

Perugia and its surrounding region are famous for high quality gastronomy: 11 wines have been granted the DOC and 2 wines the DOCG; olive-oil is produced in Umbria since Etruscan times, all of this to compliment foods in the best Italian tradition. Important events of international stature animate the city and represent it worldwide: Umbria Jazz International Jazz Festival, “Eurochocolate” International Chocolate Fair, “Sagra Musicale Umbra” Perugia Sacred and Classical Music Festival, and other exciting events.

Gina Corazza representing Grand Rapids at the Fieri dei Morti Market in Perugia. November 2019.

Perugia Recent Events:

The Perugia Committee

Christmas Dinner at Palio – December 2019

Fieri de Morti Festival Market

Perugia – November 2019

Perguia Scholarship Recipients – 2019

Vincenzo Pavano & Kaite Lockwood

Perugia Sister City Committee’s 25th Anniversary

Mayor Bliss and Chef Jenna from Amore Trattoria traveled to Perugia in October 2018 to help celebrate!

Fundraiser Murder Mystery Dinner, hosted by Amore Trattoria Italiana

November 5, 2018

Micaelina, 2018’s Scholarship Winner to Study Abroad in Perugia

Please see the travel information section of this website for more details on travel to the area.

Read about how the city of Perugia is considered one of Italy’s hidden gems here.

Learn more about Perugia sister city projects!

Perugia COMMITTEE

Since 1992, Grand Rapids and Perugia have been joined as “Città Gemelle”, Sister Cities.

Meeting regularly on the first Tuesday of the month, the Perugia Sister City committee is comprised of individuals of Italian origin and/or those with a passion for the country, culture and language, and specifically for building bridges between Grand Rapids and Perugia.

Members support the goals of Grand Rapids Sister Cities International whose mission is to build relationships between Grand Rapids and its sister cities by promoting understanding and mutual respect through exchanges in culture, art, education, and community and economic development.

2019 Committee Members

  • Denise Taylor – Chairperson
  • Bonnie Burke – Treasurer
  • Rina Sala-Baker – Secretary
  • Leonardo Tombelli
  • Dr. Ruggero Battan
  • Linda Koster
  • Gina Corazza
  • Andrea Darling
  • Jo Jansma
  • Elisa Musso Rasmussen

BLOG

Stay connected to our sister city news and announcements with our blog. Click here to read our blog.