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

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.


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


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.

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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!


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

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


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