Perugia – Italy

Quick Facts

  • Sister City Anniversary: 1993
  • Country: Italy


Perugia (elev. 493 m) , with just over 150.000 inhabitants, is well known among the hilltowns of Central Italy. Perugia is the capital of the province of Umbria, “The Green Heart of Italy”, and Umbria’s largest city. Overlooking the verdant valley of the Tiber, the city, founded by the Etruscans in the VI Century B.C., has an impressive array of monuments and works of art, which left an imprint through the ages, a testimony to the historical, artistic and cultural wealth of the whole area. Walking through the city, step by step, one witnesses Etruscan, Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance evidence, which gives a unique and harmonious image of history, culture, and lives lived throughout the many centuries that Perugia has endured.

Economic Development

Perugia looks to the future with bold architectural and urbanistic innovations such as mechanically-assisted walkways connecting the historical center to the parking areas, the Piazza del Bacio designed by the architect Aldo Rossi, and the striking “mini metro”, an advanced monorail -the only one in Italy-which became operational in 2008. The production of ceramics, embroidery, wooden articles, textiles and wrought iron are millenary craft traditions.

The city of Perugia invites its Sister Cities from around the world to participate in a market devoted to the promotion and sale of products from their respective areas. Our volunteers staff a booth at the market located in the historic center of Perugia. Over 50,000 visitors from Perugia and many European cities attend this International Marketplace. Products offered for sale include dried fruits and nuts from the Ferris Coffee and Nut Company and buttery caramel corn, a special favorite of our Italian customers, from Savory Foods. Sandmann’s Barbecue has established a name for itself with its barbecued pork ribs. In addition to showcasing these local products, the Market offers an exceptional opportunity to interface with people from many other countries and to promote the industries of Grand Rapids and the city as a tourist destination.

“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”—Rina Sala Baker

Tradition and Tourism

Perugia is first and foremost a city of culture and has a special vocation for 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. Splendid museums are located in this region: the Archaeological Museum (for the pre-historic, Etruscan, and Roman periods), the National Gallery of Umbria containing an important collection of Umbrian and Tuscan paintings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, the Capitol Museum and many others.

Because of Perugia’s location, the other major cities of the peninsula are easily reached: Rome and Florence are only two hours away by train or bus. Perugia and its surrounding region are famous for high quality gastronomy: 11 wines have been granted the DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) and 2 wines the DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin); 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.

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