Some 3km (2 miles) southwest of Perugia, the Casa del Cioccolato is the home of Perugia's iconic chocolate factory. The creator of Baci ("kisses") started in 1907 selling sugared almonds and now pumps out 120 tons of the brown stuff a day, including 1 1?2 million gianduja-and-hazelnut kisses. The site includes the Museo Storico Perugina, a small museum, where you can learn about the company's products and key moments in its history -- it was purchased by Nestlé in 1988 -- including an actual-size reproduction of the world's biggest chocolate, the BaciOne. Weighing in at 5,980kg, the monster choc was made in 2003 for the Eurochocolate festival, and apparently wolfed down by the crowds in just 4 hours.
To take a far more enjoyable factory tour, you'll need to phone and make reservations in advance -- English tours are available, but call to check times during the hours listed below. Guides run through the museum before leading groups on a walkway loop above the vast factory floor. Tours used to be free, but considering the piles of free chocolate on offer at the end (you can literally eat as much as you like), the new charge is probably justified. A gift store selling all the products rounds off the experience. Note: The factory shuts down production May through July (domestic demand drops off in the summer), so you won't see any activity in the factory at this time. The complex occasionally opens on Saturdays, but always confirm in advance. Call also about classes (from 1 hr. and up) at the on-site School of Chocolate.