Perugia is something of a musical nucleus for central Italy. It hosts one of Europe's most important jazz festivals, Umbria Jazz, which usually runs for 2 weeks in mid-July. Established in 1973, it draws top international names to town for concerts, and instructors from Boston's prestigious Berklee School of Music hold seminars and workshops. It's so popular that a smaller version, Umbria Jazz Winter, takes place from December 29 to January 5 in nearby Orvieto. It includes a traditional New Year's Eve banquet and all-night jazz parties. For information, contact the Associazione Umbria Jazz-Perugia, Piazza Danti 28, Casella Postale 228 (tel. 075-573-2432; www.umbriajazz.com).
During the second and third weeks of September, Perugians celebrate music of a different sort in the Sagra Musicale Umbra, an international festival of classical music that has, since 1937, become one of the top musical events of its kind in Italy. For more information, contact the Associazione Sagra Musical Umbra-Perugia, Via Podiani 11 (tel. 075-572-1374; www.perugiamusicaclassica.com). The summer-long gig is rounded out the last week of September with Perugia Classico, a classical music festival that includes an antique-instrument market, concerts, shows, musical workshops, and chamber-music performances throughout town. Contact the Comitato Promotore Perugia Classico, c/o Comune di Perugia, Ripartizione XVI Economia e Lavoro, Via Eburnea 9 (tel. 075-577-2253).
On July 29 and 30, the cathedral shows off the marriage ring of the Virgin that 15th-century Perugini swiped from rival Chiusi. You might drop by town the last week of October for the antiques market held in the Rocca Paolina. From November 1 to November 5, the town holds secular celebrations for the Fiera dei Morti in honor of All Saints' Day. (Contact the comune at tel. 075-577-3898.)
Market days are Tuesday and Saturday on Via Ercolano and Saturday at Pian di Massiano. There's also a daily covered market off Piazza Matteotti.
Perugia is a chocoholics paradise, with the Baci brand of chocs made here and a weeklong Eurochocolate Festival held annually from mid- to late October. Hour-by-hour festivities are held throughout town, staged by chocolate manufacturers from all over the world. You can witness a chocolate-carving contest, when the scraps of 1,000-kg (455-lb.) blocks are yours for sampling, and entire multiple-course menus are created around the chocolate theme. Half-day lessons from visiting chefs are also available. For details, contact the Eurochocolate Organization, Via D'Andreotto 19, 06124 Perugia (tel. 075-502-5880; www.eurochocolate.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.