Two rail lines serve Perugia. The state railway connects with Rome (2–3 hr.; most trains require a change at Foligno) and Florence (2[bf]1/4 hr.; most trains require a change at Terontola) every couple of hours. There are also hourly trains to Assisi (20–30 min.) and Spoleto (1[bf]1⁄4 hr.). The station is a few kilometers southwest of the center at Piazza Vittorio Veneto ((tel) 147-888-088), but well connected with buses to/from Piazza Italia (1€); Perugia’s seven-stop, 3km (2-mile) long “minimetro” also makes the run from the station up to stops in the town center (1.50€, buy tickets in machines). The station for the Umbria Mobilità–operated regional railway ((tel) 800/512-141), Sant’Anna, is in Piazzale Bellucci (near the bus station). These tiny trains serve Todi every couple of hours.
Perugia is connected by three fast, and free, roads. The Raccordo Perugia-A1 runs east-west between the A1, Lago Trasimeno, and Perugia, bypassing the city to link with the E45 (aka SS3bis). The E45 runs south to Todi and Terni (for Rome). Heading southeast, the SS75bis connects the E45 at Perugia with Assisi and Spoleto.
Parking is fairly abundant, with the most convenient being the underground pay lots at Piazza Partigiani, from which escalators take you up to Piazza Italia (with some amazing underground scenery along the route). For information about parking in Perugia, visit www.sipaonline.it.
SULGA lines (www.sulga.it; (tel) 075-500-9641) also has one bus (Mon and Fri) from Florence (6pm; 2 hr.), six or seven daily from Assisi (30 min.) and Todi (40 min.), and around six a day from Rome (2[bf]1/2 hr.); the morning buses usually stop at the airport; the station is in Piazza Partigiani and connected to Piazza Italia by escalator. Umbria Mobilità (www.umbriamobilita.it; (tel) 800/512-141) buses connect Perugia with Assisi (six buses daily; 50 min.), Gubbio (six buses daily; 1 hr., 10 min.), and Todi (six buses daily; 1 hr., 15 min.).
Six weekly Ryanair (www.ryanair.com; (tel) 0871/246-0000) flights connect London Stansted with Perugia’s Aeroporto Internazionale dell’Umbria (www.airport.umbria.it; (tel) 075-592141), 10km (6 miles) east of the city at San Egidio. Flights are usually met by a minibus outside the terminal, taking you to Perugia train station and Piazza Italia (30–40 min.; 3.50€), but heading back there are just three buses per day, so check times in advance (just 1 bus Sat–Sun). Taxis cost around 25€.
The tourist office, at Piazza Matteotti 18 (www.regioneumbria.eu; (tel) 075-573-6458), is open daily from 8:30am to 6:30pm. You can also pick up a copy of “Viva Perugia” (1€) at newsstands to find out what’s going on around town.
Festivals & Markets
Perugia is something of a musical nucleus for central Italy. The fun starts with the rather tame Rockin' Umbria festival at the end of June. For information, contact ARCI-Perugia, Via della Viola 1 (tel. 075-573-1074; www.rockinumbria.it). It's followed by 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; fax 075-572-2656; 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; fax 075-572-7614; 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; fax 075-572-4252).
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.
The City of Cioccolato
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; fax 075-502-5889; www.eurochocolate.com).
You don't have to visit the festival or the Baci museum to enjoy Perugia's famed chocolate: Perugina (tel. 075-573-4760; Mon 2:30-7:45pm; Tues-Sat 9:30am-7:45pm; Sun 9:30am-1:30pm, 3-7:45pm) has a shop selling all the major chocolate products at Corso Vannucci 101, but you shouldn't miss the hand-made chocolates and sensational gelato (1.80€-2.80€) at Augusta Perusia, Via Pinturicchio 2 (tel. 075-573-4577; www.cioccolatoaugustaperusia.it; Mon-Sat 10:30am-8:30pm; Sun 10:30am-1pm and 4-8pm). More convenient is Gambrinus at Via Luigi Bonazzi 3 (just off the Corso), with tempting gelato flavors for 1.70€-4.20€. It's open daily from 11am to 1am.