Perugia is the largest city in the region of Umbria and is as close as it gets to a heaving metropolis – which is not all that close. A large well-preserved hill town replete with museums and churches, Perugia's two universities give it a vibrancy which is lacking in many of its more sleepy neighbours. The large student population ensures a thriving arts scene and plenty of nightlife. However, for all its cultural modernism, little has changed here architecturally for over 400 years.
Perugia is a well-known cultural and artistic centre of Italy, the famous painter Pietro Vannucci, nicknamed Perugino, was a native of Città della Pieve near Perugia, he decorated the local Sala del Cambio with a series of frescoes and eight of his pictures can also be admired in the National Gallery of Umbria. Perugino was also the teacher of Raphael, the great Renaissance artist who produced five paintings in Perugia.
Perugia has become famous for chocolate, mostly because of a single firm, Perugina, whose Baci (kisses) are widely exported. Perugian chocolate is very popular in Italy and the company's plant located in San Sisto (Perugia) is the largest of Nestlé's nine sites in Italy. The city hosts a chocolate festival every October.
The Umbria Jazz Festival in April is one of the most important venues for Jazz in Europe and has been held annually since 1973, usually in July, other festivals in Perugia are Sagra Music Festival and the International Journalism Festival (Festival del Giornalismo).
In 2008 Perugia opened its MiniMetro, which is a small, driverless train that every two minutes or so takes you from a car park (Pian di Massiano) near the football stadium or from the main station to the center of town, this does stop running at 9.00pm every night.
Perugia enjoys a traditional Mediterranean climate – cold winters and hot, dry summers. It can get very hot during the day in the summer, but somewhat chilly at night given Perugia’s high altitude.