Not to be confused with EuroChocolate’s white tents, nor the many food stands that go up at UmbriaJazz, this week in Piazza Italia and all along the Corso is Perugia’s invitation to its “gemelle” – twin sister – cities. There are six of them all together, and if you stroll by from today – the 31st of May – until the 4th of June you can admire the fine craftsmanship of Seattle’s best artists; delight in the mouth-watering Slovenian delicacies brought us by Bratislava; lose yourself in the myriad of colours of the French city of Aix en Provence; taste good home-made popcorn come all the way from Michigan; or just sit back and relax with a refreshing glass of beer from either Tubingen or Potsdam, Germany. Your afternoon ‘pasaggiata’ down Corso Vanucci will be especially merry today with alternating choirs and musical groups in from Seattle and Liek, here to liven the already-bustling streets of Perugia’s Centro Storico.
The city of Perugia is not the only one “twinning” – as the Italians say – with international cosmopolitan centers. The Umbra Institute itself has a special accord with the municipal governments of Seattle and Grand Rapids. As a recent development, Umbra now provides opportunities for financial aid and scholarship opportunities (up to $6000) for students coming to Italy from one of these two cities. Umbra has also hosted a wide array professors and students and promoted inter-cultural exchange between American and Italian Citizens.
Getting back to this week’s event: the annual event is organized by the Comune di Perugia and invites all – especially visitors – to come and take part in festivities. Don’t despair, however, for those of you who don’t make it up to the Corso or into the Piazza during the next few days: wine and beer tasting will go on in various locals all over town – but in these swanky spots it’ll cost you of course, so make haste while the sun shines!