Three consecutive days and the same number of appointments for residents and tourism of Umbria: October 31 is Halloween, new and cheerful party with fancy dress evenings in the streets, in the squares and in the nightclubs of the major urban centers. On November 1 is All Saints’ Day, an important religious occasion with solemn liturgical celebrations but also convivial and aggregation appointments. To anticipate the holidays, the day before, the town of Santa Maria degli Angeli offers the Fair of All Saints along the city streets.
It’s just the appetizer of the traditional Fair of the Dead of Perugia, the largest and waiting of Umbra, new edition of an event that has been held for over 750 years. Since medieval the fair in Perugia was the most important of Europe. Once, it lasted a month and was an opportunity of meeting people from different countries; trading goods, but also culture, knowledge and experiences.
Only from ‘800 it took its current name of “Fair of the Dead”, previously called “of All Saints” because it started that day. In the past it had a crucial social function: you sold and bought agricultural products and livestock in proximity of the winter, you stocked up food in view of the coldest season and you found things normally difficult to detect.
Since then, the spirit of the event seems remained intact and it still is a time of fun and shopping, a place where you can find news and curiosity, or just the place to stroll carefree, pervaded by the scents and colors of a festive atmosphere.
Each year, from November 1 for the next five days, more than 500 exhibitors populate the Piazzale Umbria Jazz of Pian di Massiano. Their stand displaying a wide range of product categories: products for the person and for the house, herbal medicine, hardware, auto accessories, toys, handicrafts, agricultural products and food. There are several dining options with culinary specialties of the region such as: pork, torta al testo, sandwiches, crepes, roasted chestnuts and the traditional “Beans of the Dead”. Walking through the stands, you can then watch the exhibitions of street artists, jugglers and extemporary shows.
The event is completed with an exhibition area in the historic center, the place where all it began a few centuries ago. There are stands of the Twin Cities: the Slovak Bratislava, the German Potsdam, the French Aix en Provence, of the non-profit associations of the territory and, like every year, the “Mycological Naturalistic Circle of Perugia” presents his edition of “Live Mushrooms”.
The Minimetro in eight minutes connects the historic center with Pian di Massiano, giving the opportunity to visit at once both locations of the Fair of the Dead of Perugia.
Also in Piazzale Umbria Jazz, during the event, right next to the stands it is set up a real Moon Park, called in dialect “baracconi”, whose presence continues for a whole month.
From years, the Fair of the Dead is between the traditional events of touristic interest. If you are in the area to visit the cities of art it is definitely an event that we recommend. Conversely, if you are in Perugia for the Fair, stop at a farmhouse in the Subasio to enjoy Assisi and the beautiful villages nearby.