Super Markets >
A persistent Perugia myth is that the Coop at the train station is the best deal. Save your two €1.5 tickets on the MiniMetrò for a soccer game, and go to Metà, the handy supermarket located at Via Baglioni 7. They’ve got all your Day-That-Ends-In-“Y” needs, plus some. Nikos’ pick: the Greek yoghurt in the deli section, for making tzaziki. Another option is Todis: if you want to shop more with less money, take bus number G to Via della Pallota (ask the bus driver to get off at Todis), where you will see the store to your right. There’s also one in Monteluce. Take Via Brunamonti from Porta Pesa, make that huge right-hand turn and walk towards the big, church-like building (the old hospital): Todis is down behind the pharmacy on the left.
The Mercato Coperto (Covered Market) is the best place to go, bar none. Before you arrive, a little history: Piazza Matteotti used to be Perugia’s marketplace, and if you look at the wall at number 21, you’ll see the official medieval measurements carved in stone. Anyway, after the Second World War the city needed the street, so they built a huge tower outside the walls and moved the market there. Go through a little arch/tunnel at Number 18A to get to the terrace (notice that you cross a sort of drawbridge to the “tower”). Go to either side of the top floor to find the stairs down.
Another market not to be missed is the organic market on Piazza Piccinino, behind the duomo. It’s the first Sunday of every month, 8-17:00. You can not only get produce but also bread, honey, soap, and all sorts of handicrafts. Remember, too, that all products sold at the market are made by their vendors, which guarantees the highest level of “authenticity” and transparency. An Umbrian delicacy to try here is formaggio al tartufo, a bold cheese flavored with black truffle.
Perugia’s Saturday market is held in a vast car park adjacent to the Renato Curi soccer stadium. Take either Bus G from Piazza Italia or the MiniMetrò to Pian di Massiano. There’s fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, bread, clothes, manchester, shoes and other odds and ends. Hours are 8-13:00 all year round.
Giò is a great specialties store that sells, wine, craft beers, special jams, cranberry juice, the widest selection of tea we have ever seen, special pasta, salts, and spices, mustard of all sorts, chocolate; but also tools to make sushi, specialty tahimi, packages to make tacos and even Jiffy peanut butter . The only problem is that it is not exactly cheap. It’s in between the center and the train station in via Ruggero D’Andreotto, 19 See map here. You have to enter the building and you will see a nice grocery store called Conad; the Giò store is right next to it.
Another hard thing to find: the right spice. Get all your curry and garam masala at Via dei Priori 15, the Antica Spezieria e Drogheria Bavicchi. It’s been a Perugian institution for over a century and they have tons of spices as well as loose tea and legumes in bulk. Alan says the beans, even the expensive ones, are “beantastic.” Go figure.
Alternative/Organic Food >
See the entries for Punto Macrobiotico above. Then there’s also Bavicchi in P.Matteotti for wheatgrass, sprouts, and juicers. If you want organic, we wholeheartedly recommend Rita’s little fruit-and-veggie shop at Via dei Priori 98, down just past the escalators, in the shadow of the Torre degli Sciri. Depending on the time of the year, almost all of the produce on the shelves is from Rita’s garden, all 100% organic. “My hands are my [organic] guarantee”, says Rita with a smile as she holds her palms out to you: yep, they’re pretty calloused. She admits her hours are “un po’ sbandato“, but figure more or less 8:45-13:15 and 18:15-20:30. Check out the poem about Rita in Perugian dialect next to the cash register, too.
On Sundays >
It’s Sunday and you realize that all you have to eat is 100g of pasta and an apple. Nikos and I used to walk all over Perugia looking for a grocery store that was open. Never fear, there are now three: the Alimentare Bangladesh at Via dei Priori 71 just a bit above the scale mobili as well as its sister store in Piazza Cavalotti, and the Chinese store at Via Fabretti 67. These places often have “ethnic ingredients” like tahini, curry, or peanut butter, if you come from a culture with more than four spices. Metà is also open on Sundays, as is the alimentare at Via Bartolo 12-14 (only until 13:00 though).
R. Ceccarani >
Italians love their pastries and deservedly so for there are some fantastic local specialties. Look out for the typical torcolo, a favorite Perugian almond-cake. One of the well-regarded establishments in the center of town is R. Ceccarani Panetteria e Pasticceria, next to the Coop in Piazza Matteotti at number 16. The service is fast, they have a great range and the stuff is always super fresh. Closed Sundays. It’s mighty difficult to buy salted bread in this town without the express permission of the Grand Wazoo, but you can try asking for pane salato.
It’s the middle of the night and you’re hungry. Bakeries, open at that hour to make their wares, often sell (slightly less than legally) their cornetti and pizza. Try the super-chipper Massimiliano at Il Fornaio at Porta Pesa, the bakery at the bottom of Via dei Priori, or Le Mille Delizie at the junction of Via XIV Settembre and Via del Conventuccio (near Corso Cavour).
Pasta Fresca >
An experience you shouldn’t miss. As compared with the one-trick-pony dry pasta in every store, fresh pasta is made with eggs as well as durum wheat flour. Try the nice little old man at Via Caporali 3.
Vino Sfuso >
Bring your own container to the vino sfuso place Rosso Vino at Corso Garibaldi 21, right near the Etruschetto. Perfect for parties!
These friendly little family-run grocery stories are a dying breed. The hole-in-the-wall likely has food that’s a whole lot fresher – and with your tomatoes and peaches you get recipes, too. Our pick is the one at the top of Via Bartolo, at numbers 12-14. The super-friendly Signore and his son and daughter (Daniele and Paola) will make your buying experience a happy one. Check out their sandwiches and other delicious foods under the glass at the bread counter!