Before the 20th century, the economy of the region was mainly agricultural. Afterwards industry was represented by food and textile factories which mainly developed in the 1960s. They suffered an economic recession in the 1990s. They were also acquired by foreign enterprises.
However Perugia is first of all a city of culture. It also attracts 30.000 students per year – they study both at the state university and the one for foreigners. Their presence influences the social structure of the city center. Perugia is a vital place: Umbria Jazz, Sagra Musicale Umbra, Rockin’ Umbria and Umbriafiction TV.
The numerous archaeological findings indicate that a small nucleus of huts was present at the top of the hill already in the 9th century BC. From these structures the Etruscan center developed. The travertine walls were built between the 4th-3rd century BC. They have the shape of a three-leaf clover. During the 1st century BC Perugia became a part of the Roman State. Augustus ordered a structural rearrangement of the town, which focused on the forum. During the Imperial age it also developed outside the walls, as it can be seen in the Martia amphitheater, the Conca thermal baths and maybe a mausoleum below the San Pietro (St. Peter) bell tower. The expansion outside the town walls continued during early Christian times, but stopped during the Barbaric invasions (6th century). The development restarted in the Early Middle Ages: the cathedral of Saint Peter (10th century) was enclosed in the city walls. By the end of the 11th century the communal government began the construction of public buildings: Palazzo dei Consoli (Consuls), del Podestà (Mayor) and dei Priori (approximately 1293-1443). These constructions, together with the Fontana Maggiore (1275-78) changed the layout of the city’s main square. Between the 12th and 13th centuries the surrounding countryside extended up to Lake Trasimene. The rural aristocracy and the peasants moved to town. Consequently new boroughs were born around the monastic complexes. They have been included in the city’s perimeter walls between the 13th-14th centuries. In 1370 (Peace of Bologna) Perugia was under papal dominion. A fortification system was built, but it has been demolished in 1375 due to a local revolt. The political instability which characterized the end of the 14th century meant that various seignories had the power alternatively. The government of Braccio Fortebracci (1416-24) is particularly important because of the public works done in this period. From the second half of the 15th century the Baglioni family (which supported the papacy) played an important role in the city’s political and cultural life. The refined and cultivated social class in power enriched the city with artistically significant buildings. Around the middle of the 16th century the papal dominion was clearly visible in the Rocca Paolina (1540-43), constructed where the Baglioni turreted quarter used to be.
Perugia’s medieval townscape included Renaissance and Baroque façades. Streets and squares were enlarged. The modernization process began in the 19th century. This meant that the service facilities were centralized and a new ring road was built. The latter marked the city’s limits. In 1860 the Rocca Paolina had been destroyed and the Piazza Italia was created. In 1867 the railway station attracted industry to the city (eg. the Perugina chocolate company). After that the residential areas and the historic center fused, creating an economic area.
PALAZZO DEI PRIORI & COLLEGIO DEL CAMBIO
During the first half of the 20th century the town began developing along its natural axes: Monteluce, Elce and the railway station. The previous quarters also kept expanding. After that a new highway was built – it connected the outside of the city with the ancient roads which came from the city center. Today Perugia keeps integrating the old with the new, developing and preserving the historic heritage at the same time.