Perugia Science Fest
The idea of creating a science festival in Perugia dates back to 2003; the first festival took place that same year, from July 3-13. The event, one of the first in Italy, was the brainchild of a group of young physicists and mathematicians with long experience in different fields of scientific communication. Flanked by other scientists and enthusiasts, they decided to use the vehicle of a science festival to share with the general public their passion for observing and understanding nature. Since 2004 the Perugia Science Fest has been held in September, each year increasing the number of events and of guests. By 2006 the festival could boast some 40,000 visitors of all ages and backgrounds. This represented a success for the organizers, who from the start had envisioned a festival with an appeal to a broad cross-section of the population. For more than seven years, piazzas, streets and characteristic corners of Perugia’s Old Town have been the backdrop for demonstrations of science, art and technology. With a curious public entering into the spirit of original and lively performances, each year the festival has grown more popular. The creativity of the language with which science is presented and the unusual locations where the events take place have resulted in an atmosphere which makes the Perugia Science Fest unique in its field, appealing to both laymen and scientists. Since its inception in 2003, the festival has attracted a public increasingly varied in age and background: from pre-schoolers to grandparents attending demonstrations and exhibits with their grandchildren, from students to young adults, from locals to tourists. All have participated in experiments, seen performances or demonstrations, or attended lectures and debates.. Nowadays a variety of festival enthusiasts arrive from all over Italy to participate in scientific demonstrations and workshops, visit exhibits, and attend lectures and debates. The events take place in various indoor and outdoor locations: the underground chambers of Perugia’s Pauline Fortress, in piazzas, in streets and characteristic corners of the city’s Old Town. Tourists who come to Perugia or the Umbria region to partake of the area’s historical and artistic wealth discover in the Perugia Science Fest the delights of a different kind of cultural event.The success which the festival has generated among the public is due in large part to a committee of young, energetic organizers who are specialists in the communication of science. The group includes members of the nonprofit Gurdulù Association (Associazione Gurdulù Onlus) and of Psiquadro, a body which concerns itself with the communication and teaching of science by professionals whose credentials are supplemented by disciplines which range from museum and science events management to scientific journalism.
In addition to its growing success and its breadth of appeal, the Perugia Science Fest earned national and international acclaim when it won first prize among 31 contestants from 25 countries in the Wonders - European Science Festival 2007 edition. The prize was awarded in November 2007 during a grand finale held in Lisbon, attended by the Portuguese minister and former European commissioner for scientific research, José Mariano Gago.
In 2009, when Perugia has been designated capital of European science festivals, the city hosted From 15 -17 May the ninth congress of the European Science Events Association (EUSEA), with 32 countries participating from the European Union and associate nations.