The hugely popular Eurochocolate festival kicks off in Perugia on Saturday with a bulging programme for sweet-toothed visitors.
Around 150 Italian and international chocolate companies will set up stands in the city's historic centre, offering the public a chance to sample well-known brands as well as hand-crafted pralines and cups of hot chocolate.
Play Chocolate is the theme of the 2008 edition of the eight-day festival, which attracts over a million visitors to the Umbrian town each year.
Festival head Eugenio Guarducci said he hoped the event would provide relief to Italians stressed by the current economic situation and help restore food's role of giving people pleasure.
''At a difficult time for everybody, we're waiting for all chocolate lovers to come and play with us and the chocolate,'' he said.