Festivals in Italy

�Eat, drink and be merry�-Italians believe in living the words to their truest senses and hence, they celebrate many festivals and fairs at different times of the year to keep the spirit high. There are both national as well as regional festivals being observed in Italy and without fail all these festivals in Italy are full of fun, frolic and food.

If you are planning your next vacation to this extraordinary land one of the best time to visit it during the festival seasons. You can discover an entire new world in Italy through its many festivals.

Italy is a modern country which still has its roots strictly planted in the ground of traditions and rituals. Italians try to return back to their glorious past through the many celebrations and festivals. Therefore, there are various festivals celebrated from north to south and from west to east of Italy.

To help you plan your Italy trip better we have therefore prepared a list of festivals in Italy. Following is therefore the monthly list of festivals in Italy.

  • Celebration of New Year- Like most parts of the world Italians too celebrate January 1st as the beginning of a New Year.
  • Epiphany- The festival marks the end of Italian Christmas season.

  • Almond Blossom Festival (Agrigento, Sicily) - The festival is celebrated to mark the arrival of spring with the first almond blossoms.

  • Easter- The Easter Sunday date may vary between March and April.
  • Easter Monday
  • Medieval Easter Celebrations(Assisi, Umbria)

  • Palio (Asti, Piedmont) - Ancient festival typical for its medieval type horse race.
  • Sant�Efisio Festival (Cagliari, Sardinia)- It is one of the most colorful and grand religious processions in Italy.
  • Race of the Candles (Gubbio, Umbria) - It was celebrated on 15 May, at St. Ubaldo's eve. It is undoubtedly one of the most famous and craziest religious processions of the world.

  • Medieval Soccer Match (Florence, Tuscany)- Calcio Storico is one of the medieval traditions. It is being observed since 1500. It is part football and part thuggery. The participants usually dress in traditional costumes.

  • Palio di Siena (Siena, Tuscany) � Palio is a world famous horse race event that is held in Tuscany every year.

  • Joust of the Quintana (Ascoli Piceno) - It is another of the medieval traditions. Jousting is the basic form of martial combat between two knights.

  • St. Gennaro Feast (Napoli, Campania) � One day religious feast observed to pay tribute to the Patron Saint of Naples.
  • Joust of the Saracen (Arezzo, Tuscany)
  • Joust of the Quintana (Foligno, Umbria)

  • Wine Festival (Marino, Latium) � It is wine drinking and pouring festival. Wine fountains are built at different parts of the country and wine is distributed from the Roman Castles Area.

  • Christmas- The Christmas celebration is really big in Italy. People from around the globe gather at Italy to enjoy the Christmas festival.
  • New Year�s Eve

Many of the Italian festivals have long history and tradition. Some of them are being observed since the medieval time and still some of the old traditions are being followed, like-horse races and wine festivals. Often people dress in periodic costumes during the festive time and there are contests held between the neighboring towns and villages. Summer is the busiest time for festivals and people from various parts of the world gather at Italy to witness the euphoria.

List of national holidays in Italy
New Year's Day
The first day of the year is called Capodannoa or the New Year�s Day. The day is celebrated in Italy with lots of grandeur. While most of the shops and places will remain closed on that day you�ll also find special events being organized to celebrate the beginning of the New Year.

January 6th marks the end of the Christmas season in Italy. Traditionally the children receive gifts and sweets from la Befana on that day. There is also a procession organized at Vatican City where the people dress in traditional costumes, carry symbolic gifts for the Pope. A morning mass is then organized by Pope at St. Peter�s Basilica.

Easter Sunday
The celebration of Easter Sunday is a big event in Italy. Although the date may vary between March and April the day is observed with great enthusiasm. The celebration of the day begins with the Mass conducted at the churches.

The biggest Mass is organized by the Pope at St. Peters Basilica.

Easter Monday
The Monday after the Easter Sunday is called La Pasquetta, or the little Easter. The Easter Monday is a national holiday in Italy. Most of the Italian will enjoy the day by heading to the countryside for a picnic. But most of the museums and major tourist sites will remain open. Also, there will many concerts, dances, and unusual games like cheese-rolling are organized.

Liberation day, April 25
Liberation Day, Festa della Liberazione, is the day that commemorate the end of WW II. There are food festivals, fairs, ceremonies and concerts organized at different parts of the city to celebrate the day.

Labor�s Day, May 1st
The Labor Day is the day for workers. It is a national holiday in Italy. There are many parades and concerts being organized at different parts of the country.

Republic day
June 2 is celebrated as the birthday of Italian Republic, Festa della Repubblica. The day is observed with many parades, concerts and feasts.

Assumption Day or Ferragosto
August 15 is the Assumption day in Italy. August 15 also marks the beginning of the annual vacation time in the country. Hence, if you arrive at Italy at the second half of the month you may find most of the hotels and restaurants being closed.

All Saint's Day, November 1
On All Saint's Day the Italians remember and pay tribute to their ancestors. This is the day observed to honor all the Saints and is a national holiday in Italy. The following day, All Souls day, however, isn�t a holiday.

Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception day is observed on December 8th and it marks the beginning of the winter vacation in Italy.

Christmas, December 25th
Christmas Eve and Christmas are observed with prayers being organized at the churches. Most Italians will spend their Christmas with family and friends. Often elaborate meals are prepared and shared. December 26th is also a holiday with most banks and shops remaining closed.

Carnivals in Italy
Carnivals play a crucial role in defining the culture of Italy. There are many carnivals being organized both at national and local levels at different time of the year. The popular carnivals are,

Venice Carnevale
Often the Venice Carnevale is an extraordinary affair when many people wander the city in different costumes. Fun events, food festivals and concerts are being organized at different parts of the city. Some of the major attractions of Carnevale are,

  • Gondola rides and boat parades organized on the Grand Canal
  • Masquerade parades being organized at St. Mark's Square
  • Special carnival being organized for Children at Cannaregio district.
  • Fireworks shows are being held on the final day of the carnival to celebrate its adjournin.

Viareggio Carnevale
It is one of the biggest carnivals of Italy. Viareggio Carnevale is held at the Tuscany coast. Fun events, concerts, cultural programs, food festivals, masked balls, and more are organized at different places during the carnival time. The Carnival Museum, Cittadella del Carnevale di Viareggio, also remains open for the visitors during Saturdays and Sundays. Admission to see the parade is usually charged.

  • Some of the other notable carnivals are,
  • Ivrea Orange Throwing Carnevale
  • Equestrian Carnival and jousting tournament in Sardinia
  • Sardinia Carnevale in the Barbagia Mountain Villages
  • Carnevale in Acireale, Sicily
  • Pont St. Martin - Roman Carnevale
  • Brazilian Carnaval in Italy
  • Snow Carnival in the Alps
  • Albanian Carnival in Calabria
  • Carnevale in Southern Italy

Feasts to the Saints
Locally at different parts of Italy feasts are organized to honor the patron Saints. The list of Saint Days is as follows,

  • Venice, April 25 : To honor St. Mark
  • Florence, Genoa, and Turin, June 24: To honor St. John the Baptist
  • Rome, June 29: To honor Sts. Peter and Paul
  • Palermo, July 15: St. Rosalia
  • Naples, September 19: To honor St. Gennaro
  • Bologna, October 4: To honor St. Petroni
  • Cagliari, October 30: St. Saturnino
  • Trieste, November 3: To honor St. Giusto
  • Bari, December 6: To honor St. Nicola
  • Milan, December 7: To honor St. Ambrose

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