Posted by: dreamitalia | August 12, 2008

August is a Holiday for Italians

August is considered the “off-season” for traveling in Italy since most Italians take their own holidays this month. Most Italians head for the seaside. While you may find that many local businesses are closed, there are also many festivals taking place. 

If you  happen to be traveling to Italy this August, here is a partial list of interesting events taking place from

August 15, Ferragosto (Assumption Day), is a national holiday so many businesses and shops will be closed. You’ll find celebrations in many places in Italy on this day and the days before and after, often including music, food, and fireworks. In some big cities like Rome and Milan, however, the city will empty out as Italians leave the city for the beaches and mountains.

Here are some of the bigger festivals you’ll find in Italy in August.

Tuscan Sun Festival is 9 days of music, art, cuisine, wine, and wellness in Cortona, Tuscany, starting the first weekend in August. The Tuscan Sun Festival gathers well known artists from the classical music world. The program also includes lectures on wellness and cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, pre-concert receptions with locally made products and a wide range of Tuscan wines. (More about Cortona). More information at Tuscan Sun Festival web site.

Medieval PalioFelire in the Veneto region holds a medieval festival the first weekend in August with a parade and archery competition.

La Quintana – Ascoli Piceno, in Le Marche region, holds a historic jousting tournament the first Sunday in August. The tournament, one of the best medieval festivals in the Marche, is preceded by a huge parade with people dressed in fifteenth century costume.

Festa della Madonna della Neve, on August 5, celebrates a miraculous summer snowfall in the fourth century that prompted the building of the Santa Maria Maggiore Church, one of Rome’s main churches. The snow is recreated with flower petals at the church. This festival is celebrated other places, too.

Palio del Golfo, a rowing race between the 13 maritime villages that border the Bay of La Spezia is held the first Sunday in August in the water off the promenade in La Spezia. (Gulf of La Spezia Map)

Giostra di Simone, in the Tuscany town of Montisi, is held the Sunday afternoon closest to August 5. First there’s a costumed parade followed by a tournament of knights representing the four contrade, or neighborhoods, of the town. Montisi and the Giostra di Simone

Festa del MareDiano Marina in Liguria holds a festival of the sea with a good fireworks display on August 15.

Castelli, a village in the Abruzzo region famous for its ceramics, celebrates August 15 by tossing all the imperfect ceramics from a height, smashing them in a dramatic fashion. (see Abruzzo map)

Festa dei Candelieri – The festival of the candle in Sassari, Sardinia, dates back to the 16th century. In this exciting festival held on August 16, you’ll see a race with teams of men bearing huge and very heavy candles. It’s a very interesting event. (Sardinia Map)

Corso del Palio – The second round of the famous Palio in Sienna is August 16 (the first race was July 2). 10 of Sienna’s 17 contrade, districts, compete in an exciting bareback horse race around Sienna’s central piazza, filled with thousands of spectators. The winner gets the silk palio. (palio definition) There will also be festivities and parades in the days prior to the race. Sienna will be very crowded around the time of the Palio. Sienna Travel Planning Il Palio Website

The Miracle of the White Madonna is celebrated with a torchlight procession in the Ligurian seaside village of Portovenere on August 17.

For a full listing of events:



  1. Some lovely festivals definitely well worth a visit!

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