Italy Festivals

Photograph: Palio of Siena

Festivals in Italy

Narrow the Italy Festivals selection below using the intiutive search box to the right. It works a treat. Bon voyage!

Bologna Festival

Bologna Festival

Bologna has long held the reputation as a centre for cultural excellence. In 2000 it was declared the the European Capital of Culture. In 2006 the Global Alliance's Creative Cities Network — an arm of UNSESCO — granted it, 'City of Music' status. Events like the annual Bologna Festival, a three month celebration of classical musical, from March through June, go a long way toward forging that reputation.

More Bologna Festival info...

Europe Italy Bologna Classical Music and Opera Festivals March
Calcio Storico

Calcio Storico

Steeped in almost 500 years of tradition and described loosely as a mix between football and rugby — with a good dose of bare-knuckle boxing added to the mix — Calcio Storico is not a game for those who flinch at the site of blood. Calcio Storico can be traced back as far as February 17, 1530, although different accounts have it dating back even further. At that time Florence had been over-run by the imperial troops of Charles V and at Florence's Piazza Santa Croce a match was played between the Bianchi and the Verdi as an outward sign of contempt and provocation. Today, players still dress in authentic period costume and parade to the Piazza through the historic centre of Florence where they are introduced to the spectators and the Seigniory — usually an important guest of the city. Then the game begins. There are two teams each made up of 27 combatants. The playing field is a giant sand pit with a goal running the width of each end. There is a main referee, six linesmen and a field master who intervenes in the very likely event of fisticuffs. Each game is played out for 50 hard fought minutes with the winner being the team that has amassed the most points or 'cacce'. So amidst a colourful display of period costume, blood and team coloured smoke bombs the battle unfolds in front of thousands of cheering locals and tourists in Florence for the spectacle. The prize? Well, the winning team receives a pile of steaks of a weight equivalent to that of a white calf. I'll take mine rare with a nice drop of Barbaresco.

More Calcio Storico info...

Europe Italy Florence Sporting Events Bizarre Festivals June
Cinque Mulini

Cinque Mulini

Each January, some 20 kilometres northwest of Milan in the Lombardy Region of Italy, the commune of San Vittore Olona plays host to one of the world's more unique cross-country running events, the Cinque Mulini or Five Mills. The prestigious event takes its name from the five mills that dot the course. Although the course layout has changed frequently since the event's inception in 1933, it still involves competitors running through at least one of the five mills. The event's popularity has grown dramatically in recent years and today Cinque Mulini attracts a world-class field of competitors from Europe, Africa and beyond.

More Cinque Mulini info...

Europe Italy Milan Marathons, Triathlons and Fun Runs January
Festival Morgana

Festival Morgana

The art of puppetry is alive and kicking in the Sicilian capital, Palermo — no strings attached. For two and a half weeks each November the Festival Morgana presents a programme of puppet and marionette theatre performed by local and international acts and organised by the Association for the preservation of folk traditions.

More Festival Morgana info...

Europe Italy Palermo Puppet Festivals November
Festival of the Artichoke

Festival of the Artichoke

The aphrodisiacal artichoke takes centre stage at the Romanesco Artichoke Festival held for three days each April in the Tyrrhenian Seaside town of Ladispoli. Since 1951 locals have been paying homage to the Mediterranean native vegetable with a programme including a conference on the economics and cultivation of the artichoke and artichoke cooking competitions. Local restaurants do their bit by laying on menus thick with the edible thistle. There's a music program, artichoke-themed decorations and plenty of free fried artichoke to be sampled before taking in the fireworks over the shore of Ladispoli.

More Festival of the Artichoke info...

Europe Italy Rome Food Festivals April
FotoGrafia

FotoGrafia

Fotografia, Rome's annual photography festival is back again this September with a wide range of exhibitions being staged at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO). Lovers of the art form can take in thousands of individual images by some of the most respected names in the business as well as a range of photography lectures and workshops.

More FotoGrafia info...

Europe Italy Rome Photography Festivals September
Genoa Festival of Science

Genoa Festival of Science

Since 2003, the Italian port city of Genoa has been attracting inquiring minds to discuss, debate and ponder all things scientific at their annual Festival of Science. The festival features ten days of talks, exhibits, shows, workshops and interactive events designed to challenge, educate and inspire members of the whole family. Each year's event sees a new guest country take scientific centre stage.

More Genoa Festival of Science info...

Europe Italy Genova Science and Technology Festivals Family Festivals October
Giornate FAI

Giornate FAI

Over a weekend each spring, the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (Italy's cultural heritage body) politely encourages institutional and private owners of historic properties to open their doors to the public and reveal their spectacular interiors. It's an event that is rapidly growing in popularity, last time out attracting more than half a million visitors who took advantage of free access to more than 750 Italian heritage listed properties.

More Giornate FAI info...

Europe Italy Cultural Festivals Historical Festivals March
International Rome Film Festival

International Rome Film Festival

Although a relative youngster, the International Rome Film Festival already competes with the European film festival heavyweights; in no small part due to the huge media coverage it attracts and the big name artists that attend. The festival's programme is divided into several sections featuring a wide range of genres and formats including big-budget, Hollywood productions, art house-oriented and independent works, alternative productions, animations and short films, documentaries and children's films.

More International Rome Film Festival info...

Europe Italy Rome Film Festivals Short Film Festivals October
Lungo Il Tevere

Lungo Il Tevere

The banks of the Tiber (Tevere in Italian) around Isola Tiberina spring to life from mid June through early September during the annual Lungo Il Tevere. Pizzerias, cafes and restaurants serve up everything from simple snacks to full a-la-carte menus whilst a plethora of bars, lounges and cafes that line the river will ensure you never go thirsty. Take in some art at one of Lungo Il Tevere's exhibition areas, catch some live music or just grab a gelato and wander through the vintage market stalls. A more pleasant way to spend a balmy summer evening in Rome is difficult to imagine.

More Lungo Il Tevere info...

Europe Italy Rome Community Festivals Art Festivals June
Merano Wine Festival

Merano Wine Festival

Held in the palatial rooms of the Kurhaus, the Merano Wine Festival has been dubbed the world's most exclusive wine-event — a celebration and a showcase of the finest Italian and international wines as well as some of the region's finest haute cuisine. The festival is the result of the tireless work of nine tasting committees, which in the proceeding months have been hard at work selecting the finest wines from over 300 Italian wineries as well as more than 120 international winemakers. Visitors get the opportunity to sample the featured vintages along with a selection of organic and biodynamic wines. To mix things up a little take a check out Beer Passion, dedicated to the flavours of traditional beers.

More Merano Wine Festival info...

Europe Italy Venice Wine Festivals Food Festivals November
Palio of Siena

Palio of Siena

Amidst a flurry of medieval pageantry in the ancient Piazza del Campo, Siena's historic, Il Palio is a horse race with a difference and an event not to be missed. Twice each summer (July 2 and August 16) join thousands of partisan locals and adventure-seeking tourists as they witness ten bareback riders — selected by each of the city's ancient districts — set off on a death-defying ninety second dash around the Piazza del Campo. The race is a chaotic, no rules affair where anything goes and the tight sloping, slippery course certainly does nothing to lessen the mayhem. The crowd is as raucous as hell and the atmosphere is electric. Partying continues well into the night especially in the district of the winning jockey.

More Palio of Siena info...

Europe Italy Siena Horse Racing Events Traditional Festivals Sporting Events July
Pink Night

Pink Night

That ain't sunburn! Join revellers on Italy's Adriatic Coast for Pink Night (La Notte Rosa) the summer's most anticipated celebration. From the Lidos of Comacchio to Cattolica along more than 110 kilometres of coastline, music, theatre performances, art displays and light installations cast a pink hue over the sea front, piazzas, restaurants and clubs as revellers paint the coast pink. Thousands of street-lamps turn pink, fireworks animate the most popular beaches and hundreds of shows, concerts and events add to the Adriatic's biggest summer party.

More Pink Night info...

Europe Italy Rimini Summer Festivals July
Pisa Book Festival

Pisa Book Festival

Literary buffs gather in Pisa for three days each November to celebrate the written word at the annual Pisa Book Festival. A packed programme focussing primarily on the offerings of independent publishers, the festival features over 200 events — presentations, seminars, conferences and writing courses — and in excess of 150 independent exhibitors.

More Pisa Book Festival info...

Europe Italy Pisa Book Fairs November
Pizzafest

Pizzafest

Pizza lovers congregate in Naples for ten days each September to dine en-masse on Naples' signature dish. The most famous pizzeries from Italy and abroad gather to match their skills against renowned local pizzaioli, in an attempted to be crowned the best pizzaiolo in the world. Visitors get the chance to sample the goods, accompanied by nice glass of vino.

More Pizzafest info...

Europe Italy Naples Food Festivals September
Regata Storica

Regata Storica

Venice's history is inextricably linked to rowing. Her gondolas and gondoliers are as iconic as Pisa's tower or Rome's colosseum. Come the first Sunday of September you can take in some of that history from the banks of her Grand Canal. Regata Storica is the main event on Venice's annual rowing calendar, which features a number of races based on age and type of craft. The formula one event on the programme — the "Campioni su Gondolini" race — sees two-manned craft take to the canal in an amazing display of strength, stamina and balance. The highlight for many is the spectacular historical water pageant that precedes the race. In a ceremony literally dripping with history and tradition, the Doge, his wife and a number of high ranking Venetian officials parade along the Grand Canal in 16th century-style boats manned by gondoliers in period costume. With Venice as a breathtaking backdrop the pageant is a sight to behold.

More Regata Storica info...

Europe Italy Venice Sporting Events Traditional Festivals September
Rome Marathon

Rome Marathon

If you're going to push your body to the extreme and endure 42.195 kilometres of tarmac-pounding hell, at least do it in Rome where world-class historical landmarks are sprinkled around the course like drink stations. The Rome Marathon kicks off on the Via dei Fori Imperiali in the shadow of the the city's crumbling Coliseum before proceeding through the city centre taking in such famous landmarks as the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Saint Peter's and Piazza Venezia and the Piazza di Spagna. Carb replenishment shouldn't pose a problem with literally hundreds of pizza and pasta restaurants within hobbling distance of the finish line.

More Rome Marathon info...

Europe Italy Rome Marathons, Triathlons and Fun Runs March
St. Valentine's Day (Terni)

St. Valentine's Day (Terni)

Get all loved up with the people of Terni, the birthplace and resting place of Roman Catholic martyr, Saint Valentine. Throughout the month of February, and especially on February 14, St. Valentine's Day, the people of Terni celebrate their saintly son with art exhibitions, concerts, poetry readings, sporting events, the chance for engaged and married couples to make or remake vows, special masses and fireworks.

More St. Valentine's Day (Terni) info...

Europe Italy Terni Religious Events February
Stramilano

Stramilano

Join the jogging throng of thousands as they take to the streets of Milan in late March or early April for the Stramilano. Three events — a 5 kilometre, a 10 kilometre and a half marathon, 21.097 kilometre — are open to juniors, seniors, amateurs and professionals. A pop from the starter's gun will see runners off from the Piazza del Duomo at 9.30am.

More Stramilano info...

Europe Italy Milan Marathons, Triathlons and Fun Runs March
Taste Florence

Taste Florence

With the history, art and architecture of magnificent Florence as a backdrop, it's easy to take for granted Italy's greatest masterpiece, her cuisine. For three days each March, Taste Florence brings local Italian food to the fore — not that it needs too much of a push. Over 300 of the finest food and wine producers from all over Italy will be featuring their fare at Stazione Leopolda to thousands of foodies and the haute gastronomie trade. In addition to the events at Stazione Leopolda, the extended off-site programme features food and wine events at many of the finest bars, cafes and restaurants of Florence.

More Taste Florence info...

Europe Italy Florence Food Festivals Wine Festivals March
Trieste Film Festival

Trieste Film Festival

Held annually during the third week of January in the picturesque Italian port city, The Trieste Film Festival has become the leading festival of Central and Eastern Europe cinema in Italy. Founded in 1989, the festival features a five-day programme of international feature-films, shorts, documentaries and animation. Festival sections include the "Sound Zone", for titles with a musical subject matter, "Genre Surprises" featuring popular trends in productions from Central and Eastern Europe and "A Tribute to Paradžanov", the brilliant and controversial Georgian filmmaker and visual artist.

More Trieste Film Festival info...

Europe Italy Trieste Film Festivals Short Film Festivals January
Umbria Jazz Festival

Umbria Jazz Festival

Over ten days each July picture-postcard Perugia takes on the mantle of jazz central during the Umbria Jazz Festival. Recognised as one of one of Jazz' most important events, Umbria has attracted the genre's heavyweights and serious jazz aficionados for a series of concerts and jams since 1973. Blessed with an abundance of historical venues, if the combination of aesthetics and serious musicians at the top of their game appeals, it's hard to beat Umbria Jazz. Perugia takes it role seriously and the bars, clubs, restaurants all come to the party. Plan early, securing accommodation in the weeks leading up to Umbria can be challenging at best.

More Umbria Jazz Festival info...

Europe Italy Perugia Jazz Festivals July
Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival

The Queen of the Adriatic, plays host to its own very unique celebration of Carnival each February (Carnevale di Venzia) and has done on and off since 1268. Elaborate masks are central to Venice Carnival festivities and lend the celebration a sense of timelessness and mystery. The Venetian backdrop, truckloads of sumptuous Italian food and fine wine, a classical soundtrack and a frenzy of fireworks, make it one of Europe's most anticipated celebrations year after year. Book early as beds fill fast.

More Venice Carnival info...

Europe Italy Venice Carnival and Mardi Gras February
Viareggio Carnival

Viareggio Carnival

Italy's Carnevale di Viareggio has been building on its rep as one of Europe's finest street parades since it's troubled beginnings as a higher tax protest in 1873. It was the bourgeois then, the wealthy middle-class men of Viareggio that orchestrated a parade of floats adorned with flowers to mark their refusal to pay higher taxes. Later masks were added so these naughty little law-breakers could disguise themselves, and from there the Viareggio Carnival as we know it, grew. Today the Carnival parade is held along Viareggio Avenue where a crowd nearing one million strong attend to witness the wonderful paper-mache floats and masks depicting caricatures of popular celebrities, such as politicians, media darlings and sportsmen and women. In conjunction with il carnevale in 1949 a youth football tournament was first held — Torneo di Viareggio (Coppa Carnevale) — and continues today as one of the nation's most-loved and important sporting events. Take a trip out to the Cittadella del Carnevale, an extraordinary architectural complex constructed in 2001 and dedicated to the creation and preservation of the Carnival of Viareggio. The Cittadella includes 16 hangars where the parades giant floats are constructed and a museum dedicated to the history of carnivale's floats.

More Viareggio Carnival info...

Europe Italy Viareggio Carnival and Mardi Gras Street Parades February
Vinitaly

Vinitaly

Dubbed the largest wine show in the world, Vinitaly is a hugely important international wine competition and exposition held annually in the famed Italian wine producing region of Vernoa. For producers, attendance and the reception that their wines receive often act as a barometer for measuring the health and success of the market, particularly for emerging Italian wine regions. But it's not all about the trade. Vinitaly's doors are large and they're certainly held open for the public. There's usually in the region of 3,000 wines being featured from dozens of countries worldwide ranging geographically from Germany to New Zealand to Argentina. With that much choice, there's a real art in selecting what to taste. The festival runs for four days, choose wisely.

More Vinitaly info...

Europe Italy Verona Wine Festivals April
Wine Town Firenze

Wine Town Firenze

Grab a friend, grab a glass and join the beautiful people of Florence this May, as they take to their city's picturesque piazzas and historic buildings (including Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Nonfinito and Palazzo Davanzati) for Wine Town Firenze — a two-day celebration of the local drop, sponsored by the Italian Sommelier Association. Wine Town features tastings from more than 100 participating wineries, a mouth-watering selection of Italian street food, live musical entertainment, theatre performances and free admission to select museums. Salute!

More Wine Town Firenze info...

Europe Italy Florence Wine Festivals July
World Pizza Championships

World Pizza Championships

Part Italian snack, part theatre! Think boy band dance moves mixed with gymnastics floor routines and to that add a generous dose of fun and a wad of flour and water. You got yourself the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy. So what's it all about? It's a gathering of the best pizza makers and the most talented pizza dough tossers in the world for a showdown of family-size proportions. There's the serious side of pizza baking with awards in a number of categories and then there's the tightly choreographed dough tossing routines that make the efforts displayed by my local pizza shop owner look...well...disgraceful in comparison. Sorry Giuseppe.

More World Pizza Championships info...

Europe Italy Parma Food Festivals April

Italy Festivals on the Map