Festa della Madonna Bruna in Matera, Italy
This is a unique festival held in southern Italy in July. The festival’s highlight comes when a Carro carrying the Madonna is destroyed. The Carro is made of papier mache and takes an entire year to create. Making the Carro is a skill passed down from one generation to the next.
L’Ardia di San Costantino
Held in Sardinia, L’Ardia di San Costantino is an Italian horse race. l Palio di Siena
Il Palio di Siena is a famous festival and horse race – probably the most famous in the country.
Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia
This is a very popular international jazz festival that’s held in July in Perugia.
A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale
Italians have this carnival before the 40 days of deprivation experienced during the advent of Lent. This type of festival has become popular in cities around the world.
Valentine’s Day in Italy
Italy celebrates Valentine’s Day with shops selling china baskets or cups filled with candies tied with ribbons. Getting engaged on Valentine’s Day is a tradition in Italy.
Christmas In Italy (Buon Natale)
Christmas in Italy is marked with white, red and green colors, which are also the colors of the Italian flag. Italians enjoy Christmas traditions, recipes and rites each year.
Easter In Italy (Buona Pasqua) Italy holds many ceremonies during the holiday of Easter no matter when the date of the holiday. Most ceremonies are conducted by churches.
Thanksgiving in Italy
Italy celebrates Thanksgiving, but in a different way than America. The family meal usually consists of Italian recipes (instead of turkey) that have been passed down throughout generations. Families gather for a traditional meal during the holiday.
Celebrate at the Venice Carnival The Venice Carnival is a traditional festival where partygoers wear masks. It is romantic and considered one of the largest festivals in Europe.
Festa del Redentore
This is a Venetian festival held to celebrate the end of a plague that occurred during the 16th century. It’s usually held the second week in July with a fireworks display and a regatta. An architect named Antonio Palladio built the Church of the Redeemer as a remembrance of the occasion.
Scoppio del Carro
This is an event held on Easter Saturday in Florence where a chariot pulled by an ox goes through the streets on a journey to the Il Duomo. Fireworks are ignited from the vehicle.
Known as the “Festival of Two Worlds,” this is one of the most popular musical events in Italy.
Other Traditional Events in Italy (City or region stated in parentheses)
*Almond Blossom Festival (Agrigento) — Festival of song, fireworks and costumes.
*Giostra del Saracino (Arezzo) — Also known as the Joust of the Saracen, this is a tilting contest that’s held the first Sunday in September. Knights in armor depict the 13th century customs.
*Calendimaggio (Assisi) — Also called Celebration of Holy Week, this is Italy’s Easter event to celebrate Spring as they did in Medieval times.
*Torneo Della Quintana (Ascoli-Piceno) — This is the Joust of the Quintana that’s held on the first Sunday of August. It’s a pageant in which contestants wear 15th century costumes.
*Palio San Secondo (Asti) — This is a 700-year-old ceremony in which participants wear costumes from the 13th century.
*Sagra di San Nicola (Bari) — This is a historic costume procession held on May 7th.
*Sagra di Sant’ Efisio (Cagliari) — A large colorful procession is held on May 1st through 4th where pilgrims dress in costumes from the 1600s with accompanying horses, carts and a statue of the saint on foot.
*Calcio Fiorentino (Florence) — This is a soccer match held in June that resembles those football games of the Medieval times.
*Infiorata (Genzano) — A beautiful flower festival, where a religious procession takes place on streets carpeted with flowers.
*Balestrieri (Gubbio) — Known as the Palio of the Archers, this is a Medieval crossbow contest held on the last Sunday in May. Participants wear Medieval arms and costumes.
*Feast of Santa Rosalia (Palermo) — Held in July, this event features fireworks, bands and a procession in honor of the patron saint of the city.
*Epiphany Fair at Piazza Navona (Roma) — A January fair with sweets, toys and presents that is held outdoors at the gorgeous Bernini fountains.
*Estate Romana (Roma) — Coordinated by the city of Rome, this event takes place from the end of June until August or during Roman Summer. There is a summer season of open air entertainment put on by the Rome Opera House. Highlights include music, ballet, opera, drama and more.
*Carnival in Venice (Venice) — Held in February and March, this celebration features masks and costumes, music, fireworks and mimes. Entertainment is provided in the streets.
Wherever you go in Italy, there’s bound to be a special event or festival nearby. Italy is full of fun celebrations all year. You can join in and become a part of these great traditions when you visit Italy.