Ferragosto, or Assumption Day, is an Italian national holiday celebrated on August 15. Many businesses and shops in Italy are closed on August 15 although on the coast and near major tourist sites shops are more likely to be some open. Most museums and tourist sites are open on August 15. Many Italians head to the beach for Ferragosto, so the coast (and coastal roads) are usually very crowded while the cities may be fairly empty.
Traditionally, Ferragosto marks the start of Italy's vacation period so if you're in a city during the second half of August, you may find a number of restaurants and shops closed for vacation, chiuso per ferie, however near tourist sites there will be some open.
You'll find celebrations in many places in Italy on this day and the days before and after, often including music, food, parades, or fireworks. Here are a few top Ferragosto Festivals:
- Rome's Gran Ballo di Ferragosto fills Rome's squares with live dance performances. There's a different type of dance in each square.
- Diano Marina in Liguria holds a festival of the sea with a good fireworks display. See Liguria Map
- In Tuscany, Montepulciano holds a historical pageant and games.
- Cappelle sul Tavo, near Pescara on the Abruzzo coast, celebrates with the Palio of the Pupe, huge effigies paraded through the streets at night. During the procession, they eventually explode with fireworks. See Abruzzo map
Festivals on August 16:
- Siena in Tuscany runs their second Palio in the central square on August 16 - see Palio of Siena.
- Sassari in Sardinia holds the Festa dei Candelieri that 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. See Sardinia map
- Girifalco in Calabria celebrates the Feast Day of Saint Rocco on August 16.
See more August Festivals in Italy