Italy has interesting festivals every month of the year. Here is information about popular and unusual festivals in Italy listed by month as well as Italian holidays, annual special events, and music festivals. Attending a festival is a great way to experience Italian culture and enhance your vacation in Italy.
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January starts with New Year's and Epiphany celebrations. Italian festivals in January include Feast Days of San Antonio Abate and San Sebastiano, Il Palio di Sant'antonio Abate, and the Fair of Sant'Orso, a woodcarvers fair, that's been held annually for about 1000 years.
Carnevale, Italian carnival, tops the list of February festivals all over Italy. In Catania, Sicily, a big festival held on Saint Agatha's Feast Day is the second largest religious procession in the world. Other February Italian festivals include Saint Biago Day, Saint Faustino's Day, and an Almond blossom fair.
Songs and chocolate highlight March festivals in Italy. Two interesting March festivals are the Marriage of Venice to the Sea and the Palio dei Somari, a donkey race held on Saint Joseph's Feast Day, also known as Father's Day in Italy. Spring festivals start in March and Easter sometimes falls in March, too.
In April you'll find a frog race, Rome's birthday, the festival of San Marco, and Saint George's Day. There's an Italian national holiday on April 25 and Easter often falls in April. Food festivals are starting to be more plentiful, too.
May in Italy is a good time to find spring festivals. You'll find flower festivals, food and wine festivals, medieval reenactments, and events celebrating rituals of spring. Unusual festivals include the Wedding of the Trees and the Snake Handlers' Procession. May Day is a national Italian holiday.
Summer brings many festivals to Italy. Look for posters announcing a festa or sagra as you travel around Italy. Festa della Repubblica on June 2 is a national Italian holiday and the Feast Day of San Giovanni is celebrated many places in Italy. Some Italian towns have outdoor music concerts beginning in June, too.
July is one of the best months for festivals in Italy. Sienna has its famous Palio and one of my favorites is the Festa de la Madonna Bruna. You'll find food festivals, medieval festivals, and lots of fireworks including the World Fireworks Championships. There are also many music festivals in July.
Ferragosto (Assumption Day) is an Italian national holiday on August 15. In August you'll find local festivals throughout Italy, where you can often sample inexpensive regional food. Many Italians take vacations in August, often to the seaside, so you're more likely to find festivals there. You may run across a medieval festival that includes people dressed in medieval costumes. There are also many outdoor music performances in August.
In September Italians return from their vacations. Many festivals take place the first Sunday in September as summer comes to an end. You'll still find local food festivals throughout Italy during the month of September, a great place to mingle and sample regional food. Major September festivals include Venice's historic regatta, the Feast of San Gennaro in Naples, and the Feast Day of San Michele held in many places in Italy.
October is a great month for Italian food festivals, especially mushrooms, chestnuts, chocolate, and truffles. On October weekends, you'll find fall food festivals and wine harvest celebrations all over Italy. Although Halloween is not such a big celebration in Italy, it is becoming more popular and you may find Halloween festivals, especially in the larger cities.
November is the heart of the white truffle season and you'll find truffle fairs and chestnut festivals. All Saints Day is in November and Rome has a big festival of music, theater, and dance.
December celebrations and events in December revolve around Christmas. In December Italians celebrate the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, Santa Lucia Day, Christmas Eve and Day, Saint Stephen's Day, and several other saints' days. There's also a wild boar festival in Tuscany and a festival of gospel music in Umbria.