Venice has one of the top carnival festivals in the world but carnevale is celebrated in many Italian towns. Viareggio, on the coast of Tuscany, is known for their elaborate floats and parades are held on several weekends. Carnevale events often occur prior to the actual Carnival date, too. Carnevale usually falls in February. Take a look at some of Italy's interesting Carnevale festivals by clicking on the link above.
The palio of Siena is one of Italy's most famous palio competitions. Siena's palio is a horse race run in the unusual fan-shaped piazza, Il Campo. Siena's 17 contrade, or neighborhoods, compete to win the palio. The horse race takes place in both July and August with other events taking place prior to the races.
L'ardia Di San Costantino is one of the biggest festivals in Sardinia. Taking place in July, this exciting horse race commemorates Constantine's victory at the Mulvian Bridge in 312. It's really more than a race and it has an interesting spiritual twist. Besides watching the races, the large array of food stands makes it a great festival for eating.
The Madonna Bruna festival, on July 2 in Matera, is one of the most interesting processions I've ever seen. The procession has a surprise ending and late at night there's a spectacular fireworks display over the sassi of Matera, a really beautiful sight.
Going to a music festival or outdoor concert during summer can be a highlight of a trip to Italy. You'll find many outdoor concerts in squares and public places throughout Italy. Here's a selection of top Italian summer music festivals.
The Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics is a historic boat race in boats called gozzi, each rowed by a team of eight rowers from one of the four maritime republics - Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. Before the regatta there's a colorful procession with participants from each republic dressed in traditional medieval costume. The festival location rotates each year. These photos were taken in Pisa at the 2009 regatta.
More: Pictures of the Medieval Procession before the Regatta in Pisa.
San Biagio Day might not be one of Italy's biggest festivals but it's celebrated several places in Italy. Here's a look at Avetrana's San Biagio festival, a two day event with music, a procession, and food. It gives you an idea of what a typical festival looks like in southern Italy. Avetrana is on the Salento Peninsula of Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot.
Archery Contests are held in other towns as well. One of the most famous is in Montalcino, Tuscany.