April 29, 2015

"Y" is for Year

If I could spend an entire year in Italy, how would I pass my time? What a wonderful dilemma that would be! There’s no shortage of interesting events going on all year long: music, sports, religious celebrations, and festivals for everything from crickets to truffles. Here’s a small sampling of events taking place in Italy for every month of the year.

– January –

Epiphany Fair (Rome)
This open air market in Piazza Navona is a continuation
of the Christmas market with a children’s carousel, sweets
and scary-looking Befana dolls (the Italian Santa Claus).

– February –
Carnevale (Venice)
Masks and elaborate costumes
are the highlight of this centuries-old celebration.
For more information: Venice Carnival

– March –
Vinitaly (Verona)
This international wine competition
features wine tastings, exhibits and fine cuisine.
For more information:  Vinitaly

– April –
Festa della Primavera (Rome)
Azalea blooms cascade down the Spanish Steps
and concerts are held in Santa Trinita dei Monti church
during this annual Spring Festival.

Venetian Carnevale Masks

– May –
Festa del Grillo (Florence)
You can also welcome spring with food,
entertainment and your own caged cricket
(but the traditional live bugs are now history).

– June –
Calcio Storico (Florence)
This ancient version of football is played in historical costume
in the city’s largest square, Piazza Santa Croce.

– July –
Il Palio (Siena)
Riders race bareback around Il Campo,
the main square of Siena, in this 700 year old horse race.
For more information:  The Palio

Festa del Redentore (Venice)
Fireworks, gondola races and a floating pontoon bridge
celebrate the city’s deliverance from the plague.
For more information: The Redentore Feast

– August –
Venice Film Festival (Venice)
Stars from around the world converge on the Venice Lido
to schmooze and win accolades for their latest films.
For more information:  Venice International Film Festival

Piazza Santa Croce, Florence

– September –
Regata Storica (Venice)
This historical gondola regatta takes place in the shadow
of grand palazzos along the city's Grand Canal.
For more information:  Regata Storico

– October –
EuroChocolate (Perugia)
A celebration of all things chocolate, the 2015 festival will feature
the world’s largest chocolate mustache sculpture.
For more information: Eurochocolate

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco (Alba)
For those who prefer the non-chocolate sort of truffle,
head to Alba for donkey races, medieval re-enactments and precious white truffles.
For more information:  Alba White Truffle Fair

– November –
Sagra del Cinghiale (Livorno)
This festival celebrating the wild boar of Tuscany includes an
archery contest, costume parade and, of course, food.

– December –
Christmas at the Vatican (Rome)
Witness the lighting of the huge Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square
and attend Christmas Eve Mass with the pope.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

The only event I've participated in is Festa del Redentore in Venice. We joined the crowds walking across the floating pontoon bridge to the Redentore Church, marvelled at the fireworks display and watched gondola races on the Giudecca Canal. The whole city turned out to celebrate!

Redentore Church

Boats Gather for the Fireworks Display

Gondola Races on the Giudecca Canal

Have you attended any of these uniquely Italian celebrations?

Next:  "Z" is for Zucchini


  1. While I have three cousins who left the states to live in Europe, not one of them lives in Italy. And they are all Italian! I would love to live in Europe, but I would be too far from my family. I don't know how my cousin does it with having two children overseas for so many years.

    1. Yes, it would be very difficult being so far away from family. I have a niece in Australia - we all really miss her!

  2. Sounds like you would spend your time enjoying festivals. What a thrill that year would be.

    1. I'd certainly love to check out a few - wine, chocolate....


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