Italy remains one of the most popular destinations for international tourists. For those who are interested in visiting this vibrant destination to engage in cultural events, we have compiled a list of events and festivals that take place throughout the year- one from each month. This way, you can line up your travel dates with the festival that resonate the most with yourself and your travel companions.
January 30- Fiera di Sant’Orso
The Fiera di Sant’Orso is a historically celebrated festival dating back 1,000 years. This festival is dedicated to the fine arts and crafts created by local artisans and skills tradesmen. It is held in Valle d’Aosta (NW region of Italy) at the end of January.
February 16- Carnevale di Venezia
The Carneval Venice has been taking place since the 12th century, and over 3 million take part in the festivities, making it one of the most popular in the entire country. The most prominent event is a contest held to determine who has the most beautiful mask, judged by fashion designers.
March 8- Festa della Donna
Otherwise known as the International Women’s Day, this is the day when Italians pay respect to women. It was first held in 1922, when it was implemented by the Communist Party of Italy.
April 21- Founding of Rome
This is date commemorating the Founding of Rome in 753 BC. Expect to see large scale celebrations where you can witness reenactments of gladiator fights and costumes of ancient Romans.
Last Sunday of May- Il Palio di Ferrara
The Il Palio di Ferrara is a festival that traces its roots to 1259, and it revolves around a horse race in the Piazza Ariostea, as well as a flag throwing competition in the Town Hall Square, that highlights skill and finesse.
June 2- Festa della Repubblica
As you may have guessed, this is the celebration of Italy’s Independence Day, and you can find parades and festivities throughout the country.
July 2- Palio di Siena
This is a horse race held twice a year, the first one being held on July 2 in the town of Siena. It is held in honor of Madonna of Provenzano, a terracotta bust representing the Virgin Mary.
August 5- Festa della Madonna della Neve
A festival commemorating the miraculous snowfall in the 4 century, which led to the formation of the Santa Maria Maggiore Church. Expect to see colorful reenactments where white rose petals are used as props to represent the snowfall, as well as tributes to the Virgin Mary.
Septemer 16- Juliet’s Birthday
Those of us who enjoy classical Shakespearean works would certainly be up to attend a festival that honors Romeo and Juliet. Join the locals in celebrating this famous Shakespeare character, and check out the artists who come to bring the play to life.
October 19- Eurochocolate Festival
Held in the town of Perugia, this festival is a magnet for chocolate lovers worldwide- up to 1 million visitors annually. Expect to see many of the international chocolate brands that you know and love, displaying their new offerings, as well as a wide range of activities and street performances.
November 11- St Martin’s Day
This festival honors Saint Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who was baptized as an adult and became a monk shortly after. It has come to celebrate the end of the agrarian year and the end of harvest. Expect to see adults enjoying wine tastings, and children celebrating this special day by collecting nuts, seeds, and other seasonal fruit.
December 6- St Nicolas Feast Day
Although this celebration is held all over Europe, it is commonly held in parts of Italy. This is a joyous festival that celebrates St Nicholas, who is a venerated historical figure associated with being a gift giver and protector of children. Enjoy a couple of weeks of local fairs featuring local food and wine, as well as various entertainment options.