Local color and custom, pageantry and excitement make Italy's
annual celebrations and festivals a memorable extra for visitors.
For exact dates contact the Italian Government Tourist Office.
The Opera Season reigns throughout Italy in a host of major
venues, among them Milan, Genoa, Naples, Rome, Parma, Palermo,
Pesaro, Trieste, Venice and Verona.
April 21-June 20. Florence May Music Festival, Italy's oldest
performing arts festival.
May 15. Race of the Candles features a procession of bearers in
local costume carrying towering wooden pillars to the top of Mt.
Ingino in Gubbio.
May 24. The Sardinian Cavalcade is a monumental procession
through Sassari of more than 3,000 participants in Sardinian
Early June. The Flower Festival in Rome is a religious
procession in which participants weave their way along streets
carpeted with flowers arranged in designs.
June 7. The Regatta of the Great Maritime Republics is a
historic spectacle featuring competition between the four former
Italian maritime republics: Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi.
June 24. Soccer Games in Florence are played in 16th-century
garb to commemorate a historic 1530 match. The event also features
June 26 to July 12. The Festival of Two Worlds is Spoleto's
world-renowned performing arts festival.
June 26 to Aug. 30. Visitors who missed the December to June
opera season can take in performances of the Arena of Verona
Outdoor Opera Season held in the city's 22,000-seat Roman
July 2 and Aug. 16. The Palio Horse Race in Siena is a bareback
horse race with participants competing for the palio, or
July 16-19. Venice's Feast of the Redeemer centers on a
procession of gondolas and other craft commemorating the end of a
devastating epidemic in 1575. Also featured are fireworks over the
Aug. 30 and Sept. 6. Arezzo's Joust of the Saracen is a tilting
contest complete with knights in 13th-century armor.
Sept. 2 to 12. The Venice Film Festival is the oldest of the
international film festivals. It is held primarily on the Lido.
Sept 6. The Historic Regatta in Venice features a traditional
competition between two-oar gondolas.
Sept 13 and 20. The Joust of the Quintana is a historic
17th-century-style jousting competition and historical procession
Early October. Alba's 100 Towers Tournament includes costumes
and races. It is held in conjunction with Alba's Truffle Fair, a
food festival dedicated to the white truffle.
Dec. 31. Rome's annual New Year's Eve is a celebration with
fireworks in the Piazza del Popolo.
First week of January. Roman Catholic Epiphany Celebrations. A
major celebration is Rome's Epiphany Fair held at the Piazza
Feb. 13 to 24. Carnival in Venice is a historic 18th century
event revived in the 20th century. Featured are masked balls, plays
and fireworks. The Carnival in Viareggio on the Tuscan Riviera
includes parades, a flower show, masked pageants and fireworks.
Near Turin, the Carnival in Ivrea is a three-day affair with
parades, costumes and folklore pageants.
April 10. Good Friday Procession in Rome is a dramatic torchlit
procession led by the pope from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum
and up the Colle Palatino.
In Florence the Scoppio del Carro, or "Explosion of the Cart,"
is an Easter Sunday tradition with the eruption of a cartful of
fireworks in the Piazza del Duomo.