Festivals and Events

If you take a close look at any regional calendar, you'll realize that you could fill every day of the year traveling around Italy to take part in a special procession in some small town, or a world-acclaimed festival in a big city.

Here is a list of only a few of the many special events in Italy. While it is safe to say that something wonderful is happening somewhere in Italy each day, we must caution that it is rare for any single tour departure to coincide with an event. Even then, some will require advance reservations and the tour member might miss an included tour activity.

Of course, it still may be worth the effort, and if there is a way we can help, we will. Enjoy!

January

January 6th, Epiphany - La Befana, Rome

Piazza Navona must be visited on this day, when all the Romans come to see the Befana, the Italian version of a witch, being burnt, and leaving all the Christmas festivities behind. The square, for the days coming up to the "Befana" are full of stalls, artists ready to draw your portrait, mimes and clowns entertaining children and adults alike.

How To Go...

February

Shrove Tuesday - Martedi Grasso, Venice

There is only one place in the world where you can be today, and that's Venice. Venetians prepare one year in advance their elaborate and elegant costumes. Walking along the quaint canals you'll feel transported back in time.

March

No Events

There are currently no major events for March. If you would like to add an event, please submit the event information for review.

April

Easter Sunday - Papal Address, Rome

The Pope makes his Easter address from the Vatican.

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Easter Sunday - Scoppio del Carro, Florence

Fireworks display lit by a mechanical dove in front of the Duomo. The story wants it that in the year 1099 the famous Captain Pazzino dei Pazzi was the first knight to climb the Great Walls of Jerusalem, bringing the Christian flag. For his courage he was rewarded with some stones from the Saint Sepulchre. Pazzino brought them back to Florence, and the Bishop used them to light the fire during Easter Saturday. The fire was distributed to all the people in church. In honor of this ceremony the Pazzi family built a monumental cart called the Brindellone, and to this day the ceremony is repeated every Easter.
(Tickets must be reserved well in advance.)

Fiesta di San Marco, Venice

Celebration of S. Mark, the patron saint of the city. Venetians commemorate it with a gondola race across St. Mark's Basin.

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Greek Drama in Theatre (between May and June), Syracuse

Festival of Greek Drama

Maggio Musicale (between May and June), Florence

Florence's biggest arts festival, including music, drama and dance.

How To Go...

All Perillo Tours that overnight in Florence. Specific events and tickets should be arranged before arriving in Italy.

May

No Events

There are currently no major events for May. If you would like to add an event, please submit the event information for review.

June

Calcio Storico Fiorentino (June), Florence

This is a spectacular event that goes beyond the simple football match as we know it. It's the re-evocation of the original football game as it was played in Florence during the 17th century, by four teams representing the main districts of the city. All the football teams today still dress with the original costumes. Its a very fast and aggressive game that keeps spectators, both Florentines and foreigners, on the edge of their seat until the end.

How to go...

   This is a big event in a small square. Tickets are very hard to come by.

Festa dei Due Mondi (Late June/early July), Spoleto

International festival or drama, music and dance.

July

July 2nd - Corsa del Palio, Siena

Tuscany's most famous event, the Palio takes place in the Piazza del Palio in Siena on July 2nd and again August 16th. This bareback horse race was first recorded in 1283, but many think it goes all the way back to the Roman Empire, and their military training. The jockeys represent the 17 "contrade" (districts) in Siena, and the horses are each blessed at "their" local church. For days before the actual Palio, colorful pageantry and parades in original costumes take place in this Tuscan town. The actual race only lasts for no more than 90 seconds, and the prize is won by the fastest horse, even if the jockey falls off during the race (this often happens).

How to go…

  • Unfortunately, Super bowl tickets are much easier to get.
One week mid July - Feast of Santa Rosalia, Palermo, Sicily

Procession, bands, fireworks in honor of the patron saint of Palermo.

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Il Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) Venice

Always on the 3rd Sunday in July this is a procession of Gondalas commemorating the end of the Epidemic of 1575.

August

August 16th - Corsa del Palio, Siena

This famous race is run again in August.

How to go…
Super Bowl tickets are still much easier to get.
Venice Film Festival (Late August/Early September), Venice

World famous International Film Festival at the Lido of Venice.

How to go
All Perillo Tours that overnight in Venice. Specific events and tickets should be arranged before arriving in Italy.


 

September

Early September - Historical Regatta, Venice

Held on the 1st Sunday of September, this is a traditional competition between two-oar racing gondolas and a procession of ceremonial boats.

Sagra dell'Uva (Early September), Rome

Harvest Festival, with wine tasting and special events in the Roman castles, just outside of Rome.

September 19th - The Miracle of San Gennaro, Naples

Annual re-enactment of the liquefaction of the Saints' blood. This is probably the most important event in the city of Naples, followed by many processions in the streets, and spectacular fireworks in the evening.

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October

October 4th - Festa di San Francesco, Assisi

A big feast and procession in honor of the Saint.

November

November 21 - Festa della Madonna della Salute, Venice

Traditional religious ceremony and popular festival in the homonymous Basilica to give thanks to the Virgin in memory of the 1630 plague.

How to go…

  • Tours in this date range are published June     

December

Sant'Ambrogio, Milan(Early Dec.)

Public blessing by the Pope in St. Peter's Square.