If you’re in Italy during the Ferragosto holiday and looking for a way to celebrate in true Italian style, then you’re in the right place! Here’s a comprehensive list of events, festivals and parties for this national holiday! No matter what area you’re visiting in Italy, you’ll definitely find something near you that peaks your interest!
What Exactly is Ferragosto?
Let’s start with a bit of culture and try to understand the origins of this summer holiday. This custom has Roman origins when, on August 15th of 18 BC, the “Augustus Holidays” were established. On this occasion the fruits of the harvest were celebrated and everyone took a break from work. Rich banquets were prepared and processions and horse races were organized along the streets of the city. In truth, August 15 was the actual day of the main festivities, but the celebrations began at the first of the month and continued for more than a week.
From a religious point of view, the Catholic Church indicated August 15th as the date of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It is considered a Holy Day of Obligation by the Church; however, the majority of Italians have somewhat detached themselves from the religious meaning of the holiday and view it as the pinnacle of summer- a day to be totally carefree and celebrate with friends and family. And as you’ll see from the list below, the ideas are quite original! The city of Siena still holds their prestigious Palio on August 16th every year in honor of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption.
Ideas for Ferragosto Region by Region
Special hiking expeditions are offered all over the region
OYACE (AO)- Fontina Festival
Fontina cheese is the honorary guest at this festival- food, art, music, culture, sports, and more!
BARD (AO)- Maria Assunta Patron Saint Festival
Guided tours of Fort Bard plus a town festival with a market, food and mountain antiques and collectibles.
GRESSONEY-SAINT-JEAN (AO)- Assumption Festival
Religious procession with alpine guides from Gressoney.
ROCCA CANAVESE (TO)- Gnocchi Festival
Music and food and lots of fun!
FABROSA SOPRANA (CN)- Raschera and Bruss Festival
46th edition of this local festival where you can try typical cuisine and specialty products. Market stalls, historical procession with knights and more.
SAUZE D’OULX (TO)- Street Food Festival
Local specialties as well as street food from all over Italy and excellent artisan beer
SAN PELLEGRINO TERME (BG)- Ferragosto Barbecue
Music and fireworks with delicious grilled meat
DESENZANO DEL GARDA (BS)- Wine Festival
Wine festival with a fireworks show
SONCINO (CR)- 1950’s Party
1950’s theme party with plenty of food, beer and live music
DERVIO (LC)- Party on the River Banks
Lecco Lake (part of Lake Como)- a boat procession across the lake wtih beautiful lights
Trentino Alto Adige
TENNO (TN)- Medieval Festival
Medieval festival complete with authentic costumes, food, wine, products and historical reenactments
LAGO DI MOLVENO (TN)- Ferragosto Festival
Fireworks, music, food and entertainment for the whole family
BOCENAGO (TN)- “How We Were” Festival
33rd annual celebration of historical artisan labor and craftsmen
Friuli Venezia Giulia
LUSEVERA (UD)- Trekking
Trekking in the woods and in the Nuova Grotto
SELVA DI CADORE (BL)- Assumption Festival
Religious procession and mass and fair and market to follow
PADOVA (PD)- Ferragosto Festival
Music and entertainment and fireworks show
ROSOLINA (RV)- Dancing Under the Stars
PORTO GRUARO (TV)- Festival Mary of the “Fisherman”
Historical celebration honoring Mary and the fisherman of the area. Boat procession on the Lemene River.
JESOLO (TV)- Fireworks on the Beach
BRANCAFORA DI PEDEMONTE (VR)- Assumption Festival and Gnocchi Festival
Live music, bounce houses, FIAT 500 car show and procession plus sporting events and gnocchi pasta!
PIETRA LIGURE (SV)- Assumption Festival
Fireworks, music and fun!
FINALE LIGURE (SV)- Concert Band Festival
Live music and lots of fun!
PIETRA LIGURE (SV)- Chicchiricchi Run
Non-competitive run open to everyone
RAPALLO (GE)- Assumption Festival
Fireworks show near Santa Maria del Campo
BORGO DI MONDAINO (RI)- “Deer Palio”
Ancient festival- competitions among the four village district with games, jugglers, acrobats, music and more!
CERVIA (RA)- “The Beach Loves Books Festival”
BOLOGNA (BO)- Be Here, Bologna Summer
A week full of events from concerts, live music, museums, art exhibitions and special openings of various cultural sites
SCANDIANO, COREGGIO E REGGIO EMILIA- Festival Mundus
Folk and ethnic music festival with concerts and all kinds of events in all three municipalities
SARTEANO (SI)- Saracen Jousting
Historical jousting reenactments of the battle between the Sienese and the Arabs (Sarcens). In the central piazza
BORGO DI ANGHIARI- “Checkerboard Tablecloth”
Theatrical performances and local food served on a long table
COLLODI (PT)- Pinocchio Park
Special events within the park including food and entertainment for the whole family
PORTO SANTO STEFANO (GR)- “Seafarers Palio”
The four districts will compete in the sea- a perfect time to visit the coast and Giglio Island
PASSIGNANO SUL TRASIMENO- Regatta
Non-competitive boat race between the islands of Trasimeno. All oar boats can participate.
ASSISI (PG)- Assumption Festival
LUGNANO IN TAVRINA- Ferragosto Market
ALGHERO- Fireworks Show and Festival
Street festival with food, drink, entertainment and fireworks
SPIAGGIA POETTO (CA)- Opera Beach Arena
Luis Fonsi in concert for the Latino Festival
ARBATRAX- Red Valley Festival
Music and fun on the beach
BUDONI (OT)- Concert on the Beach
Alvaro Soler in concert and fireworks show- FREE
CASTELSARDO- Radio 105 and fireworks
Radio 105 DJ and fireworks show
ROMA- 90’s Party
1990’s theme party with music and more at Parco Schuster Basilica di San Paolo
ROMA- Luneur Park
Theme park just outside of Rome’s city limits with special events planned daily- great for kids!
MORLUPO (Roma)- Festival
From August 11-17: town festival with everything under the sun for a fun time!
PESARO- Pesaro Summer Festival
Ricky Portera in concert in the Tenuta Carlini amphitheater
COLLE DEI CAPPUCCINI (PU)- Traditional Hiking
From August 15-17, the annual hike in Colle dei Cappuccini with music and food
SENIGALLIA (AN)- Ferragosto Car Show
Classic car procession and show at the Foro Annonario in Senigallia
PESCARA- Swing on the Beach
Beach party with swing bands!
GUARDIAGRELE (CH)- Excursion to the Waterfalls of San Giovanni
Trekking to the beautiful waterfalls
PIZZOLI (AQ)- Medieval Festival
Street festival with jugglers, acrobats, food, music and more!
TERMOLI (CB)- Fireworks
at the Castle at midnight
AGNONE (IS)- White Party
White Party in the streets of Agnone’s town center
ERCOLANO (NA)- free entrance into Ercolano
RAVELLO (SA)- Ravello Festival
NAPOLI- the Night of the “Tammorra”
Folk festival with traditional tarantella dancing at the Rotonda Diaz
CASALABATE (LE)- Hawaiian Party
Era Ura beach Club – free entrance
OTRANTO (LE)- Pugliese Food Festival
Sentieri del Gusto- a food festival throughout the center of Otranto along with the famous Holy Martyrs’ Festival
GIOVINAZZO (BA)- Capri pool party
Pool party with a band reenacting famous Capri nights- DJ late into the night- Mamas Beach
TROPEA (VV)- Mary of the Island Festival
Boat procession in honor of Mary
PALMI (RC)- Varia di Palmi
Festival in Palmi with lots planned from food to music to entertainment
MONTABANO JONICO (MT)- Assumption Festival and Saint Rocco
Religious festival with lots of fun and entertainment for tourists
MATERA- European Capital of Culture 2019
ongoing events throughout the city
MARATEA- Music & Events
Dj set, music & events at El Sombrero- Aquafredda
CASTELDACCIA (PA)- Lido Magà Solarium
Entrance price includes appetizers, shows and a DJ with Caribbean dancing and 70s, 80s and 90s music
MESSINA- Messina Folk Festival
On the beach! Color Party – Santa Margherita
RAGALNA (CT)- Etna Under the Stars
Art, music, shows, sports all under the backdrop of Mount Etna. Contrada Serra la Nave – Piano Vetore – Ragalna (CT).
If none of the ideas above suit you or if you’re not in proximity to them, you’ll be glad to know that despite the holiday, many museums, castles and art exhibitions will remain open. You may just want to sit on the sidelines and watch the locals do what they do best- enjoy the bella vita!