For every month of the year there is wonderful festival or cultural event in Italy that is well worth being part of. They all reflect Italy’s unique culture and give a special insight into the Italian way of life, its spirit, traditions and wonderful zest for life. We have detailed an eclectic mix of festivals here to whet your appetite and to give you an excuse (if you need one) to visit Italy again this year. If there are other festivals that you would like to visit, please give us a call and we will happily create a bespoke itinerary to suit your request. January Winter sales in Rome An event rather than a festival, but of great interest to the visitor as the best of Italian fashion, furniture and food is on sale at discounted prices from mid January for about six weeks. In addition, museums and art galleries also discount their admission fees. This is a great chance to combine some New Year shopping and cultural visits. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Hotel Inghilterra, Rome, for four nights for the price of three nights from 1 January to 28 February. We include return flights with British Airways London to Rome, private return car transfers and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £890 per person.February Almond Blossom Festival In southern Sicily, spring comes early and February is the traditional season to celebrate the almond blossom with its festival amongst the Valley of the Temples and the town of Agrigento. Today the festival is a major international folklore festival with numerous parades, shows, fireworks and craft displays as well as garlands of almond blossom and atmospheric lighting among the temples. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Villa Athena in Agrigento for three nights in February. We include flights from London to Catania return with British Airways, Euro Traveller, hire of a basic group car and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £1080 per person. Carnival in Ivrea The carnival in Ivrea is full of atmosphere when the mediaeval town is illuminated with lights and colours and the air is perfumed. The festival has its origins back in the 13th Century and recalls a famous local rebellion, symbolised by the Battle of the Oranges, in fact a four day orange fight in the squares and streets. The main events take place on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday leading up to Shrove Tuesday. On Ash Wednesday the riotous behaviour quietens down and fried polenta is dished out to the public. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Relais Sant'Uffizio near Asti, about and hour and a half’s drive from Ivrea (north of Turin) for five nights on bed and breakfast. We include return flights with British Airways London to Turin, Euro Traveller, and hire of a basic group car. Prices from about £890 per person. Other carnivals such as the Carnival in Venice, Carnival in Viareggio, Carnival in Cento (near Ferrara) can also be visited, please contact us for further details and we will prepare an itinerary to suit you.
March/AprilEaster Day in Florence The Scoppio del Carro, the ‘Explosion of the Cart’, takes place at midday on Easter Day in front of the Duomo in Florence. It is one of Florence’s most famous ceremonies and is usually attended by thousands of people. A rocket in the guise of a white dove is released from a flaming cart that also sets off sparkling wheels and crackers. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Hotel Helvetia and Bristol for 3 nights on bed and breakfast. We include scheduled flights London to Pisa return with British Airways, Euro Traveller, and a private car transfer. Prices from about £990 per person. Other events in Holy Week: Gubbio and Sicily (Trapani, Caltagirone and Palermo).
JuneStrawberry FestivalNemi is a small town about twenty kms south of Rome on a hill overlooking the volcanic lake of Nemi. It is famous for its wild strawberries, small, sweet and with a distinctive flavour. Since 1922 Nemi has been holding its strawberry festival when women dressed in the local costume sell and offer visitors the fruit served in numerous imaginative ways. The town is decked out in flowers. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Park Hotel Villa Grazioli in Frascati, located just over 10 kms away from Nemi and visit the festival for a day of your holiday. We suggest five nights. We include return flights with British Airways London to Rome, Euro Traveller, the hire of a basic group car and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £1250 per person.
Classical Greek Theatre Festival June also features a festival of classical Greek theatre held in the famous Greek theatre in Siracusa in Sicily. The Greek theatre is cut into the local rock and is one of the finest and largest of its kind and an atmospheric venue to this annual festival of theatre. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Grand Hotel Ortigia, Siracusa, for three nights. We include return flights with British Airways London to Catania, Euro Traveller, a baic group car and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £980 per person. Giostra del Saracino In Arezzo, Tuscany in June and September, a jousting contest of mediaeval origins thought to date from the time of the Crusades is re¬enacted in this historic town. Thought to reflect the battles between the Crusaders and the Saracens, the joust in the Piazza San Francesco is the culmination of a week of historical costume parades, banquets and concerts. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Relais il Falconiere, Cortona, about 30 kms from Arezzo for five nights giving you time to perhaps visit Arezzo twice or more during your stay. We include return flights with British Airways London to Pisa, Euro Traveller, hire of a Group B car and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £1330 per person.July Feast of the Redentore The Feast of the Redeemer in Venice is held on the third Saturday and Sunday in July. It is performed on the waters of the lagoon in front of St Mark’s Square when countless crafts of all sorts line up beside each other to await spectacular fireworks at midnight. Huge barges are transformed into dance floors and the lagoon seems like a floating carpet as revellers cross from one boat to another to meet and greet each other. An amazing spectacle. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Luna Hotel Baglioni just a few yards from St Mark’s Square for three nights. We include return flights with British Airways London to Venice, Euro Traveller, a private boat transfer and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £1260 per person. August Tuscan Sun Festival This is a multi-faceted musical festival held in August in Cortona, famous for its Etruscan heritage and Renaissance works of art. To accompany the music and to highlight the senses there are also art exhibitions, culinary delights, literary discussions and beauty treatments. Suggested holiday: Stay at the nearby Relais il Falconiere for five nights during the festival to make the most of all the events. We include return flights with British Airways, Euro Traveller, London to Pisa, hire of a basic group car and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £1240 per person. September Palio di Asti This is one of the oldest Palio’s in Italy and sees 21 contestants relive the ancient tradition of the Palio in the historic centre of Asti in Piedmont. In the days preceding the race there are numerous events including a colourful flea market and the trials of the jockeys on the field. The winner gains possession of the crimson banner with the coat of the arms of the city. Suggested holiday: Stay at the Relais Sant'Uffizio about 10 miles from the town of Asti for five nights to include the day of the Palio. We include flights with British Airways London to Turin, Euro Traveller, hire of a basic group car and bed and breakfast. Prices from about £1080 per person.
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