It’s probably no surprise that Italy is one of Europe’s hottest destinations every summer. (Er, that’s hot as in popular, not necessarily in temperature – though it does get warm!)
One nice thing about Italy is the large number of festivals that occur during the summer. Here’s a smattering of suggestions, though every weekend during the summer you’ll be able to find something interesting going on in a town near your Italian getaway.
Many of the summer festivals are related to music, and I do love a spot of jazz with a glass of Italian wine. The Umbria Jazz Festival is one of the more famous jazz fests, and there are four venues spread across the old town of Perugia where the artists perform. Jazz greats like B.B. King, Dizzy Gillespie, and even Elton John have made an appearance here. (If you miss the summer festival, they hold a smaller event in winter.)
Ok, so I’d be hard pressed to self identify as a hardcore opera fan. But how about watching some of the best opera performers in the world in a historic Roman arena? That’s what takes place every summer at the Verona Opera Festival. Mostly classics like Aida or Romeo & Juliet, you really can call this not just a festival but an experience. If you can’t get tickets, just wander around the venue and you can see performers in their costumes.
This smaller festival is an option if you want to check out some fireworks in Italy. Hosted in Matera, this centuries old tradition starts on July 2nd with a small float professional, a few odd ancient rituals, and then a massive fireworks contest above the Sassi, an UNESCO World Heritage District. Matera is in the far south of Italy, so a great place to relax in the Mediterranean sun and incredible ambiance.
This is one of the oldest and most famous horse races in the world, and perhaps run on one of the most beautiful courses. The Palio di Siena (also known as II Palio) is held twice, in July and August, features 10 horses and riders, but actually the processional and pageant that happens prior to the event is even more spectacular and draws an even larger crowd. The host city of Siena can get decidedly crowded, so try to spare a few days before or after to explore this charming town a bit further.
Redentore Festival of Venice
Another one of Europe’s famous fireworks festivals, imagine the floating city of Venice lit up by a barrage of amazing fireworks. Redentore is an event to celebrate the end of the plague (which was particularly hard on Venice). The day starts with feasts and street markets and ends in an amazing fireworks event. Many churches have ceremonies and other side events, making this a happening time to be in Venice. Redentore is usually the 3rd Saturday of July.
Posted : Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.