August may be known as the month that Italians flee to ferragosto. But, with so many events happening across the country, it might not! These are our top picks
Events in Venice and the North
The Duke’s Festival. August 19-21. Urbino’s Duke’s Festival features medieval music, shows and poetry readings. There is also a Middle Ages-style craft market and feasts for the “commoners”. It was amazing to be able to go back in time.
Beach on Fire. August 27. It is the longest pyrotechnic display in the world, with 13km of fireworks high above Venice’s coast. Crazy!
Rustic Middle Ages Festival. August 6-14. Every year, the medieval festival is held in Tenno on Lake Garda. There are many activities, including shows, food, traditional dishes like gulash and polenta, as well as games and entertainment.
Events in central Italy, Umbria, and Tuscany
Tuscan Sun Festival. July 31-August 7. The Tuscan Sun Festival is one of the most popular arts festivals in Italy. It’s located in Cortona and includes music, dance, theater, literature, and even food. There’s something for everyone this year: a tango performance, a wine tasting with a former editor at Wine Spectator, Tuscan cooking lessons with top local chefs, a tour of Cortona’s Etruscan archeological site, and an authentic Etruscan lunch.
Siena Jazz Festival. Up to August 7. Jazz classes, concerts, talks, and more are a must-attend for all jazz lovers!
Festival of Opera in Florence and Siena Up to August 13. The performances of Aug. 2 (Le Stagioni) and Aug. 3 (3 , respectively) will take place in Florence’s Boboli Gardens. They’re also hosted at Siena’s San Galgano Abbey.
Siena Palaio. August 16 This is your last chance to see Siena in her world-famous 2011 race. The Palio is a bareback horse race that takes place at the Piazza del Campo. It was started in 1310. Although it takes only 90 seconds, the buildup is huge, with a large medieval parade. The festivities are even more fun!
Balestro del Girifalco. August 14. It’s the season for medieval competitions among different neighborhoods. This is no exception for Massa Marittima which is a small town in the Maremma. The Balestro del Girifalco is the highlight. Crossbow competition to “kill” a mechanical falcon. The parade follows.
Events in Rome and Southern Italy
Palio delle Contrade. August 21. August 21. Six different communities from the town participate in the donkey breed, which has its origins in 12th century.
Ravello Festival. Up to August 27. The beautiful town of Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast, hosts a series of concerts, talks and performances. Many of the concerts take place on the Belvedere outside, which is a stunning spot with a backdrop to the sea in the famous Villa Rufolo. The August performances include a concert by Grupo compay Segundo, which was established in memory of the Buena Vista social club musician on Aug. 6, and a performance of the New York City Ballet principal dancers on Aug. 19.
Lungo Il Tevere Roma. Up to August 28 As part of Lungo Il Tere Roma, 2km of restaurants, bars and shops fill the banks of Rome’s Tiber River each summer. There’s no better place for a hot August night than this!
Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival. Through August. The is a misnomer. It doesn’t just include jazz; it also includes tango and rock. What are the common elements of these performances? All of them are held outside in Villa Celimontana Park, which is just a few steps from the Colosseum.
All’Ombra del Colosseo. Through August. Each year, a temporary resort is built in the shadows of the Colosseum . It hosts aperitivo and shows, and during the day, there’s one of the few outdoor pools in Rome.
Opera at the Baths of Caracalla Up to August 10. The Teatro dell’Opera in Rome performs the most loved operas and ballets every summer outdoors, in the atmospheric surroundings of the Baths of Caracalla. Just finished Swan Lake; Tosca and Aida are still to be performed.