August 15 is a holiday in Italy, Ferragosto, or Assumption Day. The holiday celebrates the assumption of Mary into Heaven. Almost the entire month of August is taken as holiday and leisure time in Italy in honor of this feast day. Italians take time away from work, visit sea-side resorts, and celebrate with festivals, food and, of course, wine!
Many Italians head to the beach for the holiday so there’s likely to be lots of traffic along the coasts. If you’re traveling in Italy, you’ll find most shops and businesses closed but you may also find some interesting festivals and celebrations often including a parade, food, music, and fireworks.
Our Al Fresco Dining in Italy Menu is a sumptuous picnic perfect for celebrating Ferragosto!
Here are a few examples of Ferragosto Festivals:
- Rome’s Gran Ballo di Ferragosto fills Rome’s squares with live dance performances. There’s a different type of dance in each square.
- Diano Marina in Liguria holds a festival of the sea with a good fireworks display.
- Montepulciano in Tuscany holds a historical pageant and games.
- Cappelle sul Tavo near Pescara celebrates with the Palio of the Pupe, huge effigies paraded through the streets at night. During the procession, they eventually explode with fireworks.
And festivals the following day:
- Siena in Tuscany runs their second Palio in the central square on August 16.
- Sassari in Sardinia – The Festa dei Candelieri dates back to the 16th century. In this exciting festival held on August 16, you’ll see a race with teams of men bearing huge and very heavy candles.
- Girifalco in Calabria celebrates the Feast Day of St. Rocco on August 16.
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