If you’re heading to Italy over the summer – any summer – consider checking out some special events or celebrations while you’re there. You can get a different view of Italy through its festivals. Besides, who doesn’t love a party?
Pisa, Luminar di Saint Ranieri: June 16th every year the city of Pisa celebrates the Luminara di Saint Ranieri, the Patron Saint of Italy, who died as a Saint in 1161, and who has been celebrated since the late 17th century. Along the river Arno, more than 70,000 candles are lit, which light up the river, the buildings, the bridges and the whole city. Several of the wax candles are also sent floating down the river. The only thing not lit by candles is the Leaning Tower, which is adorned by oil lamps, instead. The celebration also includes a fireworks celebration at the “Cittadella Vecchia” after dark, around 11 at night.
The next day, there’s a regatta on the 17th, which has four boats rowed by men from each of Pisa’s four competing districts. At the finish line, the winner climbs a rope to claim the Victory Flag.
Florence, San Giovanni Feast Day: On the Sunday following June 24th every year in Florence, San Giovanni Feast Day, the celebration of John the Baptist, is celebrated. This celebration includes a medieval tournament that dates back to when the festival started, followed by music, drinking and feasting.
There is also a fireworks celebration preceded by rowboats carrying lit candles paddling down the Arno River.
Genoa, Festa del Cristo degli Abissi: On July 29th, off the Ligurian coast, there is a procession that leads to the underwater statue of Christ. The statue is dedicated to those who lost their lives at sea, and a mass is held on the beach.
Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo: From July 1 through August 15, Rome celebrates Castel Sant’Angelo beside the Vatican. There are all kinds of concerts, shows, and plays performed in the evenings, until after midnight. There are also events for the children, so they enjoy the celebration too.
National, Ferragosto: Assumption Day, celebrated August 15th, is a national holiday, celebrated with music, food and fireworks. Since it is a national holiday, it’s not a good day to go shopping, but there are plenty of other things to do. Food is sold inexpensively, and you can enjoy it while listening to music, watching concerts and admiring the fireworks.
These are just a few of the many, many options. No matter where you’re going in Italy, there’s a good chance you’ll find a celebration!