Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
The oldest music festival in Italy, and one of the most famous, the Maggio Musicale in Florence was founded in 1933. In addition to its opera productions, it plays host to international orchestras, ballet and opera companies, with a line-up few other festivals can rival.
Friday before Easter (every year)
Take a look at some real tradition when the people of Grassina, a small town just outside Florence, re–enact the life and Passion of Christ through a colorful and detailed procession.
Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the “Carro”)
Easter (every year)
Every year Florentine citizens gather in the Piazza del Duomo to watch a dove–shaped rocket, called the “Colombina”, fly out of the Duomo and ignite a huge wooden cart–structure in the square outside. The history of this event combines religious artifacts with pyrotechnic machinery in a really strange way. While the ultimate purpose of it, as a good “pagan” ritual, is to secure a good harvest, its pagan roots are less clear than in many other similar events all over Italy. Today the celebration of the ceremony still bears a strong resemblance to the way in which it has been celebrated for centuries. If this complex ritual goes smoothly, good luck is ensured for the city, not only with harvests but in the everyday life its citizens.
Italian Antique Exhibition
CANCELLED - This exhibition has become a tradition and is considered a no–miss event for antique lovers and dealers, hosting the most prestigious names in the Italian antique trade. A feast for your eyes.
May (every year – on first Thursday, Friday & Sat. after May 1)
This extraordinary musical contest with pagan roots takes place on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday following the first of May. It takes the form of a ritual song and balladry contest between the uptown and downtown sections of the city, and the festivities are accompanied by crowds of enthusiastic costumed revellers who recreate an authentic medieval atmosphere.
|Greve in Chianti|
Spring Flower and Plant Show
(every year, first weekend of May)
Situated in the picturesque town of Greve, near Florence, this large horticultural show is augmented by food and drinks stalls. This is a popular annual favourite, and a beautiful place to enjoy both natural and architectural sights.
Corsa all’Anello – Ring race
(every year, first and second weekends of May)
La Corsa all’Anello is an ancient tradition, dating back to 1371, in which young men on horseback representing the three districts of Narni (Fraporta, Mezule and Santa Maria) compete by trying to run their lances through a suspended ring. In addition there are exhibitions, shows and concerts.
Artigianato e Palazzo
May 17/18/19/20, 2018 (every year)
Artigianato e Palazzo is a three–day fair in Florence that displays the arts and crafts of traditional artisans from all over Italy, held in the beautiful gardens of the Palazzo Corsini. During the fair the artisans prepare their stands as open–air workshops, where they demonstrate their skills in pottery, the making of straw hats and willow baskets, glass cutting, the various techniques of restoring a tapestry or a precious piece of furniture, and more. The great success of this exhibition is due to the fact that it is not just a fair or bazaar, but a continuous demonstration of the skills of each craftsman. Guided tours of the garden are conducted throughout the three days and an open–air restaurant serves traditional Tuscan food, snacks and drinks from morning to sunset. Address: via della Scala, 117 (300 metres south–west from the S. Maria Novella Train Station).
Corsa dei Ceri
May 15 (every year)
An incredible spectacle takes place in the little town of Gubbio. Three teams of 18–20 fit men assemble amidst complex ritual procedures and much revelry in order to race carrying three heavy wooden statues on palanques up through the city to the cathedral on top of Monte Ingino.
May 20, May 22 & May 27, 2018 (every year)
Floats of flowers parade through the mediaeval village, accompanied by folklore groups with a vast repertory of dances and songs and a historical procession.
|Gubbio and Sansepolcro|
Palio della Balestra – Crossbow Tournament
(every year, on the last Sunday of May)
Every year at the end of May the crossbow experts of Gubbio and Sansepolcro meet in a fierce contest of skill and accuracy. The first records of the contest date from the middle of the 15th century and the three winners take home prizes, in the form of gold, silver and bronze crossbows. There is also a historical parade.
Festival of the Cricket
(every year, on Ascension day – 40 days after Easter)
Are you down on your luck? Has your lucky star turned into a black hole? Don’t worry, help is at hand – for just a few euros you can be the owner of your very own “lucky cricket in a cage”. Thousands of them are sold every year at the annual Florentine Festa del Grillo (Cricket Festival), held on the Day of Ascension in Florence’s Parco delle Cascine.
Festival of the Palombella
Sunday May 20, 2018 (every year, on Whitsunday)
This festivity was introduced in the 15th century by the Monaldeschi family. On Whitsunday, a shrine depicting the Empyrean and a dove with trammeled wings are placed upon the Lantern of the Church of San Francesco. A Gothic tabernacle portraying the Cenacle is laid on the Cathedral steps. At midday fireworks issue from the Empyrean, while the dove descends towards the tabernacle along a wire. Auspices for the year are drawn according to the way the ceremony proceeds.
Giostra dell’Archidado - Joust of the Archers
May & June 2018 (every year)
The competition known as Joust of the Archers commemorates the wedding of Francesco Casali, Lord of Cortona, and the noblewoman Antonia Salimbeni of Siena, which took place in 1397. There are crossbow shooting competitions for the honour of the golden arrow in Piazza Signorelli and colourful parades in medieval costumes. The contest is held in Piazza Signorelli.
Giostra della Quintana – Renaissance Joust
June & September (every year, usually on the third Saturday of June and on the 2nd Sunday of September).
Foligno hosts a colorful joust where ten knights, one from each of the ten districts of the city, compete in a contest of skill and dexterity. Rushing at gallop, they have to spear three rings having smaller size at each carousel.
Giostra del Saracino – The Saracen Joust
June & September 2018 (every year, on the next–to–last Saturday in June and on the first Sunday of September)
The Giostra del Saracino, originated in the Crusades, sees contestants from the respective quartieri of Arezzo assembling in the historic Piazza S. Francesco for the annual jousting tournament, to compete for the coveted prize of the Golden Lance. The streets are filled with gallant knights on battle horses, flag–bearers, trumpeters and people in medieval costume.
Ferie delle Messi – Medieval Festival
(third week-end of June, every year)
Colorful two–day festival brings jugglers, acrobats and jousting knights in the streets of San Gimignano.
Calcio Storico – Costumed Football Game
Final on June 24 (every year)
Testosterone abounds when teams of 27 youths apiece face each other in this 15th–century style no–holds–barred game of fighting and football in Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce. The game itself is said to originate from an ancient Roman ball sport, which became a Florentine speciality in the golden age of the Tuscan capital.
Festa di S. Giovanni
June 24 (every year)
Every year Florence dresses up, parades, dances, sings and celebrates in all possible ways its historical connection to the figure of Saint John. The highlight of the day is dedicated to the evening, when the patron saint of Florence is hailed with the famous fireworks. The bridges and all “lungarni” quickly fill up with people. Traditionally, Florentines who live in houses with a view towards Piazzale Michelangelo open their homes to friends and family to see the fireworks.
June 29/July 15, 2018 (every year)
Situated in the green heart of Umbria, Spoleto is taken over by a whirlwind of artistic activity during its annual festival: enjoy quality classical music, theatre, ballet, visual arts and cinema in a beautiful, romantic city that invites leisurely strolls at dusk.
Corpus Domini Procession
(every year, on the day of Corpus Domini, nine Sundays after Easter).
This procession celebrates the miracle which happened in 1264 in nearby Bolsena, when a Bohemian priest who was saying Mass at the tomb of St. Christina saw blood flowing and staining the corporal and liturgical cloth. Since then the precious ancient relic has been carried through the streets of the town in commemoration. It is accompanied by a historical procession in which 400 figurants take part.
June 2 & 3, 2018
The Infiorate is an amazing exhibition of local artistic talent which only lasts two days. The petals from flowers are arranged along the streets of Spello which represent religious scenes. The designs require weeks of preparation and are made by using only flower petals and herbs gathered locally creating figures and motifs with brilliant colors and shades. True masterpieces of artistic creativity. The Infiorata, with its colors and perfumes, is a performance of great talents in the streets of Spello.
Lucca Summer Festival
June & July 2018 (every year)
The town of Lucca welcomes an incredible line–up of international stars for its annual summer festival. In 2018, among others: Ringo Starr, Lenny Kravitz, James Taylor. Please visit the festival’s website to discover who plays when: http://www.summer-festival.com
|International Mugello Circuit|
Moto GP World Championship
June 3, 2018 (every year)
Located 30 km north–east of Florence, Mugello has a growing reputation as one of the world´s most up–to–date, scenic and safest race circuits.
Umbria Jazz Festival
July 13 - July 22, 2018 (every year)
From morning to evening, without any continuity, in the historic center of Perugia, dozens of concerts will take place with musical offers covering the entire music kinds to meet the tastes of a public always more heterogeneous. Perugia will become, once again, a meeting point for thousands of music lovers, coming from all over Italy but also from Europe and the United States. More at http://www.umbriajazz.com/
|Florence & Siena|
The annual Opera Festival, held in Florence at Boboli Gardens and Villa Medici of Cafaggiolo and in Siena at San Galgano Abbey, offers a series of performances from June to August.
|Torre del Lago|
Puccini Festival of Torre del Lago
July - August (every year)
The Puccini Opera Festival welcomes around 40,000 spectators every year to Torre del Lago’s open–air theatre, just a stone’s throw from the Villa Puccini where Giacomo Puccini lived, worked and is buried.
Calendar 2018 - 64° edition: http://www.puccinifestival.it/
|Montalcino (Siena), Teatro degli Astrusi – Villa di Geggiano (Siena), in the gardens of the Villa|
International Chamber Music Festival
CANCELLED IN 2018, will hopefully continue in 2019
Musica Reale presents members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam in chamber ensembles of varying size and composition. Their aim is to bring the world of chamber music to a wide international audience, at the highest level of performance and in an informal, welcoming atmosphere. Details and Programs: http://www.musica-reale.com/
Tuscan Sun Festival
June 2018 (every year) - dates to be determined
Florence hosts the Tuscan Sun Festival, one of Europe’s most prestigious cultural events. From classical music to food, art and exhibitions, the festival offers an unmissable spectrum of artistic programming.
|Monte San Savino|
Fiera delle Vertighe
August 15 (every year)
Village fair, followed - on the 2nd Sunday of September - by the Porchetta Fair (Rosted Pork Festival).
Bravio delle Botti (Barrel Rolling Contest)
August 26, 2018 (last Sunday of every August)
The Bravio delle Botti is a barrel rolling contest between the eight neighborhoods of the tiny Tuscan village of Montepulciano. The race dates back to the 17th century and contenders roll empty wine barrels through the narrow streets up to the cathedral in Piazza Grande.
Cacio al Fuso – Pecorino Fair
September 2018 (every year, on the first Sunday of September)
Pienza makes among the best pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese) in Italy and a wide range of excellent cheeses is available to be tasted and bought during this fair. The Cacio al Fuso is a cheese rolling competition. Cacio is the original Tuscan word for pecorino and the fuso (or spindle) is the target of the game.
|Greve in Chianti|
Chianti Classico Wine Festival
(every year on second weekend of September and the preceding Friday)
This is the show case for Chianti Classico wines. You buy a wine glass along with a ticket that allows you to taste up to eight of the wines offered in the different stands.
|Panzano in Chianti|
Vino al Vino Chianti wine festival
September 2018 (on the third weekend of September) in the main square of Panzano. Wine from many of the Panzano wineries is available to be sampled. This is a smaller and more informal event than the Greve wine festival in preceding week.
Chianti Grape Harvest Festival
September 2018 (every year, on the last Sunday of September)
Grapes, grapes and more grapes: this annual Festa del Uva in Impruneta has been celebrated by wine connoisseurs since 1926. Visitors can savour the local chianti and enjoy the gastronomic offerings from this scenic Italian region.
October 19 - October 28, 2018 (every year)
International chocolate exhibition: a week of chocolate, music and competitions taking place throughout the city of Perugia, home town of the famed bitter-sweet chocolate and hazelnut blend, Bacio Perugina.