Italy's Exciting Summer Festivals

Image courtesy of Dimitry B

Italy is a truly beautiful place all year-round, but its during the summer that the country really bursts into life. From the shimmering seas of the summer coast to the gorgeous flowers in bloom across the country, Italy looks truly spectacular under the sun – something that the locals know all too well. Throughout the summer Italy is full of celebrations and festivities, ranging from historical acknowledgements to huge parties celebrating the best of Italian music. We look at some of the best and most interesting festivals and events being held in Italy each summer.

Settimane Musicali di Stresa

One of Italy’s most beautiful locations is full of incredible music from mid-July to early September as Stresa Music Festival (or Settimane Musicali di Stresa, as it is known to locals) comes to Lake Maggiore.

This prestigious festival dates back over half a century and plays host to amazing classical music concerts in a variety of stunning lakeside locations, as well as offering enchanting midsummer jazz performances.

Festa dei Candelieri

One of Italy’s more unique festivals, Festa dei Candelieri (the festival of the candle) takes place each August in Sassari, Sardinia, and dates back to the 16th century.

Known by locals as the ‘Great Party’, the festival draws thousands of visitors, with the main event involving a race with teams of men bearing huge and very heavy candles. 

Palio di Siena

An exciting, unique and famous horse race that even inspired an award-winning film, Paliio di Siena is one of Italy’s most famous sporting events of the summer.

Siena is full of parties and a buzzing atmosphere as locals and visitors gear up to watch 10 of Siena's 17 districts compete in an exciting and extremely competitive bareback horse race around Siena's central piazza, with the winner being awarded the prestigious silk palio.

Luminara of Saint Ranieri

Celebrated on the eve of feast day of Saint Ranieri in Pisa, the Luminara of Saint Ranieri sees the area literally light up with beauty. The Arno River, buildings lining the river, and bridges are illuminated with the flames of over 70,000 small glass candle holders, making for a truly spectacular sight.

This is followed the next day by the exciting Regatta of Saint Ranieri, which sees four boats, one from each of Pisa's districts, rowing against the Arno River's current. When a boat arrives at the finish line, one man climbs up a 25-foot rope to reach the victory flag.

Festival dei Due Mondi

Running from late June to mid-July in central Italy’s Umbria region, Festival dei Due Mondi is one of Italy's most famous performing arts festivals, attended by some of the world's top artists.

Translating as the ‘Festival of Two Worlds’, the festival was started in 1958 by composer Gian Carlo Menotti with the intention of bringing together the old and new worlds of Europe and America. Today it is still going strong and plays host to an amazing selection of concerts, operas, ballets, films, and art.