10 Popular Festivals In Italy - Updated 2022

festivals in italy
Ryan Joshua
Ryan Joshua 

Ciao! Italy is known to be one of the most famous countries in Europe and is known for some of the world’s most iconic places like the Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and many other tourist attractions. It is also home to the world’s most loved foods like pasta and pizza. The country is also known to be one of the most festive countries in the world. In fact, they have a variety of fun and amazing festivals every month of the year. Tourists from all over the world flock to different towns and cities in the country just to experience what it’s like to party - Italian style. The top hotels and Vrbo rentals in the country do not meet a quiet day whenever these festivals are held. If you are planning to head to Italy to party and have fun, here’s what you should know about Italian culture and what to expect at the most popular festivals in Italy.

1. Scoppio del Carro, Florence

Gathering before Scoppio del carro-Easter in Florence
Source: Photo by user Yair Haklai used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The people of Florence has this tradition to gather outside the Il Duomo to watch the Explosion of the Cart, or the Scoppio del Carro, every Easter Sunday. This tradition has been observed for centuries and usually ends literally with a bang as an amazing fireworks display is lit outside the cathedral. A pair of oxen decorated with garland will then pull a wagon built in 1622 around the streets of Florence towards the square where the fireworks start to blast.

Scoppio del Carro, April

Address: Piazza del Duomo, Florence, Italy

Takes place: April

2. Carnevale, Venice

Venice Carnavale
Source: Pixabay

Venice is known for its amazing canals and bridges, where riding a boat around it is every couple’s dream. However, the floating city becomes a very fabulous masked ball every February. This celebration in Italy, called the Carnevale, was said to start during the 12th century as people celebrated the start of the Lent season. The masquerade balls around the city might require you an RSVP or a very expensive entrance fee. However, the candle-lighted boat parade, music concerts, and street performances are totally free and open to the general public.


Website: Carnevale

Takes place: February

3. Fair of Sant’Orso, Aosta

Fiera St Orso Donnas 2012 abc27
Source: Photo by user Patafisik e user:... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Every end of January, dozens of craftspeople from the villages of Aosta Valley to showcase and even sell their prized work to the tourists and festival-goers along the streets of Aosta. They are known for their intricate pieces of sculptures made from wood, soap, wrought iron, and leather. Other products that they showcase include woven items, lace, and wicker. Aside from their amazing handiwork, the town of Aosta is also known for its amazing views and chilly weather.

Fair of Sant’Orso

Address: Località Croix-Noire, 73, 11020 Saint-christophe AO, Italy

Website: Fair of Sant’Orso

Takes place: January 30 to 31

4. Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea

Source: Photo by user Lupo used under CC BY-SA 2.5

The Battle of the Oranges is probably the most popular Italian festival around the world because of its quirky nature. Known to be one of Europe’s largest food fights, this world-famous festival recalls people from the Middle Ages throwing oranges for ammunition. The origin of this holiday and celebration in Italy is a little unclear–the popular account states that it reenacts a revolt from the 12th century. Festival-goers either sprint through the streets and just throw oranges from one of the so-called battle buses that are roving around Ivrea. The people of Ivrea group themselves into nine teams and just spend the next three days battling over Italy’s biggest food fight.

Battle of the Oranges

Address: A. Centro Storico and Borghetto, Ivrea, Italy

Takes place: February to March

5. L'ardia Di San Costantino, Sedilo

Pozzomaggiore-Cavalieri durante l'Ardia di San Costantino piccolo
Source: Photo by user Alessionasche1990 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The L'ardia di San Costantino, or the protection of St. Constantine, is a festival that is held every July at Sedilo in northern Sardinia. It is also considered as a Christian festival since townspeople and thousand of pilgrims around the world flock to the small town to show their devotion towards St. Constantine. However, what makes this festival popular is the hundreds of horses rushing around Sanctuario di San Costantino, down the hill, and through the narrow road leading to Constantine’s Arch. The horses are then accompanied by the firing of thousands of blank cartridges filled with black powder into the open air.

L'ardia Di San Costantino

Address: Sedilo, Sardinia, Italy

Takes place: July

6. Festa della Madonna Bruna, Matera

Held every second of July, the people of Matera celebrate its sacred protectress, Madonna della Bruna. The statue of Virgin Mary is paraded around the streets aboard a grand chariot that is pulled by horses, together with a column of knights riding on other horses, a marching band, high officials of the church, the town, and the state, and ends with a grand fireworks display.

Festa della Madonna Bruna

Website: Festa della Madonna Bruna

Takes place: July 2

7. Marriage of the Sea, Venice

Another grand festivity in Venice is the Marriage of the Sea, or Festa della Sensa, which iscelebrated every last weekend of May. The city celebrates its power over the sea with a great marine parade of rowboats starting from St. Mark’s and ending at St. Nicolo Port. Thousands of spectators line up on the waterways to see the parade unfolding before their eyes. There are also water races being held where small teams compete in sprints over the river.

Marriage of the Sea

Takes place: May

8. Game of the Bridge, Pisa

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Game of the Bridge is a festival being held in the town of Pisa, home of the world-famous Leaning Tower, every last Sunday of June. All of the men in the town are divided into two teams, namely the Mezzogiorno and the Tramontana, where they will compete in pushing a heavy metal cart across the bridge of Ponte di Mezzo. Each team has 20 participants and will attempt to push back their respective opponents across the bridge. The contest’s winner will be obtained by a best of six game.

Game of the Bridge

Takes place: May

9. Firenze Rocks, Florence

festivals in italy | firenze rocks, florence

Firenze Rocks is probably the biggest summer music festival in the whole of Tuscany. In fact, summer would not be complete without the Firenze Rocks happening in Florence. It is where some of the world’s biggest artists and bands perform live for all of their Italian fans. Most of the bands and artists performing in this music festival in Italy are into metal and hard rock music. Some of the personalities that have already performed in the festival include Guns’ n Roses, Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osborne, Judas Priest, and The Rattlesnake.

Firenze Rocks

Address: Firenze Rocks, Viale del Visarno, Florence, Italy

Website: Firenze Rocks

Takes place: June

10. Milano Summer Festival, Milan

Another major summer festival in Italy is the Milano Summer Festival. It is a concert series in Milan where world-renowned musicians, DJs, and metalheads perform for their fans in Italy. Artists and performers such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Major Lazer, Kings of Leon, Martin Garrix and Santana have performed at the Milano Summer Festival.

Milano Summer Festival

Address: Via Diomede, 1, 20148 Milano MI, Italy

Website: Milano Summer Festival

Takes place: Usually held June to July

Experience the fun festivals of Italy

Italy is indeed a very festive country that is known for its unique and amazing festivals. From the famous Battle of the Oranges, religious processions, and music festivals, Italy’s celebrations are as vibrant as its people. Experience these world-renowned Italian festivals now!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Ryan is a Computer Engineer with a heart for traveling and writing. Born in Pasay City, Philippines, and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he is now based in the Philippines' City of Smiles, Bacolod...Read more

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