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Enjoy a Summer Festival in Italia!

 

Ciao amici.
With the coming of Easter, Italy begins to wake up. People stroll about in the piazza (town square) and streets and you can just about hear the joy as the sun warms things up and makes everyone giddy and social. Springtime is also the beginning of the festivals, concerts and sagre throughout Italy. We would like to introduce you to a few of Italy’s finer festivals in Umbria and Tuscany.

First, a quick glossary to the Italian terms:

  • The Italian word for festival or performance is manifestazione and the posters you see about town for concerts or shows are called manifesti – a “manifestation” of some cultural event in the arts or music.
  • festa on the other hand is usually intended for a holiday or birthday or party. It has many meanings and there are many feste in Italy.
  • sagra (plural = sagre) is also a festival but is usually intended for a feast of some sort. A sagra is a traditional or popular festival with a market celebrating a specific food.

Here are a few of our tops picks for this summer: 

Umbria Jazz

This is one of Italy’s hottest jazz and music festivals with international musicians and celebrated artists coming to perform in Umbria’s capital city of Perugia in the month of July. Umbria Jazz had its first performance on August 23, 1973 at the outside park in Piediluco, a small town on the lake above Terni in southern Umbria. This year the festival takes place from July 6-15 ending with a performance by Sting at the San Giuliana arena.

Il Palio di Sienna

Il Palio is a horse race held annually every July 2nd and August 16th in Siena’s main square, il Campo. The fun part of the Palio is not so much the race but the pre-Palio festivities during the four days prior to each event. The participating contrade (neighborhoods) have their taverns open to the public for dinners of traditional Tuscan fare served in historic costume. There are practice races in the Campo during the day. So, even if you decide not to take part in the actual race day with 30,000 other spectators, you can still get a feel for the passion and tradition that is the Palio.

Infiorate di Spello

The Corpus Domini flower festival in Spello is a Catholic religious holiday on the 9th Sunday after Easter where people celebrate by designing stunning flower carpets to line the streets of this Roman town. This has become a competitive event with various organizations and groups vying for first price in artistic composition and design. Each year there is a religious theme given to the competing groups and they then have to create a design and execute the final product using only flowers and their pedals, stems and leaves.

La Gaita di Bevagna

One of Umbria’s favorite medieval festivals is celebrated annually at the end of June. Bevagna, an antique Roman town in the flatlands between Montefalco and Foligno in Umbria was divided into four neighborhoods in the Middle Ages that governed the town and administered the economic and social aspects. Today, Bevagna hosts a re-enactment of those years between 1250 and 1350. For 10 days Bevagna takes a leap back in time and completely transforms itself into the Medieval village it was during those years.

So now that Easter is closely approaching it is time to call us and book a week in Italy. Once you have decided what week or weeks best suits you the next question to ask is “What manifestazione or sagra or festa is happening that week in Italy? Sign me up!!”

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