Italy’s medieval cities are small compared to what we are used to, hotels are often petite in the historic centers and the World’s requests to travel to the Art Cities ( that is Rome, Florence and Venice) area endless.
La Befana has been associated with gift giving at Epiphany since at least the 13th C. She is represented as an old witch with a broomstick who descends down the chimney to delivery gifts or carbone to the bad children. All children are known to be bad at some time so they all receive carbone, which is made of sugar and sold at local pasticcerie. Some regions substitute onions or garlic in replacement of the coal.
As the holiday season is upon us, some may wonder how holiday traditions differ from one country to the next. In Italy, as in the United States, traditions vary from region to region and from one family to the next, but there are certain customs that are celebrated throughout the country.
Each season has its own charms in terms of food and scenery, but the Italians have cultural and food festivals and holidays with processions, presentations and plenty of pomp and circumstance throughout the year as well.
Here's our month-by-month guide to the many of the most notable events in Italy.
January 1: New Year’s Day
January 6: Epiphany
January: Pitti Imagine fashion conventions, Florence
January 31–February 17: Carnevale, Venice and Viareggio are notable destinations, but there are celebrations everywhere
February 5: Saint Agatha's Feast Day, celebrated in Catania, Sicily, with the second largest religious procession in the world
February 17: Mardi Gras
March 8: La Festa della Donna, women’s day
March 22–25: Vititaly wine festival in Verona
April 6: Easter Sunday
April 7: Easter Monday, Pasquetta, a day for picnicking and enjoying spring
April 25: Italian Liberation Day
May 1: May Day/Labor Day (closures)
May 1: Expo Milano begins
May 1: Feast of Sant Efisio, Sardinia’s most important festival stretching over four days
May 9-November 22: Biennale in Venice
May 24-26: Florence Artisan Gelato Festival Gelato Festival, Florence
May 9-31: Giro d’Italia bike race, Italy’s version of the Tour de France
June 2: Festa della Repubblica, major national holiday with large presentations in Rome
June 24: Day of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence
June–August: Outdoor opera season
July 2: First Siena Palio
August 15: Feast of the Assumption or Ferragosoto, the biggest holiday in Italy when everyone flees the city for the beach
August 16: Second Siena Palio
September 2-12: Venice International Film Festival
September 19: Feast of San Gennaro, most important religious holiday in Naples
October 6-November 18 (weekends only) – White Truffle Festival in Alba
October 16-25: EuroChocolate festival in Perugia
November 2-11: CioccolaTO chocolate festival in Torino
December 25: Christmas
December 26: St. Stephen’s Day