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Whether it was decentralizing power in the church, easing its stance on divorce, pushing for radical action on climate change, or meeting with members of the gay community, Pope Francis is not one to stick to tradition.

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This Tuesday, Pope Francis kicked off the Jubilee Year with the symbolic opening of the Holy Doors of St. Peter’s Basilica.  This year long holy celebration was designated a Jubilee of Mercy by the leader of the Catholic church.  This year’s Jubilee comes nearly 15 years after the last Jubilee Year, held in 2000.

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In a bustling city like Naples, it can be difficult to find peace and quiet, especially in the city center.  But the other day while strolling among the crowds of tourists and street vendors, I decided to duck into Santa Chiara, a church/monastery complex I had walked by a few times before.  The few euro I had to pay for entry proved to be more than worth it.  Upon entering the courtyard of this 14th century convent, a feeling of complete peace and serenity washed over me.  I was taken back not only by the beauty of the courtyard (more formally known as the Cloister of Clarisses), but even more so by the peaceful, even euphoric feeling that made it easy to recognize this was a place of spiritual refuge. 

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If you're trying to figure out when is a good time to visit Italy, the truth is, in a country with cultural and history as varied in Italy, there's always something being celebrated!

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.

There are, however, truly too many things to list here, so if you're interested in something particular, like summer opera festivals, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I can let you know some picks tailored to your interests.

January


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


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


March 8: La Festa della Donna, women’s day
March 22–25: Vititaly wine festival in Verona

April


April 6: Easter Sunday
April 7: Easter Monday, Pasquetta, a day for picnicking and enjoying spring
April 25: Italian Liberation Day

May


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


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

July


June–August: Outdoor opera season
July 2: First Siena Palio

August


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


September 2-12: Venice International Film Festival
September 19: Feast of San Gennaro, most important religious holiday in Naples

October


October 6-November 18 (weekends only) – White Truffle Festival in Alba
October 16-25: EuroChocolate festival in Perugia

November


November 2-11: CioccolaTO chocolate festival in Torino

December


December 25: Christmas
December 26: St. Stephen’s Day
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