CARNIVAL OF VENICE
Venice (Veneto); 08 Feb. – 25 Feb. 2020
The Venice Carnival is a vibrant and colourful fortnight of costumes and masks. During the Carnival celebrations, Venice turns into an even more magical place. Every corner of this fabled city on the water flourishes with shows, music and parades. As in the past, private parties and masquerade balls still happen inside the Serenissima’s grand noble palaces. However, the most spectacular moments of the Venetian carnival – such as the “Flight of the Angel” and the “Festa delle Marie” – will take place at the St Mark’s Square, which becomes the centre of an amazing, open-air party.
CARNIVAL OF VIAREGGIO
Viareggio (Tuscany); 01,09,15,20,23, 25 Feb. 2020
Among Italy’s most flamboyant events in Italy, particular mention goes to the Carnival of Viareggio. The floats made in papier-mâché are the stars of this carnival; huge, majestic, and thought-provoking, they are inspired by Italian and international politics and other current events, often represented in satire form, most times with a lot of irreverence. These parades draw thousands of visitors of all ages, who come to participate in the festive air that can be breathed in the town on the days of the masquerade processions. Events include big parties, sports events, slang theatre show and food stalls.
CARNIVAL OF CENTO
Cento (Emilia-Romagna); 09, 16, 23 Feb. – 1, 8 Mar. 2020
The Carnival of Cento is one of the most extravagant festivals in Europe, twinned with the Brazilian Carnival for the style of its allegorical floats, the beautiful costumes and for the riotous fun. It involves the whole city of Cento – located in Emilia-Romagna Region, near Ferrara – and it is dedicated to the arts, crafts and traditions of the area. Every year the Carnival hosts many famous guest stars for the world of culture, sport, entertainment, as well as beautiful floats made in papier-mâché.
HISTORIC CARNIVAL OF IVREA
Ivrea (Piedmont); 06 January – 26 February 2020
The Carnival of Ivrea is one of the oldest and most particular festivals in Italy. Every year its world-renowned “Battle of the Oranges” (Battaglia delle arance) is opened by the traditional sounds of pipe and drum bands. The battle – which involves some thousands of townspeople who throw oranges at each other – represents the fight for liberty and has become the symbol of the Carnival of Ivrea; an incredible cultural and goliardic heritage that make this Carnival an “Italian Event of International Importance”.
CARNIVAL OF FANO
Fano (Marche); 9,16,23 Feb. 2020
The Carnival of Fano is one of the oldest Carnival in Italy and the biggest in the Marche Region. Allegorical floats and masks, masquerades, shows and fireworks all form part of it. However, what really makes this Carnival special is the launch of tons of sweets from the floats to the crowds of spectators, as well as the particular music that accompany the Carnival – the Arabita – which is played with both musical instruments and different other objects.
FESTIVALS AND OTHER CULTURAL EVENTS
THE SANREMO “FESTIVAL DELLA CANZONE ITALIANA”
Sanremo (Liguria); 4-8 Feb. 2020
The Italian Song Festival of Sanremo (also known as Festival di Sanremo) is the most important musical event of the Italian art scene and a major media event on Italian television. It was broadcast on the radio in 1951, a few years after the end of World War II; nowadays, it is held annually in the Ariston Theatre of Sanremo, the famous city of flowers and music in Italy. The Festival sees unreleased songs composed by Italian authors with Italian lyrics compete; the winner, voted by a jury and by popular vote, represents Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest.
VERONA IN LOVE
Verona (Veneto); 12 – 16 February 2020
Held on Valentine’s Day, plus a few days before and after, Verona in Love is the event dedicated to Love and to Lovers. In these days, red hart lanterns and hundreds of love notes fill the streets, while live concerts, tastings and markets take place in the main squares of the city. The festival is a tribute to San Valentine and to the Shakespearian tragedy of Romeo and Juliet; therefore, tourists can visit Juliet’s house for a special price.
Villa Rufolo, Ravello (Amalfi Coast, Campania); 3 Apr. – 30 Ott. 2020
Music, theatre, opera, dance and arts – these are the main components of Ravello Festival, the event that, over time, has earned this small town on the Amalfi Coast the nickname of the “City of Music”. From spring to autumn, Ravello becomes the perfect destination for the music lovers who, far from the city crowds, can meet and listen to the concerts in the gardens and the rooms of Villa Rufolo, the place that inspired Wagner for the setting of his Parsifal.
CILIEGI IN FIORE – BLOOMING CHERRY TREES FESTIVAL IN VIGNOLA
Vigona (Emilia Romagna); 28 Mar. – 5 Apr. 2020
Located in the province of Modena, at the beginning of the so-called “Food and Wine Trail”, Vignola is a Renaissance town that has been celebrating the production of outstanding cherry trees for 40 years. During the Ciliegi in Fiore Festival the entire town blooms with cherry trees, events, concerts, exhibitions, special restaurant menus, tasting sessions and related activities to enjoy. The “blossoming chariots” parade is a real celebration of blossoming of cherry trees.
CLASSICAL GREEK THEATRE FESTIVAL IN SIRACUSA
Siracusa (Sicily) 8 May – 5 July 2020
Theatrical Classical Greek representations in the magical atmosphere of the Greek Theatre in Siracusa. This year’s programme includes plays by Euripides and Aristophanes.
THE PASSION OF CHRIST IN SORDEVOLO the 5° centenary of the Coronation of the Madonna of Oropa, 13 Jun – 27 Sept 2020
Sordevolo, in Piedmont
In 2020 Sordevolo, in the province of Biella, will be the stage of the impressive representation of the Passione di Sordevolo (The Passion of Sordevolo). The event, which takes place every five years, involves the entire community of 1,400 people in a two-century old tradition, for an authentic experience of popular culture with 400 players, 36 side character, a 5,000 square meters scenery and 300 people behind the scenes. This is a fascinating event for all people loving cultural and spiritual experiences, which will be enriched by the popular celebration dedicated to the 5th centenary of the Coronation of the Madonna of Oropa, the solemn gesture which takes place every 100 years, starting in 1620, in the Basilica, located near the Sacred Mount UNESCO.
ARENA DI VERONA OPERA FESTIVAL
Verona (Veneto); 13 June – 5 Sept. 2020
The International Opera Festival 2020 presents a rich calendar of events. The operas to be performed this year are: Nabucco, Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci, Aida, La Traviata, Turandot. There will also be a Gala with acclaimed ballet star Roberto Bolle, one with Placido Domingo and one with Jonas Kaufmann. Arena di Verona welcomes once again artists and public in its magnificent setting.
LA NOTTE ROSA – PINK NIGHT
Adriatic coast of Emilia Romagna and Marche, 3-4 July 2020
For one night the entire Riviera (Romagna and Marche) turns pink. There will be shows, events, theatre sets, and scenery. Each resort will interpret the theme in a creative and original way. The whole Riviera will become an enormous stage where everyone has a part to play. La Notte Rosa will take place all along the coast, from the Lidos of Comacchio to Senigallia, but the heart of the event is the Riviera of Rimini. It’s an event that attracts thousands of Italians to head to the Adriatic coast and is quickly becoming an international attraction
Perugia (Umbria); 10-19 July 2020
From the moment of its birth in 1973, Umbria Jazz has been different from the other Italian Jazz festival. While jazz music was usually played in small clubs or, occasionally, in theatres and concert halls, Umbria Jazz brought this genre into the historic town squares of Umbria to audiences of up to twenty thousand young people. The concerts are free and performed in the setting of Umbria’s medieval towns. It was this unusual combination that gave the Festival a special appeal.
Torre del Lago, Viareggio (Tuscany); 17 July – 23 Aug. 2020
Puccini Festival was created by Giacomo Puccini himself in 1930 and, since then, it has been continually held from mid July to mid August. The festival takes place in the open air theatre of Torre Del Lago (Tuscany), located a few steps from “Villa Mausoleum”, the house where Puccini lived and worked; an amazing venue to enjoy the masterpieces of one of the most outstanding and esteemed Italian artists worldwide. Operas on show this year are: Tosca, Turandot, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly and Manon Lescaut.
SFERISTERIO OPERA FESTIVAL
Macerata (Marche), 17 July – 9 Aug. 2020
The success of the Macerata Opera Festival has been largely due to the uniqueness of the Sferisterio’s stage space. Designed in 1823 by architect Ireneo Aleandri, the theatre earned its name and its half-circumference shaped plan from the game that was played within its walls: the “armband ball” or “Pallone col bracciale”. This year this beautiful open-air theatre will once again host performances of timeless stories. This year’s operas are: Tosca, Don Giovanni and Il Trovatore.
Stresa (Lake Maggiore, Lombardy); 11 July – 6 Sept. 2020
Stresa Festival is one the best-known classical and jazz music festivals in Europe; every year it offers performances by internationally famous artists. As usual Stresa Festival opens its doors to the public carrying on its tradition of excellent music, art and culture, held in a number of venues around Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta and Val d’Ossola.
Senigallia (Marche); 29 July – 9 Aug. 2020
Summer Jamboree is the music festival dedicated to the American music and culture from the ’40s and ’50s. Live concerts, rock’n’roll, jive, doo-wop, rhythm’n’blues, hill-billy and western swing pull crowds of enthusiastic fans from all over the world. Market stalls sell juke box, hats, gadgets, guitars, vynils, CDs and other objects of that era; there will also be a ’40s and ’50s classic cars show.
MUSICA RIVA FESTIVAL
Riva del Garda (Veneto);18 July – 1 Aug. 2020
Musica Riva is a fundamental meeting point for young musicians from around the world. With amazing performances and numerous events, the event puts in the spotlight artists of diverse origins – from classical music to dance – and includes a competition dedicated to the musician Riccardo Zandonai.
ROSSINI OPERA FESTIVAL
Pesaro (Marche); 8 – 21 Aug. 2020
Known as one of the most important operas’ events in Italy and in the world, Rossini Opera festival is dedicated to Goacchino Rossini, the famous Italian artist who was born in the city of Pesaro. This year’s edition of the festival will put on show: Moise et Pharaon, La cambiale di matrimonio and Elisabetta Regina D’Inghilterra.
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL
Venice (Veneto), 2-12 Sept. 2020
This year the Venice‘s 77th annual Film Festival will turn the city into a buzzing hub of culture. Thousands of visitors, hundreds of projections and dozens of celebrities are expected during ten days of the festival, which promises to bring an incredible atmosphere and glittering parties to the Lido of Venice, the famous Island located in the Venice Lagoon.
NOTTE DELLA TARANTA
Melpignano, Salento (Apulia); 22 Aug. 2020
The Notte della Taranta is probably one of the most important festival in Europe dedicated to traditional music. It was born in 1998 as an initiative promoted by Grecìa Salentina, the area near the town of Lecce inhabited by the Griko people (an ethnic Greek minority who speak Griko, a variant of Greek). Every year the Festival collects over 200.000 spectators from all over the world; it arranges a set of itinerant concerts around the eleven municipalities of Grecìa Salentina ending at Melpignano with the famous ”Concertone”.
MITO SETTEMBRE MUSICA
Turin (Piedmont) and Milan (Lombardy); 3-21Sept. 2020 www.mitosettembremusica.it
Since 2007, MITO Settembre Musica has united the cities of Milano and Torino with a rich array of musical events. Developed from thirty year’s experience of the Settembre Musica, this Festival connects the two biggest cities in the north of Italy in a programme of refined and stirring concerts, presenting best orchestras, baroque opera, medieval and jazz music, open-air shows and night-time concerts.
THE FESTIVAL OF THE MIND – FESTIVAL DELLA MENTE
Sarzana (Liguria) – 4,5,6 September 2020
The Festival of the Mind is the first European festival dedicated to creativity and thought processes. During the three days of the festival, which is held in Sarzana at the end of summer, Italian and international speakers submit events, lectures, performances and workshops and moments of cultural exchange; writers, artists, musicians, architects, film and theatre directors, as well as scientists and philosophers, investigate the nature of this most fascinating and mysterious human skill.
Mantua (Lombardy); 9-13 Sep. 2020
Every year world-famous writers and poets, essayists, musicians, artists and scientists from all over take part to Festivaletteratura, an incredible Festival of Literature held in the World Heritage City of Mantua. By attending readings, performances, gatherings and concerts, artists and visitors can get first-hand experience of the truly unforgettable festive atmosphere.
Rome – 29 March 2020
Rome marathon combines athletics and sightseeing in Italy’s capital. Athletes run 42 kilometers in the footsteps of Roman emperors and gladiators, zig-zaging across by some of the most important historic sites of the city.
BIKE FESTIVAL GARDA TRENTINO
Riva del Garda (Trentino); 1-3 May 2020
www.gardatrentino.it The mountain bike season starts at the BIKE Festival Garda Trentino in Riva del Garda. Usually more than 45.000 visitors and 3.000 participants are expected on this weekend, including stars of the mountain bike international scene. The program of the event covers exhibitions, shows, competitions, performances and stunts, testing of the industry novelties and lots of fun.
GIRO D’ ITALIA – TOUR OF ITALY
9 May – 31 May 2020
The most important bicycle race in Italy, the Giro d’Italia, dates back to May 1909 and, over time, has become an iconic race all over the world. This year the Giro will start on 9 May in Budapest, Hungary and will end in Milan on 31 May.
13-16 May 2020
The Mille Miglia is a unique event that attracts thousands of car lovers from all over the world every year. Over the past few decades, this incredible race has brought vintage cars, traditions and emotions along a non-stop itinerary from Brescia to Rome and back. This year the cars will leave Brescia on 13 May and they will arrive in Rome on 14 May. They will be then back in Brescia on 16 May, where the award ceremony will follow after the arrival.
MUGELLO MOTORBIKE GRAND PRIX
Scarperia, Autodromo del Mugello, 29 May 2020
The adrenaline filled Grand Prix at the Mugello race circuit is one of the most important motorbike competition in the world.
PALIO DEL GOLFO
La Spezia, Liguria, 02 August 2020
The thirteen hamlets of the Gulf compete to win the Palio aboard handmade boats built by local craftsmen, with special characteristics that make them agile and fast. The sport competition is preceded by parades, events, shows and meetings, which liven up the entire town for days; it finishes late in the evening on the first Sunday of August, with fireworks displays. paliodelgolfo.it
MONZA MOTOR GRAND PRIX
Monza; 4-6 September 2020
The Italian Grand Prix is one of the most important running events on the Formula One calendar. Monza circuit that embodies the spirit of F1. A can’t-miss appointment for all lovers of fast cars.
BARCOLANA – SAIL RACE
Trieste; 2-11 October 2020
The Barcolana is one-of-a-kind event on the international sailing stage, with expert sailors and sailing lovers race side by side on boats of different sizes. Every year more than two thousand sails meet in the Gulf of Trieste, making the Barcolana Europe’s biggest sailing event and the only regatta in the world to set a single start line for so many yachts.
FEAST OF ST AGATHA IN CATANIA
Catania, Sicily; 3-5 Feb. 2020
St Agatha is the Patron Saint of the city of Catania. People celebrate the martyrdom of the Saint in February and the return of her relics in August with processions, food stalls, music and spectacular fireworks.
THE EXPLOSION OF THE CART
Florence (Tuscany); Easter Sunday – 12 Apr. 2020
The Scoppio del Carro dates back over 350 years. According to tradition, was the Florentine knight Pazzo de ‘Pazzi who planted the banner of the Cross on battlements of Jerusalem during the first Crusade. When he returned home, he brought back three flints of the Holy Sepulchre that he received for his act of courage.
A “holy fire” was struck from these flints at Eastertide and then carried throughout the city by groups of young men bearing torches. Over time, this practice evolved to something similar to what is seen today – a cart bearing a large candle, which rolls through the streets of Florence to the front of the cathedra
FESTA DEI CERI (RACE OF THE CANDLES)
Gubbio (Umbria); 15 May 2020
The Festa dei Ceri is one of the oldest most exciting event of Umbria and probably of Italy. Every year, on the 15th May, all the inhabitants of Gubbio gather in the main square of the city, dressing the colours of their “ceraioli”: yellow for the Saint Ubaldo’s candle, blue for Saint Giorgio’s candle and black for Saint Antonio’s candle. The streets of the city are decorated with flags and banners with the symbols of the saints.
THE PALIO OF FERRARA
Ferrara, 3 May – 2 Jun 2020
Dating back to 1279, the Palio of Ferrara is the oldest palio in Italy and a symbol of the glorious and fascinating Italian Renaissance. It includes a month of celebrations, parades, races and competitions between the eight Contrade of the city, which fight to win the precious drape dedicated to Saint George, the patron saint of Ferrara.
LUMINARA AND RACE OF SAN RANIERI
Lungarno, Pisa (Tuscany); 16 June 2020
The Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa is considered one of the major events of the summer of the city and of the entire region. On the evening of the 16th June (the eve of the Patron Saint festivity, San Ranieri) the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa lights up the Lungarno and the heart of the city. Thousands of wax candles, set in clear and white glasses and fixed then onto wooden white-painted frames, highlight the outline of the palaces, of the bridges, of the churches and of the towers reflecting the river.
QUINTANA OF ASCOLI PICENO
Ascoli Piceno (Marche); 11 July and 2 Aug. 2020
Every year, the city of Ascoli Piceno hosts the historical Quintana, a re-enactment of medieval practices and traditions. The participants walk in procession along every “sestiere” (city quarter), dressed in Medieval costumes and followed by flag bearers and archers.
FESTA DEL REDENTORE – FESTIVAL OF THE REDENTORE
Venice (Veneto) – 18-19 July 2020
The Festival of Redentore is one of the most popular events in Venice. It is celebrated each year on the third Sunday of July. The festival itself dates back to the year 1576, and is named after the church Redentore that was designed by Palladio and resides on the island of Guidecca. Venice was suffering from a terrible plague, and the Republic’s senate voted to build a temple on the Guidecca Island in honour of Christ the Redeemer, and the Venetians promised to go there every year on the third Sunday of July, if the plague stopped. Traditionally, the Venetians celebrate this day by having dinner on the Saturday night while watching an incredible display of fireworks that light up the skies over Venice for an hour or more
THE PALIO OF SIENA
Siena (Tuscany); 2 July and 16 August 2020
Everyday life grinds to a halt as Siena celebrates its most ancient and sacred ritual: horses and riders representing ten of Siena’s seventeen contrade, or districts, race around the ring of tufo rock that covers the Piazza del Campo. On 2 July and 16 August the long afternoon begins in the heart of each contrada with the blessing of the horses, followed by the historical parade to the piazza. Finally, there is the race itself: the victorious contrada bears the banner triumphantly to the Provenzano Basilica for the “te deum” thanksgiving to the Madonna or to the Madonna.
LA TORTA DEI FIESCHI,
Cogorno and Lavagna (Genoa, Liguria); 13-14 Aug. 2020
On 13th August in San Salvatore di Cogorno takes place the “Addiu du Fantin”, a medieval reconstruction of the bachelor party of Count Opizzo Fieschi with dances, antique music, flags games and knights. One day after, 14th August, not far away in Lavagna, takes place the medieval reconstruction of the marriage of Bianca De’ Bianchi with Opizzo Fieschi, better known as “Torta dei Fieschi” (Fieschi’s Cake): a giant wedding cake, prepared for the occasion by local confectioners, is distributed to all participants in the event.
Venice (Veneto); 6 Sept. 2020
Every year, during the first Sunday of September, the Grand Canal becomes a theatre for one of the greatest of Venetian events, the Historical Regatta, dating back to 1315 under the rule of doge Giovanni Soranzo. The Historical Regatta starts out with a colourful procession on water, formed by the Bissone, the Bucintoro and the boats of the Venetian rowing clubs, but also the women’s race on Mascarete and that of the youngsters Pupperini.
PALIO DI ASTI
Asti (Piedmont); 6 September 2020
One of the oldest Palios in Italy, this colourful event sees 21 contestants relive the ancient tradition of the Palio in the historic centre of this charming Piedmont town, famous for its sparkling wine, the Asti spumante. In the days preceding the race, visitors can enjoy many collateral and preparatory events: the Palio of the Flag-wavers, the colourful flea market, the trials of the jockeys on the field. The Palio itself is a difficult challenge that requires strength, skill, passion and courage from all the participants, as only one of them will win possession of the crimson banner with the coat of arms of the city and the image of its Patron Saint.
THE MACCHINA DI SANTA ROSA PROCESSION
Viterbo (Lazio); 3 Sept. 2020
Each year the Medieval town of Viterbo in Lazio renews the festivities in honour of its Holy Patron Saint. The “Trasporto della Macchina di Santa Rosa” is a procession that takes place in the evening of September 3rd to commemorate the relocation of the body of Saint Rosa from the Church of Santa Maria del Poggio to the church of San Damiano (the Sanctuary of Santa Rosa). The “Macchina di Santa Rosa” is a gigantic structure, nearly 30 metres high, which is carried through the streets by a large team of strong local men.
SAGRA DEL FUOCO – FIRE FESTIVAL
Recco (Genoa, Liguria) – 7-8 September 2020
The celebrations in honour of the Our Lady of the Suffragio are known all over Italy, for the magnificence of the firework displays, which explode to illuminate the sky of Recco. It is the 7 quarters of Recco who challenge each other: they avail themselves of the best Italian masters of fireworks displays. During the same time the solemn procession of 8th September takes place through the streets of the town with the “Arca Argentea Suffragina” and the magnificent wooden Crucifixes of the Ligurian Brotherhoods.
THE FESTIVAL OF “MADONNA DELLA SALUTE”
Venice (Veneto) – 21 November 2020
The Festival of Our Lady of Health is perhaps the less spectacular of Venice festivities. In a religious context it is an event dedicated to the Madonna, giving thanks for her intercession which put an end to the plague that struck Venice between the years 1630-1631.
Stefania Gatta – Press and Communication Executive – Italian National Tourist Board