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Summer in Italy – bellisimo! But there’s more to do than sip a spritz while admiring an ancient monument.
Summer is festival time in Italy and every city, town and village has something happening. Mostly associated with a religious or traditional event, but there are more modern festivals too, so here’s the Travel Insurance Direct
June 2nd Rome
Anniversary of the Republic Day. There are parades, a military fly-over in Rome, fireworks, picnics and sport matches all over Italy.
June 4th Venice.
Vogalonga di Venezia. Ever wanted to see gondolas race each other? No, me neither, but this rowing regatta around the main lagoon is a sight to see! You can even join in with some tour operators, but beware, the course is 30 kilometres long!
June 5th, 6th & 7th. Venice.
Stay a while in Venice and attend the More music festival. Headliners include: Fango, and Isaac Delusion playing house music. Images are projected onto buildings around the sound stages.
June 8th Ascoli Piceno.
Catch the overnight train – because you’re still awake from the music festival – and head down the Adriatic coast to Ascoli Piceno. In complete contrast to the More festival today you’ll see people dressed in medieval costume parading through the streets followed by flag bearers and archers.
June 10th Turin.
Back to the country’s north for another music festival, Holi Fusion; electronica and lots of coloured powder being thrown around – brilliant fun. Acts include Kuba and Netlan, Zutopian.
June 11th& 12th Florence.
Il Calico Storico. Siena has il Palio, a mad rules-free horse race around the main square, this is better. Teams from the districts of Florence play each other at an ancient version of soccer, rugby and wrestling all wrapped-up into one brutal, spectacular event. And they do it while wearing medieval pantaloons – hilarious!
June 15th Monteriggioni, Tuscany.
This tiny hilltop fortified town has a medieval festival over 3 days (1 is enough). Lots of people in costume, flag waving, music and re-enactments. The 13th century town is 20kms north of Siena.
June 16th & 17th Pisa.
The festival of St Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa is on the 17th, but the night before Pisans hand thousands of lighted candles from buildings along the river. There’re fireworks at midnight.
But the real action is the 17th when there’s a boat race (upstream, because that’s harder) on the Arno. Guess what? Yep, all done in medieval costume.
June 18th Castiglioni, near Florence.
Il Palio dei Rioni. You’ve been wanting a mad medieval horse race but Siena’s too overcrowded, then this is your town.
Parades in the lead-up ti the race around Piazza Garibaldi, a quick visit to the the church of Our Lady of Rivaio to give thanks, then party hard all night.
June 25th Pisa.
Battle of the bridge. Once upon a time, about a thousand years ago, there was a real battle for control of this bridge. It became a tradition to re-enact the battle and flog the living daylights out of each other in the middle of Ponte di Mezzo, Pisa’s main bridge. The rules have been modified to tone down the violence, and these days it’s a strange kind of tug-of-war where teams from opposites sides push a huge iron cart towards each other. It’s awesome to watch big strong blokes in pantaloons straining their guts out. One of Pisa’s best festivals.
June 26th Rome.
But I’m in so deep. You know I’m such a fool for you.
You got me wrapped around your finger, ah, ha, ha.
Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to,
Do you have to let it linger?
June 29th Vatican City.
Saint Peter and Saint Paul day. The first apostles, the dual patron saints of Rome, the Vatican goes all out today.
St Peter’s Bascillica will be illuminated, there’s a special mass lead by His Holiness.
All roads leading to St Peter’s square will be decorated with artworks made entirely of flowers. In the early evening there’s a rowing regatta on The Tiber, then at night fireworks will explode from the Pincian Hill overlooking the Piazza del Popolo.