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National Holidays & Festivals in Italy

Italians like to celebrate, and while it can be argued that they celebrate the little things in every day life, they know how to party big when the occasion calls for it.

In addition to Italy’s national holidays which are recognized throughout the country, there are also Italian festivals which are local to certain regions or even towns – all of which can be great fun or a huge headache, depending on whether you’ve planned to be caught in the midst of a festival in Italy or not!

Obviously, if you’re traveling in order to get in the middle of a festival or holiday celebration, then you’ll have a great time. If you’re just traveling in Italy and you happen to need to get something done or go somewhere on a day when things are shut down or overcrowded because of a holiday or festival, you’re going to be frustrated.

There are enough festivals throughout the year in Italy that it’s a good idea to check whether something is going on when you’ll be there – whether you choose to run toward it or away from it is entirely your decision.

The list below is a combination of national public holidays in Italy, Italian holidays that aren’t public holidays but are still widely celebrated, and well-known local festivals in Italy – and it’s by no means a comprehensive list. With all the saints days and local sagre (food festivals) in Italy, it’s not a stretch to say that something is being celebrated somewhere in Italy on every day of the year.

Notes on how to read the list below:

  • bold = national holidays (banks, businesses, attractions typically closed all day or part of the day)
  • italics = legal Italian holidays, but not widely celebrated
  • regular text = events/festivals/things to do, not national holidays & often localized/regional
  • [brackets] = Italian name for holiday
  • * = specific non-moveable dates each year

2012 Calendar of Holidays & Events in Italy

January in Italy

1 – New Year’s Day [Capodanno]*
6 – Epiphany [Epifania]*
7 – Flag Day [Festa del Tricolore]*
27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day [Giorno della Memoria]*

February in Italy

3-12 – Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento [Mandorlo in Fiore]
4-21 – Carnival in Venice [Carnevale]
11 – The Lateran Pacts [Patti Lateranensi]*
14 – Valentine’s Day*
16-22 – Carnevale d’Ivrea

March in Italy

2-11 – CioccolaTÒ in Turin
8 – International Women’s Day [Festa della Donna]*
18 – Rome Marathon [Maratona di Roma]
19 – Saint Joseph’s Day [Festa di San Giuseppe]*
24-25 – Open Monuments Weekend [Giornata di Primavera]
25 – Pisan New Year*
25-28 – Vinitaly Conference in Verona

April in Italy

1 – April Fool’s Day [Pesce d’Aprile]*
8 – Easter Sunday [Pasqua]
9 – Easter Monday [Pasquetta]
15 – Milan Marathon [Maratona di Milano]
25 – Liberation Day [Festa della Liberazione]*
25 – Feast Day for Saint Mark (also known as the “Rosebud Festival”) in Venice*

May in Italy

1 – International Workers’ Day [Festa dei Lavoratori]*
5-27 – Tour of Italy Bicycle Race [Giro d’Italia]
9 – Europe Day [Giorno Europeo]*
15 – Race of Candles in Gubbio [Corsa dei Ceri]*

June in Italy

2 – Republic Day [Festa della Repubblica]*
3-16 – Quintana Joust in Foligno [Giostra della Quintana di Foligno]
23 – Saracen Joust in Arezzo [Giostra del Saracino]
Jun 22-Sep 2 – Verona Opera Festival
21 – Anniversary of the Founding of Rome*
24 – Feast Day for Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Genoa, & Florence*
24 – Historic “Soccer” Match in Florence [Calcio Storico]
Jun 29-Jul 15 – Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto [Festival dei Due Mondi]
29 – Feast Day for Saints Peter & Paul in Rome*
30 – Battle of the Bridge in Pisa [Gioco del Ponte]

July in Italy

Jun 22-Sep 2 – Verona Opera Festival
Jun 29-Jul 15 – Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto [Festival dei Due Mondi]
2 – Palio in Siena*
14-15 – Feast of the Redeemer in Venice [Il Redentore]
15 – Feast Day for Saint Rosalia in Palermo*

August in Italy

Jun 22-Sep 2 – Verona Opera Festival
4-5 – Quintana Joust in Ascoli-Piceno [Giostra della Quintana]
5 – Rowing Contest in La Spezia [Palio del Golfo]
15 – Assumption Day [Ferragosto]*
16 – Palio in Siena*
29 – Feast of the Redeemer in Nuoro [Sagra deal Redentore]*
Aug 29-Sep 8 – Venice International Film Festival

September in Italy

Jun 22-Sep 2 – Verona Opera Festival
Aug 29-Sep 8 – Venice International Film Festival
2 – Historic Regatta in Venice [Regata Storica]
7 – Rificolona Festival in Florence [Festa della Rificolona]*
8-10 – Living Chess Match in Marostica (this only takes place in even-numbered years)
[2012 dates not yet available] – Prosciutto Festival in Parma [Festival del Prosciutto di Parma]
16 – Juliet’s Birthday in Verona*
16 – Palio in Asti
19 – Feast Day for Saint Gennaro in Naples*

October in Italy

4 – Feast Day for Saint Petronius in Bologna*
Oct 6-Nov 18 (weekends only) – White Truffle Festival in Alba [Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba]
14 – Enzo Ferrari Memorial Marathon in Maranello [Maratona d’Italia]
19-28 – EuroChocolate in Perugia
28 – Venice Marathon [Maratona di Venezia]
30 – Feast Day for Saint Saturnino in Cagliari*
31 – Halloween*

November in Italy

Oct 6-Nov 18 (weekends only) – White Truffle Festival in Alba [Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba]
1 – All Saints Day [Ognissanti or Tutti i Santi]*
2 – Day of the Dead [Giorno dei Morti]*
3 – Feast Day for Saint Giusto in Trieste*
20 – Palermo Marathon [Maratona di Palermo]
25 – Florence Marathon [Maratona di Firenze]

December in Italy

6 – Feast Day for Saint Nicola in Bari*
7 – Feast Day for Saint Ambrose in Milan*
8 – Immaculate Conception [Immacolata Concezione]*
[2012 date not yet available] – Pisa Marathon [Maratona di Pisa]
25 – Christmas Day [Natale]*
26 – Saint Stephen’s Day [Santo Stefano]*

photo by GuideEbook