What is Ferragosto?
First thing first. Ferragosto is an Italian national holiday that takes place on August 15th and it's celebrated all around Italy since the time of Emperor Augustus. It coincides with Assumption Day, a Catholic holiday and matches with the** peak of summer**. The weeks before and after Ferragosto in Italy sees most Italians heading to the beach or countryside for the summer holiday and in fact in all the major cities, shops and restaurants are closed in August.
1 Go to the beach
You’ll find most Italians heading to the beach during this period. Ferragosto is generally the time in Italy when entire cities basically move to the coasts and the beaches are packed with people, towels, screaming kids and no room for sand castles.
If you need some beach inspirations, here are 11 of my favourites.
2 Stay away from the cities (or not)
As stated above, most cities will turn into ghost towns during this time of vacation. Seriously, most stores will be closed, including supermarkets and convenience stores. So plan ahead both if you are staying or if you are leaving the city.
There is also a great advantage in staying in the cities: have them all for yourself. Can you imagine exploring the empty streets, in silence and taking pictures without the crowds? Dreaming? Nope, Italian Ferragosto :)
3 Check out the parties!
Remember, this is the height of the Italian summer so there will be plenty of festivals, parades, beach parties and more. Some of the best parties include Rome's Gran Ballo di Ferragosto, the Palio of Siena, which takes place on August 16th, is the biggest horse race in Italy.
If you are in Sardinia, then head to the Discesa dei Candelieri in Sassari, a religious procession held the evening before Ferragosto which attracts thousands of visitors. If you're stuck in Florence for study or for work, , you should at least head to Viareggio, for the special three-day celebration that takes place every year right around Ferragosto. If during that period, you are holidaying in Sicily, you can't miss the Vara di Messina, a procession led by a large votive wagon dedicated to the Virgin Mary on August 15.
Finally, if you are based in Turin or Milan, you should head to the marvellous concerts up the mountains hosted by the Cuneo’s chorus orchestra. The concert takes place in a different location every year and it's attended by as many as 10,000 people. Finally, most costal towns, hold gigantic fireworks displays in the evenings.
5 Fully Embrace the Italian Dolce Vita
What better moment to go on vacation to Italy then when all the Italians are relaxed and in a party mode? The second and third week of August are great to experience locals when they are stressed by and not complaining about work, tax and the government! Make sure to connect and experience La Dolce Vita while you are there and do like Italians do: PARTY HARD!
And you? How are you going to celebrate this Ferragosto?
If you need more Summer inspiration, read these articles: