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7 festivals in Italy for travelers to enjoy

As a great European nation with an influential Mediterranean culture and cuisine, Italy is also a country that loves big festivals. From vibrant celebrations of food and wine to concerts, parades, and street performances, festival events in Italy are an integral part of the local culture and a much-loved way of marking the passing of each year.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy, integrating a festival visit into your itinerary can be a great idea. Many Italian festivals honor events or traditions dating back centuries or pay tribute to religious icons and saints, or local myths and legends. And you can find fascinating festivals taking place year round at destinations throughout the country.

There is truly no better way to learn about Italian culture, local foods, and traditions than by attending a popular festival while you’re in Italy. Read on to learn about some of the best Italian festivals you may want to visit.

Carnevale

Happening in late February, Carnevale takes place in Venice and lasts for around two weeks, ending on Shrove Tuesday just before the season of Lent begins. There are other events that celebrate carnival in Italy, but the Venetian festival dates back to when the Republic of Venice avenged its nemesis, the Patriarch of Aquileia in 1162, and few are as extravagant and joyful as Venice’s annual festival. Today carnival is celebrated with parades, street parties, costumes, and masquerade balls that take place all over the city, with Piazza San Marco as the hub of the celebrations.

Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday

As a Roman Catholic country, Italy and its people celebrate Easter widely. But in Florence, the Scoppio del Carro — or “explosion of the cart” — is a truly unique Easter Sunday celebration dating from the time of the First Crusade. Taking place in the Piazza del Duomo, a cart is pulled by decorated oxen into the square. After the clergy has performed the appropriate religious rituals, the cart, packed with fireworks, then erupts into an impressive pyrotechnic display. The spectacular fireworks serve as a fitting and joyous end to the Lenten season.

Alba International White Truffle Fair

What could be more Italian than a festival devoted to truffles? Celebrated in the northern Italian town of Alba, this month-long celebration taking place in late fall or early winter is devoted to all things white truffle, a culinary delicacy which is indigenous to the region. Enjoy local dishes, wine pairings, guided tours, and traditional music — you can even take the chance to buy truffles yourself. Just watch the price tag carefully: pound for pound, truffles are one of the most expensive foodstuffs in the world.

Alba International White Truffle Fair

What could be more Italian than a festival devoted to truffles? Celebrated in the northern Italian town of Alba, this month-long celebration taking place in late fall or early winter is devoted to all things white truffle, a culinary delicacy which is indigenous to the region. Enjoy local dishes, wine pairings, guided tours, and traditional music — you can even take the chance to buy truffles yourself. Just watch the price tag carefully: pound for pound, truffles are one of the most expensive foodstuffs in the world.

Luminara of Saint Ranieri

As a Roman Catholic country, Italy and its people celebrate Easter widely. But in Florence, the Scoppio del Carro — or “explosion of the cart” — is a truly unique Easter Sunday celebration dating from the time of the First Crusade. Taking place in the Piazza del Duomo, a cart is pulled by decorated oxen into the square. After the clergy has performed the appropriate religious rituals, the cart, packed with fireworks, then erupts into an impressive pyrotechnic display. The spectacular fireworks serve as a fitting and joyous end to the Lenten season.

Taste of Rome

Food lovers, unite! Taste of Rome is arguably the highest profile of Italy’s food festivals, bringing together chefs, restaurants, gastronomes, and purveyors from across the capital and beyond. With tastings, demonstrations, and cooking classes galore, it’s a wonderful Italian festival for those interested in the country’s culinary traditions and cuisine, and typically takes place during the summer.

Palio di Siena

Taking place over two days on July 2 and August 16 each year, the Palio di Siena is Italy’s most famous horse race. The big race takes place in the Piazza del Campo where 10 bareback jockeys — who are representatives from each of Siena’s city districts — clash in a frantic, rip-roaring, 90-second lap around the huge square. Afterwards, locals celebrate in a medieval-style pageant with costumes and flag throwers. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind event and well worth planning into your Italian itinerary in July or August.

Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics

Part historical reenactment, part unforgettable sporting event, the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics is an opportunity for Italy’s prominent maritime republics to battle it out and prove their naval prowess. The boats are known as a gozzi and each one comprises eight rowers. One of the four regions — Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa, or Venice — plays host each year, with the maritime festivities and medieval procession that follows happening during the summer, sometime from late May to late July.

Plan your trip to Italy with peace of mind

As you plan your trip to Italy, always remember to take out travel insurance. Whether you’re tasting truffles in a medieval town, listening to jazz at a music festival, or celebrating carnival or the lives of saints in a major city, unanticipated events can happen and you’ll want to be well protected. A travel insurance policy from battleface provides protection for logistical challenges like trip interruption and trip delay, inconveniences like lost or damaged luggage, and more serious issues like travel medical insurance and emergency evacuation. Once you have researched and purchased your policy, you can relax and enjoy all the fun of the Italian festival season.
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Personal Accident up to 250,000
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