All the amazing things about Italy in one list!
What’s not to love about Italian culture? They have beautiful people, food, movies and food and fantastic festivals that celebrate all of this.
1. Carnevale de Viareggio, Viareggio
Probably one of the most famous carnivals in the world, the Carnevale de Viareggio is sight you cannot afford to miss. People from all over the world flock to the Tuscan city to celebrate one last time before the one month period of Lent begins. Celebrated in proper Mardi Gras fashion, the carnival includes colourful parades with elaborate floats and extensive costumes, all-night parties and a generous dose of colour. It doesn’t matter if you are here to just watch or actually participate in the parade, copious amounts of fun is guaranteed.
2. Festa Della Sensa, Venice
Venice shares a unique relation with the sea. The mostly flooded city has important trade and travel routes in the water. This is the relationship celebrated during the Festa Della Sansa, when the city and the surrounding sea are ‘married’ in an elaborate ceremony. The mayor of the city, representing Venice, throws a gold ring into the salty waters to mark the union. A full mass then takes place in the San Nicolo church to bless the union, after which the entire city erupts into the most colourful festivities that include parades in the water and rowing races.
3. Festival Del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Florence
This is one of the oldest music festivals in the country. It started up in 1933, when the first operas were being established and since has grown bigger every year. Since it began the Maggio Festival has attracted world attention for the basic cultural choices which it envisages and has always maintained: in the first place the problems related to the visual element in opera, for which the greatest theatrical and film producers of our times have been called upon. The festival mainly celebrates the art of the opera and is one of the most important festivals in this field in the world.
4. Stresa Festival, Lake Maggiore
Started up in 1961, the Stresa Festival celebrates the very best of European music. And what better place to do it but at the side of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Maggiore. The festival was started up by the Trentinaglia family, who would host local musicians and artists every summer at their expansive villa. From here, the idea of a festival was born. With the haunting beauty of the lake accompanying the music of the international and local artists, Stresa is a festival you need to go for, to experience Italian culture.
5. Lucca Summer Festival, Tuscany
When: End of June to the end of July
One of the most iconic festivals of Tuscany, the Lucca Summer Festival brings in some seriously influential artists from all over the world. It takes place in the heart of the city, at the historical Piazza Napoleone center. This year’s lineup includes Lionel Richie, Neil Young and Graham Nash amongst many others. Also included are food stalls and culture shows that focus on all the varied cultural palate of Tuscany!
6. Venice International Film Festival, Venice
It is THE oldest film festival in the world. With that kind of history behind it, is it any surprise that it is one of the Big Three of film festivals, along with Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival? The festival is part of the Venice Biennale, which hosts a series of events like the International Art Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Music and the International Theatre Festival. The festival is known specially for its unique brand of international art house cinema. Oscar winning movie Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu opened the 2014 edition of the festival.
7. Sagra del Cinghiale, Dugenta
What is Italy without some crazy food? Not that fun, let us tell you. The Sagra del Cinghiale is festival for the ones who love their meat more than anything in the world. Or rather, a particular type of meat. That of the wild boar. The festival celebrates the flesh of the animal with some seriously excellent dishes. Between dances and folk songs you can buy all the typical products made with the exquisite and prestigious meat of wild boar. It’s the gastronomic experience you didn’t know you needed.
8. Pizzafest, Naples
We don’t think the world thanks Italy enough for the greatest gift ever bestowed upon us. Pizza. Particularly Naples, as it is most known for its absolutely fantastic pizzas. The city holds an annual pizza fest to celebrate its greatest delicacy. Here, you will see pizzas prepared in traditional and improvised manners. The heavenly pizza is everywhere during the festival, cafes, hotels and even roadside stalls. There are even pizza master-classes held throughout the city. One of the highlights of the festival is the pizza competition, where the best pizza is bestowed with prizes!
9. CioccolaTo festival, Turin
What else do you expect from the world capital of chocolate ? Not much more, we hope. And this is quite aptly proven by the fact that Turin is the home town of the world’s most beloved chocolate snack, Nutella! Turin is the beloved headquarters of all things chocolate and OF COURSE they have a splendid festival that celebrates this. Hundreds of chocolate makers and connoisseurs descend upon the quaint city every year, to get a taste of the greatest festival ever. The festival includes life-size chocolate sculptures, extensive tasting sessions of the world’s best chocolate and much more!
10. Ravello Music Festival, Ravello
Also known as the Wagner Festival, Ravello Music Festival is the yearly celebration of the visit of German composer Richard Wagner to the little town of Ravello. Though the exact date of the composer’s arrival here is not known, the beautiful town is said to have deeply inspired his opera ‘Parsifal’. The local farmers, during the hard times of the Second World War, decided to use the occasion of this historic visit in a way to celebrate classical music and boost tourism of the area. The festival has since culminated into a two-month celebration of different kinds of music and art, welcoming some superb artists to showcase their work.