Come the 15th of August, at the height of summer, Italy celebrates the country’s most popular holiday, Ferragosto. The weekend traditionally marks the beginning of a week-long vacation period and the people’s chance to enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean summer.
Ferragosto dates back to the Roman Empire, when Emperor Augustus created the holiday to celebrate the end of the harvest. It’s been an integral part of the Italian calendar ever since with public events held across the country. The holiday also coincides with the catholic festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary too.
Each region celebrates differently, with squares and piazzas taken over for the festivities. In Rome, wonderful dance performances are held in main squares around the city, whilst Montepulciano hosts a traditional pageant and games.
Whilst a lot of the shops and restaurants will be closed in local areas, it’s a fantastic time to visit the country and join the Italians basking on the beaches and all the special festivities held at this time of year. A lot of the shops stay open in the bigger tourist hot spots, so be sure to visit the local tourist office for all the information of what events are happening over the week, including a variety of concerts and fireworks.