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In Italy this summer? Don’t miss these local events

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Processions are held prior to Tuscany's famed Palio.

Summertime in Italy is filled with processions, celebrations and holidays. Here are just a few of the many activities you might find while visiting this summer.

La Festa di San Giovanni – The birth of Florence’s patron saint John the Baptist is celebrated every year on June 24 with a procession and fireworks.

Tuscany’s Palio – Italy’s famous Palio horse race takes place every year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena. First run on August 16, 1656 in celebration of the Virgin Mary, the bareback race is held in the town’s semi-circular Piazza del Campo. Today the Palio is preceded by days of festivities and a historic parade featuring horses, jockeys and a rich display of medieval costumes.

 

The Festival of Spoleto – Also known as the “Festival dei Due Mondi” (“Festival of the Two Worlds”), this arts celebration has been held every June and July since 1958. It hosts top-class performances of opera, theatre, music and ballet, attracting internationally known artists. Click here for more details on this year’s performances.

 

Ferragosto – In Italy, the feast of the Assumption is a national holiday and marks the peak of the summer holiday season. The Italian name “Ferragosto” comes from the Latin “feriae augstae,” “meaning August holidays. Cities become ghost towns as Italians flock to the coasts, mountains and lakes.

 

What are some of your favorite Italian celebrations?