Italy has a lot to offer to the curious traveller.
A rich history and stunning natural sights, multilayered cities and gorgeous medieval hamlets, sparkling beaches and winter fun. As you can guess, this list can go on and on…
The best thing about Italy though are the numerous events, festivals and happenings that are taking place every day all over the country. From:
- Carnival in February to Christmas markets come November and December; from
- large religious parades to exhibitions celebrating the titans of Italian art; from
- concerts and operas performed in historic churches, palaces and even a 2000 years old Roman Amphitheatre to medieval reenactments in the shadows of centuries-old castles; from
- organised nature hikes exploring little-known corners of the Italian land to a multitude of sagre – happenings dedicated to a local foodstuff,
the year in Italy is dotted with hundreds if not thousands of events where you can meet the locals, learn interesting things about Italian history and culture, eat delicious food, and, all in all, have the experience of a lifetime.
In case you are wondering how to find the best events in Italy to see for yourself, here are six tips I would like to share with you. Use the information below to plan your time in Italy and pepper it with as many events, festivals, markets, concerts, guided tours, and other exciting happenings as you can humanly take.
You will see how this will change your perception of the country as you will be able to see beyond the trodden tourist track and experience for yourself the lively, energetic spirit of Italy that is so addictive and so full of sparkle and life.
Before we start in earnest, I just wanted to say that I don’t have any commercial or otherwise relationship with any of the websites and bodies recommended below. The links provided are not affiliate links. I am sharing them based on using these personal tips for years in order to fill up my Italian weekends with great and exciting events.
Now, let’s start!
Events in Italy – 6 Ways to Find the Best Italian Festivals, Fairs and Happenings for an Experience of a Lifetime
1. Facebook Events
I am, actually, in love with the calendar-based Facebook Events – a function which lets you discover all types of events taking place in and around any location. You can access the ‘Events’ option from your Facebook Home Page. Just search for ‘Events’ underneath the Explore heading in the left-hand column of the page. On your mobile, click on the three lines icon on the home page in Facebook App. ‘Events’ will be one of the options you will see further down the page.
Define the location you are interested in and Facebook will surface all sorts of events. From hikes led by local guides to concerts in historical churches and palaces. You will be amazed by the variety of events you can attend during your time in Italy. There will be both free and paid options.
The more events you click on in Facebook Events, the more announcements for events will start to appear in your Facebook feed. It really is a great function which has allowed me to discover some really off-the-beaten-track happenings in Italy and also gives me a chance to decide on the dot what to do on a day that I haven’t scheduled anything for in advance.
2. Local Tourist Information Offices
When you are in Italy, don’t miss a chance to pop into a local tourist information office or two. There are branches spread all over the Italian towns and cities – from the local train stations to the most prized locations in the historical centres.
Apart from talking to the people working there and asking for personal recommendations and advice, you can also pick a ton of leaflets, maps and brochures to browse through in the comfort of your hotel room.
This mountain of paper will give you the most up to date information about local events taking place during your visit to Italy. You will be able to come up with some real gems. From guided visits to historic libraries, mansions and parks to film screenings in cloister gardens or other unusual venues. From concerts in centuries-old theatres to local markets’ opening hours.
You only need to spend ten-fifteen minutes leafing through in order to get a clear idea what fun and fantastic events you can get up to while in Italy.
3. Websites of Italy’s Official Tourism Bodies
Each Italian region, city and important in terms of history and art town has its own website. These websites are a treasure trove of local information. On their pages, you can find many different and exciting events. From grape stomping in autumn to egg hunts in spring, from moonlight hikes in summer to Nativity Scenes’ hikes in winter. Not to forget specialised guided visits, religious celebrations, national parades, temporary exhibitions, art talks and so on.
Make sure that you visit the website of the place(s) you are planning to see in Italy at least once before your trip. It will give you lots of good ideas as to what you can get up to once here and also how to obtain tickets even for the most sought-after paid events. For example, here are the links to the official tourism websites of some of Italy’s largest and most famous cities: Turin, Milan, Verona, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome. Obviously, don’t miss Italy’s official tourism website here.
Once you are in town, keep checking the official tourism website, even when you think that you have already done and seen it all. You never know when it will surprise you with details about a forthcoming medieval reenactment, donkey race or even a hot-air balloon festival.
4. Social Media Accounts and Newsletters of Italian Museums, Sights and Organisations
Keep a close eye on the social media accounts, newsletters and dedicated websites of the Italian museums, sights and organisations you are personally interested in.
These often publish details about some very interesting events. It could be a concert in the atrium of a museum, it could be a day dedicated to families with kids or even a free entrance date.
I follow several museums here in Vicenza and in nearby Verona and Venice. This way I was able to find out Vicenza’s Diocesan Museum’s schedule of events for kids (see here the cupcakes my daughter and I decorated at one such event there). This way I was also able to book a very interesting guided tour of the depository of the Archeological Museum in Venice.
There are many Italian organisations and associations – dedicated to nature, culture, art, and heritage – the social accounts and the newsletters of which can give you lots of ideas for events to attend in Italy. Do a little online search in the days before you travel and see what you come up with.
5. Event Listings Websites
There are several websites in Italy which list the events to take place all over the country. Unfortunately, most of them are in Italian but fear not. You can easily use Google Translate to help you understand what’s what.
6. Announcement Boards
Yes, there are still announcement boards on the streets of Italy – large metal boards on which people and local organisations attach posters with announcements for local events.
These can be a kids’ carnival event in a local shopping centre, a guided visit to a monastery or a street festival to take place in the coming days.
Get in the habit of quickly scanning through the colourful pieces of paper you will see on the announcement boards. You never know when you will come across a really great Italian event to turn into the experience of a lifetime.
Come to Italy to experience its lively spirit. The best place to do this is one of the thousands of events that take place daily across the country. Medieval fairs, concerts in historic sights, nature hikes, specialised guided walks, kid-friendly happenings.
The choice really is yours and the above six tips will give you plenty of chances to discover unique Italian events to experience for yourself.
Interested to learn more?
Click on the links below and read or see my dispatches from a number of events in Italy:
- Venice Historical Regatta
- Christmas Guide 2018 for Northern Italy – The Complete List of Christmas Markets, Events and Happenings
- Verona Opera Festival – A Guide to the World’s Most Spectacular Opera Event
- Celebrating Batimarso – The Thousands of Years Old Ritual of the Venetian New Year
- Lumignano Truffle Festival – Luxury Food at Popular Prices
- British Day Schio or How We Found Britain in a Quaint Italian Town
- Ferrara Balloons Festival – Italy’s Most Important Hot-Air Ballooning Event
- Bagolino Carnival – An Italian Experience You Mustn’t Miss
- Verona Motorbike Expo – Experience Italy from a Different Point of View
- The Medieval Fair in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy
- Cherry Festivals in Italy – Where and When
- The Best Peas in Italy
- Ciao, Carnevale or 9 Authentic Italian Carnival Experiences You Should Have
- Sport, History and Men in Leotards
- A Rustic Parade and a Donkey Race – An Italian Adventure
- Exploring Vicenza: Flower Power
- My Best Italian Christmas Experience: The Living Nativity Scene in Vicenza
- Video of a visit to a cheese factory in Bressanvido
- Video of a seafood sagra in Vigonza
- Video of the props used at Verona Opera Festival
- Video of the celebrations for the Venetian New Year
- Video of the New Year’s festival in Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda
- Video of a traditional music band performing during the Christmas market in Peschiera del Garda, Lake Garda
- Video of the Scottish pipe band The CatEaters performing during British Day Schio
What is your favourite type of event? Which event you have attended anywhere in the world left you with a memory of a lifetime? Let me know!
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