[mks_dropcap style=”rounded” size=”48″ bg_color=”#39a834″ txt_color=”#000000″]F[/mks_dropcap]illed with a certain amount of quirk, impossibility, tradition, and history, Italy ushers in each season with its own set of celebrations. Nothing is off limits with Italian festivals when you find yourself celebrating artichokes, attending a city’s own birthday party, or watching horses tromp all over historic city centers. Spring and summer always brings out the best of Italy’s festival scene, so if you’re looking for excuses to book a flight to Italy, these spring and summer events can provide all the reasons you’ll need!
The Explosion of the Cart, Florence
Florence hosts countless festivals and events throughout the year, but surely the Explosion of the Cart, otherwise known as the Scoppio del Carro, is hands down one of the most out there ways to celebrate Easter. Dating back over 350 years, the event consists of an elaborate cart hailing from the 1600s, measuring three stories high, being pulled through the streets of Florence by a pair of oxen!
Marvel at the scene as the heavily decorated cart winds it way past you on it’s way to the Duomo of Florence, where the celebrations truly begin as fireworks on the cart are ignited, to officially kick off Easter in the city.
The Roman Artichoke Festival
In Italy, you should always celebrate food when you can!
In the coastal town of Ladispoli, just outside Rome, the much maligned artichoke takes center stage in April for the Sagra del Cariciofo Romanesco. The event honors the famous Roman artichoke, known for its size, purple color, and sweet taste. Generally held the second week of April, you can delight in the food festival, music, fireworks, and even a cooking contest for the best artichoke-based recipe. In addition, expect to see another competition for the best artichoke sculpture, in which artists attempt to make butterflies and castles out of artichokes!
Leading up to and during the event, restaurants in town offer fixed priced artichoke based menus for your dining pleasure!
Natale Di Roma
When you’re born in 753 B.C. and you’re still alive and kicking, you go all out for your birthday, and Rome is no exception! The capital of Italy knows how to celebrate with a bang every year on April 21st.
The Eternal City celebrates being well over 2,700 years young, with parades, fireworks, and plenty of reenactments where you can see actors dressed as though they fell straight out of 753 B.C. right in front of you! Most of the action centers on Via dei Fori Imperiali, with several other offerings cropping up around many of Rome’s other fascinating ancient sites.
Infiorata di Noto
In southeastern Sicily, the baroque town of Noto finds itself blanketed in flowers during the third week of May. Known as the Infiorata di Noto, the flower-based festival takes place on Via Nicolaci, one of Noto’s main streets. Both local and foreign artists dress the thoroughfare using flower petals, creating works of art for all to enjoy over the weekend. By Monday however, children are invited to run through the carpets of flowers, acting as a symbol of destruction and renewal.
Other towns in Italy host similar events during May and June but Noto’s is the most famous.
Palio di Siena
If you’re visiting Tuscany this summer, you might want to plan your visit around the Palio di Siena. Taking place on both July 2nd and August 16th, the festival brings a wild, exciting, albeit strange horse race to the center of town. Stemming from the Middle Ages, Palio di Siena occurs in the delightful Tuscan hill town of Siena. A tradition dating back to 1310, festivities start in the days leading up to the event, culminating in Siena’s ultimate horse race, where you can enjoy watching horses galloping on a dirt covered and crowded Piazza del Campo.
Italy never does anything halfway, including its spring and summer festivals and events. From horses racing through a medieval city, to exploding carts ringing in Easter, and streets carpeted in flower petals, these events in Italy are well worth the jet lag.
Have you attended any of these Italian events? Do you have a favorite festival falling in Italy’s spring or summer? Let us know in the comments below.