4 Festivals in Italy You Need to Know About

by Christopher Atwood

Munich hosts Oktoberfest. Pamplona does the running of the bulls.  And, Venice is home to Carnival.  Folk festivals in Europe now lure flocks of foreign tourists.  During Carnival season alone, nearly 3 million visitors fill Venice’s streets!
With numbers like this, you might be wary of traveling to Europe's big festivals. Maybe you worry about huge crowds.  Or, you know that hotels can book up months before a big event. With the right kind of planning, though, experiencing even the most popular is easy-peasy.
Italy’s regions, big and small, put on festivals through the year.  Some celebrate beloved foods.  Others reenact old victories or a miraculous event.  
Below you'll fin 4 Can’t-Miss Italian festivals.
If fireworks mean the 4th of July in the U.S., in Venice they mean la Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer).  Occurring on the third weekend of July, this much-loved festival hails the end of a killer plague in 1576.  Venetians stream into St. Mark’s Square or bob in decorated boats on Saturday night – awaiting a  fireworks display that lasts for up to an hour. Imagine viewing the canals of Venice lit up by spectacular fireworks. 
Perugia is Italy’s chocolate capital. It produces baci, chocolate “kisses” filled with hazelnuts. And, Perugia is home to the chocolate company Perugina. For 9 days each October, it also hosts the annual EuroChocolate Festival.  Cocoa-themed displays and stalls populate Perugia’s winding streets. Here, you can nibble on a chocolate panino, sip chocolate liqueur or marvel at sculptures carved from solid blocks of chocolate. 
Eurochocolate Festival
Just an hour’s train ride from Venice, Verona offers a quiet charm all its own. During the summer, the city’s open-air Roman amphitheater – one of the best-preserved of its kind – becomes a mecca for opera aficionados.  For two months, spectators can behold operas such as CarmenLa Traviata or Aida outdoors.  Verona’s stone arena seats up to 15,000 audience members – making for a once-in-a-lifetime opera-viewing experience.
Verona Opera Festival
Food and film fans go gaga for Bologna – home to tortellini and the Festival of Rediscovered Cinema.  Taking place throughout the city’s cinemas and open-air squares, this feast of films honors the moving pictures of yore – familiarizing modern audiences with retouched films from decades past, including silent, black-and-white and Technicolor fare.  At night, audiences sit under the stars in the stunning Piazza Maggiore to watch movies.  Film buffs will swoon for silent films, paired with music from Bologna’s orchestra. Located between Venice and Florence, Bologna is an easy add-on to a traditional tour of Italy.
 Bologna Film Festival
Whether you want to revel in Carnival’s masked balls or to savor a tiny Sicilian village, we’re here to help them feast on all that Italy has to offer. 
Curious about other regions in Italy? Click below to explore all that Sicily has to offer:
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