If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of events, festivals, and holidays in January in Italy, you are in the right place.
Harnessing my Italian roots, I’ve meticulously curated a list of January celebrations, capturing the essence and vibrancy of our beloved traditions.
Let’s dive into the world of January events, holidays, and festivals in Italy, where the vibrant spirit of “Capodanno” (New Year) unfurls throughout the month, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry that kickstarts the 2024 Italian calendar year.
January Events and Festivals in Italy: A Time of Celebration
Delve deep below as we spotlight the most significant and celebrated events and festivals gracing Italy this January.
Or, explore our day-by-day January calendar for a detailed account of all the January occurrences.
January 1: New Year’s Day
On the first day of the year, Italy welcomes the advent of a new beginning during “Capodanno.” Here’s a glimpse of the vibrant and varied festivities you can immerse yourself in on this joyous occasion in various Italian locations.
Witness the night sky illuminated with dazzling fireworks, a hallmark of New Year celebrations in Italy. Major urban centers such as Rome, Milan, Naples, and Florence host some grandiose shows, uniting spectators in awe and celebration.
Related Reading: Is Milan Worth Visiting? Top reasons why you should.
Dance Parties Till the Early Morning
Join in the spirited New Year celebrations, a pinnacle of January holidays in Italy, at various nightclubs and venues across the country. Here, festivities extend until dawn, letting individuals dance their way into the new year with unparalleled zeal and joy.
Tuffo nel Tevere
Be a part of a unique and exhilarating Roman tradition where daring participants plunge into the chilly Tiber River from the Cavour Bridge. A revered custom since 1946, Tuffo nel Tevere gathers a crowd of enthusiastic watchers each year.
Musical Galas and Events
Cities and towns come alive with various concerts and live acts on the eve and the day of the New Year. These gatherings, often graced by local and international talents, are usually organized in open spaces, inviting everyone to join the festivities at no cost.
Cotechino e Lenticchie
Usher in the new year with the Italian culinary tradition of savoring Cotechino, a special kind of pork sausage paired with lentils. A meal synonymous with fortune and prosperity, it is enjoyed nationwide amidst gatherings of family and friends.
January 6: Festa della Befana (Epiphany)
On January 6, Italy bursts into a celebration for the Festa della Befana, or the Feast of Epiphany, characterized by many events and age-old traditions. Here are the highlights of this vibrant day:
The entire nation observes a holiday, with official establishments shutting their doors to mark the grand closure of the Christmas festivities.
Regata delle Befane (Venice)
On Epiphany, fifty contestants dressed as Befana race from Palazzo Bilbo to the Rialto Bridge in a spirited single-oared Regatta of Befana, with the winner receiving a sock filled with sweets.
Recommended Reading: Is Venice Worth Visiting? Your essential travel guide.
La Befana, the gift-bearing old woman who is an integral figure in the Italian Christmas narrative, is taking center stage in the celebrations. Children anticipate her visit with bated breath, holding a significance akin to Christmas Day.
Viva la Befana Parade (Rome)
Viva la Befana Parade is a noteworthy event staged in Rome that commences from Via della Conciliazione and culminates at St. Peter’s Square. This event, scheduled on the day of Epiphany, leads up to the Pope’s noon Angelus, drawing crowds and adding a religious fervor to the celebrations.
The Epicenter of La Befana Celebrations at Piazza Navona (Rome)
In the heart of Rome, the vibrant Piazza Navona becomes a focal point of mirth and merriment, turning into a bustling holiday market that stands as the epicenter of Epiphany celebrations.
Not just a market, this historic square holds a special surprise each year as it turns into the official headquarters for all things La Befana.
As the clock strikes a certain hour, watch the skies – La Befana herself descends, much to the delight of the awaiting children, bearing gifts and spreading joy. A sight to behold, this magical event encapsulates the spirit of the season, bringing smiles to the faces of young and old.
Ensure to mark your calendar for this delightful tradition, a highlight of the January holidays in Italy, where joy, gifts, and a magical Befana from the sky make it an unforgettable time in Rome.
Related Reading: Tour Rome by Golf Cart: Best Private Tours
January 17: Saint Anthony’s Day (Festa di Sant’Antonio Abate)
On January 17, Italy commemorates the legacy of Saint Anthony the Abbot, alternatively known as Anthony the Great, through the festive occasion of Festa di San Antonio Abate.
Saint Anthony, revered as the pioneer of the monastic lifestyle, relinquished all worldly assets to devoutly follow Jesus, leaving behind a life marked with miraculous events and unwavering resilience against the devil’s temptations, mainly mediated through persistent prayer.
He holds the patronage of several professions, including farmers, butchers, and basket makers. He is also invoked for protection against certain skin ailments, referred to as “Fuoco di Sant’Antonio” (Fire of Saint Anthony).
To immerse yourself in the fervor of Saint Anthony’s Day, here are some traditions and festivities you might encounter:
An integral part of the day’s celebrations, bonfires symbolize Saint Anthony’s legendary passage through flames unscathed. Gigantic bonfires illuminate the streets, particularly in Naples and adjacent southern regions, in remembrance of this miraculous event.
Across various Italian municipalities, the day is observed with vibrant processions accompanied by music and diverse festivities, encapsulating the spirit of communal celebration.
Feast of Sant’Antonio Abate in Collelongo (L’Aquila, Abruzzo)
In Collelongo, a province of L’Aquila, the Feast of Sant’Antonio Abate is a time-honored tradition surpassing 400 years. Scheduled on January 16 and 17, the event is highlighted by a solemn procession followed by an all-night feast, promising a blend of spirituality and merriment.
January 30: Fiera di Sant’Orso Festival in Aosta
Happening on January 30 and 31 every year, the Fiera di Sant’Orso Festival is a storied event in Aosta, Italy, holding the fort of the Aosta Valley’s artisan heritage for over a millennium.
At this vibrant festival, local craftsmen proudly exhibit an array of creations ranging from soapstone sculptures to intricate glass works alongside a diverse collection that includes the traditional wooden shoes known as Sabots, charismatic “Galletto” figurines (roosters), as well as an array of handmade items such as rakes, baskets, and barrels, among other crafts.
But the festival is more than a mere showcase of artistry; it stands as a hub of cultural celebration, marked by melodious music, folklore performances, and a gastronomic journey featuring the local delicacies of the Aosta Valley, including cheeses, succulent meats, salumi, and honey.
Each year, the festival pulls in a crowd of around 150,000 eager visitors, congregating around numerous stands hosted by local artisans, all set against the picturesque backdrop of Aosta’s historic city center, nestled beside the ancient Roman walls.
January Calendar: Italy’s Holidays, Anniversaries, Events, and Special Days
- New Year’s Day (Capodanno): Kickstart the January holidays in Italy with a day off to celebrate the beginning of the new year.
- The Inception of the Julian Calendar (45 BC): Marking a significant shift in timekeeping.
- Final Gladiator Contest in Rome (404): The end of a brutal spectator sport.
- Celebrating Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Birthday (1449): Remembering a great patron of the arts.
- First Postage Stamp Issued in Italy (1851): A milestone in Italian communication.
- Introduction of the Euro as the Official Currency (2002): A monumental economic shift.
- End of Mandatory Military Service in Italy (2005): Marking a change in national service policy.
- The Year of Four Emperors Commences (69): Roman legions in Germania Superior revolt, refusing loyalty to Galba.
- Commemorating the Death of Guccio Gucci (1953): Reflecting on the legacy of the founder of Gucci.
- Cicero’s Birthday Celebration (106 BC): Honoring the legendary orator.
- Celebrating Sergio Leone’s Birthday (1929): Remembering the mastermind Italian director.
- In Memory of Pino Daniele (2015): Commemorating the life of Naples’ beloved singer.
- Spaghetti Day (Celebrated in the US): A day dedicated to appreciating the beloved Italian pasta in the US.
- Celebrating Umberto Eco’s Birth (1932): Remembering the renowned writer and philosopher.
- Epiphany Celebration (La Befana): A festive day marked by gift-giving and feasting.
- Viva la Befana Parade (Rome): A spirited Epiphany celebration culminating at St. Peter’s Square, leading up to the Pope’s noon Angelus.
- Regatta of Befana (Venice): Venice’s Grand Canal annually hosts the distinctive Befana Regatta, a one-oared race celebrating the Epiphany.
- Commemorating the Artistry of Giotto (1337): Remembering the death of the pioneer of the Italian Renaissance.
- Remembering the Death of Galileo Galilei (1642): Honoring the father of modern science.
- Death of Arcangelo Corelli (1713): Remembering the violin maestro.
- Remembering the Death of King Vittorio Emanuele II (1878): Commemorating the reign of Italy’s first king.
- Marzipan Day (Celebrated in the US): A day where the delight of marzipan, often found in Italian desserts, is appreciated stateside.
- Avezzano Earthquake Remembrance (1915): A day to remember the devastating earthquake in Abruzzo.
- Costa Concordia Disaster Anniversary (2012): Marking the tragic sinking off the Tuscan island “Isola del Giglio.”
- ANSA News Agency Foundation Day (1945): Commemorating the inception of the prominent news agency.
- Hot & Spicy Food Day: Spice enthusiasts around the world commemorate this day, enjoying the zest that Italian herbs and spices often bring to the table.
- Beginning of the Roman Empire (27 BC): Marking a significant turn in world history.
- Remembering the Death of Maestro Arturo Toscanini (1957): A day to honor the legendary conductor.
- Feast Day of Sant’Antonio Abate: A day of feasting and celebration to honor Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint of animals and farmers.
- Division of the Roman Empire Anniversary (395): Reflecting on the separation into Eastern and Western Empires.
- Federico Fellini’s Birthday Celebration (1920): Honoring the renowned film director.
- Cheese Lovers Day (Celebrated in the US): This day marks a celebration of cheese, a staple ingredient in many Italian dishes, enjoyed particularly in the US.
- Feast Day of Saint Agnes of Rome: A spiritual reflection and celebration day.
- Hugging Day (Celebrated in the US): A heartfelt celebration fostering kindness and connection, echoing the Italian ethos of community and togetherness – a perfect day to say I love you in Italian!
- Caligula Remembrance Day (41): Reflecting on the reign of the controversial emperor.
- Celebrating Emperor Hadrian’s Birth (76): Honoring the ruler known for Hadrian’s Wall.
- Amedeo Modigliani Birthday Celebration (1920): Marking the birth of the legendary painter.
- Feast Day of the Conversion of Saint Paul: Celebrating spiritual transformation.
- Council of Trent Anniversary (1564): Reflecting on the historic ecclesiastical council.
- Dante Alighieri Exile Anniversary (1302): Marking a significant event in the poet’s life.
- Commemorating the Death of Giuseppe Verdi (1901): Remembering the legendary composer.
- International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Italy: A day to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust.
- Fiera di Sant’Orso Festival in Aosta: Celebrating the traditional crafts festival.
- Croissant Day (Celebrated in the US): Although more associated with French cuisine, this day celebrates the much-loved croissant, which has found a place in Italian breakfast tables, especially in the US.
While we diligently verify event dates, confirming with local organizers before planning your visit is always best.
Before You Go…
Ready to embrace Italy this January? Ensure a seamless adventure by consulting our comprehensive guide on Weather in Italy in January: Your Essential Travel Guide, marrying meteorological data with essential travel insights. Your perfect January itinerary starts here!