If you’re searching for an exhaustive roundup of events, festivals, and holidays in February in Italy, you’ve landed at the right spot.
Drawing from my deep-seated Italian heritage, I’ve carefully assembled a roster of February festivities, encapsulating the warmth and energy unique to our cherished customs.
Let’s immerse ourselves in the diverse range of February events, holidays, and festivals in Italy, where the spirited celebration of “Carnevale” reverberates throughout the month, painting a vivid tableau that initiates the blossoming chapter of the 2024 Italian calendar year.
February Events and Festivals in Italy: A Month of Celebration
Venture further as we highlight Italy’s distinguished events and festivals this February.
Alternatively, explore our day-by-day February calendar for a detailed account of all the February occurrences.
February 3-13: Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival)
Get ready to witness the sheer spectacle of the Venice Carnival from February 3rd to February 13th, 2024, a yearly fiesta renowned for its magnificent masks and outfits.
If you’re visiting Venice during this time, you’ll notice it becomes a vibrant hub where enthusiasts from across the globe come to partake in the festivities.
The epicenter of this celebration, Saint Mark’s Square, along with various other squares in Venice, is teeming with people adorned in captivating masks and costumes, especially over the weekends.
History of the Venice Carnival
Originating in the 11th century as a celebration of Venice’s victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia in 1162, the Venice Carnival became an official festival during the Renaissance.
It blossomed particularly in the 18th century, drawing high society worldwide to indulge in vibrant festivities, highlighted by elaborate masks.
The carnival experienced a hiatus following Napoleon’s invasion of Venice. It remained in limbo until 1979, when the Italian government resurrected it to bolster Venetian culture and history during the February holidays in Italy, reviving it as a vibrant showcase of Venice’s illustrious traditions and a prime attraction for tourists.
Venice Carnival: Most Popular Events
Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Venice Carnival with events that captivate both locals and tourists alike:
La Festa Veneziana: Signifying the carnival’s inauguration, this event spreads across two days, gracing locals and tourists with a mesmerizing water parade and various performances.
Flight of the Angel: A time-honored tradition where an individual garbed as an angel gracefully descends from St. Mark’s Basilica’s bell tower to the square below, marking the official commencement of the carnival’s joys.
Festa delle Marie: This event pays tribute to the age-old tradition where the Doge bestowed presents upon twelve underprivileged maidens. It encompasses a parade where twelve stunning Venetian girls, arrayed in period attire, grace the event, culminating in the crowning of one as the Maria of the Carnival.
Best Masked Costume Contest: A thrilling contest where attendees strut on stage in their flamboyant costumes and masks, vying for the title of the best-dressed participant, eventually leading to a grand finale showcasing the crème de la crème of the contestants.
February 3-24: Carnevale di Viareggio (Tuscany)
Carnevale di Viareggio (Tuscany) is an occasion that cannot be missed if you find yourself in Italy during February. This vibrant event, pulsating in the heart of Tuscany, promises an exhilarating experience characterized by grandiose papier-mâché floats that truly are a sight to behold.
In 2024, the carnival is ready to amaze you on several dates throughout February, specifically on the 3rd, 8th, 11th, 13th, 18th, and 24th.
The heartbeat of this festival, the majestic float parades, unfolds along a picturesque 2-kilometer route lining Viareggio’s historic Liberty-era boardwalk, affectionately known as La Passeggiata.
But the magic doesn’t end with the parades. The Carnevale di Viareggio offers a delightful platter of family-friendly activities that cater to all ages. From masquerade balls that sweep you into a whirl of colors and laughter to musical comedies that will have you tapping your feet, there’s no end to the joyous celebrations.
Viareggio Carnival Official Mask: Burlamacco
An interesting note for first-timers: the spirit of the carnival is encapsulated by its official mask, Burlamacco. This iconic figure first graced the event in 1931, a creation by the talented Uberto Bonetti.
And here’s a little insight from a seasoned attendee – since 2001, an awe-inspiring locale known as the Cittadella del Carnevale (Carnival Citadel), situated on the northern flank of Viareggio, has been the birthplace of the fantastic floats that dazzle spectators year after year.
Make sure to plan a visit to witness where the magic takes shape before gracing the vibrant streets of Viareggio.
Related Reading: Is Siena Worth Visiting? A Complete Traveler’s Guide
February 3-5: Feast of Sant’Agatha (Catania)
The Feast of Sant’Agatha in Catania holds a dear place in my heart as one of the most vibrant and spiritual celebrations in the Sicilian calendar when the entire city comes together in unity and fervor.
Let me take you on a journey to this feast you wouldn’t want to miss if you find yourself in Catania, Sicily, from February 3rd to 5th.
Picture this – the heart of the festival beats in the stunning Piazza del Duomo, a place bathed in the gentle glow of candles and echoing with the harmonious melodies of marching bands. It’s an experience that parallels the grandeur of religious celebrations like the Holy Week in Seville or the Feast of Corpus Domini in Cuzco.
People gather in droves, nearly a million from all corners of Sicily, all congregating to honor Saint Agatha, the valiant patron saint of Catania who embraced martyrdom in 251 AD.
Related Reading: 7 UNESCO Sites in Sicily: Must-See World Heritage Gems
Allow me to guide you through the itinerary of this three-day spiritual extravaganza, where each day unfolds a new layer of devotion and festivity:
Feast of Saint Agatha: Day 1
On the opening day, the city becomes a moving river of light as large votive candles traverse the streets (the “Candelore“). It’s a sight to behold as jubilant crowds join in, their cheers harmonizing with the vibrant tunes of a marching band. You can feel the community spirit in the air. It’s electrifying!
Feast of Saint Agatha: Day 2
As dawn breaks on the second day, a palpable anticipation hangs in the air. Today, the iconic procession of Saint Agatha’s statue takes center stage. The statue gracefully moves through the streets, making poignant stops at locations interwoven with her life’s story, a touching homage to her enduring spirit.
Feast of Saint Agatha: Day 3
The grand finale on the third day is nothing short of breathtaking. Once more, the statue graces the streets, but this time, a courageous display awaits at the steep Via San Giuliano.
Here, bearers sprint up and down with the statue, a thrilling testimony of their bravery and unwavering faith in the saint. Imagine the crowd erupting in cheers, a unified show of faith and devotion.
And just when you think the festivities have reached their pinnacle, the sky bursts into a symphony of colors.
The grand fireworks light up the night sky, a beautiful climax to the days of spiritual connection and joyous celebrations, heralding the beginning of an enormous party that envelopes the city in a warm embrace of joy and unity.
If you ever have the chance, immerse yourself in the Feast of Saint Agatha. It’s more than a festival; it’s an experience of community, faith, and sheer joy that stays with you long after the fireworks have faded into the night sky.
February 11-13: Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea)
I’m so thrilled to share with you one of the most exhilarating events I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing: The Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea, Italy. If you’re ready to witness a quirky, vibrant, and outright wild event, mark your calendars for February 11th to 13th, 2024. Here’s what you can expect!
Set amidst the joyful atmosphere of the Historical Carnival of Ivrea, this wild festivity is like stepping into a zesty chapter of history. It’s not just a food fight; it’s a heart-thumping reenactment of a medieval rebellion, where the whole town comes together to celebrate their freedom from an oppressive ruler.
Let me break down the series of events that morph this quaint town into a vibrant battleground of oranges during the February holidays in Italy!
The Grand Orange Fight
Imagine a bustling square where laughter and cheers echo as oranges fly in every direction. It’s a thrilling spectacle where around 5,000 spirited folks divide into nine enthusiastic teams, eagerly hurling oranges at each other.
Picture the pulsating energy of the teams representing the commoners, engaged in a friendly citrus “battle” with the aristocracy’s army, majestically seated on horse-drawn chariots. It’s a juicy, jubilant, and somewhat sticky affair!
As someone who has lived through the joyous chaos of this festival, one of the most exhilarating events in Italy in February, I can vouch that the Battle of the Oranges is more than just an event. It’s a jubilant celebration of freedom, unity, and the indomitable spirit of the community triumphing over oppression.
Thousands gather from around the globe, uniting as spectators and participants in this zestful event that epitomizes joy and resilience.
So come and be a part of this historic celebration. Trust me, there’s nothing like the infectious energy, camaraderie, and the delightful scent of fresh oranges filling the air!
February Calendar: Italy’s Holidays, Anniversaries, Events, and Special Days
- Premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème” in Turin (1896): Celebrating the first performance of the iconic opera.
- Venice Carnival 2024: The official inauguration of the world-renowned Carnival of Venice, kicking off a season of vibrant celebrations and festivities.
- Carnevale di Viareggio 2024: Italy’s renowned festival featuring grandiose floats and vibrant parades along the Tuscan coast.
- Feast Day of San Biagio: A day dedicated to the venerated saint.
- Remembrance of the Cavalese Cable Car Crash (1998): Marking the tragic accident near Trento.
- Feast of Sant’Agatha (Catania): A grand Sicilian celebration marked by processions and feasts in honor of Catania’s patron saint, Sant’Agatha.
- World Nutella Day: A day to revel in one of the best Italian chocolate brands, Nutella, uniting aficionados of this chocolate-hazelnut spread globally.
- Anniversary of the “Bonfire of the Vanities” in Florence (1497): On this day in 1497, Florence witnessed the fiery “Bonfire of the Vanities,” a mass burning of art, books, and luxury items stirred by the passionate preaching of Girolamo Savonarola on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday).
- Celebrating the Birth of Guercino (1591): Honoring the prominent Baroque painter.
- Remembering the Death of Nicola Salvi (1751): Reflecting on the architect’s life behind the Trevi Fountain.
- Inauguration of Rome’s Metropolitana (1955): Celebrating the opening of the first section of the underground system in Rome.
- National Pizza Day (Celebrated in the US): Savor a slice (or more!) of Italy’s iconic culinary masterpiece on this day celebrated in the United States. How well do you know Italian pizza?
- Giorno del Ricordo: National Memorial Day remembering the victims of the Foibe massacres and the exodus of Istrian Italians during and after World War II.
- Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea): A vibrant and historic festival where teams engage in a spirited and theatrical orange-throwing battle, commemorating Ivrea’s fight for freedom.
- Anniversary of the Lateran Treaty (1929): Marking the agreement establishing Vatican City as an independent city-state.
- Commemorating Giuseppe Donizetti (1856): Reflecting on the life of the composer and musician.
- Franco Zeffirelli’s Birthday Celebration (1923): Honoring the prominent Italian movie director.
- Mardi Gras: A spirited culmination of the Carnevale season, where revelry and indulgence take center stage before the onset of Lent.
- Remembering the Death of Benvenuto Cellini (1571): Honoring the life of the renowned artist and writer.
- Valentine’s Day (San Valentino): Embrace the language of love with a touch of Italian romance, celebrating affection and connection worldwide.
- Celebrating the Birth of Leon Battista Alberti (1404): Honoring the Renaissance humanist and artist.
- Feast of Saints Faustino and Giovita: Celebrating the martyrdom of the patron saints of Brescia.
- Galileo Galilei’s Birthday Celebration (1564): Remembering the revolutionary scientist.
- Anniversary of the Monte Cassino Assault (1944): Reflecting on the significant WWII event.
- Remembering the Death of Giosuè Carducci (1907): Honoring the life of the Nobel laureate poet.
- Celebrating Valentino Rossi’s Birthday (1979): Honoring the champion motorcycle road racer.
- Commemorating the Death of Giordano Bruno (1600): Reflecting on the life and tragic death of the philosopher and cosmological theorist.
- Random Acts of Kindness Day: A day to embody the warm, generous spirit of the Italian people by extending kindness in spontaneous ways globally.
- Michelangelo’s Day of Remembrance (1564): On this day in 1564, Michelangelo Buonarroti died in Rome. Reflecting on the life of the legendary artist.
- Celebrating Enzo Ferrari’s Birth (1898): Remembering the founder of the Ferrari, one of the most iconic Italian car brands.
- The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) Premiere Anniversary (1816): Celebrating the first performance of Rossini’s opera in Rome.
- Remembering the Death of Ferruccio Lamborghini (1993): Honoring the life of the founder of Lamborghini, another iconic Italian car brand.
- National Love Your Pet Day (Celebrated in the US): A day to shower your furry friends with affection and teach them a few Italian animal names, mirroring Italians’ adoration for their cherished pets.
- Anniversary of Italy’s First Known COVID-19 Case (2020): A sober reflection on the onset of the pandemic in Italy.
- Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter: Honoring the spiritual significance of the day in the Vatican.
- Commemorating the Death of Amerigo Vespucci (1512): Reflecting on the life of the explorer and namesake of America.
- World Thinking Day: A day to foster global thinking and perhaps ponder over famous Italian inventions, reflecting Italy’s rich tradition of intellectual exploration.
- Commemorating the Death of Sandro Pertini (1990): Reflecting on the life of the Italian Resistance member and seventh President of Italy.
- Celebrating Enrico Caruso‘s Birth (1873): Remembering the legendary operatic tenor.
- Anniversary of Radio Italia’s First Broadcast (1982): Celebrating the beginning of the radio station dedicated to Italian music.
- National Pistachio Day (Celebrated in the US): A day to appreciate this popular nut, a staple in Italian cuisine, in various delightful preparations in the United States.
- Celebrating the Birth of Constantine the Great (272): Marking the birth of the Roman Emperor.
February 29 (Leap Year)
- Celebrating Gioachino Rossini’s Birth (1792): Honoring the birth of the prominent composer.
While we diligently verify event dates, confirming with local organizers before planning your visit is always best.
Before You Go…
Poised to explore Italy this February? Guarantee a smooth journey by referring to our detailed guide on Weather in Italy in February: Your Essential Travel Companion, combining weather forecasts with vital travel advice. Your ideal February itinerary begins here!