Italy in August calendar: holidays, events, and festivals

Italy in August: Holidays, Events, and Festivals 2024

Seeking a thorough guide to holidays, events, and festivals in Italy during August? Look no further.

Motivated by my deep-rooted connection to Italian heritage, I’ve crafted an August in Italy 2024 guide that encapsulates the essence and vitality of the country’s beloved traditions.

Accompany me on a voyage through Italy’s holidays, events, festivals, exhibitions, and notable days in August. Immerse yourself in the vibrant hug of high summer throughout the month, adding a lively chapter to Italy’s 2024 calendar story.

August 2024 Events and Festivals in Italy: A Month of Celestial Celebrations

Plunge into our focus on the foremost and notable festivals and events happening in Italy in August. Alternatively, browse our day-by-day August calendar for a complete rundown of all the month’s activities.

August 5: Feast of Our Lady of the Snows

Every August 5th, Rome celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows (La Madonna della Neve), memorializing a miraculous summer snowfall in 352 AD. 

According to legend, a noble Roman couple, John and his wife, prayed to the Virgin Mary, seeking guidance on donating their wealth in her honor. 

Mirroring their dreamy instructions, a divine snowfall blanketed Rome’s Esquiline Hill, outlining where they, and Pope Liberius, would build what’s now known as Saint Mary Major — Rome’s largest church honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.

A Spectacle of Petals and Light

Snow falling in Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore on August 5th
Snow falling in Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore on August 5th. (Image: AffariItaliani.it)

The feast is a visual spectacle, especially during Mass in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where attendees witness a mesmerizing “snowfall” of white petals

The enchantment continues in the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, where an evening of white foam showers, luminous displays, and melodic tunes from the renowned Banda dell’Arma dei Carabinieri di Roma illuminate the square.

Tradition with a Hint of Mystery

Although historically unverified, this tale of miraculous snow and the ensuing feast, initially titled the Dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, seamlessly weave into Italy’s rich cultural and spiritual fabric, inviting all to bask in Rome’s mystical and festive spirit.

August 10: La Notte di San Lorenzo (The Night of Shooting Stars)

Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars)
A shooting star illuminates Italy’s midnight sky.

Every year on August 10th, the sky lights up across Italy for La Notte di San Lorenzo, also warmly known as the Night of the Shooting Stars

This enchanting evening, intertwined with the timely occurrence of the Perseid meteor shower, invites everyone to cast their eyes skyward to make a wish upon the streaking stars.

The Story Behind the Stars

This event in Italy has more than just astronomical significance; it’s deeply rooted in the country’s rich historical tapestry, named in honor of Saint Lawrence (San Lorenzo).

A Christian martyr from the third century, San Lorenzo suffered a grueling fate, being burned to death under the persecution decreed by the Roman Emperor Valerian. 

The legend softly whispers that the annually cascading stars symbolize San Lorenzo’s tears, gracefully falling to Earth each year on the anniversary of his sacrifice.

Wishes and Whispers in the Night

Spectators await shooting stars by the Pantheon, August 10

La Notte di San Lorenzo is also alternatively known as La Notte dei Desideri (The Night of Wishes). All across the country, Italians seek tranquil spots away from lively city lights – perhaps on serene beaches, atop rolling hills, or nestled in spacious parks. 

Then, with eyes alight with anticipation and hearts tender with unspoken desires, they gaze into the celestial abyss, silently casting their wishes upon every streaking star that graces the night sky.

August 11: Sunrise Concert 2024 in Ravello

Nestled above the resplendent Amalfi Coast, the Sunrise Concert in Ravello isn’t just an event; it’s an ethereal experience where nature and music converge to create an unparalleled symphony of serenity and melody.

The mesmerizing setting of the Sunrise Concert in Ravello

A Luminous Start to the Day

Imagine welcoming the day atop the cliffs, with the first rays of the sun gently illuminating the Amalfi Coast, all while an orchestra caresses your senses with a live performance. 

Held in the lush, panoramic gardens of Villa Rufolo (one of the most spectacular Italian gardens), the concert commences at dawn, enveloping its audience in a delicate blend of natural beauty and enchanting melodies.

Originating in Enchantment

The inspiration for the Sunrise Concert, and indeed the broader Ravello Music Festival, finds its roots in the bewitching Italian garden of Villa Rufolo. The villa offers a picturesque stage that seemingly floats between sky and sea, ensnaring the senses in a timeless spectacle of sight and sound.

August 15: Assumption of Mary and Ferragosto

Watch the video to learn the history, traditions, and meaning of Ferragosto in Italy

Diving into Italy’s rich and harmonious traditions, August 15 unfurls a day filled with dual celebrations, each steeped in its beautiful history: the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Ferragosto.

Spiritual Honor: Assumption of Mary

The Assumption day illuminates Italy with its divine light, celebrating the belief that Mary, Jesus’ mother, was assumed body and soul into heaven.

This day isn’t merely a religious observation but a public holiday in Italy. It cascades a wave of spiritual unity across the nation, intertwining communities in collective reverence and celebration.

Unwinding and Reveling: Ferragosto

August holidays and events in Italy: Ferragosto
Ferragosto fireworks light up the beachside night.

Ferragosto, initially a day for rest and celebration established in ancient Rome, has elegantly transformed over the centuries, now coinciding with the Assumption of Mary.

This alignment seamlessly interweaves a spirited secular celebration with deep-rooted religious observance, reflecting Italy’s flair for combining tradition with festivity.

Ferragosto intertwines with a retreat into relaxation and joy, punctuated by dazzling fireworks on the evening of August 15th. Italians bask in the warm embrace of the summer sun, flee to the cool coasts or invigorating mountain areas, and engage in lively barbecues.

Suggested Read: 10 Best Beaches Near Rome: A Guide to Roman Rivieras

Savoring a Day of Dual Celebrations

In a nutshell, August 15 is a unique Italian day on which spiritual honor and festive relaxation intertwine, providing a multifaceted celebration that permeates the warm summer air. 

This day, eagerly anticipated, marks a highlight in Italy’s summer, offering a blend of heavenly blessings and earthly pleasures in a unified celebration.

August 16: Palio di Siena

The medieval city of Siena, nestled in the picturesque region of Tuscany, bursts into life twice each summer for the Palio di Siena.

On July 2nd and August 16th, its heart-shaped Piazza del Campo becomes a vibrant spectacle as seventeen contrade (districts) fiercely compete in an exhilarating horse race, with each district represented by a horse and rider, boldly decked in their distinctive colors and emblems.

A Day of Spirited Tradition

The race day, particularly in August, pulsates with tradition and civic pride, from the early afternoon horse blessings to the electrifying race that entails three laps around the Piazza in the evening.

Each moment is part of a well-crafted tapestry of time-honored rituals, presenting a spectacular sequence of events.

Want to learn more about Siena’s Palio? We’ve also written about this fascinating Italian event in our other article about July events in Italy.

Not Just a Race Day

While August 16th is the pinnacle, the Palio festivities span four days filled with ceremonies, trial races, and traditional dinners. These ceremonies serve as significant build-ups to the main event, immersing locals and visitors in an escalating atmosphere of excitement and collective anticipation.

Securing Your Viewing Spot

Given the global attention the Palio garners, securing tickets and accommodation well in advance is highly recommended. Various seating options, like balconies and grandstand seats, offer diverse perspectives of this vibrant spectacle.

Travelling to Italy in August? Knowledge of the weather is crucial. Read our essential guide: Weather in Italy in August.

August 2024 in Italy: Holidays, Anniversaries, Events, and Special Days

weather in Italy in August: where to go and what to do
August in Italy: a month of rest and relaxation for Italians

August 1

  • Celebrating the Birth of Claudius (10 B.C.), the Roman Emperor known for significant infrastructural developments.
  • Girlfriend Day (Celebrated in the US): A day to cherish and celebrate girlfriends, with an Italian twist by perhaps treating them to a romantic Italian meal.

August 2

  • Celebrating the Birth of Enrico Caruso (1921), a tenor who left an indelible mark on the operatic world.
  • Remembering the Bologna train station bombing (1980), a dark day in Italy’s contemporary history.
  • World Lung Cancer Day: A global day to amplify awareness about lung cancer while acknowledging Italy’s efforts in oncology research and patient care.

August 3

  • International Beer Day: A toast to beers worldwide with a nod to Italy’s growing craft beer industry and unique Italian brews.

August 4

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (Celebrated in the US): Enjoy a delightful batch of Italian cookies, perhaps inspired by Italian ‘biscotti’ with a blend of American sweetness.
  • Friendship Day (Celebrated in the US): Celebrate the beauty of friendship, embodying the Italian value of close and enduring amicizia (friendship) over a shared meal.

August 5

  • Feast of Our Lady of the Snows: Honoring the miraculous summer snowfall in Rome with a mass and special celebration, immersing oneself in divine Italian traditions and faith.

August 6

the iconic Trevi Fountain in Rome
Honoring Nicola Salvi, the artistic genius behind the Trevi Fountain

August 8

  • Remembering the Death of Trajan (117), a Roman Emperor noted for his philanthropic and architectural contributions.
  • International Cat Day: A perfect day to spoil our feline companions, explore the charm of Italian cat names, and recognize Italy’s affection for cats, often spotted leisurely exploring Rome’s ruins or navigating Venice’s quaint alleys.

August 9

  • Book Lovers Day (Celebrated in the US): Immerse in the world of books, maybe exploring Italy’s literary treasures from Dante to Calvino.

August 10

  • Feast Day of San Lorenzo: La Notte di San Lorenzo on August 10th envelops Italy in a warm summer tradition, where locals peer into the night sky, wishing upon glimpsed shooting stars and basking in the wonder of celestial magic.
  • Spoil Your Dog Day (Celebrated in the US): Spoiling our canine companions with a taste of Italy by exploring Italian dog breeds.

August 11

  • Feast Day of Santa Clara di Assisi, a day of reverence for the founder of the Order of Poor Ladies.
  • Son and Daughter Day (Celebrated in the US): Express love for sons and daughters, perhaps embracing the Italian culture of strong family bonds.
  • Sunrise Concert in Ravello (Amalfi Coast): Experience a magical dawn concert amid the stunning gardens of Villa Rufolo, overlooking the exquisite Amalfi Coast, as part of the enchanting Ravello Music Festival.
Events in Italy in August: Sunrise Concert in Ravello
The stunning setting of the Sunrise Concert in Ravello (Image: Ravello Festival by Pino Izzo)

August 12

  • International Youth Day: Acknowledging the global contributions of youth, with a glance at young Italians shaping the future of Italy.

August 13

  • Remembering the Death of Giambologna (1608), a sculptor who shaped the Renaissance era with his artistry.
  • International Left-Handers Day: Celebrating left-handers worldwide, discovering renowned left-handed Italians in history or arts.

Did you know? Leonardo da Vinci, the renowned Italian polymath of the Renaissance, is frequently noted as one of the most famous left-handed artists.

August 15

  • Assumption of Mary: A sacred day honoring the Virgin Mary’s ascent to heaven, deeply woven into Italy’s spiritual heritage with processions and feasts.
  • Ferragosto: A peak summer holiday in Italy, embracing relaxation and celebrations, traditionally involving feasts, parades, fireworks, and sometimes, a trip to the seaside.

August 16

  • Palio di Siena: The second yearly celebration of the vibrant Palio in Siena continues the July festivities.

August 19

  • Remembering the Death of Augustus (14 A.D.), the first Roman Emperor who ushered in a period of peace and prosperity.
  • World Photography Day: Capturing moments through the lens, possibly exploring Italy’s picturesque landscapes and historic charm through photography.

August 20

  • Radio Day (Celebrated in the US): Honoring the radio, a platform for Italian melodies and dialogues, while exploring Italy’s rich contributions to radio broadcasting and important Italian inventions in communication.

August 21

  • World Senior Citizens Day: Honoring elders globally, reflecting on the respect and importance attributed to senior citizens in Italian culture and families.

August 22

  • World Plant Milk Day: Celebrating plant-based milk varieties, exploring Italian culinary innovations and diving into Italian vegan cookbooks that spotlight alternatives like almond or soy milk in classic recipes.
  • Buskers Festival (Ferrara): Explore Ferrara’s streets transformed into vibrant stages by international street performers.
August events in Italy: Vibrant street performances light up Ferrara

August 24

  • Feast Day of San Bartolomeo, a day of devotion to the apostle and martyr.
  • Remembering the Amatrice Earthquake (2016), a tragic event that shook central Italy and united the nation in recovery efforts.

August 26

  • Feast Day of Saint Alexander of Bergamo, a day of veneration and celebration honoring the patron saint of Bergamo.
  • Women’s Equality Day (Celebrated in the US): Recognizing women’s rights and achievements, possibly exploring the strides and accomplishments of Italian women in various fields.

August 27

  • Remembering the Death of Titian (1576), a master Italian artist who left a lasting impact on the art world.

August 29

  • The Venice Biennale & Venice Film Festival: Exploring international cinema and global artistic excellence, particularly spotlighting innovative and groundbreaking works presented in Venice.
  • Feast Day of Saint Sabina is dedicated to the veneration of the early Christian martyr.

August 31

  • Celebrating the Birth of Caligula (12 A.D.), a controversial Roman Emperor known for his eccentric and often brutal reign.
  • World Distance Learning Day: Honoring the advancements and potentials of remote learning, possibly exploring Italy’s efforts and platforms in distance education.

Before You Go…

Are you considering a getaway to Italy in August? Make sure your trip is seamless with our thorough guide, Weather in Italy in August, which melds vital travel advice with weather specifics.

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