The Summer season arrives in Italy this year, as John Bensalhia checks out some notable festivals and events

Summer has reached us again, and June sees a good number of music events providing an aural backdrop to the season. There's something for all music tastes, whether folk, classical or dance, but there's also a diverse selection of events, including traditional and food and drink dates to mark in the diaries. And if you're looking to turn over a new fitness leaf, there's an event in Rimini that could be just what you're looking for...

Alba Music Festival 2017

Till 8th June 2017

June is a good month for music festivals, and if you're more of a classical music buff, the Alba Music Festival is the one for you.

By the time you read this, the festival will have begun in earnest, but there are still plenty of musical gems and events to enjoy in the latter run. On 1st June, the State Symphony Orchestra of Romania will pay a visit to the Church of San Domenico for a special performance. The orchestra will also return the next day to play music by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.

The weekend starting 3rd June meanwhile includes 'Ways and Worlds' (featuring Nathaniel Silberschlag playing the horn and Zachary Silberschlag on the trumpet) and a presentation of Bizet's Carmen on the Sunday. The final day meanwhile presents the 'Art of Ashkenazy' in which the family duo of Vladimir and Vovka Ashkenazy play the music of Schubert, Smetana, Ravel, and Rachmaninov on pianos at Teatro Sociale Giorgio Busca.

Nameless Music Festival

Barzio, 1st - 4th June 2017

Billed as the 'Italian Leading Dance Festival', Nameless adds an extra day to the June line-up. This is to accommodate some very special guests: dance music gurus, The Chemical Brothers, who will bring their own unique style to the Barzio festival on 1st June.

As well as this unmissable DJ set, there are plenty of acts to enjoy and groove along to over the following three days between 2nd and 4th June. The line-up includes a wide selection of acts including Afrojack, Axwell A Ingrosso, Tchami, Zedd, Shapov and Malaa.

Rimini Wellness

1st - 4th June 2017

Indulged in too much grub lately? Are you finding that the limit of your exercise regime is lifting your TV remote control? Well, listen up buster, it's time to get out of that chair, cut down on excess food and get fit!

One such event of fitness inspiration is happening this month. Rimini Wellness is coming to the Rimini Fiera for the first four days of the month. The event spans a complete showcase of fitness-related products and services including equipment, accessories, sports products and wellness products.

It's one of the biggest events relating to wellness and fitness in the world. Last year saw the annual event attended by an astonishing 266,048 visitors, with an even larger concentration of visitors from other countries. This year looks set to be another highly popular event.

Gola Gola Festival

Parma, 2nd - 4th June 2017

A feast of a festival, the sumptuous food of Parma is showcased in the first weekend of June. The festival is designed to promote Italian food culture, as well as overseas. Having been nominated as a UNESCO creative city of gastronomy, Parma was a good choice of location, where countless visitors come to sample the local foods and products.

Among the events on offer are tastings, cooking demonstrations, talks and discussions, as well as special workshops for both adults and kids who can put their cooking talents to the test. The subjects up for discussion and experience include the science of food, health, and also agriculture.

And don't forget, you can sample the wonders of Parma cooking. Whether you choose to buy the local products from special markets and stalls or eat the cooked results in restaurants and cafes, the taste sensations are out of this world.

Video Gola Gola Festival 2016 from Gola Gola Festival on Vimeo.

Festa Della Repubblica

Throughout Italy, 2nd June 2017

The country will come together to mark the 1946 Institutional Referendum, a notable event in Italian history. The people of Italy were asked to vote for either a republic or a monarchy, with 12,717,923 million in favour of the former option. As this figure beat the 10,719,284 wanting a monarchy, this was a watershed moment. The annual event and national holiday became an official institution since 1948. Among the events held are the  laying of the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Vittoriano. This event attracts a large amount of spectators, who gather to see the President of the Italian Republic and other important heads at this dignified ceremony.

EatPrato

9th - 11th June 2017

The food and drink of Prato is celebrated in the annual festival called EatPrato.

Over the long weekend of 9th to 11th June 2017, EatPrato is lining up a bumper menu of events, tastings, cooking shows and guided tours that relate to the cuisine of the region. Find out all about Carmignano wines and figs, as well as Prato biscuits and peaches.

The event kicks off on the Friday, with a visit from food writer, photographer and blogger Giulia Scarpaleggia, who will discuss the joys of traditional Italian cooking. Other visitors over the course of the weekend include Andrea Gori, computer sommelier, who will take you through his 'Conversation Manual on Great Red Wines'. Meanwhile, talking about the relationship between food and health are chef, Francesca Santini,  and Dr. Caterina Morelli.

Guided tours include a night-time walk called Bread & Stars, in which you can experience the wonders of Prato by night, as well as the unique baked flavours of the region. Younger ones can also try their hand at making pastry later in the weekend line-up!

For beer fans, there is a special visit to the Birrificio La Foresta, which includes the process and making of the beer, and also a tasting of the brewery's four beers. Elsewhere, at the Palazzo Pretorio Museum, there is a guided tour, complete with tastings of prawn beers and Mortadella di Prato PGI.

If wine's more your thing, then the Garden of Flavours event will be up your street. This involves wine tastings of the region. This will line up more than 50 labels from the IGT, DOC and DOCG wines of Carmignano and Montemurlo.

All in all, this is a must for food and drink fans. With a wide and varied choice of top quality products, you can enjoy these in conjunction with the beautiful local sights of Prato.

Folkest

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, 22nd June - 10th July 2017 (Preview: 11th June)

This is an interesting music festival in that besides the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the performances also take place in the Austrian region of Carinthia (Austria), and also Istria (Slovenia and Croatia).

The 2017 edition will be the 39th, and attracts global artists who come to perform at Folkest. The artists come from the backgrounds of folk, as well as jazz and world music. This year's line-up is especially eclectic, including the award-winning Enzo Avitabile, British folk rock legends Fairport Convention, and one-time frontman of both Stiltskin and Genesis, Ray Wilson (Wilson's distinctive vocals can be heard on the 1994 number one, Inside, and the Genesis song, Congo, for example).

Whether you like folk, blues, jazz or the dreamy sounds of Celtic music, you will find plenty to enjoy at Folkest. There's a preview ahead of the main event at the Castle of Ragogna on 11th June, featuring La Fieste by Sedon, collating the folk songs of Friulian music.

The Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Rome, c. June 29th 2017

Another public holiday this month is held in Rome, where the region gathers to mark its two patron saints, St Peter and St Paul. St Peter was an apostle of Jesus and following his death, would continue to spread his word. Meanwhile St Paul is connected with the Road to Damascus. It was here that he converted to the Christian faith after Jesus had died. He would also go on to become another influential figure of the faith.

The events held in late June mark these two saints with a blend of religious contemplation but also enjoyment. While religious events reflect the contemplative aspects of the day (including the placement of the Pallium cloak over the recently appointed archbishops by the Catholic Pope), music performances, firework displays and fairs allow everybody to band together and enjoy the day.