John Bensalhia sees in the Autumn as Italy events take in – amongst other things – the movies, hot air balloons and sporting challenges...

With Autumn kicking in, there's a contrast in this month's crop of Italian festivals. On the one hand, there's a nod to various means of communication – explored in a special dedicated festival, and also through the power of cinema. On the other, there's an emphasis on sport and exercise, with some great stamina-building contests. 

So let's kick off the new season with a spectrum of events that will appeal to everyone from movie buffs to food connoisseurs!

Festival della Comunicazione 

Camogli, 6th - 9th September 2018

Once upon a time, we communicated through telegrams. Then telephones. Today, however, there are many more outlets for communication, thanks to the modern marvels of technology. Current communication methods through media and web language are marked at Camogli's Festival della Comunicazione.

The Communication Festival enters its fifth edition this year, bringing together the cream of social media experts, journalists and famous faces in this field. It's a festival that's open to all ages, with children being able to enjoy specially prepared workshops that will open their minds to the possibilities afforded by modern communication means.

This year's theme is 'Vision', with visionary ambitions realised in inventions, scientific discoveries, art, music and writing – the ultimate methods of communication.

Rificolona

Florence, 7th September 2018

Celebrating the eve of the Feast of the Madonna, the annual Lantern Festival is a key fixture of Florence's calendar. 

It's a special treat for kids especially, as they get to take part in this colourful spectacle. Carrying their specially made lanterns in their best clothes, the young ones get to march through the city to the sounds of music and singing. It's a shame that those brightly coloured lanterns don't last beyond the night though, since many of them end up burned.

The route traditionally runs from Piazza Santa Felicita to Piazza Santissima Annunziata. Once a speech is given in the square, final festivities break out. Older visitors can also pick and choose from a market boasting the finest organic food products, which is held both the day before and on the day of the event. 

Ferrara Balloons Festival

7th - 16th September 2018

The 10-day Ferrara Balloons Festival launches on 7th September at the Parco Urbano G. Bassani. 

The event showcases the biggest and best and latest hot air balloons. It's one of the best-known hot air balloon happenings around the world, and this year, there's sure to be a host of bright new innovations.

As well as the hot air balloons, there's a great choice of things to do for the whole family. Kids will love the sneak preview of the Winter Wonderland Experience, which offers plenty of fun and games including bungee trampolines, inflatable games and racing tracks for mini cars. You can also buy a special bracelet that will get you a discount when the Experience opens in December.

Youngsters can also take a learning approach as a Dopla area provides laboratory facilities where, amongst other things, they can learn about the space between colours and balloons. A more active experience awaits at the Sports Village, where tournaments and sports facilities are open to both adults and children. 

Mezza di Monza

16th September 2018

This month has a bit of a sporty feel to it. With an Ironman challenge later in the month (read on), mid-September brings the 15th edition of Mezza di Monza. The name of the running event has actually been altered this year to Monza 21 Half Marathon (in keeping with the other FollowYourPassion tests). 

Competitors have the choice of running four distances from 5 to 30 km. The local Autodrome is the spot for the shorter races of 5 and 10 km. Meanwhile, for a more scenic route, those who choose to enter the 21 and 30 km runs get to compete in Monza Park. While the longer races will test entrants' stamina levels to the limit, they can still enjoy the beautiful scenery – and furthermore, it's perfect preparation for those who are looking to compete in larger scale marathons later in the season. 

Taste Of Roma

20th - 23rd September 2018

If you're a budding food and drink expert, Taste Of Roma is the event for you. Gathering some of the finest chefs and industry professionals, Taste Of Roma provides the ideal opportunity to learn more about local and international cuisine. Eschewing the traditional stage environment, visitors can get to see the experts work their magic in kitchens and practical masterclasses.

Among this year's goodies are masterclasses for preparing cocktails at home with Tanqueray Gin, in which you can pick up handy methods for making delicious drinks and see the cocktail experts in action. On the other hand, if you're more of a beer fan, then you might like the Tasting Experience with beer experts from Birrificio Angelo Poretti. These sessions will put forward suggestions for choosing the right beer to go with a specific kind of food, with four different options of tasting: fish; cured meats; cheeses and desserts.

Meanwhile, the Taste Arena offers an ideal place for you to learn the culinary tricks of the trade, which you can then put into practice in a series of special challenges.

Ironman Italy

Emilia-Romagna, 22nd September 2018

Who's up for the Ironman challenge?

Find out this September as the Emilia-Romagna region of Cervia holds the 'Made In Italy' Ironman event. 

The Ironman event pits the chosen athletes against a series of sporting challenges that will test their stamina and energy to the max. Kicking off with a swimming course in the Romagna waters, the athletes will then take to bicycles as they cycle for 180 km in the Natural Park of Salt Pens of Cervia. The last sporting challenge is a marathon in which athletes bid for the finish sign after running past some of the best-known landmarks in the region. 

Milano Film Festival

29th September - 7th October 2018

Since its launch in 1996, the Milan Film Festival has quickly grown in stature to become one of the most respected and best-known cultural events in the city. 

The Festival commands more than 100,000 participants each year, and with the 23rd edition coming soon, that number is likely to increase further. Artistic director for 2018's edition is Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores, with the event locations being ANTEO Palazzo del Cinema, Piccolo Teatro Studio Melato, and BASE Milano.

The theme for the 2018 edition is the new languages in cinema. Among this year's highlights are a tribute to Italian director Matteo Garrone, as well as a free masterclass which will make you an expert on this film legend. A new initiative called My Screen will be geared towards teenagers, and will feature both meetings and screenings with some of the newest young film-making talent. The line-up includes director Francesco Lettieri, social format stand-up comedy star Camihawke and various Youtube film-makers. The guests will present their own personal choice of movie as the one that made each one become a big fan of the cinema.

The films lined up this year include award-winning Japanese movie Tales Of The Wedding Ring, Taiwan's Your Spiritual Temple, and the American documentary Sun Ladies, which concerns the battle facing a troop of Yazidi women fighters.