The final month of summer will pack a punch, with spirited festivals set to appeal to a range of age groups and interests. Some of these more traditional summer fixtures feel like bona-fide time travel. As always, use this lineup as your guide, but check the provided websites for any last-minute schedule changes.
Last Call at Teatro Povero in Monticchiello
Monticchiello, August 1-14, 2022
At the Teatro Povero di Monticchiello, local actors from this medieval village in the Val d’Orcia will stage a show about their history, the modern world and the future. Titled Last Call, it offers a thought-provoking look at the current landscape — and in particular, the wake-up calls and disruptions to our everyday lives that the past two years have brought forth.
Tickets to the show can be booked at the link above.
Montelago Celtic Festival
Colfiorito, August 4-6, 2022
Want a break from the hustle and bustle? The Montelago Celtic Festival could be just the ticket.
Given this festival’s olde-world, Middle Earth vibe, the Italian Apennines make the perfect backdrop. The scope of the festival goes way beyond music: on August 4, for example, activities like falconry, cooking, clay modeling and weaving are all on the program. The following day sees archery, fencing, papermaking, wood carving and lessons in instruments as diverse as the acoustic guitar, the harp and the bouzouki. Bagpipes, accordion and violin lessons take center stage on the final day, but there’ll also be caber tossing, Irish dancing and a host of interactive games.
Time in Jazz Festival
Berchidda, August 7-16, 2022
Time (In Jazz) flies when you're having fun! Created by jazz musician Paolo Fresu, this event is now in its 35th edition, and continues to attract more than 40,000 jazz aficionados from around the globe annually.
As with many other large-scale Italian jazz events, the performances are not confined to one area, or even to the host city, but extend to nearby towns. And while the emphasis is on jazz music, it’s a family-friendly event with kid-centered activities, as well as exhibitions, literary and poetry readings.
Performers in this year’s packed lineup include Marcella Carboni Trio, Valeria Sturba and Vincenzo Vasi, Nanni Gaias Band, Vincenzo Deluci & Trio and many more.
Ascoli Piceno, August 10-21, 2022
This event covers everything you never knew you needed to know about the humble olive, featuring talks from qualified experts, workshops and debates. Full-access tickets (€18) can be purchased at the Villaggio dell’Oliva (Olive Village, in Piazza Arringo) and grant you three tastings, along with a Varnelli shot glass, a digestif and a coffee. As each day of the festival progresses, reduced-price tickets might be available for €5 (inquire directly with vendors), which can get you a tasting sample of fried olives and cremini (fried custard cream cubes).
Fusillo and Beef Chop Festival
Pietradefusi, August 12-13, 2022
Pasta and Italian sauces of all kinds sit at the head of the table in my hierarchy of favorite foods.
If you have similar tastes, Pietradefusi’s Fusillo and Beef Chop Festival is a must. Now in its 49th year, this festival celebrates all the finer things in life: fresh, hand-made pasta, local beef, no-frills wine and traditional sauces.
Other street foods are also readily available — the specially made sausage and ham sandwiches are out of this world.
Between bites (and inspiration for your next dinner party), you can also enjoy music performances and tours of the local scenery in and around the historic center of Pietradefusi.
Torta dei Fieschi
Lavagna, August 13-14, 2022
Once upon a time — in 1230, to be precise — a fairytale wedding took place. Opizzo Fiesco, Count of Lavagna, took Sienese noblewoman Bianca de Bianchi to be his bride. Today, the fairytale lives on through the traditional re-enactment in Lavagna.
Before the big day dawns, the evening of August 13 sees a parade through the local streets. A carefully chosen community member plays Fiesco, riding a horse and then reading the wedding proclamation. The bachelor party is then held in the Count's honor in the Basilica dei Fieschi churchyard.
Come “wedding day,” the event draws many spectators, and 150 locals represent the invited nobles — naturally, all turned out in period costume and parading through the streets to the Fieschi Tower. The centerpiece of the re-enactment is the massive cake-cutting at the base of the tower.
Ferrara Buskers Festival
Ferrara, August 23-28, 2022
Stuck for inspiration about what to see in the way of good old-fashioned entertainment? If you're in the Ferrara area, it’s a non-issue: the 35th edition of the free-entry Ferrara Buskers Festival is the local go-to.
The whole family will enjoy the variety of entertainers, which span musicians to acrobats and jugglers. Even within each entertainment genre, the variety is impressive: the music, for example, includes bluegrass (MacDonald’s Farmers), beatbox and melodica (Moses), rock (AmbraMarie), and even a throwback to the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s (the Osiris Company's La Dolce Vita).