John Bensalhia conducts a search into what events and festivals are taking place this month in Italy!

Summer's heating up, and so are the festivals taking place in July in Italy!

While it's a month of traditional celebrations and remembrances, it's also a month that sees the music take you. Music festivals are the order of the day, and there are plenty taking place this month, to satisfy all kinds of musical taste.

So let's get in tune, and see what's coming you way this month!

Verona Arena Summer Opera Season

Throughout July 2017

This year's Verona Arena Summer Opera Season is already in full swing by the time you're reading this. July is the full month in which the open-air Verona Arena plays host to a string of well-known operas. The building has certainly seen some history at over 2000 years old, and for more than 100, it has hosted operas.

So what can you expect this year? Well, it's fair to say that there's something for every opera buff. Many of the classics, including Aida, Nabucco, Rigoletto and Madama Butterfly are in the mix, as well as appearances from Plácido Domingo and Roberto Bolle (with a little help from his friends).

Festa della Madonna Bruna

Matera, 2nd July 2017

The patron saint of Matera is honoured in fine style every July on the second day.

Festa della Madonna Bruna involves a procession with a twist. A specially built chariot is made to carry the statue of the Holy Mother, and is ferried through the streets on its way to the Cathedral Square.

Once the chariot has reached its destination, what takes place first is the Three Turns. This symbolises the Holy Patrol taking possession of the city. Following this though is the moment in which the crowds destroy the chariot. In a way it's a shame, given all that talented craftsmanship that has gone into making the chariot for months!

The good news is that a new chariot will be created for the next event, and after this, it's a memorable fireworks competition that rounds off the event in colourful and flamboyant style.

L'Ardia di San Constantino

Sedilo, c. 6th - 8th July 2017

Here's your starter for 10. Who was Caesar Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus?

Also known as Costantino il Grande, this man was Emperor Constantine, and the victory over his rival Maxentius in the year 312 is celebrated in L'Ardia di San Costantino.

This event is a horse race that takes place in Sedilo, Sardinia. Revolving around the location's Sanctuary of San Costantino, the event is interesting in that you effectively get two races for the price of one. What happens is that one race takes place in the evening, with another taking place the next morning. Horsemen take to their steeds to re-enact Emperor Constantine's victory. The riders represent both sides of the battle, and do so in period costume. They are selected from the local villages, and it's an honour to be chosen for this popular event!

This is a colourful spectacle, full of action and atmosphere, and in between the battle re-enactments, you can sample some of the local food specialities to give you a genuine taste of Sardinia!

Umbria Jazz 2017

7th - 16th July 2017

Just when you think that Umbria Jazz has got bigger and better each year, along comes the next festival to be even bigger and better than ever before!

This year's bumper jazz music package invites acclaimed acts from around the globe to come and perform. Perugia is the place to be if you're a fan of jazz music, and this year, the event takes place between 7th and 16th July throughout the local gardens, wine bars, piazzas and stages.

2017's participating acts hail from all around the globe. From Germany, Kraftwerk bring their own brand of electronic rock and pop, having hit the worldwide charts in the 1970s and 1980s with offerings such as Autobahn and The Model. Meanwhile, from sunny Britain, Jamie Cullum will be performing along with Lettuce (Cullum's hits include the endearingly peppy Frontin') on the second day.

Two legendary Americans will be joining the 2017 Festival. First up is saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who has performed with the likes of Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. If you've ever picked up a copy of the Dan's 1977 LP Aja, that's Shorter performing the outstanding saxophone solo on the title track. Shorter is also known for the formation of the super jazz fusion group Weather Report (1977 was again the magic year, when the band released their signature tune, Birdland).

Secondly, Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson will be presenting his classic Pet Sounds creation. Pet Sounds was the band's best known album, and Wilson will be giving his 2017 take on the LP, 51 years after its initial release. Italy's home-grown jazz music talent will be represented by, among others, brilliant jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava. All in all, this is a jazz music experience that you cannot miss.

Feast Of Saint Rosalia

Palermo, 10th - 15th July

July is a huge month for Sicily, as it gears up to celebrate patron Saint, Rosalia. The story goes that Rosalia saved the city's inhabitants from a terrible plague in the year 1624.

To honour the patron saint, a number of special events are marked around the 10th to 15th of July. One of the most notable examples is the procession in which a statue of Saint Rosalia is ferried through the streets on a 50 foot high float. The float is made from iron and attracts thousands of spectators as it makes its way from the local Cathedral to the Foro Italico. Also housed inside the float is a band to provide musical accompaniment on the journey.

It's also customary for the locals to serve the traditional dishes. These include pasta and sardines, boiled octopus, boiled panicle and watermelons.

Disfida degli Arceri di Terra e di Corte

Fivizzano, c. 14th - 16th July 2017 (TBC)

The northern Tuscan region of Fivizzano holds a memorable contest this July, an event that has been held since 1971, when it was decided to revive the Disfida degli Arcieri of the Earth and the Court.

In fact, the event stretches further back than the early 1970s, right the way to 1572 (according to the history books: specifically, Friar Thomas' chronicles). The Friar wrote about a contest that was held to seek the best archers to be enlisted in the Black Bands, the military companies who acted under the orders of Giovanni de 'Medici.

The modern-day version of the contest pits the best local neighbourhood archers from separate regions against each other. The local regions include Fivizzano, Fittadisio, Montechiaro, and Verrucola. The archers from each region aim for the highest scores in this contest, with victory within reach for the winning sector.

Festa Del Redentore

Venice, 15th - 16th July 2017

The key element of Venice's Festa Del Redentore (traditionally held over the third weekend of July) is the fireworks. The Saturday night fireworks are a sight to see, with the display taking place in St Mark's Basin. As far as the eye can see, the buildings and land are illuminated by the spectacular fireworks.

Festa Del Redentore can be traced as far back as the 16th century, when thanks were given for the end of the plague that had killed 50,000 people. In response to an earlier promise, the Doge Alvise I Mocenigo declared that a new church would be built after the end of the plague. The resulting Il Redentore church was consecrated in 1592, and the Redentore Feast continues to be celebrated to this day.

As well as the fireworks, the weekend of the 15th and 16th will include evening Votive Mass, the opening of the Votive Bridge (that links the Zattere waterfront with the Church of the Redeemer), and also The Regatta of the Redeemer.

Stresa Festival

18th July - 8th September 2017

The music festivals keep on coming this month, and this one features a mix of the classical and jazz music genres.

Stresa Festival is set to celebrate its 56th edition in style when it kicks off on 18th July. This month alone features a stellar line-up of musical talent. Fresh from his stint at Umbria Jazz, Enrico Rava is appearing at the Stresa Festival. This time, he's brought some friends along in the form of the Tomasz Stańko Quintet, with both trumpeters providing plenty of great music.

Pianist Chano Dominguez will kick off the event on the first day with his trio of Horacio Fumero on double bass and David Xirgu on drums. Other acts this month include Oregon and Enrico Pieranunzi & the Brussels Jazz Orchestra featuring trumpeter Bert Joris.