It’s the heart of summer and Italy is celebrating in style with a host of special events. Music will play an important part in July festivals with sounds spanning soul, blues, folk and jazz. Tradition remains a watchword this month, and festivals mark key days in quirky ways.
As ever, stay careful and keep up to date with event websites for any last-minute changes or news.
Val Veny, July 1-3, 2022
Celtic culture aficionados will find much to enjoy in this annual celebration. This fairytale experience for the whole family occurs in the suitably magical environments of Val Veny’s Peuterey forest and an old fort. It's a chance for everyone to indulge in Celtic music, games, historical re-enactments, workshops and more.
With an emphasis on continuing ancient Celtic traditions, the three-day event includes rituals such as the lighting of the Druidic fire and forest drums. Classic period instruments such as harps, bagpipes and drums abound, whether used in standalone musical performances or as backdrops to traditional Celtic dancing.
Special guests include The Strawboys, Gens D’Ys and Perkelt.
Gran Bal Trad Festival
Vialfrè, July 4-10, 2022
Bit of a time-traveling flavor so far this month, and Vialfrè’s Gran Bal Trad Festival, with its slant towards traditional Italian music and dancing, fits right in. It’s a festival that has choices for attendees — you’re welcome to simply spectate or to actually take part in the traditional dancing.
Gran Bal Trad Festival offers a trip back in time to the days of bagpipes, mandolins, flutes and accordions. These traditional instruments will not only form the musical backdrop for the event, but will also be exhibited.
It’s also kid-friendly: youngsters can take part in music workshops, learning about and playing the traditional musical instruments, with the chance to perform in a special orchestra.
Umbria Jazz Festival
Perugia, July 7-18, 2022
The Umbria Jazz Festival is back with a vengeance this summer. Though it’s regarded as one of the country’s cornerstone jazz festivals, Umbria Jazz offers so much more than its namesake genre, catering to broader musical tastes.
Organizers have pulled out all the stops this year: visitors to the Morlacchi Theatre can take in the sounds of global music stars including Tom Jones, Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Joss Stone and Jamie Cullum.
Free open-air concerts will take place at locations including the Piazza IV Novembre and the Giardini Carducci, while street performances and parades will run at the nearby Santa Giuliana and Morlacchi stages.
Mercantia Theatre Festival
Certaldo, July 13-16, 2022
The moon is expected to be as full as the events calendar at the 34th edition of the Mercantia Theatre Festival, providing thematic inspiration. Street performances will all involve the moon, with references to it across various forms of entertainment, from music to theatre and movies (beware those werewolves...)!
Art director Alessandro Gigli has lined up an impressive cast to bring this concept to life. Whatever your performing arts preferences, you’ll surely find much to enjoy in the evening shows, which will include appearances from Zastava Orkestar, Miriam Calautti, Giada Matteoli and many more.
Porretta Soul Festival
July 21-24, 2022
We’ve had jazz. We’ve had traditional Celtic sounds. Now step forward and take a bow, soul, rhythm and blues.
Porretta Soul Festival is the place to be for fans of this genre, and will be happening this month in the Appennino emiliano. The lineup for this year includes Fred Wesley & The New JB’s, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88’s, the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, Johnette & Scott and many more.
Ein Prosit Summer Edition
Tarvisio, July 22-31, 2022
Ein Prosit may not be Oktoberfest, but who’s to say that good food and drink can’t be enjoyed in the heat of summer, too?
A special summer edition of Ein Prosit will take place this July in Tarvisio. This is a great opportunity to sample and learn about regional foods and wines. The festival has a solid selection of organized tastings and workshops, giving attendees a good excuse for an educational day out and plenty of inspiration for those late summer parties. Because of Ein Prosit’s popularity, you'll need to register in advance for one of the weekend sessions (July 22-24 and July 29-31).
Feast of Wheat
Jelsi, July 26, 2022
To mark Saint Anne and the forthcoming harvest, Campobasso town Jelsi holds the Feast of Wheat.
Jelsi takes the concept of wheat to the highest level by adorning local streets and houses with sheaves of wheat. The festival is steeped in tradition, harking back to the early part of the 19th century, when it is said that Saint Anne protected the town during an intense earthquake. Since then, it has become customary in times of crisis to offer the saint grain ears as a way to ask for help.
The event is a sight to behold, with a special parade (featuring copious amounts of wheat and hay, naturally), music performances, concerts, DJ spots and a fireworks display.