Your guide to what’s on in Italy this summer from art shows and sports tournaments to festivals and concerts.
I Grandi Capolavori Del Corallo (The Great Coral Masterpieces)
This exhibition of Sicilian coral in Catania drew 1,000 visitors on the first day it opened. It consists of a collection of coral pieces made by artisans from Trapani during the 17th and 18th century, and provides viewers with a glimpse into the quality craftsmanship of their artistry. Among the breathtaking pieces on display are crucifixes, jewellery and a small galleon made from coral that looks like something from the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series.
Where: Palazzo Valle, Catania, Sicily
When: Until 5 May
Open House Roma
This two-day event celebrates the architecture and design of Rome, with a particular focus on contemporary design. The Eternal City invites visitors to take free guided tours around 145 of its most interesting public and private buildings. Open House Roma is also holding 25 events, such as art installations, to coincide with the Open House Roma weekend.
Where: Rome, Lazio
When: 4 to 5 May
Ciclo Di Rappresentazioni Classiche (Cycle of Classical Greek Drama)
Sitting on the white stone tiers of Siracusa’s Teatro Greco (Greek Theatre) you can see Ancient Greek theatre come alive. Designed c. 500 BC by the Greeks, the amphitheatre is one of the largest ever built and Where playwrights such as Aeschylus premiered their works at what was the capital of Magna Grecia. The Teatro Greco is still used for open-air performances put on by the Fondazione Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico (National Institute of Ancient Drama), a national organisation for the promotion of classical. Plays are performed in May and June, and it’s a stylish and magical spectacle to watch as the sun sets behind the stage before disappearing into the Ionian Sea. This season sees performances of Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus Rex’, and ‘Antigone’, as well as Aristophanes’ ‘A Parliament of Women’.
Where: Siracusa, Sicily
When: 11 May to 23 June
To find out what other art shows are still running see What’s On In Italy Spring 2013.
Primavera Del Prosecco (Prosecco’s Spring)
This annual event takes place in the heart of the Prosecco wine-producing area in Treviso. The 2013 edition began in March and ends in July, with events being held in Valdobbiadene, Vittorio Veneto, Conegliano, Jesolo, Caorle and Bibione. The festival includes wine and food tastings, walking and wine-cellar tours, exhibitions and visits to historic villas.Where: Valdobbiadene, Vittorio Veneto, Conegliano, Jesolo, Caorle and Bibione in Treviso, Veneto
When: Until 14 July
Palio Di Ferrara (Ferrara Palio)
The Palio of Ferrara horse race dates to 1279 and is the oldest event of its kind in the world. Originally, statutes stated that the Palio be held twice a year: on 23 April in honour of St. George the patron saint of Ferrara and on 15 August in honour of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The first prize for the winner of the race was a palio (piece of cloth). Today, the horse and donkey races in traditional costume are held in May. But the palio is more than just a race: events are held throughout the month including flag-throwing games and processions involving musicians, flag-bearers and locals dressed in costume as Renaissance dames, knights, pages and men-at-arms.
Where: Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna
When: 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 24, 25 and 26 May
The sixth edition of the Slow Fish festival, organised by the Liguria Regional Authority and the Slow Food movement, is held in the old port of Genoa. The fair is dedicated to the world of fish and marine ecosystems, with an open-air market, tasting workshops, events and demonstrations by fishermen and top chefs. Experts pass on tips such as how to choose the freshest fish at the market and how to fillet correctly. The festival showcases the produce of the region and beyond, traditional fishing methods and sustainable fishing cultures for Europe and the world – all combined with lots of opportunity to sample and purchase fish-based delicacies as well as divine street food.
Where: Genoa, Liguria
When: 10 to 13 May
Sagra Del Pesce (Fish Festival)
This fish festival is held in a picturesque small square at the seaside town of Camogli. Visitors can taste food made in the largest frying pan in the world that has a diameter of more than 12 feet. The festival started in 1952, When some locals decided to offer to visitors some fried fish as a spontaneous gesture. However, the festival is also linked to the centuries-old religious feast day held to celebrate the local patron saint, San Fortunato (St. Fortunatus). The religious celebration includes a procession after which locals light bonfires on the beach in the evening. The people of Camogli then gather to build large-scale sculptures made from waste material.
Where: Camogli, Genoa, Liguria
When: 12 May
Sagra Del Limone (Lemon Festival)
During the Sagra Del Limone at Monterosso al Mare on the Ligurian Riviera, the fishing village is painted yellow and the streets come alive with stalls celebrating the lemons produced in the area. There are all kinds of lemon-based products to try including limoncino, lemon cream, marmalade and lemon cake. The day ends with a party in the main square and a prize-giving for the best lemon-themed window display.
Where: Monterosso al Mare, La Spezia, Liguria
When: 18 May
South Tyrol Gourmet Festival
This food and wine festival held in Bolzano’s historic centre shows off South Tyrolean regional products, such as speck and apples. Along with the chance to attend tastings, visitors can watch seven South Tyrolean gourmet chefs in action on the main stage at the Waltherplatz square, Where they will prepare a range of traditional South Tyrolean dishes in a live cookery demonstration. Various musicians will perform at the Waltherplatz and on numerous smaller stages, and the music ranges from jazz to pop and traditional South Tyrolean sounds.
Where: Bolzano, South Tyrol
When: 24 to 26 May
Festa Del Barbarossa (Redbeard Festival)
In 1155, Emperor Frederick I of Hohenstaufen (known as Barbarossa, or Redbeard) met the emissaries of Pope Adrian IV. As the third Duke of Swabia, King of Germany and King of Italy, Barbarossa was a powerful man and was declared the legitimate sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire. However, he still had to obtain the consent for his coronation from the Vatican. After the meeting, Barbarossa was crowned in Rome. For the village of San Quirico d’Orcia, Barbarossa’s visit and the events surrounding it represent the most important episode in its history. Since 1962, the village has celebrated the Festa Del Barbarossa with a historical re-enactment set in the squares and streets of the old village. The characters portrayed include Barbarossa, cardinals, the civil and religious authorities of San Quirico at the time, nobles, townspeople and troops. Along with parades in period costume, there are archery and flag-throwing contests.
Where: San Quirico d’Orcia, Siena, Tuscany
When: 12 to 16 June
Battaglia dei Fiori (Flowers Festival)
Ventimiglia’s flower festival sees the town stage a series of events including flower displays and concerts. The festival culminates with a parade of floats covered with flowers, accompanied by people dressed in traditional costume and musicians playing traditional music. The huge floats are with flower petals, fixed one by one to the structures to look like a mosaic, and one float may consist of as many as 120,000 petals.
Where: Ventimiglia, Liguria
When: 7 to 16 June
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florentine Musical May)
This is one of the oldest cultural events in Florence. The Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina was established in 1928. In 1933, it organised the first edition of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival. Over the years, the festival has gained international fame with performances of ballet, classical works and operas. This year’s programme includes concerts conducted by Claudio Abbado and Daniel Barenboim, and performances of operas such as Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Don Carlos’ and Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Rape of Lucretia’.
Where: Teatro Comunale, Florence, Tuscany
When: 2 May to 24 June
Villa Rufolo was built in 13th century by one of the wealthiest families at the time in Ravello, the Rufolo family. Giovanni Boccaccio mentioned the family in his ‘The Decameron’. In 1851, the villa was bought by Sir Nevile Reid, a Scottish botanist. He restored the villa to its former splendour, adding rare plants to its gardens facing the sea. Each year, music lovers gather at Ravello on the Amalfi Coast to listen to the concerts held in the gardens and the rooms of Villa Rufolo, Where composer Richard Wagner visited in May 1880. The villa was the inspiration for the second act of Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’. Classical music concerts have been held there since 1935 in his memory. On cool spring and autumn evenings, concerts are held inside the Villa Rufolo. At the end of May and in June, the concerts are held in the garden.
Where: Ravello, Salerno, Campania
When: Until 30 October
Verdi BicentennialTo find out about concerts in Italy to honour the 200th year of the birth of Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi this year, check out our guide.
Sympatex Bike Festival Garda Trentino
Approximately 20,000 visitors will head for the picturesque port of Riva del Garda to celebrate the beginning of the moutain-bike season at the Sympatex Bike Festival Garda Trentino. Now in its 20th year, the event includes cross-country mountain-bike races, exhibitions, competitions and stunt performances. The centre of activity is the Expoarea at the Palazzo Congressi on the shore of Lake Garda.
Where: Riva del Garda, Trentino, Trentino-Alto Adige
When: 3 to 5 May
The Giro d’Italia is the most important bicycle race in Italy and perhaps the toughest course in the world. It was first held in 1909. This year, the race will start in Naples and ends in Brescia. It covers 2,177 miles and takes in stages throughout the peninsula, passing through Matera, Prescara, Saltara, Florence, Treviso and Busseto. The penultimate leg of the Giro is the climb to the top of the three mountain peaks of Lavaredo.
Where: Begins in Naples, Campania and finishes in Brescia, Lombardy.
When: 4 to 26 May
This year sees the 31st commemorative edition of what Enzo Ferrari called the “most beautiful race in the world”. Each year the most beautiful vintage cars in the world participate in the Mille Miglia race. The race starts from Brescia journeying through Lake Garda, Padua, Ferrara, Terni and Rome. It continues back to Brescia via Siena, Florence, Modena and Cremona. The Mille Miglia covers 994 miles and traverses some of the most breathtaking regions of the Italian peninsula. Some 400 vehicles will take part in the race, but victory is only possible for cars that raced between 1927 and 1957.
Where: Begins and finishes in Brescia, Lombardy.
When: 16 to 19 May