Published On: Tue, Jun 25th, 2013

Italian Events Calendar: May

The Italian festival season really gets going in May, and sees the country celebrating everything from ancient traditions to the modern motor car. If you’re planning a trip, read through our top recommendations for this vibrant month…

Cocullo,L'Aquila,Italy, 1 may 2008 The Procession of the Snake Catchers: On the first Thursday of May, the people of Cocullo, a small cluster of houses high in the Abruzzo hills, give thanks to their patron Saint Domenico in a somewhat unusual manner - th

PROCESSION OF THE SNAKE CATCHERS

1 May

Cocullo, Abruzzo

The month kicks off with this rather unusual event in the town of Cocullo. The celebration is in honour of San Domenico – the patron saint who is rumoured to have had miraculous healing powers, especially for snake bite victims. One thousand years on the town still gives tribute to him by draping his statue in live serpents and parading through the streets.

www.comune.cocullo.aq.it

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LABOUR DAY

1 May

Throughout Italy

The first day of May is a national holiday in Italy to commemorate La Festa Dei Lavoratori, better known to us in Britain as May Day. The day marks the labour union movement’s social and economic achievements. Concerts are organised up and down the country with Rome at the heart of celebrations. There are also a number of public demonstrations and speeches in relation to workers’ rights.

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SAGRA DI SANT’EFISIO

1-4 May

Cagliari, Sardinia

This event is considered the most important representation of traditional culture in the island of Sardinia. The festival remembers the devastating plague that killed half of the city’s population in 1652, and the legendary efforts of Saint Efisio to save the citizens during the crisis. The main event is a huge parade involving some 5,000 people in costume as well as carts and floats.

www.santefisio.com

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CALENDIMAGGIO

2-4 May

Assisi, Umbria

There are few festivals that have as much entertainment on offer as Calendimaggio. The town is decorated with spectacular floral displays, torches and candles to get everyone into the festive spirit. Over the three days you will be treated to a variety of showcases reflecting medieval and Renaissance life including theatre, concerts, archery and crossbow demonstrations, and traditional costumes.

www.calendimaggiodiassisi.com

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GIRO D’ITALIA 2013

4-26 May

Throughout Italy

The tour of Italy bike race has been running for over 100 years and is an important date in the cycling calendar. This year the starting line is in Naples and the competitors head south before making their way up the Adriatic coast and finishing in Brescia. There is a distinct British interest this time round, with Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky partner Chris Froome among the favourites.

www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/Giroditalia/2013/en

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ATP WORLD TOUR MASTERS

11-19 May

Rome, Lazio

The Italian open is the second biggest clay event in the world, behind the French Grand Slam at Roland Garros. The top players from both the men’s and women’s game compete so you are guaranteed to witness some spectacular tennis, and hopefully with fewer rain interruptions than we are used to at Wimbledon. As usual we pin our hopes on Andy Murray to fly the flag for Britain.

www.internazionalibnlditalia.com

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FESTA DEI CERI

15 May

Gubbio, Umbria

There is nothing better than a unique event steeped in local tradition, and the Festa Dei Ceri in Gubbio is a perfect example of this as it has remained unaltered for centuries. The day’s main event sees three teams of 20-odd men race through the city and up the daunting Monte Ignino to reach the town’s cathedral while carrying three heavy wooden statues. Each represents one of the three saints of the city and despite the result being pre-meditated – San Ubaldo always wins – there is plenty of fun to be had.

www.argoweb.it

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MILLE MIGLIA 2013

16-19 May

From Brescia to Rome

This event should be pencilled into the diary of any car enthusiast. Mille Miglia has been successful in re-inventing itself from its original purpose, which was a 1,000-mile open road race which ran for
30 years between 1927 and 1957. The modern event centres around a parade of vintage cars with passionate drivers coming from all over the world to take part and show off their classic models.

www.1000miglia.eu

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INFIORATO DI NOTO

17-19 May

Noto, Sicily

For one of the most visually appealing events in May head to the scenic city of Noto in Sicily. On the third weekend of the month the city holds Infiorato – the Sicilian Flower Festival. The exhibit consists of numerous individual ‘mosaic’ pictures which are created by the artists on the Friday so that they can be admired over the weekend. All of the hard work is destined for an abrupt end as on Monday children are allowed to run through the flowers in a frenzy of destruction.

www.infioratadinoto.it

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TUTTOFOOD

19-22 May

Milan, Lombardy

Tuttofood is the world food exhibition held in Milan. As well as exhibiting products the event also focuses on the food market, giving producers and distributors the opportunity to compare experiences, analyse market trends and gain a better understanding of the evolution of food consumption. It gives you the opportunity to attend the numerous workshops, forums and conferences.

www.tuttofood.it

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IL PALIO DI FERRARA

26 May

Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna

A month of festivities in the prestigious medieval town of Ferrara concludes with a day of horse racing on the last Sunday of May, to recall the extraordinary Palio that celebrated the crowning of Borso d’Este as the first duke of Ferrara back in 1471. Palio means banner and refers to the trophy that is earned by the winning district. The day opens with a historical parade followed by four races in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

www.paliodiferrara.it

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