Festivals & Pageants in Italy's Hill Towns | Historical Parades, Food Festivals, Costumed Processions, Ceremonies, Folklore Events

Festivals & Pageants in Italy's Hill Towns
Historical Parades, Food Festivals, Costumed Processions, Folk Ceremonies

[Regions of Italy]

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Because of their narrow winding streets and cozy squares, special events in hill towns are some of Italy's most exciting ones. You can mingle with the locals, who will always want to explain the historic meaning of what you're watching. Even if you don't speak Italian, just pay attention to their hands and their expressions and we bet you'll understand most of it. The dates we've listed are as reliable as we can get, but they aren't etched in stone. We suggest you stop in at a tourist office or travel agency in the area and get a last-minute confirmation. Sometimes events are cancelled due to storms or other unforeseen catastrophes, but they are usually rescheduled in the next few days. Here's a sampling of local events that take place throughout the year.

Cocullo, Abruzzo

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Cocullo: Snake Handlers' Procession. A statue of the town's patron, St. Dominic, is carried through the town covered with live serpents (first Thursday in May).
Loreto Aprutino: Procession of the Ox. This beautifully costumed procession culminates when a sumptuously outfitted ox kneels before the statue of St. Zopito (Monday after Pentecost).
Scanno: Bonfire Festival. Enormous bonfires are lit on the surrounding hillsides to commemorate St. Martin (November 10).
Traditional Wedding Ceremony. Re-enactment of the unique local wedding customs (August 14).
Sulmona: La Madonna in Piazza. Medieval folklore event culminating in a staged pageant (Easter Sunday).
Fara Filiorum Petri: Farchie Festival. Giant torches illuminate this festival for St. Anthony (January 16).
Rocca di Mezzo: Daffodil Festival. Folklore dances, presentations and a parade of flowery floats to celebrate the arrival of spring (last Sunday in May).
Plowing Festival. Re-enactment of a 17th-century custom, culminating with a race to plow the most perfect furrow (last Saturday in August).
Bucchianico: Flower Festival. Re-enactment of a 13th-century military stratagem that saved the town from destruction, with costumed parades, flower-bedecked carts and exquisite miniature flower floats worn on the local ladies' heads (third Sunday of May).

Pezze di Greco: Living Nativity Scene (December 25-January 3).
Torre Paduli: Festival of San Rocco (May).
Monte Sant'Angelo: St. Michael's Day Festivities (May 8 and September 29).

Camigliatello Silano: Wild Mushroom Festival (October).
Corigliano Calabro: Orange Festival and Procession (January).
St. Francis of Paola Day Festivities (April 22).
Girifalco: St. Rocco Festivities (August 16).
Laureana di Borrello: Madonna del Carmine Festivities (third Sunday in July).
Maida: St. Francis of Paola Day Festivities (first Sunday in July).
Montalto Uffugo: Easter Procession (Good Friday).
San Giovanni in Fiore: Easter Procession (Good Friday).
Soverato Superiore: Eggplant Festival (September 15).

Amalfi: Historical Regatta (June, every four years - 2017 is next).
Avellino: Costumed Races and Sports Meets (February).
Benevento: Festival of the Madonna of the Graces (July 2-6).

Emilia Romagna
Grazzano Visconti: Medieval Outdoor Banquet (2nd Saturday in July).
Medieval Parade and Jousting Tournament (last Sunday in May).
Faenza: Niballo Palio Jousting Tournament (June).
Brisighella: Various Medieval Feasts and Pageants (last 10 days of July).
Bardi: Banquet in the Castle (August).

Friuli-Venezia Giulia
San Daniele del Friuli: Prosciutto Festival (last week of August).
Cordovado: Historical Pageant and Parade (1st Sunday in September).
Zuglio: "Kiss The Cross" Pageant and Procession to the mountainside church of S. Pietro (May).
Fagagna: Historical Donkey Race and Horse Race (1st Sunday in September).
Cormons: Renaissance Pageant and Parade (1st Sunday in September).
Gemona: Messa del Tallero Medieval Pageant (January 6).
Medieval Games, Pageant, Parade and Concerts (1st half of August).

Sermoneta: Historical Re-enactment of the Battle of Lepanto (October).
Greccio: Re-enactment of St. Francis Building the First Nativity Scene (Christmas Eve).
Acquapendente: I Pugnaloni Historical Pageant (May).

Castiglione Chiavarese: Eggplant Festival (August).
Rossiglione: Chestnut Festival (October).
Roccavignale: Living Nativity Scene (December).

Sartirana: Frog Pageant (September).
Vigevano: Medieval Horse Race (October).

Acqui Terme: Cavalcata Aleramica Historical Horse Race (October).
Asti: Carnival (February 17-18).
Palio Historical Horse Race and Games (September 21).
Castellamonte: Carnival Festival and Parade (February).
Alba: Truffle Festival (October 12-27).
Castagnole Monferrato: Historical Grape Harvest (second Sunday in October).

Castelsardo: Good Friday procession (March).

Acireale: Traditional Carnival (February).
Christmas Crèche (December).
Taormina: Rally of Sicilian Costumes and Carts (April).

Trentino-Alto Adige
Bressanone: Kuchkirchtig. Sample local food delicacies (October).
Castelrotto: Re-enactment of a Peasant Wedding (January).
Corpus Domini Procession (June 9).

San Miniato: Festival of the White Truffle (November 9-10, 16-17, 23-24).
Pescia: Pinocchio's Birthday (May 25).
Montepulciano: Historical Pageant and Games (August 15).

Narni: 14th-century Ring Race and Procession (April 27 through May 12).
Gubbio: Candle Race and Costumed Procession (May 15).
Historical Cross-Bow Exhibition (Last Sunday of May).
Neighborhood Cross-Bow Competition (August).
Cascia: St. Rita Procession and Candle Festival (May 21 and 22).
Spello: Corpus Domini Flower Scenes (June 9).
Orvieto: Corpus Domini Costumed Procession (June 8-9).
Città di Castello: Truffle Festival (November).
Gualdo Tadino: Historical Games and Food Festival (September).
Bevagna: Medieval Festival (June 22-30).

Val D'Aosta
Verrès: Historical Carnival Pageant and Parade (January).
Gressoney-Saint-Jean: Festival of St. John (June 23).

Marostica: Human Chess Game (even years only, the second weekend of September).
Este: Palio Games and Races (September 8).
Montagnana: Historical Parade and Horse Race (September 8).
Asiago: Parade to Commemorate the End of the Plague (May).

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[Regions of Italy]