The most fun festivals in Italy
In Italy, a huge number of various festivals take place. Some festivals are world famous and annually gather crowds of tourists, while others are unknown at all, except for the small villages where they take place. Carnivals are secular, religious, with contests and dressing up, some originate in the Middle Ages, others have appeared recently, there are ones that are associated with a particular dish or product. We bring to your attention several Italian festivals, during which the atmosphere is most joyful.
In February and March, various cities of Europe host various festivals and carnivals, during which the townspeople march through the streets, dressed in fancy dress. So the small Italian city of Ivrea can boast of its unusual “trick” – the orange battle. Towards the end of February, many residents from all over Italy and tourists from different countries gather in Ivrea to take part in the festival or simply become a witness to it. For three days, a “snowball game” takes place on the streets of the city, but oranges are used instead of snow. Not only participants in the carnival procession can leave oranges, but also observers in the crowd. During this time, a huge amount of oranges is consumed, which are specially delivered for this holiday from Sicily. To get less injuries, many wear helmets and more clothes to soften the blows with ripe fruit. According to legend, the roots of this festival go back to the 12th century, when the city mayor Marquis Ranieri di Biandrathe tried to use the “right of the first night” with the beautiful daughter of the miller, who had just married. However, the “beautiful mill” managed to cut off the marquise’s head and went out onto the balcony, showing it to the assembled townspeople. Since then, oranges serve as the red head of the marquise, and the battle itself symbolizes the free spirit of the city. This legend or this was actually, but the juice of oranges that floods the streets of the city is very pleasing to residents and travelers. The Orange Battle is one of Italy’s most colorful festivals.
Venue: Ivrea (Northern Italy)
Date: third week of February, lasts 3 days
Games on the bridge – Il Gioco del Ponte
Every year, a real folk festival is held in the Italian city of Pisa – games on the bridge. Tourists from different countries are also going to watch this fun and colorful festival. The festival consists of two events related to each other. The first is a solemn procession along the Arno embankment, more like a parade. Participants in the procession are 700 people and many riders dressed in Spanish military clothing of the 16th century. Well, after the parade, the games themselves begin – sports, held on the Ponte di Mezzo bridge. Competitions are a team tug of war. Each team consists of ten participants who were chosen long before the start of the holiday and have been training for a long time. The task of the participants is to push the wagon towards the enemy as far as possible. The assembled audience can feel the atmosphere of this spectacular and emotional event.
Venue: Pisa (Tuscany)
Date: Last Sunday of June
Feast of the Madonna della Bruna – Festa della Madonna Bruna
The patroness of the Italian city of Matera is the Most Holy Theotokos della Bruna (which means “brunette” in translation). The festival held in the city on July 2 is dedicated to her. According to legend, the history of this festival began on November 9, 1389, when a mysterious lady asked for a cart to one of the peasants bound for the city. The peasant agreed with the condition that a stranger would leave him at the walls of the city. At the entrance to the city, instead of a lady in the wagon, there was a statue and a message to the bishop, which reported that it was the Virgin Mary herself. Since then, the Virgin Mary della Bruna has been considered the patroness of Matera. That statue is still a shrine that takes part in the procession. The festival begins early in the morning when a festive procession moves behind the statue to the Church of Picchanello. This church was not chosen by chance – according to the same legend, all actions took place at this place. The gathered bring saints figures made of papier-mâché and podiums. In the city, the statue is met by colorfully dressed riders, accompanied by whom the procession moves to Cathedral Square. The statue is transferred to the cathedral, and the crowd arranges an impromptu skirmish with the “guard”, while breaking the papier-mâché figure into small pieces. Those who manage to take possession of such a piece will be lucky for a whole year, at least the residents believe in it. Like many festivals, this one ends with colorful fireworks. Both residents and tourists come to see the festival and take part in it.
Venue: Matera (Basilicata)
Date: July 2