Travel Italy Blog

Italian holiday Ferragosto

10 Interesting Things About Ferragosto

Posted by Mira Todorova on August 7 2016

 There is a national holiday in Italy that most outsiders would not know about, a holiday almost bigger than Christmas for many Italians. That holiday is called Ferragosto.

It takes place on August 15th every year and is one of the busiest holidays in the entire year in Italy. It also happens to coincide with one of the most important religious days during the year - the Catholic feast day of the Assumption of Mary.

So you can say August 15th an important day for Italians. Many of you may not have heard of Ferragosto but we’re sure this post will spark your interest in this big Italian party.


  1. Most Italians consider this the beginning of their summer vacations and many towns and cities become deserted as people flock the seaside parts of the country. Expect many Italian towns and cities to be ghost towns on this day.


  1. The original idea behind Ferragosto was to celebrate and relax after the hard work of a summer harvest during the Roman period after the land had been harvested and crops ploughed again.


  1. Back in the Roman days, horse races were organized and animals were freed from their duties for the day and enamored with decorations. Some of these events still exist today like the Palio di Siena, the biggest and most popular horse race in Italy. If you’re in Tuscany on this date, you must check out this horse race.


  1. It was originally intended to be a one-month celebration but eventually evolved into a second half of August celebration and then a one day in August celebration. Partly why it lasted a whole month was because the Romans used it to celebrate the Goddess Diana and the cycle of ripening and fertility throughout all of August.


  1. The name Ferragosto is taken from the Latin name of the holiday.


  1. It coincides with the very religious Catholic feast day of the Assumption of Mary, which commemorates when Mary ascended into heaven.


  1. For many Italians, it’s the perfect excuse to socialize, drink and eat great food with family and friends. They’ll either hang out at the beach together, in restaurants, cafes or in the countryside for a picnic.


  1. Some towns and cities will feature religious processions and festivals with live music and fireworks to commemorate the occasion.


  1. The idea and now tradition of taking a trip for Ferragosto actually originated in Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini. It was encouraged to take trips with the family for this day and the government implemented various initiatives like discount price trains for families for this day only. Prior to Fascist Italy, it was not so much about taking a short vacation.


  1. During the Renaissance period, it became a custom for masters to give their workers a tip on this day, and it actually became compulsory in the Papal States.

Want to find out more about Ferragosto and the best places to celebrate this when you’re in Italy? Then give us a quick call today at 877-723-0802 today.

Get started planning your next group vacation to Italy by downloading our free Planning Guide Your Italian Vacation: The Ultimate Group Travel Guide.

Topics: italian culture, travel

Mira Todorova

Written by Mira Todorova

Director Of Travel Sales BellaVista Tours