Festivals and processions


Festivals, events, competitions, processions (a selection)

If you want to get to know the country and its people on holiday, you have to venture deep into the events of a region. Where better to do this than in the turmoil of a traditional festival? In Tuscany traditions are taken very seriously and kept alive. Centuries-old festivals are celebrated as a matter of course. Each City and every place often have their own traditions for this. A visit to one of these events gives travelers an insight into the history of Tuscany and the lifestyle of the people then and now. Nowhere do you get to know the country and its people better than at a historical festival.

1. The sagra

The Festival is a village festival in the rural regions, comparable to our parish fair. It is generally celebrated in honor of the village saint, or seasonal, or harvest, etc. There are a variety of occasions for one Festival and so there are also various festivities, which are communicated in the surrounding area through posters. On the Sagra there is the good food of the region, often performances of various kinds and it is above all an opportunity to meet and celebrate with each other. So if you have the opportunity to join a Festival take part, then take the opportunity. Most of these festivals take place in late summer / autumn.

Well-known and recommended village festivals:
(For more information click on the Italian terms or click on the place name to determine the location. The links given to the events mostly lead to Italian pages. We can therefore guarantee that it is up to date. If you do not speak Italian, refer to the Names and the respective date specified)

  • In Cortona:
    The city of Cortona offers a variety of festivals and other events throughout the year. You can find more information here, on the information page the city. At the top right of the page there is an option to view an English version. For example, we recommend the "Sagra della Bistecca“, a barbecue that takes place regularly in August.
  • In Pienza:
    At the end of August or beginning of September, for example, the “Fiera del cacio pecorino” (Pecorino Cheese Festival) takes place in Pienza. You can find more events here, on the information page the city.
  • In San Miniato:
    The famous truffle festival takes place here every yearTruffle Festival" instead of. Since the date varies from year to year, you should find out in good time (see the link provided).
  • In Orbetello:
    Unfortunately, in 2012 the "Gustatus", the festival of the "sense of taste", will no longer take place in Orbetello. Nevertheless, Orbetello offers other events worth seeing, where the culinary aspect is not neglected.
  • In Montalcino:
    The Sagra del Tordo in Montalcino is highly recommended. You can also receive information about other events via the link provided.

Palio in Siena:

One of the most famous festivals celebrated in Tuscany is the Palio of Siena. This is unusually celebrated two days a year - July 2nd and August 16th. The Palio is a horse race in which every district of Siena sends a representative into the race. The seemingly sporty event is a symbol of the old rivalries and power struggles between the districts. The rather short race, which is held in three laps around the Piazza del Campo, is a magnet for locals and visitors to the city. The festival is accompanied by a broad supporting program that begins the evening of the previous day in all parts of the city. During the actual festival day there are numerous parades that are designed by the individual districts. After the race in the early evening, a large feast invites you to linger. Historical festivals or festivals also take place in numerous other Tuscan villages in summer. The tourist offices will be happy to inform visitors about this.

palio sienna

Photojournalist Roberto Vicario [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Historical and traditional events

Medieval events in particular, mostly with tournaments and pageants, take place frequently in Tuscany. It is advisable to be there early to get a good place to watch.

Known and recommended events:

in April

last weekend in April
Festa della Stage Bona (Festival of the good season) in Greve
Parade in Renaissance costumes in memory of a popular uprising. Accompanied by one Markt.

Easter Sunday
Scoppio del Carro in Florence
Play with the participation of a cart, a white ox, a pigeon with a fuse and lots of fireworks. Very original.

28. April
Feast of Saint San Lucchese with fireworks in Poggibonsi

in May

First Sunday after May 15th
Balestro del Girifalco in Massa Marittima
historical parade and knightly tournament, crossbow shooting.

Last Sunday in May
"The crossbowmen's palio" in Sansepolcro
Medieval shooting competition between Gubbio and Sansepolcro

in June

2nd weekend in June
Holiday delle Messi in San Gimignano
medieval harvest festival, costumes and market stalls, knightly tournament, 2-3 days!

1st Sunday in June
"Regatta of the Maritime Republics“ takes place in alternating years Pisa (2010) Genoa, Venice and Amalfi instead.
historical regatta between the former maritime republics of Italy (Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice)

June 16, every year
Festival of San Ranieri in Pisa
a kind of festival of lights in honor of San Ranieri

June, penultimate Sunday
Gioc del Ponte in Pisa
historical parade, reenactment of a battle on the Ponte di Mezzo.

June, third Saturday
Joust of the Saracen in Arezzo
historical procession with jousting games

June 24, every year
Feast of St. John in Florence
Festival in honor of Saint San Giovanni with a historical football match in costumes and with fireworks.

in July

02 July
Palio of Siena in Siena
historic horse race in the city center in honor of the Madonna di Provenzano, one of the toughest races in the world, huge spectacle!

July, two weekends
Medieval festival in Monteriggioni
Medieval festival with medieval markets, performers and music - the place with its impressive city walls offers a grandiose backdrop!
The dates vary annually, so please inform us via the link provided.

July 25th, every year
Carousel of the Bear in Pistoia
"Bear Tournament", duel of the districts in honor of the patron saint

End of July / beginning of August
Volo di Cecco Santi in Vinci
medieval festival with fair and tournament. The date varies annually, so please inform us via the link provided. The festival usually takes place on the last Sunday in June or July.

in August

August 16, every year
Palio of Siena in Siena
Historic horse race in honor of the Assumption of Mary in the city center, which takes place annually. World-famous drama!

2nd Sunday in August
Balestro del Girifalco in Massa Marittima
historical parade and knightly tournament, crossbow shooting.

August last Sunday
Bravio delle Botti in Montepulciano
Tuscany a little different. According to an old custom, heavy wooden barrels are transported a certain distance uphill in a competition. 3000 participants.

in September

September 7th, every year
Festa della Rificolona in Florence
a “small but important festival”, very traditional! More information about festivals in Florence here.

September, first Sunday
Joust of the Saracen in Arezzo
historical procession with jousting and crossbow shooting

13th/14th September
Procession of the Volto Santo in Lucca
Festival procession on September 13th and celebration on September 14th. Historical costumes.

Goblets of Stars

August 10th every year is the day of San Lorenzo. This is celebrated in a special way in Tuscany. The festival of Calici di Stelle, in English roughly “chalice under the stars”, has a centuries-old tradition. During the day, wine goblets are available for purchase in the Tuscan villages. In the evening you meet in the village square, where the famous Tuscan wines are ready to be sampled. So you can indulge in the enjoyment of wine under the stars. Numerous events take place on this festival day, such as jazz and classical concerts, historical parades, theater performances and fireworks.

Last updated: 06.02.2024

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