What to do in Italy
The Italians have a joy of life and festas abound especially in the Summer months. However, small or remote a village the inhabitants will host a festa or sagra to celebrate a saint day or simply the local pasta dish with coloured lanterns, rustic wine and dancing in the square. Traditions die hard in Italy and many of these feast day celebrations date back to ancient times.
Carnival in February is famous throughout Italy with Viareggio, Venice and Putignano as the leaders. The Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea is colourful (and sticky!) where carts are wheeled through the town throwing oranges on bystanders. Siena of course hosts the famous Palio where horses race around the cobbled central piazza early July and again mid-August. Not for the faint hearted.
There are several religious processions through the streets especially in the South of Italy with Taranto, Catania and Palermo offering the largest display. Crowds walk along the centre of the town carrying heavy carvings chanting and singing. And then of course there is the music : the Puccini festival held every summer in the arena built over the Massaciuccoli lake at Torre del Lago, the Maggio Musicale in Florence or the Verdi Festival in Parma. Not to be missed is a visit to the Teatro La Scala in Milan where you will brush with the VIP’s in their elegant robes