Here's a list of other related guides that you may wish to discover.Umbria
The Infiorata flower festival, Spello Ever wondered what a carpet of flowers would look like? Visit the small Umbrian town of Spello at Easter and you’re likely to find out. To mark the Christian occasion of Corpus Domini, on the ninth day after Easter, hundreds of people gather to create carpets of wild, natural flowers along Spello’s narrow streets. Around 2000 metres of flowers in fantastic colours wind their way along the pavements and into the squares, with the designs escalating in size and technicality every year. The flowers are laid in just one night, but planned weeks in advance, with flowers being cultivated months before. Judges award the best displays, based on precision, technical know-how and creativity. The small medieval town of Spello is usually stumbled upon when seen from a distance. The petite stone houses, built on to a hillside, lures the visitor in, and charms them instantly. Wandering its cobblestone streets and alleyways, stopping at a pavement café for a coffee or exploring the churches and their stunning frescoes, is joyous. And then there’s all that gorgeous countryside on its doorstep. Yes, Spello is a delight, and the Infiorata the cherry on the cake.
Calendimaggio, Assisi Celebrating the arrival of spring, the residents of Assisi come together for the renowned Calendimaggio, otherwise known as May Day. Taking part in a string of festivities over three days, this public festival in the first week of May is a real treat for any visitors to this enchanting little city. As participants dress up in medieval costumes, the festival opens with the handing over of the keys to the city, to the Master of the Field, who has supreme authority over proceedings. A lively contest of medieval games, flag-waving and singing ensues, all of which are linked to the centuries-old rivalry between two parts of the city. On the last evening the ‘palio’ is awarded to who has best interpreted the return of spring. Listen out for the choirs doing battle on the last evening for a wonderful end to the festivities.
Corsa dei Ceri, Gubbio You might want to get your running gear on to keep up with this fast-paced festival, but it's more than worth it. Every May, three teams race through the streets of Gubbio and up the slopes of Monte Ingino, holding a candle (ceri) for this crazy, but much-loved festival - the Corsa dei Ceri. But these ceri's are no small candles, they are 4m-long wooden pillars weighing around 400kg, each bearing a statue of three separate saints. As the festival is held to celebrate the patron saint of Gubbio, it’s no surprise which saint wins – every year! Beginning at 6, the sprint around the city commences, followed by a race up the hill to see who reaches the Basilica of St Ubaldo first. After an emotionally-charged race to the top, the winner is announced. Gubbio in Umbria is an imposing medieval city, full of architectural wonders and perched on a rather steep slope. If you haven't run the length of it chasing the Corsa dei Ceri, take a fun cable car ride to the top to appreciate the surrounding countryside. If you'd rather keep your feet on the ground, pull up a seat a pavement cafe or delightful Italian restaurant forsome fine fare.
Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto The ancient, picturesque town of Spoleto in Umbria is an enchanting setting for this celebrated annual music festival. The Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds) was founded by Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who intended to have American and European cultures facing each other, hence the rather dramatic title. Started in 1958, it has become an important cultural event in Italy and worldwide, and sees an impressive number of dance, theatre and music performances, with past festivals including illustrious names such as Rudolf Nuruyev, Al Pacino, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Franco Zeffirelli, who perform alongside many new young artists. There are many music festivals, but this one has certainly captured the imagination of all those who visit. Much of this may have to do with its location. Spoleto may be a small town, but its hilltop location, medieval fortress and Apennine-backdrop makes for a picture-perfect scene. Ideal for strolling around before setting off for a vineyard visit is a wonderful way to spend the day, and with two indoor theatres, a Roman theatre and many impressive buildings, the perfect place for this wonderful festival. Book your ticket now! June to early July.
Giostra della Quintana, Foligno Prepare yourself for a real spectacle if you’re visiting Foligno in July or September. The Giostra della Quintana is a truly remarkable equestrian event, which sees ten knights galloping around a track on horses, spearing rings, which get smaller as the competition goes on. Crowds erupt as they cheer on the knights who each represent a district of the city. Joining in the fun of this event really will certainly take you back in time. With drapes and flags hanging out of windows, and locals dressing up in 17th century costumes for a historical parade that runs through the streets the night before the competition, the buzz is in the air is palpable. And make sure you stop at one of the many trattorias, bars and restaurants dotted around the city for a culinary feast. Just walking around Foligno is enchanting, and a visit to the impressive Piazza della Repubblica where the race takes place, and the adjoining Piazza Duomo is well-advised, along with the Roman church of St Mary Infraportas. One of the few Umbrian cities to be built on a plain, the surrounding countryside is beautiful and well worth exploring.
Palio delle Barche - Palio of the boats, Lake Trasimeno There really is a festival for most occasions in Italy, and this is no exception. Re-enacting a battle that took place between two Perugian families in 1495, Umbria presents the Palio delle Barche – basically a competition between boats. Taking place on Italy’s fourth largest lake – the magnificent Lake Trasimeno, on the last Sunday of July, this is a marine spectacle. The race starts on the water, then moves on to land as participants hoist their boats on to their shoulders and run through streets, finishing the last stage of the race back on water. It’s quite a sight to behold, much to the delight of thousands of onlookers. But it’s not just about the race. The week before the event, taverns put on a wonderful display of Lake Trasimeno dishes (expect some fantastic fish), and much entertainment. There’s even a fireworks display on the shores of the lake, known as ‘the fire of the castle.’
Palio di Pistoia When you have a piazza as beautiful as Pistoia's, it's only right that such a grand medieval event should take place there. The Palio di Pistoia, known otherwise as the Giostra dell'Orso or Joust of the Bear, is held at the Piazza del Duomo every July on the day the city celebrates its patron saint, St James. This palio is not just a horse-race, it's a jousting tournament between the historical districts of Pistoia. As the square is transformed into a large oval track, thousands of spectators come to enjoy this historic, eccentric contest, where three knights fight a 'bear,' - actually a bear-shaped target. The knight who strikes nearest to the bear's left foot as they race around the track, wins. Although the contest is held in the evening, the celebrations that precede it run through the day, starting early in the morning with a parade that winds its way around the streets of this enchanting city with its baroque, renaissance and gothic buildings. While in Pistoia, step outside the city for stunning country views, and breath-taking Appenine mountain views.
Pistoia Blues Festival Pistoia, a medieval Tuscan town bursting with art and surrounded by beautiful countryside, has something else a little bit special to offer - the Pistoia Blues Festival. Since 1980, this atmospheric event has played host to some of the biggest names in music, including Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Robert Plant, Sting and more recently, Mumford & Sons, Hozier and Passenger. And, what a fantastic place to see such illustrious names! Over three weeks in July grab a chance to see such artists play in the ancient Piazza Duomo amidst impressive medieval buildings, towers and a cathedral, where a fantastic energy and atmosphere can be enjoyed. There's certainly something magical about watching a live music event in such surroundings. And outside of that, take time to explore this fantastic little town. Stroll around the town and take in the beautiful medieval, renaissance and baroque buildings, pull up a seat at a cafe and watch the Italians go about their day, and then step out into the glorious countryside. Don't forget the Ecomuseum of the Pistoia Mountains, the setting in itself is simply breath-taking.
Umbria Jazz, Perugia. Each July, Perugia is animated by an extraordinary jazz festival with a rich history connecting it to some of the biggest jazz music legends of all time. Artists who have performed as part of the musical extravaganza since its birth in 1973 include Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Ornette Coleman. Those gracing the stages of Perugia this summer range from iconic blues stars such as Buddy Guy and Pat Metheny, to contemporary pop artists like Mika, meaning there is something for all the family! The beautiful summertime weather in this region allows the majority of the performances to take place in numerous outdoor locations across the city. Visitors can also enjoy paid concerts in indoor venues such as the magnificent Arena Santa Guiliana and the historic Piazza IV Novembre. The huge variety in venues and in performers makes it no wonder that the 10-day festival attracts over 200,000 people each year, so do not miss a chance to immerse yourself in this rich show of music and culture in the vibrant city of Perugia on your next visit.
Fuga del Bove in Montefalco/ Flight of the Ox, Montefalco. Watch bulls running through the streets of medieval Montefalco in the fantastic festival of Fuga del Bove, or Flight of the Ox, to us. In ancient times an ox was chased down the narrow streets of this little town with onlookers fleeing as it passed, but today the event is a little kinder. Bulls, well looked after by their trainers, race against each other in timed relay events, much to the delight of visitors. But, as exciting as this is, it’s the buzz around the event that’s quite marvelous too. Preceding the bull running itself, there is an historic procession, skilful flag-waving, a medieval costume procession, live music and even a crossbow competition. And then there’s the food. In Umbria you really can’t go wrong, as every trattoria and restaurant puts on amazing displays of their local produce, whipped up into delicious wholesome meals. Taking place in August, this is a wonderful time to visit Montefalco, and indeed Umbria. Known as the ‘balcony of Umbria,’ because of its lofty position overlooking fertile vineyards and verdant plains, this star-shaped characteristic town is a wonderful place to visit with charming churches, great restaurants and stunning views.
Ottobre Trevano, Trevi If you're going to visit the hilltop town of Trevi, autumn is the season to go - October, specifically, if you want to see a celebration of its arts and culinary culture at the popular Ottobre Trevano festival. Eight days of events sees fine art exhibitions, medieval feasts in the centro storico, games and acitivities for children, classical music, films, a palio, antique markets, and an iconic historical re-enactment dating back to 1200 taking place. There's also the opening of the three taverns - celebrating beautiful places in Trevi that hark back to an ancient time. And, don't forget the historic festival of black celery. This tiny Umbrian town cultivates a dark type of celery, named as one of Umbria's protected products, meaning this particular vegetable can only be grown in a restricted area. Trevi is a wonderful place to visit all year round with its spectacular views and historical buildings. With no less than twenty churches, some home to frescoes by artists such as Perugino, and the glorious Duomo Sant'Emiliano, you're always in for a treat. But, the olive oil-producing season and the Ottobre Trevano make it all the more special.
Eurochocolate Created by architect and innovator Eugene Guarducci in 1993, Eurochocolate is the largest festival dedicated to the culture of chocolate in the whole of Europe. Hosted annually in Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region in central Italy, this celebration offers a range of exciting activities including street performances, chocolate sculpting, and of course chocolate tasting, with confectionary available from local chocolate company Perugina as well as big brands such as Lindt and Caffarel. A great day out for the family and for the chocoholics amongst us! This globally acclaimed celebration will illuminate the city of Perugia once again this October, with the theme of the festival centring around the message 'Conchi', meaning 'with who'. Expect to see many original designs from the latest chocolate ‘designers’ many of which will go into production after the festival. Other highlights include the installation of a giant selfie stick and a photo contest to be played on the web with chocolate-related prizes. If you're staying in the area and have a taste for something sweet, then Eurochocolate is for you.
Frantoi Aperti, Open oil mills. As Thomas Jefferson once said, 'The olive tree is surely the richest gift of heaven.' What better way to celebrate this humble tree then, than with a festival dedicated to the olive - the Frantoi Aperti. Every weekend in November, Umbria celebrates the arrival of the new extra virgin olive oil, of which it is very proud. Gourmet fans travel from all over the world to welcome in the new olives with tastings, concerts, guided tours and free visits to the many olive mills who take time to explain the traditional process by which they extract the oil. Umbria is renowned for its fine olives, and the towns dotted around the region including Assisi, Spello, Foligno and Orvieto celebrate this, with some restaurants staying open all day. There's also lots of fun for the children including cooking classes, farm visits and horseback riding through the olive groves in that glorious green countryside. Known as 'the green heart of Italy,' Umbria's countryside is legendary and the medieval towns dotted around it absolutely charming. Be sure to visit at this special time and visit a trattoria or two for a dish of fresh, local produce like you've never tasted...