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Umbria & nearby Tuscany Events

CALENDAR OF FESTIVAL & EVENTS FOR 2019
(taking place between 20 to 90 minutes driving distance)

 

April:

International Journalism Festival
April 3 – 7
Perugia

The International Journalism Festival is a cultural event that takes place every year in April involving the City with workshops, meetings and interviews about journalism, communication and medias.
From the first edition, in 2009, big international personalities of journalism meet students and experts to talk about their working experiences.
The event is entirely free and takes place in the major location of Perugia: Morlacchi Theatre, Pavone Theatre and Sala dei Notari.

Admission: free

Coloriamo i Cieli (Let’s Colour the Sky)
April 27 – May 1
Castiglion del Lago (Trasimeno lake)

An annual festival for kite-flying enthusiasts. Kites are flown by participants at the old airport strip in Castiglione del Lago to the accompaniment of food, wine and music.

Admission: free

Only Wine Festival
April 27 – 28
Città di Castello

It is the National Exhibition of Young Wine Producers and Small Cellars that takes place in the historic centre of Città di Castello.

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May:

Calendimaggio Festival
May 8 – 11
Assisi

Processions and special services take place across Umbria over Easter, but are particularly extravagant and memorable in Assisi. The town also holds major celebrations for Calendimaggio, usually on the first Thursday to Saturday after May 1, a medieval spring festival with Franciscan associations. The Calendimaggio festival is dedicated to St-Francis, Assisi’s patron saint. Flower arrangements adorn the streets and the local townspeople dress in colourful period costumes. The festivities include love song competitions, as well as traditional games and events.

Admission: free

Corsa dei Ceri
 (Race of the Candles)
May 15
Gubbio

For centuries, Gubbio’s Corsa dei Ceri has been celebrated on 15 May, St-Ubaldo’s eve. The festival began after an important victory in a war against enemy cities, when the comune decided to host a festival to celebrate and express gratitude to Ubaldo, the bishop of Gubbio. Participants compete as opposing teams representing either St-Ubaldo, St-Anthony or St-Giorgio, and each team carries the “candle” with the statue of their saint attached, through the streets to the Basilica of St-Ubaldo. The candles are large seven-metre high wooden octagonal pillars. Though it is a race of sorts, the candle with St-Ubaldo always enters the church first – the winner is determined by the participants and bystanders to be the team showing the most skill in getting their candle to the church.

Admission: free

Palio della Balestra
May 26
Gubbio

The Palio della Balestra is a traditional crossbow contest which dates back to the twelfth century AD. The contest takes place late the last Sunday of May in the Piazza Grande in Gubbio, with the winning crossbowman the one who accurately hits the most targets. The winner receives the “pregevole” silk banner. The festival ends with a fireworks display.

Admission: free

Glass Festival
May 31, June 1, and 2
Piegaro

Three days of festival with music, food, glass artisans working their craft and booths of glass art and jewelry.

Admission: free

The Days of Roses
Spello
May 31, June 1 and 2

“I Giorni delle Rose” (The Days of Roses) is a three-day floral exhibition dedicated to roses. The event is hosted in a beautiful setting: Villa Fidelia (Spello), a spectacular villa surrounded by the lush greenery of its stunning and amazing park, which during the course of the event is completely flooded by the magic of these flowers. In such scenario, full of charm and history, the organizers wanted to pay a tribute to the rose, not only as the queen of flowers, but also as a star in art, culture, fashion and crafts. Many happenings scheduled for this three-day-event dedicated to the rose: conferences, competitions, exhibitions and meetings (all of the highest level).

Admission: free

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June:

Wines of the World (Vini nel Mondo)
Beginning of June
Spoleto

Hundreds of wineries present their creations at this multi-day wine festival. During the festival, wine tastings, music, food and art bring the Piazza del Mercato alive.

Admission: free

Giostra dell’Archidado (Crossbow Competition)
June 1 – 9 
Cortona

Every year, a procession of 300 or more people wearing wonderful mediaeval costumes as well as many riders on their horses parade through Cortona’s historic centre. The competition known as the Giostra dell’Archidado commemorates the wedding of Francesco Casali, Lord of Cortona, and the noblewoman Antonia Salimbeni of Sienna, which took place in 1397. The crossbowmen from Cortona’s five quarters, “quintieri”, compete for a golden arrow. The contest is held in Piazza Signorelli.

Admission: free

Perugia 1416
June 14 – 16
Perugia

Live  the history of Perugia between 300 and 400 during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Perugia 1416 is a very special event to discover the story of this beautiful town. The historic procession, culminating in Perugia in 1416, celebrates the triumphal entrance of “Braccio Fortebracci da Montone” in Perugia. Some competitions: a special race of different “Rioni” of the town. And also a javelin throw, the historical court and drape rice.

Admission: free

Giostra della Quintana
June 14 -15 and September 14 -15 
Foligno

The Tournament of the Quintana is an annual jousting tournament held in Foligno between the four regions of Foligno. Knights joust for metal rings hanging from a wooden statue, called the quintana. With each challenge, the ring gets smaller and smaller. A historical parade of participants in Baroque-style dress winds through the city centre the night before the contest. The Challenge Tournament is held in June, with the Return Game in September.

Admission: free

Infiorate di Spello (Flower Carpet Festival)
June 22 – 23
Spello

The streets of Spello are decorated with religious decorations and stunning floral designs for this annual religious festival.

Admission: free

Corpus Domini
June 23
Orvieto

Processions in medieval costume and other festivities take place in Orvieto to celebrate the events that led to the building of the town’s cathedral. Celebrations also take place in other Umbrian towns, notably Spello.

Admission: free

Spoleto Festival
June 28 – July 14
Spoleto

This internationally renowned festival of art, theatre, film, ballet, opera and other music takes place in several venues around this lovely hill-town. Tickets for prime events go quickly and accommodation must be booked early.

Admission: many free events, otherwise prices vary

Trasimeno Music Festival
June 29 – July 5
Trasimeno lake

Musicians from around the world descend on Lake Trasimeno for the annual music festival.

Admission: many free events, otherwise prices vary

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July:

Palio delle Contrade (Horse Race)
July 2
Siena

The Palio between Siena’s traditional neighborhoods vies with Venice’s Carnevale as Italy’s premier festival. It’s a breakneck bareback horse race around the dirt-packed main square prefaced by 3 days of parades, trial runs, and heavy partying. The night before the race is a regular bacchanal to which visitors are often welcome.

Admission: The best 150€-to-200€ grandstand seats sell out years in advance. Standing in the center of the piazza is free.

Umbria Jazz
July 12 – 21
Perugia

One of Europe’s largest jazz festivals, held annually since 1973, takes place in venues around the region, but especially Perugia, and attracts a host of local and national performers and many leading international musicians.

Admission: many free events, otherwise prices vary

Settimana Musicale Senese (Senese Music Week)
One week in July or in August
Siena

The Settimana Musicale Senese (Senese music week), put on by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, is one of the summer’s top classical music events, now in its 72nd year.

Admission: Tickets are very reasonably priced at and with reductions for seniors and students under 26.

Trasimeno Blues Festival
Last week of July
Trasimeno lake

Arguably the most important blues festival in Italy, the nearly two-week long festival brings some of the top blues musicians in the world to Umbria. Exhibitions and other events also take place in conjunction with the festival.

Admission: many free events, otherwise prices vary

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August:

Palio delle Contrade (Horse Race)
August 16
Siena

An encore of Siena’s famous horse race. This edition is marginally more prestigious, and even more crowded.

Admission: The best 150€-to-200€ grandstand seats sell out years in advance. Standing in the center of the piazza is free.

Palio dei Terzieri
August 12 – 25
Città della Pieve

Ancient disputes between the three sectors of Città della Pieve are played out in archery competitions for this annual festival. Renaissance-style theatre and music performances, as well as plenty of food and drink, draw the crowds to Città della Pieve

Admission: free

Crossbow Palio St Rufino
August 29 – 31
Assisi

Taking place on the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday of August, the Palio St-Rufino is a traditional competition between the crossbowmen of Assisi. The city’s three Terzieri factions San Francesco, San Rufino & Dive Marie compete for the prized “Drappo”, painted by a local artist. The Palio is followed by a procession in period costume, banquet and celebrations.

Bravio delle Botti (Barrel Race)
August 25
Montepulciano

This is something akin to a medieval fraternity stunt. Teams of poliziani (the name for local residents) dress like their 14th-century ancestors in order to be the first to roll a 79kg (175-lb.) barrel uphill to the top of town. Come for the pageantry and feasting afterward

Admission: free

Todi Festival
August 24 – September 1
Todi

As Todi has become increasingly chic and popular, so its arts festival, now in its 28th year, has assumed a higher profile. It combines art exhibitions and seminars with opera, orchestral and other musical events from mostly local and regional performers.

Admission: some free events, otherwise prices vary

Festival delle Nazioni
August 25 – September 7
Città di Castello

This acclaimed international festival of chamber music is in its 47th year and takes place in churches and other venues around the northern Umbria town of Città di Castello.

Admission: tickets from €10/£8.30

Palio dei Balestrieri (Crossbow Competition)
August 31 – September 8
Sansepolcro

Sansepolcro gets the home-turf advantage in part two of the medieval crossbow competition with Umbrian rival Gubbio.

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September:

Giostra del Saracino (Saracen Joust)
First Sunday in September
Arezzo

This jousting tournament is between mounted knights in 13th-century armor and the effigy of a Saracen warrior. It’s held on Arezzo’s main square and is one of the few versions of this sport in which the target, which swivels and is armed with a whip, actually hits back.

Panicale Pan Opera Festival
September 5 – 22
Panicale (PG)

Prose, music and especially opera have always resonated among the walls of the Panicale castle, a fascinating village along the Trasimeno Lake, where theatre has been living and flourishing since the 17th century. Therefore, also this year, the Cesare Caporali Theatre is going to host the Pan Opera Festival, from the 5th to the 22nd September.

The festival, devoted to the great opera, will see the chamber opera as its favourite repertoire.

Admission: tickets from € 15

Sagra Musicale Umbra (Umbria Music Festival)
September 7 – 22
Perugia and various places in Umbria

Sagra Musicale Umbra is an event that combines music and spirit. It is one of the most ancient festival of Europe dating back to 1937, and one of the most important in Umbria. The tireless research of the combination between spirituality and music spurs the organizations to look each year for more suggestive places in order to evoke in the listener the sacred sense deriving from the combination of architecture, music and sacred art. This festival is, and has been for years, fundamental for the promotion of Perugia’s artistic patrimony.
Admission: tickets from € 7/10
The “Giostra della Quinta” – The Revenge
September 14 & 15
Foligno
The Quintana is an ancient challenge, an exciting race mixing performance and competition, and is taking place on the 14th and 15th September in Foligno with the Revenge Carousel. After the June appointment, live again the 1600 atmosphere and let yourself be carried away by the enthusiasm wrapping the city since the days preceding the much awaited competition, when in the “Games Field” the knights of the ten districts of the town face each other by showing high skills and ability. Each rider, riding his own horse, tries to thread with its lance the ring hanging to the statue of the Quintana, located at the centre of an eight-shaped itinerary, in a race including three shifts: in each shift the diameter’s size of the ring decreases, so to get increasingly narrower.

Perugia Flower Show
September 21 – 23
Perugia

Perugia Flower Show, market exhibition of rare and unusual plants, returns on 21 and 22 September 2019 to the Giardini del Frontone in Perugia. The “Winter” edition will come with the best exhibitors on the national territory, to spend with the numerous visitors two days of fun and learning on the theme of nursery gardening and quality gardening. Many side activities will involve young and old in gardening courses, creative demonstrations, educational workshops

Gubbio Middle Age Festival
September 25 – 29
Gubbio

A great cultural event, a unique event of its kind: five days of free admission meetings with historians, writers, scientists, philosophers and journalists to tell ten centuries of history, from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the discovery of America .

I Primi d’Italia
September 27 – 29
Foligno

Pasta, rice, soups, gnocchi, polenta and many other agricultural and food excellences are once again the protagonists of the new edition of “I Primi d’Italia”, the most tasty culinary marathon in Italy that takes place in Foligno from 27 to 29 September.

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October:

Festa di San Francesco
October 3-4
Assisi

Umbria’s largest religious festival draws pilgrims and religious leaders from across Italy and beyond. As well as religious events, October 4 sees a procession in medieval costume to the Basilica di San Franceso, and on the following day a large market and fair, La Fiera di San Francesco, takes place in Assisi’s streets.

Admission: Free

Eurochocolate
October 18 – 27
Perugia

A much-anticipated festival in celebration of chocolate. Over the course of nine days, Perugia hosts cooking lessons, tastings, exhibitions, awards and more based on chocolate.

Admission: Free

Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco (White Truffle Fair)
Last week of October
Gubbio

The world’s most expensive form of edible fungus, highly prized by food connoisseurs, is the centerpiece of Gubbio’s annual agricultural fair.