On August 15th Italy celebrates a public holiday known as ‘Ferragosto‘ that dates back to 18 BC, when the Roman emperor Augustus introduced the ‘Feriae Augusti‘ (Emperor Augustus’ festivity) to connect the many festivals that took place during the month of August to celebrate the harvest, and also to provide a longer period of rest after a time of intense agricultural labor. Well over 2000 year later, the whole country still considers this day the height of the summer and most Italians take their summer vacation around this time.

Many are the traditions related to this special day of the year: beach games, water balloons, bonfires, dances, horse races, and fireworks. As every year, many spectacular fireworks shows are planned throughout the country, either to welcome or to conclude Ferragosto. Some of the best ones are expected to be seen on Lombardy’s lakes in Gravedona ed Uniti (CO), in Castro (BG), and in Limone sul Garda (BS) on August 14th and in Derivio (LC) on the 15th. In Piedmont, in Val d’Ossola, on the 14th, there will be the grand finale of ‘Vette d’artificio’, a festival of fireworks displayed with music. In Padua, the fireworks show will take place in Prato della Valle, on the night of August 15th; on the same night near Venice, it will be possible to enjoy fireworks on the sea in Bibione and in Cavallino Treporti. While on the 14th, on the beach of Marina di Carrara the fireworks will be shot to the sound of music.

Ferragosto 2018 also boasts an interesting cultural offer with many museums offering discounted rates and free tickets to welcome tourists, as well as locals, in the cradles of Italy’s cultural heritage on this usually hot day. From the ‘MAXXI’ in Rome with its bouquet of twelve exhibitions and the many special projects, to the guided tour to the discovery of the hidden side of the ‘Museo Egizio’ in Turin, from ‘Gallerie d’Italia’ in Milan to Venice’s ‘Musei Civici’, art lovers will be spoiled for choice.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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