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What better way to immerse yourself in the country’s culture than by experiencing some of the spectacular festivals and events Italy has to offer? Whether it’s venetian masquerade balls, tickets to the opera or an A.C. Milan football match, here at Citalia we can make it happen. 

Wine lovers will love attending the Chianti Classico Expo, held in Greve, Tuscany. This is wine tasting with a difference. The piazza is full of booths offering wines for your appraisal, all you have to do is buy a ticket and a wine glass. Alternatively, if your tastes are more musical, one of our many opera breaks could be for you. Experience the jewel of the opera season at the Arena di Verona and enjoy pieces by some of the most famous composers in Italy.  

Palio di Siena

The most famous horse race in the world pulls in huge crowds to Siena twice every summer (early July and mid-August). The Palio di Siena – simply known as Il Palio – dates back to medieval times and is taken very, very seriously by locals. 

Twice a year, 10 horses and jockeys representing the different districts in town compete in this 90-second turn around the Piazza del Campo – and things get very competitive. Celebrations don’t stick to the square, either, thanks to the different neighbourhoods dressing up in full regalia for the pre-race pageant. 

Find out more about the race itself, or take a look at our Palio di Siena short break.  

Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival is one of the most spectacular celebrations on the planet. In the week leading up to Ash Wednesday (usually February), Venetians and enthusiastic visitors throw on elaborate costumes and congregate in St. Mark’s Square for parades and parties.

The masquerade balls are the biggest draw, featuring dinner, dancing and entertainment straight out of the 19th century. Don’t worry if you can’t get the traditional get-up, either – you can hire or buy an outfit in Venice. 

Find out more about the carnival in our beginner's guide, or browse our selection of hotels in Venice.


Ravello Festival

The Ravello Festival is one of the best-loved events in Italy, taking the Amalfi Coast by storm every summer.

Running for around three months, this festival of music and arts was originally a tribute to Wagner, following his visit to the town in the 19th century. Today, it’s a time-perfected tradition with a programme of jazz, art shows, dance, photography and classical concerts.

It all kicks off around Ravello, but the main venue is the spectacular open-air stage at the cliffside Villa Rufolo. You could stay in Ravello itself, but it’s easily accessed from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast too. 

Verona Opera Festival

The crowning jewel of the Italian opera season, Verona’s opera festival runs from mid June until late August or early September, and puts on performances penned by some of the most famous composers in Italy. Held at Arena di Verona, a spectacular first-century Roman amphitheatre, the 2019 festival will showcase the likes of Carmen and Aida.

Find out more about the festival or take a look at our Verona Opera Break for a ready-made itinerary. 

Opera breaks

Our opera breaks help you experience one of Italy’s great passions in its most famous cities. Reserve seats with us to see works by masters like Verdi, Bellini and Puccini in world-famous opera houses (think Milan’s La Scala and Teatro La Fenice in Venice). Tempted? Find out more about our Italian opera breaks.

Puccini Opera Festival

The Puccini Opera Festival is held in honour of one of Tuscany’s most famous sons – composer Giacomo Puccini. Staged each summer in Torre del Lago’s Gran Teatro all’Aperto, the 65th edition lasts from 12 July to 24 August 2019. Madama Butterfly, Tosca and La Bohème are all on the line-up. 

Andrea Bocelli Concerts

For the last 12 years, opera singer Andrea Bocelli has held court at the open-air Teatro del Silenzo just outside Lajatico. The rural locale might seem like an obscure spot, but it’s no accident – Bocelli was born among these Tuscan hills. 

Verdi Gala

Parma practically has a year-long roster of concerts dedicated to the locally born composer Verdi. It all comes to a head on 10 October each year, when the grand Teatro Regio puts on a night-long gala to celebrate his birthday.

UEFA Champions League and Serie A

Fancy seeing some of the top football clubs in the world battle it out? We can help you find UEFA Champions League tickets for your holiday. Italian players are among the top dogs in the competition, so the atmosphere is electric at the home games. Meanwhile, Serie A is the Premier League of Italian football. Juventus F.C, A.C Milan and Inter Milan are among the superstar clubs that start play every August. 

Stresa Festival

Classical music and jazz are the order of the day at the Stresa Festival. It’s celebrating its 58th birthday in 2019, with past events showcasing everything from jazz and mariachi bands to full orchestras and string quartets. The venues dot themselves around Lake Maggiore in Piedmont. One of the best backdrops? The extravagant gardens of Loggia del Cashmere on Isola Madre

Umbria Jazz Festival

For 10 days in July, Perugia in Umbria becomes a global music village as hordes of music lovers take to the cobblestone streets to experience one of the world’s best jazz festivals. Performances pop up across town in piazzas, gardens, wine bars and the Arena Santa Giuliana.

Chianti Classico Expo

The annual Chianti Classico wine tasting expo takes place in Greve, Tuscany, in September. The event involves buying a wine glass along with a ticket that allows you to taste wines at the booths set around the piazza. You’ll have the chance to buy the wines, too, so we recommend testing as many as possible!

Luminara di San Ranieri

Head to Pisa for one of the most romantic events in Tuscany. The Luminara di San Ranieri is a candlelight festival, taking place every year on 16 June. A few thousand candle lanterns known as lumini are placed all over the city and along the River Arno, while fireworks fill the sky.

Call our Italy Experts on 01293 733479* to book tickets and plan your holiday.