For Italians, August is one of the best months of the year – a time for vacation, family and friends!
August 15 or Ferragosto is the day when almost everyone in Italy takes a holiday.
It is a day away from work, and the week around Ferragosto is usually celebrated as well, with concerts, outdoor festivals and food… Well, let’s say that Ferragosto is a bit like Christmas in summer!
Why Italians celebrate this random day in the middle of the summer?
It is an ancient tradition: Ferragosto, the Italian name for the holiday, comes from the Latin “Feriae Augusti”: Emperor Augustus created a holiday, “festivals of Augustus” (18 BC) to celebrate the end of work in the fields. It was time to relax after the hard work in the middle of summer. On this day, he would organize horse races all across the Roman Empire. The Siena Palio, which takes place on August 16th, keeps these traditions alive.
But there is also a Catholic reason : August 15 is also Assumption Day, the day when Virgin Mary ascended to heaven.
If you feel like celebrating with Italians, no matter where you are, you can celebrate this day taking a trip, going to the beach, swimming at midnight, planning a picnic or barbecue and watching the fireworks!
However, unlike many other public holidays, a large number of museums and cultural sites remain open. So it’s an excellent time to visit major attractions such as the Colosseum, in Rome, or other museums in Italy.
Do you want receive other Italian curiosities or news? Subscribe to our newsletter.