Buon Ferragosto from Filippo Berio!

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Buon Ferragosto from Filippo Berio!

BUON FERRAGOSTO from Filippo Berio!

The 15th of August is known as Ferragosto’ in Italy, and is a time when the whole of Italy, or so it seems, stops work to celebrate.

Ferragosto’ is a holiday with roots in both the ancient and the Christian world, Feriae Augusti’ having first been introduced by the Emperor Augustus in 18 BC. The holiday originally lasted for all or most of August and was a viewed as a rest from the hard work of the harvest just been. Though it is no longer a month-long holiday, it’s common for Italians to take two weeks off work and spend them at the beach or with family.

These days Ferragosto’ is Assumption Day, with Christians celebrating the assumption of the Virgin Mary and many towns across Italy celebrate with communal fairs, fireworks and dancing.

A few Ferragosto celebrations not to be missed¦

v   Sagra del Tortello, Melo – Cutigliano (Tuscany) “ A Pasta festival held in Pistoia.

v   Palio del Mare, Alassio (Liguria) “ Boats lit with candles are sent out to sea, followed by a firework display.

Palio delle Contrade, Garda (Lombardy) “ A yearly horse race celebrated alongside a fishing regatta and a parade of locals in historical costumes.

 But take care, if you find yourself on a beach on the 15th then prepare for a few pranks!

Another Ferragosto tradition “ popular with the young “ is that of throwing buckets of water over unsuspecting members of the public! Don’t worry though, it should all be done and dusted by 12 noon like our own April Fool’s day.

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