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Festivals and Holidays in Tuscany

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The uniqueness of every Tuscan province is seen not only in landscapes and architecture, but also in different traditions, tournaments, festivals, holidays.

The costume performances which revive medieval traditions are especially interesting. Many Tuscan cities and towns, for example, Siena, Arezzo, Pistoia, Pisa, etc. invite to take part in them.

It is worth drawing your attention to fests of food. Many Tuscan cities and towns are famous for some unique recipe. Feasts and fairs are often held in honor of the traditional dish. The most well-known example is the San Miniato white truffle fair.

Tuscany invites you to festivals and holidays all year round.

January – February

  • On January, 6 the Feast of the Three Kings (the Italian name is Epiphany) is celebrated all over Italy. The Cavalcade of  the Magi is held in Florence.
  • Viareggio. The Carnival of Satire is held in January – February, or February – March. The date changes every year, as it is connected with the date of Easter. The last day of the Carnival is the first day of the Lent.
  • Florence. The fair of chocolate is held in January or February.



  • Siena. The Medieval Fair.



  • Florence. The traditional performance with the “explosion of the cart” and fireworks is held on Easter Sunday.
  • Florence. The festival “Great people of Florence” opens at the end of April and closes in the middle of July.



  • Massa Marittima. The crossbow competition is held on the fourth Sunday of May.
  • Scarperia. Last May Sunday, Infiorata, the festival of flowers.
  • Cortona. The end of May and the first July Sunday, the medieval week and the Archer Tournament.



  • Pisa. June, 16, celebrations in honor of the patron saint of the city, “Luminara di San Ranieri”; June, 17, the sailing race“Regata di San Ranieri”; the last Sunday of June, the battle on the bridge in historic costumes.
  • Arezzo. The third Saturday of June, the Saracen Tournament.
  • Florence.The 19th, the 24th, and the 28th of June, the Historical football.
  • Marina di Pietrasanta. The Versiliana Festival.



  • Siena. July, 2, the Palio race.
  • Monteriggioni. The first and second July weekend, the Medieval festival of «Monteriggioni Wears a Crown of Towers»
  • Lajatico. The middle of July, the concert of the most popular modern tenor, Andrea Bocelli.
  • Montecatini Terme. The middle of July, the film festival “Film Video”.
  • Pistoia. July, 25, the Bear Tournament.
  • Torre del Lago. July- August, the opera festival “Pucchiniano”.
  • Volterra. The end of July – the beginning of August, “Volterra Jazz” festival.
  • Barga. Jazz Festival.



  • Cortona. The beginning of August, the Tuscan Sun Festival.
  • Massa Marittima. The second Sunday of August, the crossbow competition.
  • Follonica. August, 15, the sea fireworks.
  • Siena. August, 16. the Palio race.
  • Forte dei Marmi. August, 28, the feast in honor of Ermete, the patron saint of the city.
  • Montepulciano. The last Sunday of August, the Barrel Rolling "Bravio delle Botti".



  • The Elba island. The beginning of September, the “Elba, Musical Island of Europe” International Festival.
  • Scarperia. The beginning of September, the medieval festival.
  • Arezzo. The first Sunday of September, the Saracen Tournament.



  • Montalcino. The last October Sunday, the Archery Tournament.
  • Lucca. The end of October – the beginning of November, the International Tournament “Lucca comics and games”.



  • San Miniato.The last three weekends of November, the fair of white truffles.
  • Siena. The Medieval Fair.
  • Florence. The beginning or the middle of November, the International Documentary Film Festival, “Festival dei Popoli”.



  • The 25th of December, Christmas.
  • The 31st of December, New Year.

Viareggio Carnival

The Viareggio Carnival, which dates back to 1873, is the main festive event in Tuscany. The carnival is held at the beginning of the year, before the Catholic Lent. Pageants are held during three weekends, as well as on the so-called “Fat Tuesday”.

Palio in Siena

A horse race, known all over the world as the Palio, is held twice a year in the Tuscan city of Siena. The Palio competition lasts eight days, from the 29th of June till the 2nd of July, and from the 13th of August till the 16th of August. The second of July and the sixteenth of August are the official dates of the feast.
Luminara di San Ranieri - Pisa

Festival in Honor of St Ranieri in Pisa

Every year, in the middle of July, there is a festival in honor of its saint patron, San Ranieri, in Pisa, one of the most famous cities in Tuscany.

Bear Tournament in Pistoia

The main holiday in the city of Pistoia, located in Tuscany, Italy, is held annually on the 25th of July. The so-called “Bear Tournament” (Italian: Giostra dell' Orso) takes place on this day.

Crossbow Competition in Massa Marittima

The crossbow competition in Massa Marittima is one of the brightest, most unforgettable events which revive the history of Tuscany. The Italian name for the holiday is “Balestro del Girifalco”.
The Saracen Tournament in Arezzo

Saracen Tournament in Arezzo

The so-called Saracen Tournament, “Giostra del Saracino”, is organized in Arezzo annually. It is held on the third Saturday of June and on the first Sunday of September. The Saracen Tournament has a long history. The contest held on the 6th of August, 1535 is mentioned in the old papers of Arezzo.

Historical Football in Florence

The rules of historical football differ greatly from the modern ones. The most remarkable difference is the number of players. Teams of 27 people come to the football field by the Santa Croce Cathedral. The game lasts 50 minutes.
Scoppio del Carro - Florence

Easter in Florence

Easter in Florence involves the old tradition of the “Scoppio del Carro”. The name of the ceremony is translated in a rather unusual way, “the explosion of the cart”. The colorful ceremony has a long history dating back to the times of the first Crusade.

Monteriggioni Wears a Crown of Towers

The long Tuscan list of medieval festivals includes an important one held at the ancient town of Monteriggioni. This is the festival called «Monteriggioni di Torri si Corona» which means Monteriggioni wears a crown of towers.For the first time, the festival of «Monteriggioni di Torri si Corona» was held in the year of 1991. However, in no time it turned to be one of the best medieval feasts of Italy.

Archer Tournament and The Medieval Week in Cortona

Every year, on the first Sunday of June, the Archer tournament is held in the old town of Cortona. In Italian its name sounds like «Giostra dell'Archidado». This feast is the main event and the festive final of the week of medieval culture. At the end of May, Cortona gets its medieval look again.

Barrel Rolling in Montepulciano

The historic festival is held in the tiny Tuscan town of Montepulciano on the last August Sunday. The contest named Bravio delle Botti culminates the feast. The race starts only in the evening; colorful ceremonies, festive dinner, and historic parade with standard bearers and drummers precede it. The bell rings at 19 00 to start the competition.
Diotto. Scarperia

Diotto and the Medieval Festival in Scarperia

A small town of Scarperia becomes much more livable in September. Starting with the first Sunday of September, a number of events take place here. Held on September, 8, Diotto is the main one among them.

Flower Festival in Scarperia

The small Tuscan town of Scarperia literally busts into blossom on the last Sunday of May. The flower festival named Infiorata is held here for one day from ten o’clock in the morning till ten o’clock at night. Streets and squares of the center of the town are covered with flower pictures. Flower beds are made from petals, buds and leaves. Mostly they are carnations. The day before it, town volunteers, students, and traders patiently collect them preparing “colors” for prospective masterpieces.
Volterra AD 1398

Medieval Festival in Volterra

Every year on the third and the fourth Sunday of August old Volterra invites guests to the unique Volterra AD 1398 medieval festival, «Giornata di Festa nell’Anno Domini 1398». This festival is a richly decorated and diverse in contents historic reconstruction. Though the official dates of the festival are only two Sundays, in reality the holiday occupies much more time.
Astiludio - Volterra

Festival of flags “Astiludio” in Volterra

Old Volterra invites to the festival of flags “Astiludio” on the first Sunday of September.The colorful festival alludes to the historic events of the XV century. On the 18th of October 1406 two couriers arrived in Volterra with the news that the Florentine troops had triumphed over the Pisans a couple of days before, on the 9th of October. At that time Volterra was an ally of Florence, so the news was taken jubilantly.

Races in Casole d’Elsa

The Palio Races in honor of St Isidora (Palio di San Isidoro) are held every year on the second Sunday of July in a small town of Casole d’Elsa.Visiting Casole d’Elsa while the Palio di San Isidoro races, you’ll fully feel the Italian hot temper, get acquainted with interesting traditions and enjoy the astonishing beauty of the Elsa river valley.

Festival of the Thrush in Montalcino

The festival of the thrush, Sagra del Tordo, is held in the old Tuscan town of Montalcino on the last October weekend. Most often, the word «sarga» refers to gastronomic festivals in Italy which are dedicated to some specific food or dish typical for the area. On the Sagra del Tordo festival, according to its name, you can try the specialty. However, it’s not only culinary secrets of cooking thrushes that makes essence of this feast. «Sarga del Tordo» is a medieval festival.

White Truffle Festival in San Miniato

The White Truffle Festival (Mercato del Bianco Tartufo di San Miniato) is organized annually in the town of San Miniato located in Tuscany, Italy. The event is held on three last weekends of November. Tuscany has a long tradition of one product festivals called sagra. A town or a village, known for its gastronomic traditions, holds a fest dedicated to the local delicacy.
Teatro del Silenzio

Concert of Andrea Bocelli in Lajatico

The Concert of Andrea Bocelli in Lajatico is organized just once a year, in the middle of summer. The concerts are held at the amphitheater “Teatro del Silenzio”, which means “The Theater of Silence”. The name is symbolical, as just once a year it receives musicians and viewers.


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The Festival of the Thrush in Montalcino 2012
The festival of the thrush or Sagra del Tordo is held in the old Tuscan town of Montalcino on the last October weekend. Thousands of tourists go to Montalcino while the festival. If you want to see the festival of the thrush, you should take care of accommodation in Montalcino in advance. It’s better to come a bit earlier for the festival. On the day of the competition, you will have to leave your car far away in the valley and walk a couple of kilometers up. Don’t forget to ask your landlords to help you buy tickets for the ceremonial dinner and the tournament.
Tuscany: Gastronomic Festivals in October
Towns and villages of Tuscany hold various gastronomic festivals regularly from May to October. These events are dedicated to some product or dish typical for this area. Usually such festivals are organized on days-off. Sometimes they last for a couple of weekends. Fairs are often combined with diverse entertainment program. The October of 2011 offers a number of gastronomic events in Tuscany.
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