Tag Archive for summer

What’s On in Italy: August 2008

Lots of summer festivals are winding up this month. Then, after Ferragosto on August 15, most Italians head for the hills…or the beach. Stay tuned for a full slate of fall events beginning next month. Puccini Festival. This festival in Torre del Lago (near Lucca, Tuscany) is a must for opera buffs. It runs through August 23. A Palio or…


Gone are the days when you needed a gettone, or token, to make a phone call in Italy. In fact, Italians have been using cell phones since way before they became “necessities” for Americans.

Thanks to locked phones, roaming restrictions, and myriad other technological and corporate roadblocks, it has always been hard – and outrageously expensive – to use an American cell phone abroad. But this summer, TravelCell, an international cell phone service and rental company, is making it easier for travelers to Italy and a 150 other countries by offering free incoming calls and 50% off cell phone rental fees.

Another feature that we like is that TravelCell offers permanent international numbers for frequent travelers. So if you’re going back and forth to Rome for business – and, who isn’t? – this could be a reasonable way for family and business associates to stay in touch.

And, just so it doesn’t seem like we’re playing cell phone favorites, we should mention a couple of cell phone companies that we recommend in the Unofficial Guide to Central Italy. Check out companies cellularabroad.com and telestial.com, for their latest rates and deals.

What’s On in Italy: July 2008

As we noted today in an earlier post, tomorrow, July 2, will be the first of this year’s Palio races in Siena. But, that’s not all that’s happening in Italy this month. Here’s the rundown: Music and Performance Festivals: Roma Estate 2008 continues with various music, comedy, and sports events. Throughout July, Rome will also hold the Rome Jazz Festival in…


Sorry, folks – we missed Italy’s first big event of June, Republic Day on June 2. (Guess these warm summer days had us daydreaming!) But, there are still plenty of other events to catch this month. Notice, too, that from now on we’re going to differentiate our “What’s On” monthly posts with the year, even though June 2008’s calendar looks very similar to June 2007. We hope this will be helpful to all of you.

Roma Estate 2008: This year’s installment of of Rome’s summer festival, which includes outdoor concerts, theater performances, sporting events, and more, will begin tomorrow, June 5, and run through August 10. Admission is free from Sunday to Thursday and €6 on the weekend.

Giotto’s Heritage, Florence: The works of one of Italy’s best known pre-Renaissance painters Giotto will be curated into a special exhibit in the Uffizi from June 10 until November 2. According to the Italian Tourism Board, “this exhibit aims to document the artistic developments of a period lesser known to the public.”

Music Festivals: Spoleto’s world famous Festival dei Due Mondi begins its 51st edition on June 27 and runs through July 13. As always, the festival will feature opera, ballet, and musical performances from some of the best Italian and international acts. The Opera Festival of Verona, itself a famed festival because of its setting in the city’s ancient Arena, will debut on June 20 with Aida, and will also stage the operas Tosca, Nabucco, Carmen, and Rigoletto during its run through August 31. Other big musical events this month include the Sanremo Festival in Liguria; the Heineken Jammin’ Festival in Venice, which will feature such acts as Linkin Park and The Police; Bruce Springsteen at Milan’s San Siro Stadium on June 25; and the Gods of Metal Tour featuring Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest, and others in Bologna June 27-29.

Genzano Flower Festival: The Infiorata of Genzano takes place June 14-16. For a preview of the flowers, food, and festivities, check out this video from the 2006 Festival.

Medieval Pageantry: The annual Regata of the Martime Republics (which included Genoa, Venice, Amalfi, and Pisa) will be held this year in Amalfi on June 8. Though this boat race has only been in existence since the 1950s, a procession leading up to the regata features locals in medieval dress. Tuscany’s main medieval events – the Giostro del Saracino in Arezzo and the Gioco del Ponte in Pisa – will take place on June 21 and June 29, respectively. Further, San Gimignano, which is the poster-child for medieval Tuscany, will hold its Medieval Festival June 13-15. Finally, the Umbrian town of Foligno’s Giostro della Quintana, which is similar to the joust tournament in Arezzo, takes place on June 13-14 (and again on the same dates in September).

And more! Check out the Italian Tourism Board’s website or local tourism board websites for more information on events. You can also check out Whatsonwhen.com for events in Italy and around the world.