September in Italy: Holidays, Festivals, and Other Events

Festive street in Naples, Italy

September (Settembre) is when you will find food festivals (sagre) dedicated to the flavors of autumn: porcini mushrooms, cinghiale, and more. A number of cities also celebrate their medieval traditions during September. September 19, the feast day of San Gennaro, is a local holiday in Naples.

September in Italy: Holidays, Festivals, and Other Events

MiTo Settembre Musica

A classical music celebration shared by northern Italy’s largest cities Milan and Torino, MiTo Settembre Musica runs for three weeks during September and features performances by symphonies, orchestras, and choirs. The concert calendar usually posts in June.

First Sunday of September – Palio Horse Race in Asti, Piemonte

The city of Asti in Piemonte holds claim to the oldest bareback horserace in Italy, which has been run nearly continuously since the 13th century. The Palio di Asti takes place in September, typically on the first Sunday, but sometimes later in the month.

Mid-September – Giostro della Quintana in Foligno, Umbria

September marks the second edition, or challenge, of Foligno’s twice-yearly jousting tournament, the Giostro della Quintana, an event that was revived in 1946. One of the bigger traditional events in Umbria, the Quintana features a Ring Joust and a parade of more than 700 locals dressed in 17th century costumes. See also the listing for June.

Mid-September – Palio Horse Race, Parma

Parma, in Emilia-Romagna, also holds a medieval horse race in September, pitting its five districts against one another. Learn more about the Palio di Parma.

September 19 – Feast of San Gennaro, Napoli and environs

Saint Januarius, known in Italian as San Gennaro, is the principal patron saint of Naples and he is celebrated each year on September 19, the alleged day of his martydom in the 4th century. This day is also one of three days throughout the year when the faithful go to Naples Cathedral to witness the liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro. The Festa di San Gennaro is a local holiday, meaning that schools and businesses are closed.

Quick Guide to Dates in September: Anniversaries, Events, Births, and Deaths

September 1

  • Birth of art patron Scipione Borghese (1577)
  • Birth of Vittorio Gassman (1922)

September 4

  • Feast Day of Rose of Viterbo
  • End of the Western Roman Empire (476)

September 5

  • Feast Day of Mother Teresa
  • Birth of Goffredo Mameli (1827), author of the Italian National Anthem (Inno D’Italia)
  • Cassius Clay wins boxing gold at the Olympic Games in Rome (1960)

September 6

September 7

  • Roman soldiers led by Emperor Titus plunder Jerusalem (70)
  • Birth of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791), the “people’s poet” of Rome

September 8

  • Feast Day of the Nativity of Mary
  • Birth of Bernardino of Siena (1380)
  • Birth of Caterina of Bologna (1413)
  • Birth of soprano Giuseppina Strepponi (1815), muse and second wife of Giuseppe Verdi
  • 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocks Calabria, killing between 557-2,500 people (1905)

September 9

  • Birth of Aurelian (214)
  • Birth of Cesare Pavese (1908)

September 10

  • Feast Day of Nicholas of Tolentino
  • Death of Federico da Montefeltro (1482)
  • Nazi German troops begin their occupation of Rome (1943)
  • Abebe Bikila wins the marathon, bare footed, at the Olympic Games in Rome (1960)

September 11

  • Birth of naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522)
  • Death of Beatrice Cenci (1599), young noblewoman condemned for murdering her abusive father

September 13

  • Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus is dedicated on Rome’s Capitoline Hill (509 B.C.)
  • Death of Titus (81)
  • Birth of Cesare Borgia (1475), an inspiration for Machiavelli’s The Prince
  • Michelangelo begins working on his statue of David (1501)
  • Death of artist Andrea Mantegna (1506)
  • Birth of composer Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583)
  • Death of writer Italo Svevo (1928)
  • Death of mountaineer Walter Bonatti (2011)

September 14

  • Domitian becomes Emperor of the Roman Empire following the death of his brother Titus (81)
  • Death of Dante Alighieri (1321)
  • Birth of Renzo Piano (1937)

September 15

  • Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows
  • Birth of Ettore Bugatti (1881), founder of Bugatti
  • Birth of Umberto II (1904), known as the “May King” for his reign of 34 days prior to Italy becoming a republic
  • Birth of cyclist Fausto Coppi (1919)

September 17

  • Feast Day of Roberto Bellarmine
  • Birth of Ranuccio II Farnese (1630), Duke of Parma
  • Death of Tobias Smollett, author of Travels Through France and Italy
  • Birth of mountaineer Reinhold Messner (1944), Bressanone/Brixen-born mountaineer who made the first solo ascent of Mount Everest

September 18

  • Birth of Trajan (53)
  • Domitian assassinated, Nerva declared emperor (96)
  • Birth of actor Rossano Brazzi (1916), star of Three Coins in the Fountain

September 19

  • Feast Day of San Gennaro
  • Birth of Antoninus Pius (86)
  • Death of Italo Calvino (1985)

September 20

  • The capture of Rome by the Bersaglieri completes the unification of Italy (1870)
  • Birth of Sophia Loren (1934)

September 21

  • Death of Virgil (19 B.C.)
  • Birth of Girolamo Savonarola (1452)
  • Birth of Maurizio Catellan (1960), controversial artist who sculpted the famous Dita middle finger statue in Milan

September 22

  • Death of artist Alessandro Allori (1607)
  • Birth of Andrea Bocelli (1958)

September 23

  • Feast Day of Padre Pio
  • Birth of Augustus (63 B.C.)
  • Death of Vincenzo Bellini (1835)
  • Birth of Paolo Rossi (1956)

September 24

  • Birth of Vitellius (15)
  • Death of Poliziano (1494)

September 25

September 26

  • Death of actress Anna Magnani (1973)

September 27

  • Birth of Lorenzo Cherubini, aka Jovanotti (1966)
  • Birth of Francesco Totti (1976)

September 28

  • Death of Pompey (48 B.C.)
  • Birth of Marcello Mastroianni (1924), notable actor who starred in La Dolce Vita

September 29

  • Birth of Pompey (106 B.C.)
  • Birth of Enrico Fermi (1901)
  • Birth of director Michelangelo Antonioni (1912)
  • Birth of Anita Ekberg (1931), the actress who waded in the Trevi Fountain in the film La Dolce Vita
  • Birth of Silvio Berlusconi (1936)

September 30

  • Feast Day of Saint Jerome
  • Birth of Monica Bellucci (1964)