Festivals & Events
Historical & Traditional Festivals, Famous Italian Opera Houses
Cortona - Annual Tuscan Sun Festival
An annual music and lifestyle festival that presents concerts by world-renowned classical musicians in the intimate setting of Cortona’s baroque theatre, while ballet and opera galas are performed under the stars in the piazza. The evening’s musical programme is balanced with daytime events including cooking demonstrations, cheese-making, art workshops, historic walking tours, discussions and readings with literary figures, tai chi, wellness talks and demonstrations, art exhibitions, wine tasting, film screenings and lunches.
Cortona - Festa della Bistecca
The sagra (festival) featuring the local, and (tasty!) specialty – beef steak.
Florence - Explosion of the Cart / Scoppio del Carro
At noon a dove descends on a wire from the high altar of the cathedral and starts a large firework display from a cart celebrating the liberation of St. Sepolcro from the infidels.
Florence - Festa del Grillo / Cricket Festival
This festival takes place on the Sunday after Ascension day in May in Cascine Park and stallholders sell crickets in tiny woven straw cages, which are traditionally released by their new owners in the park for good luck.
Florence - Maggio Musicale/ Musical May
The city’s major arts festival lasting until early June, with concerts by the Orchestra Regionale Toscano includes ballet and dance performances.
Naples - Neapolis Rock Festival
Many top international acts perform at this midsummer festival. Located to the west of Naples, near to the beach at Arenile di Bagnoli Neapolitan Song Contest – beginning of September, this contest at Piedigrotta in Naples includes fireworks. Feast of San Gennaro – September 19th, celebration of the saint in Naples.
Naples - Feast of St. Anne
A torch-lit procession on Ischia Island, with hundreds of boats, transformed into floats to honour the island’s patron saint.
Milan - Teatro alla Scala
As one of the oldest Opera Houses in Italy, the theatre was built in the 18th century to replace the Ducal Theatre which burnt down two years prior. The theatre opened on August 3rd, 1778 with Antonio Salieri, L’Europa Riconosciuta. It was badly damaged during the Second World War but continued on. It has seen the likes of many talented singers, musicians, dancers and of course composers Verdi being the most recognized. In the 21st century the Theatre was closed for renovations and it later re-opened December 7, 2004 again with Saleri’s Opera L’Europa Riconsciuta.
Rome - Teatro dell’Opera
The opera house was built in eighteen months, on the site where the house of Heliogabalus stood in ancient times. It was inaugurated on November 27, 1880 with a performance of Semiramide by Gioachino Rossini. The theatre was closed from 1926 as it was sold. The owner renovated the whole structure and re-open on February 27, 1928 with a performance of Nerone. Over the course of a century and many seasons a succession of celebrated Directors and world renowned singers have performed at the Teatro dell’Opera: including Caruso, Maria Callas, Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti.
Venice - Teatro La Fenice
On November 1, 1789 a competition was published to the public for the design of the Opera House. The Theatre was inaugurated a couple of years later on May 16, 1792. The interior, artwork and frescoes made it glorious for the eyes, while the acoustics made it pleasing to the ears. Its unique proximity to the water made it a welcome locale for Venetian and European aristocrats alike. The venue was destroyed by fire twice. Once in 1886 and then again recently in 2003 and has been fully restored and is operational today.
Verona - Arena di Verona
The third largest amphitheater it was built by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. to house entertainment such as gladiator spectacles. During Medieval times it was used to house jousting tournaments. Since 1913 the arena had become the most important open-air theatre in the world and can house 22,000 spectators. Open only for the summer season, one of the favorite Operas to see here is Aida.
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