Festivals and Events in Tuscany

Tuscany has a full calendar of festivals throughout the year. Here you will find information and a description of the events, with links to their websites where available...

Local tourist offices are a good source of information on events and festivals happening in the area.

Below find information on festivals in Arezzo, Florence, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena.

Festivals in Arezzo

Giostra del Saracino: The Joust of the Saracen competition dates back to the fourteenth century. Competitors representing the four ancient quarters of Porta Crucifera, Porta del Foro, Porta Sant'Andrea and Porta di Santo Spirito are chosen in January. Other events include parades, flag-tossing and drumming. The jousting competition is held twice a year in the Piazza Grande. The main event is held on the first Sunday of September and the smaller event on the penultimate Saturday in June.

Village Festival (San Polo Festa Paesana): Markets, activities and musical shows are held in the town square on the last weekend in June.

Chiassa in Festa: Annual village festival with numerous events and entertainment including comedians, children's show and market stands. Held on the last weekend in June.

Capolona in Festa: Music, comedy and theatre shows are organised in Capolona for this festival. There is a closing ceremony on the Sunday evening with prizes for children and a gastronomic gathering. Last weekend in June.

Festivals in Florence

ARTour-o: New artists and performers present their works at venues that include the Hotel Minerva, as well as other locations throughout Florence. Generally this event is held in February or March.

Taste: An event dedicated to Italian food and drink. It provides an opportunity for visitors to taste, buy and experience Italian food and wine. Generally held in March.

World Sacred Music Week: An annual music festival with modern and traditional classical, ethnic and jazz music. It takes place at the end of March or early April. Concerts are performed in the Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence.

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino: The Maggio Music Festival of Florence includes numerous classical music, ballet and opera performances. It begins at the end of April and runs until June.

ART – The Handicrafts Trade Fair: An artistic trade fair dedicated to arts and crafts. Activities are held at the Fortezza da Basso.

  • For the ART website: Click here (in English and Italian)

Il Genio Fiorentino: The Florentine Genius consists of a series of events focusing on the art, fashion, culture, heritage, entertainment and economics of Florence. Events are held across the province for two weeks in mid-May.

Ruralia: This agricultural fair and exhibition is arranged over a three-day weekend at the end of May. Agricultural stands displaying produce and livestock are constructed in Villa Demidoff Park in Pratolino. For further information see the Florence Tourism Office (Azienda per il Turismo di Florence) website.

Terra Futura: A trade fair focused on environmental sustainability and fair trade initiatives. It includes an exhibition to encourage visitors to think about the earth, industry and future environmental issues. Generally it takes place over three days at the end of May.

Toscanello D'Oroa: Held in early June, this event focuses on the wines of the territory with an exhibition and trade fair. It is organised by the Comune of Pontassieve.

Poetry Festival: Part of the Florence summer festival, this event welcomes poets from around the world. It is usually held in the second week in June.

Calcio Storico: Teams representing the ancient districts of Florence gather to play sixteenth century football in Renaissance costume. In general the event is held at the Piazza Santa Croce in mid-June and December.

Oltrarno Street Festival: A music festival with various live performances and shows held in the Piazza della Passera, Oltrarno. During the festival, the shops, cafeterias and restaurants of the piazza and the nearby streets stay open till late evening. The festival runs from the end of June to late July.

Il Mese Mediceo: Theatre festival with performances in various buildings that were owned by the Medici family. Conferences and guided tours are also offered. The festival covers four weeks in June and July.

Dante Ghibellino: A festival of Dante's literature with a convention on literature and historical re-enactments. It is usually held the first weekend in July in San Godenzo.

Italia Wave Love Festival: Originally called the Arezzo Wave Festival, this music event showcases Italian and international rock music talents. It was first held in Arezzo in 1987 and was moved to Sesto Fiorentino, near Florence, in 2007. The festival lasts six days and is held in July.

Diacetum Festival: Held annually in July and August, this is a festival of cinema, music, theatre and dance.

Suoni e Colori in Toscana: A festival with concerts of all types of music and some theatre productions performed by both amateurs and recognised national and international artists. The event is organised by the Comune of Rignano Sul Arno and takes place in August and September.

Festa dell'Arno: A series of guided tours along the banks of the river Arno on foot, bike and horse. This event is organised by the Florence and Empoli councils in early October.

The Festival of Fitness: Five days in October when various sporting events are arranged to promote fitness. Activities include volleyball, aerobics, mountain biking, water sports, dance and martial arts.

Ponte Vecchio Challenge: A golf tournament held in December with 15 competing players from the world of international golf.

Festivals in Grosseto

  • Grosseto Tourist Information

  • Tel
    : 0564 462 611

Festa della Pina: This open-air gastronomic festival is linked to the age-old courting tradition when young maidens looking for a husband gathered under pine trees. It is held in Arcidosso, in the province of Grosseto, at the end of April.

La Festa del Maggio: The May festival reprises Maremma's traditions with folk tales and song, poetry and singing in the Campo della Fiera.

  • For more information on the May festival: Click here (in Italian)

Balestro del Girifalco: A medieval crossbow competition staged in Piazza del Duomo di San Cerbone, Massa Marittima. There is also a medieval procession. The event is held on the fourth Sunday in May and the second Sunday in August.

Palio Marinaro: A sailing competition held in Castiglione della Pescaia. The victors parade along the canal in celebration. It is held on 15 August annually.

Palio Marinaro dell'Argentario: A four-kilometre rowing competition between the four ancient districts of Rioni. Rowers use traditional guzzi boats. There is also a procession in traditional sixteenth century Spanish costume. It is held annually on 15 August at Porto San Stefano.

Palio dei Ciuchi: Roccastrada's town festival with street artists, music and sporting contests is held at the beginning of September and ends on the final Sunday. It includes a donkey race to win the town cup.

  • For the Comune di Roccastrada website: Click here

Festivals in Livorno

Castagneto a Tavola: An arts and food festival with gastronomic events, music, theatre and shows, contests and special evenings hosted by local restaurants. It is organised in late April and early May.

  • For the Comuni di Castagneto Carducci website: Click here (in Italian)

Un Mare di Sapore: A weekend festival in Elba with market stalls offering local seafood to buy and taste, evening dinner and live music. The event is held in late May.

Livorno Boat Races: There are three separate palio boat races in Livorno. The Saint Giulia (patron saint of Livorno) Cup is held in May, the Palio Marinario race takes place in early June and the Palio dell'Antenna in July.

Leggenda dell'innamorata: An annual event based on the legend of a young woman who drowned for love is relived every year on the second weekend in July. The event includes a boat race during the day and in the evening a procession to the torch-lit beach in fourteenth century costume. It takes place in Capoliveri, Elba.

  • For more information about the Leggenda dell'innamorata: Click here (in Italian)

Effetto Venezia: The canals, squares and bridges of Venezia Nuova, in Livorno, are the setting for this festival. There are boat tours, street concerts and performances and market stalls. It is held in July or August.

Elba Jazz International: A relatively new jazz festival held in Marcina Marina, Elba, in July.

Festivals in Lucca

Palio della Balestra per San Paolino: Various events for this festival, including archery and sporting competitions, dancing competitions, music and markets, are held throughout the year.

Viareggio Carnevale: The carnival in Viareggio is nationally and internationally renowned. Hundreds of themed floats parade through the town and children dress up. There are also lots of activities for all ages. Events are scheduled around Easter and on Shrove Tuesday.

European Festival of Music: For five days in June, there are concerts performed in the squares in Lucca city centre.

Summer Festival: Summer live music festival with internationally renowned groups and artists. A programme of concerts covers three weeks in July.

Festival of New Wine: Montecarlo festival organised in early September to celebrate the wine harvest. Wine stalls and wine tasting are available in the town centre.

Luminaria di Santa Croce: Lucca residents in medieval costume parade from San Frediano church to San Martino Cathedral in celebration of the Volto Santo (Holy Vault). The city centre is lit up with lamps, candles and torches. This evening is part of a series of events in the city of Lucca which include the festivals of Santa Croce, San Michele and San Matteo. They all take place in the second week of September.

  • For information on the timetable of events, see Comune di Lucca website: Click here (in Italian)

Lucca di Notte: A night of non-competitive races through Lucca's historical centre streets. The event is arranged around 10 September.

Festivals in Massa Carrara

Quintana Cybea: Five knights representing each of the Camponelli's districts compete to lance the most rings. The victor is presented with a piece of cloth decorated by local artists. There are also markets and music through the weekend. The event takes place the first weekend in August.

The Archery Challenge of Terra and Corte: Dating back to 1572, this archery competition is held annually on 9 September in Fivizzano. Competitors from Terra, the town centre and Corte, the surrounding districts, compete.

Festivals in Pisa

  • Pisa Tourist Office
    Tel
    : 050 929 777

Trofeo Golfistico Copa Città di Pisa: An annual golf tournament organised at the Golf Tirrenia course, which was designed by English architect Ken Cotton. All players are encouraged to compete. The event is held at the end of June.

  • For more information, see the Golf Tirrenia website: Click here

Gioco del Ponte: This event opens with a military parade along the Arno River. Pisan residents from either side of the Arno river dress in Renaissance costume and compete to push a leaden cart over the Ponte di Mezzo bridge onto the opposition's side. It is held on the last Sunday in June.

  • For further information see the Comune di Pisa website: Click here (in Italian)

Music Strada: Organised by musicians and sound engineers in the music business, this event promotes musical culture. It takes place in the month of June throughout the province of Pisa.

Festival Internazionale Teatro Romano: Roman theatre festival held in the months of June and July in Volterra.

Volterra Jazz: A long-established jazz festival usually organised in the month of July.

Palio Città di Bientina: A competition between the 10 districts of the town of Bientina. There is a horse race in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and music and events run into the night. It is held on 15 July annually.

Fiera dei Fischi e delle Campanelle: Local farming festival with musical events, shows, markets and open doors to museums in Pontedera. Events are held for a fortnight in August.

  • For more information, see the Comune di Pontedera website: Click here

San Genesio Festa dei Bambini: A children's festival with balloons, clowns, bouncy castles and activities for children. It takes place annually on 25 August in Cascina Terme.

Settembre Sangiulianese: From the end of August until October, San Giuliano Terme hosts music concerts, literary meetings, theatre and dance shows and contemporary art exhibitions.

Festa Medievale: The residents of Palaia celebrate their heritage with a procession through the town in eleventh to fourteenth century costume. There are also street markets and musical events. This event takes place at the end of September.

Anima Mundi: The festival of sacred music involves various musical performances at venues throughout Pisa, including a recital in Miracle Square. It is held in September and the first week in October.

  • For more information on the Anima Mundi: Click here (in Italian)

Festivals in Pistoia

Il Carnevale di Veneri: This costume carnival has a different theme every year. It is held the week before Lent in Pescia.

Piazza in Fiore: In early April, the centre square of Monsummano Terme is filled with a market of plants and flowers.

Festa dell'Ambiente: The second weekend in May, the Comune of Monsumanno Terme organises various nature-themed activities including guided walks and conferences on the environment. On the Sunday afternoon, there is usually a market of organic food with activities and music for all ages.

Festa della Rificolona: The children of the village carry a traditional torch around the Piazza della Maddalena and singing and music go on through the night. It is held in June in Pescia.

Pistoia Blues Festival: Created in 1980, this Blues music festival is held annually in July. There are open air performances by international artists at various locations around the city.

  • For the Pistoia Blues website: Click here (in Italian)

Giostra dell'Orso: Held annually on 25 July, this folkloric event in Pistoia begins with a medieval parade through the town centre. In the evening, there is a competition between the four neighbourhoods of the town where competitors ride on horseback and hit the bear-shaped target. The winners are presented with the city cup.

  • For more information on this event: Click here (in Italian)

Palio degli Arcieri Pescia: Pescia's archery competition officially opens on the first Saturday in September when the previous year's winners parade along the streets and are presented with the palio prize. On Sunday morning the four archers chosen to represent each district attempt to win the palio.

Festivals in Prato

Ostensione della Sacra Cintola: This religious festival focuses on the girdle of the Virgin Mary. Five times a year the girdle is removed from the Duomo in Prato and shown to crowds of people in the Piazza. There is then a procession led by musicians in Renaissance costume. Events are held 1 May, 15 August, 8 September, 25 and 26 December.

Il volo, il teatro, la luna: A recently created arts and theatre festival that is held for six days in early August in the town of Carmignano.

Festa di San Michele e Palio di Ciuchi: Celebrations for Carmignano's patron saint begin on 29 September. The four districts of the town design floats according to a specified theme and meet in the town centre. The best float is awarded the San Michele's Trophy. There is also a donkey race to win the traditional flag.

  • For the Festa di San Michele website: Click here (in Italian)

Festivals in Siena

Siena Jazz: An annual jazz festival with concerts held at various venues, both indoor and outdoor, throughout the city. It generally takes place second week in July.

Settimana Musicale Senese: Siena's classical musical week held at various venues around the city. The event is organised by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in July.

Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte di Montepulciano: In July, the Festival of Contemporary Art in Classical and Baroque music includes performances where artists present old music in new ways.

  • For the Fondazione Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte website: Click here

Summer Festival: This festival involves professional and amateur theatre, art exhibitions inside the Rocca Aldobrandesca, live music and open-air dancing. It is held in Piancastagnaio in July and August.

Siena Palio: Held annually since 1644, this bareback horse racing event is held on 2 July and 16 August. Representatives from the different city districts race around a track in Siena's centre square.

  • For more information on the Siena Palio: Click here

Palio delle Contrade: Two days of celebrations in Piancastagnaio start with a costumed procession and horse race with jockeys from the Palio di Siena. The event is held annually on 17 and 18 August.

Bravio delle Botti: On the last Sunday in August, teams of two from Montepulciano's eight districts compete to roll barrels up the town's main street to the piazza.

  • For the Bravio delle Botti website: Click here (in Italian)

Festival Nazionale dei Corti Italini: The National Festival of Italian Short Films takes place in early September. Chianciano Terme hosts short film screenings and workshops. The two-day festival closes following the awards ceremony.

Feste d'autunno: On the second and third weekend in October, Abbadia San Salvatore holds its annual Autumn Festival. There are exhibitions by local artists, food, antique and collectors' stalls, games, musicians and guided tours for mushrooms and chestnuts.

  • For more information, see the Comune di Abbadia San Salvatore website: Click here (in Italian)

Sagra del Tordo: A festival to celebrate the hunting season in Montalcino. It includes food fights in the medieval fortress, open spit fires, feasting and wine. This event is held on the last weekend in October.