Ferragosto: the Italian celebration of summerAugust 15, 2016
Today is a very special day for Italians: it’s Ferragosto, the country’s public holiday celebrated on 15th of August and coinciding with the major Catholic feasts of the Assumption of Mary.
Ferragosto is definitely one of the most celebrated holidays in Italy, and possibly one of the most appreciated - since almost everyone in the country is enjoying their summer vacations.
The term “Ferragosto” comes from Latin “Feriae Augusti”, meaning “Festival Holidays of the Emperor Augustus”: the celebration was introduced during the Roman empire by the emperor Augustus, in 18 BC. It was an addition to earlier Roman Festivals that were usually held during the same month, such as the Vinalia Rustica and the Consualia - which celebrated the harvest and the end of the long and tiring months of agricultural labor. Basically, Emperor Augustus created Ferragosto to provide a longer period of rest, called Augustali.
In ancient times, Ferragosto included many celebrations, and animals of burden such as oxen, donkeys and mules were momentarily released from their work duties and decorated with flowers. Also, workers greeted their masters and received a tip in return.
Today, Ferragosto still means a day of celebration and people from all over the country try to spend it resting, partying with their family and friends and basically enjoying the amazing beaches, mountains, lakes, countryside of Italy.
Businesses and shops are, most of the times, closed while museums and tourist sites are open. The coasts and beaches are crowded with people celebrating while cities can be pretty empty. Ferragosto is, in fact, a perfect occasion to tour the most beautiful Italian cities and their architecture, art, sites of interest, ancient ruins and museums, since Italy is literally studded with so many wonders in every corner.
If you’re currently spending your summer holidays in Italy, Ferragosto will give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in one of the most cheerful and joyful parties of the country. They will be held on every beach and every tourist side: don’t miss the opportunity to spend an entire day and night partying and keep your eyes up. The sky is usually full of falling stars these days.
Enjoy your vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.