The Festivals of Abruzzo
Italy is rightly famous for its wonderful spectacles and festivals - and Abruzzo is no exception boasting literally dozens of events throughout the year. Here is just a selection, please check dates/timings with the local tourist office before your visit.
Most festivals in Abruzzo take place in the Spring or the Summer when the weather is more predictable, and generally they are concerned with two aspects of culture close to many Italians' hearts - religion and food.
The Regions of Abruzzo in Italy
Abruzzo Festivals Leading Up to the Summer
Feast of St Anthony: This annual festival celebrating the legend of how St Anthony turned an oak wood into defending troops and saved the village from the invading French army in 1799 concludes with bonfires and fireworks on 16th January in the village of Fara Filorum Petri. Fara Filorum Petri is in the Chieti province.
Easter celebrations take place in many of the towns and villages of the Abruzzo region, here are a few of them:
Procession of the Dead Christ: This takes place on Good Friday and starts at the cathedral of San Giustino in the town of Chieti. This is a solemn and atmospheric event with musicians and hooded, lantern holders winding their way slowly through the old streets of Chieti.
I Talami : This is a procession and performance of biblical scenes that takes place in the village of Orsogna over the Easter period, again in the Chieti province.
The Running Madonna: This religious festival, taking place in the town of Sulmona, celebrating the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, concluding in a statue of the Madonna ‘running’ to meet the newly risen Christ on Easter Sunday. Get there early, as there is quite a crowd and this event is usually televised on local TV. In the L'Aquila province.
International Jazz Festival: This massive, annual, event takes place in Pescara on the coast of Abruzzo, and this year taking place in April 2014 (but can vary) and plays host to biggest names in the jazz world.
Snake festival: Taking place in the small hilltop town of Cocullo, this festival takes place every year on the first Thursday in May. The highlight of the festival is when a statue of the town’s patron saint, San Dominico, is paraded through the village draped with snakes collected by the townsfolk over the weeks leading up to the festival. In the L'Aquila province.
Daffodil Festival: This is a, pagan inspired, spring festival that takes place in Rocca di Mezzo on the last Sunday in May - L'Aquila province.
Festival of the Madonna della Libera: This festival takes place in Pratola Peligna in early May, and includes 10 days of celebration, entertainment, music and food! Concluding with a spectacular firework display on the last Saturday of the festival - L'Aquila province.
Easter in Chieti
Abruzzo Festivals in the Summer
After the flush of festivals that take place over Easter time, even more festivals take place throughout the Summer, here are some of the highlights:
Cherry Festival: This one-day festival takes place in Raiano in June in L'Aquila province.
Festa of Santa Margherita, Villa Magna: Taking place on 13th July, this annual festival celebrates the miracle of Santa Margherita, when the Saint in the form of a young girl saved the village from the attacking Saracens - Chieti province.
Jousting Tournament (Giostra Cavalleresca): This festival takes place at the end of July in the town of Sulmona, when the massive Piazza Garibaldi is made into an arena where horsemen compete in games of skill and balance. The festival includes parades in period costume and armour and great displays of flag throwing - L'Aquila province.
The Giostra of Sulmona
Trout & Shrimp Festival: An Abruzzo celebration of this food takes place in Popoli in August in the Pescara province.
Mastogiurato re-enactment: There is a great deal of activity in Lanciano from mid-August through into September, the highlight is the Mastogiurato re-enactment, which usually takes place around the first week in September.
Wherever and whenever decide to visit Abruzzo, don't forget to check on these and other festivals and events with the local tourist office before your visit.