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August 15 in Tuscany: Ferragosto is packed with many events!

Find out some ideas on how to spend Ferragosto day in Tuscany

On August 15 Italy celebrates a special holiday called Ferragosto. The term derives from the Latin expression feriae Augusti (Augustus' rest) indicating a festivity set up by the emperor Augustus in 18 BC.

Still today, Ferragosto represents the peak of the summer season, the day (and the week) during which offices are emptied, most shops are closed, traffic is stopped, while the exodus to beaches, hills and mountains culminates. Furthermore, August 15 means celebrations of the Assumption of Mary, one of the Catholic holy days of obligation.

Ferragosto in Tuscany is celebrated with many events, here is a list!

  • 1.
    Giostra del Saracino in Sarteano
  • 2.
    Palio Marinaro dell'Argentario in Porto Santo Stefano
  • 3.
    Tovaglia a Quadri in Anghiari
  • 4.
    Apriti Borgo in Campiglia Marittima
  • 5.
    Palio di Siena

Giostra del Saracino in Sarteano

In Sarteano, in the province of Siena, every August 15 is held the historical Giostra del Saracino, a game that evokes the battles against the Arabs (Il Saracino). In this game, a wooden statue fitted on a support represents the enemy and the knights belonging to the 5 “contrade” gallop against it trying to put a ring on the shaft with a diameter of 6 cm spot on the shield.

Saracino in Sarteano
Saracino in Sarteano - Credit: Giostra del Saracino di Sarteano

Palio Marinaro dell'Argentario in Porto Santo Stefano

The Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario is held every August 15 in Porto Santo Stefano, in Monte Argentario. It consists of a rowing regatta (4 rowers and one coxswain) between four boats, called guzzi (classic fishing boat), each of which has the name of a wind and represent the four districts of the town: Croce, Fortress, Pilarella and Valley. The crews of the Palio compete on a distance of 4,000 metres.

Palio marinaro dell’Argentario
Palio marinaro dell’Argentario - Credit: Marco Solari -

Tovaglia a Quadri in Anghiari

From August 10 to 19, the very central Via Poggiolino is going to be brought to life by a tuscan dinner with four courses... and a story to be told: Tovaglia a Quadri is an event of teatro povero ("poor theatre") that takes place in the historic centre of Anghiari. Here, in an open-air osteria, local people perform a different story every year. It is an important event to Anghiari's community and is always attended by hundreds of people.

Tovaglia a quadri in Anghiari
Tovaglia a quadri in Anghiari - Credit:

Apriti Borgo in Campiglia Marittima

During the week of Ferragosto you can also enjoy Apriti Borgo, a yearly street art festival in the village of Campiglia Marittima with many events and shows that take place throughout the historic streets. The town will be animated by musicians, street and circus performers and more. Of course, you also will have the chance to taste the local specialties!

Apriti Borgo in Campiglia Marittima
Apriti Borgo in Campiglia Marittima - Credit: Apriti Borgo on Facebook

Palio di Siena

August 15 is also the day before the Palio di Siena, the famous horse race held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell'Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.

Palio di Siena
Palio di Siena - Credit: Janus Kinase

The original version of this article was written by Serena Puosi and Leila Firusbakht.

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