3 Famous Towns in Italy to visit during Summer Historic Festivals
Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfers and Tours Travel Blog.
When planning your summertime trip to Italy, you can make it even more enjoyable if your stay also coincides with not-to-be missed festivals that can enrich your experience in Italy.
We introduce you to three of Italy’s most fascinating cities to visit, and the festivals that will turn your simple Italy getaway into a journey through its rich and extensive history that will make you feel as though you’ve been magically transported to the Middle Ages, Renaissance Era, or even earlier civilizations like Romans, Etruscans and Celts.
These fabulous cities and festivals are perfect for families to enjoy together, and children have the wondrous opportunity to experience eras and cultures they would only read about in history books: gladiatorial games, Etruscan ceremonies, Roman battles, Medieval Jousting and sword fighting, medieval music, Renaissance court dancing, merchants creating objects reminiscent of ancient eras, historical re-enactments, chivalry games, archery, and authentic period costumes that add to the feel of being back in time to a distant eras that fairytales and movies are made of.
Located in southeast region of Tuscany, is a wealthy ancient town that has origins as far as the Paleolithic era and founded by the Etruscan as “Aritim” in 9th century BC. By the time of the Roman Empire, the town name evolved to “Arretium”, and became a military station. With its strategic location along the main Roman road of Via Cassia (still exists today!), Arezzo became one of the most important Tuscan cities.
Today, Arezzo is an elegant city reminiscent of its Medieval and Renaissance history, with many monuments, churches and museums to enjoy.
Not to be missed are the Church of San Francesco, Santa Maria della Pieve, the Cathedral of Arezzo, the Communal Palace, the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater, and the graceful medieval Piazza Grande built on a sloped square paved in red brick and limestone geometrical lines.
Excellent restaurants, cafes, and shopping makes Arezzo an ideal place to spend a couple of days.
A great time to be in Arezzo and experience its extensive history live, is to visit during its annual “Arezzo Back in Time” festival that takes place at the end of July.
In 3 different locations (Piazza Grande, Medici Fortress, and Roman Amphitheater) you can experience 3 different historical eras with complete historic costumes, weapons, tools, and theme food. Lectures are offered as well to teach visitors ancient techniques such as Etruscan writing on wax boards, handling swords and drawing a bow, and learn about history from re-enactors.
Roman – Etruscan Era
You can expect to see Roman, Etruscan and Gaul military camps, gladiatorial fights, mock battles, ancient Roman games, ceremonies, dances, as well as demonstrations for children.
Next to the Medici Fortress, you will find a Medieval village, sword tournaments, jousting, mock battles, flag wavers (sbandieratori), musicians, dancers, entertainers and more.
The more elegant of the times is the Renaissance era where you expect to enjoy historical and artisan markets, armory, jesters, musicians, flag wavers (sbandieratori), sword fighting, Renaissance court dancing, and more taking place in the spacious Piazza Grande.
Admission is Free, and you can enjoy the different eras on display from approximately 5 PM into late night.
Located in the province of Pisa not far from Florence and Siena, Voltera was another important ancient Etruscan settlement previously known as “Velathri” – and one of the twelve Etruscan confederation. By the Roman times, it became known as Volaterrae.
Surrounded by long fortified walls, Volterra is a fascinating town to visit and spend a few days in. Among the main sights to enjoy are the ruins of the impressive Roman Theater, Piazza and Palazzo dei Priori, Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) inside Palazzo Minucci-Solaini, and the ancient Etruscan city walls.
Volterra is also famous worldwide for its timeless exquisite handmade alabaster objects that you would find in many shops and boutiques.
On the 3rd and 4th Sundays each August, it’s once again year 1398 in Volterra, and visitors are transported back in time and experience the mysterious Medieval Era of Volterra through this popular historical re-enactment.
The old historic town center bursts to life as if its medieval past has never faded as visitors have the opportunity to relive history with medieval music, live performances, merchants, artisans, jesters, games, knights, noblemen, pageants, tournaments, falconers, flag throwers, and town folk dressed in period clothing for an authentic experience.
Events take place in the town historic center from morning to night.
Tickets required to attend the festival.
URBINO, Le Marche
Urbino is a walled city nestled on a sloped hill in the eastern region in Italy known as Le Marche. This magnificent town retains much of its Medieval architecture and Renaissance elegance.
During the Roman times, this was a modest town known as Urbinum Mataurense (the little city on the river Matarus), that grew in size and power over the centuries.
A city rich in art and architectural masterpieces, Urbino is also the birthplace of the famous artist Raphael.
Started in 1982 on to celebrate the centennial of the death of the Duke of Urbino, the city hosts its Festival of the Duke for 3 days in August, bringing back to life the splendor of of the city during the lordship of the Duke ( Federico da Montefeltro).
The setting is the Renaissance era with gorgeous historic costumes, pageants, tests of skill, Renaissance games, archery, competitions, music, and reenactments that showcase this glorious era of mid 15th century.
The lively market introduces visitors to ancient trades such as the goldsmith, blacksmith, leather working, textile making, and more. Merchants selling handmade crafts create a fun shopping experience.
Tickets at nominal prices are required to attend the festival.
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Our sister company Stefano Rome Tours also offers Day Tours from Rome or Livorno Cruise port that include visits to Arezzo or Volterra:
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