Italians have always had a reputation for enjoying good food, good wine and a great party so it’s not surprising to find that one of Italy’s most historic and culturally significant regions host some of the best festivals around. Tuscany, home to title ‘birthplace of the renaissance’, is known as a centre for culture and the arts with Florence as aits greatest city, dominated by its museums and art galleries it is a truly spectacular experience and not to be missed. But Tuscany isn’t just about cultural pursuits, the region has a long tradition of putting on festivals and competitions which have inspired and entertained thousands! If your thinking of visiting Tuscany there are some great last minute deals available so why not see what the region has to offer.
The spring season starts some of the most religiously significant festivals in Italy. The Easter celebrations of Florence are among the most unmissable events, these take place around the Cathedral square. Following a procession of clergy the tradition is for a brightly decorated cart to set on fire in the square, packed with all kinds of fireworks it creates a truly spectacular display in an event that dates back to the 10th century. Other events include the Fritelle Festival of Montefioralle, here in a small village offering delightful hilltop views the locals set to work producing their delicious fried rice cakes or Fritelle. Greve in Chianti offers another event, the artisan market of Anghiari.
Moving into summer sees an explosion of medieval events across Tuscany and crossbow competitions are top of the list for many locals. Cortona and Marittima offer two of the most impressive with competitors in traditional dress of the era and parading through the towns on horseback. Further displays of Italian fighting skills are on offer in Arezzo during the Giostra del Saracino, this historic tournament pits champions from across the on horseback against a wooden Saracen king with the winner claiming a golden lance as prize. In June an event not far from Tuscany in Spello is not to be missed, the Infiorate is religious festival with artists creating some truly marvellous flower petal pictures in the streets.
Summer offers an extended football calendar in Florence with the traditional Cacio Storico football tournament taking place in the city. The event sees teams from each quarter of the city compete in traditional costume; but the event has a reputation for becoming quite heated and with few rules can quickly become quite violent. The summer is also the height of the traditional horse racing calendar in Tuscany with events at Sienna and Florence. These traditional Roman-style races also offer huge feasts with tables set out throughout the cities and costumed processions through the streets.
In autumn Tuscany celebrates one of its most valuable commodities, the grape, wine festivals are celebrated across the region allowing you to sample a great variety of local wines. The biggest of these events is perhaps in Inpruinet which features dancing, live performers and music as well as processions. For a more rustic event try the Panzano Chianti festival where you can taste wines form all over Tuscany in quiet local environment.
Towards the end of the year food events become paramount in the area, San Miniato holds a truffle fair which offers a chance to taste a real delicacy, not just in its natural state but as a range of local truffle products including oil and wine. The most grandiose food event has to be the day of feasting in Montalcino which features archery competitions, costume processions and Drum parades through the castle. Whether your staying in local villas or Tuscany hotels there’s always a huge variety of events happening throughout the region.
www.yourwaytotuscany.com for help planning Tuscany holidays or to find Tuscany villas