1. Verona Opera Season
There’s plenty of opportunity to catch one of the most prestigious music festivals in the country, with Verona Opera Season running all the way from late June until late August every year. Dating back almost a century, this larger-than-life display of opera is renowned for its extravagant productions. Visitors can expect grand shows with a cast of hundreds and impressive special effects, all playing out within an ancient open-air amphitheatre. Whether you are a seasoned opera fan or a complete newbie to the art form, the offerings during Verona Opera Season cannot fail to impress! As the backdrop of Romeo and Juliet, this romantic destination is an enchanting place to visit and easy to get to through one of Verona’s several train stations. Padua, Vicenza, Venice and Milan are less than two hours away on Frecciarossa trains.
2. Venice International Film Festival
Boasting the title of being the oldest film festival in the world, the Venice International Film Festival was formed back in 1932. Along with the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival, this exciting event forms one of the “Big Three” around the globe. Held in late August or early September every year, there’s actually a lot more than just film that takes place. The cultural buzz also includes programmes of theatre, contemporary music, contemporary dance, exhibitions of art and architecture and even a kids’ carnival. Celebrity spotting and Bellini sipping also make for top activities during this glamorous festival. Get there by train from any Italian city – for example, it takes under two hours to get from Milan or Bologna to Venice.
3. Palio di Siena
Taking place twice a year, one of Italy’s most famous annual events is just as much about tradition and pageantry as it is about horse racing. On 2nd July and 16th August, riders gather in the Tuscan city of Siena to battle it out during a race that lasts barely minutes, in front of thousands upon thousands of local and international onlookers. An authentically historic event, this sporting spectacle has been hosted at Piazza del Campo since 1644. Arrive a few days before to soak up the electrically charged atmosphere as horse trials and selections take place and open-air dinners spill onto the streets. Palio di Siena presents the opportunity to get involved with a true Italian ritual that is reachable by Trenitalia's regional train arriving into the centre of Siena.
4. Umbria Jazz Festival
One of the most important jazz festivals on the planet, the city of Perugia has been getting down to the swinging sounds since 1973. For ten days every July the best international beats play out between medieval buildings in a variety of city locations. Hosting well-known artists ranging from B.B. King and Eric Clapton to Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga, over the years this festival has seen many a famous face! As well as bigger concerts, visitors to the city can also expect lower key events at restaurants and bars, with nightly jamming sessions. Join the joyous celebrations by taking the train to Perugia. With Frecciarossa trains, you can get from Florence to Perugia in less than two hours and from Rome to Perugia in under three hours.
5. Monterosso Lemon Festival
This is a more low-key event to enjoy for those looking to experience a slightly quainter side to an often lively programme of Italian festivities. The perfect spring-time celebration, Monterosso Lemon festival takes place on the third Saturday of every May. This charming Cinque Terre village becomes awash with a vibrant palette of yellow as the region’s zesty citrus fruit roots are honoured during the height of ripening season. All around, stalls sell lemon produce, shops are decorated with lemon themes and there is plenty of opportunity to sample the finest lemon custards, marmalades, pies and limoncello. The charmingly old-fashioned day ends with the award for “biggest lemon” being bestowed upon the lucky winner in the main square. Discover the colourful coastal villages and dramatic seaside scenery of the Cinque Terre region, with Monterosso connected to the rest of the country by train. And if you want to visit the nearby Cinque Terre villages, simply hop on the Cinque Terre Express and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Whether you opt to try out some of these top Italian events, or perhaps find an unmissable event of your own, your travel needs are taken care of with a quick search on Trainline.