Festivals in Umbria
FESTIVALS IN UMBRIA
Umbria is a lively area with many food, cultural and religious activities. There are many events throughout the year, featuring traditional costumes, medieval costumes as well as harvest festivals.
At Easter time there are many festivals in the area beginning with the last weekend before Mardi Gras in Spello. Easter week there is a mystery play in Assisi on Holy Thursday and a procession through the town on Easter Sunday. In May, also in Assisi, on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday there are torch light parades, costumes and competitions.
The second Saturday in May in Narni is the festival of San Giovenale. It starts in the evening and continues through the night. Knights from three neighboring towns joust, and the streets are festooned with flowers. Late May and early June is Corpus Domini in Spello. The town is decorated with intricately designed flower patterns. Early morning is the best time to see this.
In July the famous Umbria Jazz festival takes place in Perugia. World famous jazz musicians participate each year. The music and the food are all very joyous. August brings wild boar festivals. Each village has its own festival. Meals of wild boar and other local delicacies are served outdoors on trestle tables. Some villages have dancing, others have games of chance.
September in Foligno is the Giostra della Quintana dating back to the 17th century where knights from ten rival districts compete in jousting. This takes place on the second and third Sundays of the month. November has the oldest surviving fair in central Italy, the Fiera dei Morti in Perugia. This fair is held in first week of November and is very popular.
This is a spectacular evocation of medieval and Renaissance costumes and life. Two ancient medieval wards, the "Parte di Sopra" and the "Parte di Sotto", engage in a spectacular challenge which takes the form of theatre, shows, songs and choruses, dances, processions, archery, crossbow and flag-waving displays. The districts compete in a singing contest amongst spectacular floral decorations, torches and candles add to the atmosphere.
May, Assisi - www.calendimaggiodiassisi.it
Ceri Race Festival
This is one of the most unusual popular religious events in Italy. It is imbued with strong mystical emotion, very fascinating to the public. The "Ceri" are three gigantic wooden structures weighing about 400 kilos each, surmounted by statues of St. Ubaldo, St. Giorgio and St. Antonio. Youths carry them on their shoulders from the historic part of the town to the top of Mount Ingino, where the basilica of the patron stands.
15th May, Gubbio - www.festadeiceri.it
Race of the Ring
Dating back to the first half of the fourteenth century, this is a contest of skill in which young men of the ancient "Terzieri" (Fraporta, Mezule and St. Maria) take part. A ring is suspended from two lengths of string between two houses: youth, dressed in traditional historical costume, attempt to center the ring with a lance. During the race town streets are decked with flags and lit by torches.
April-May, Narni - www.corsallanello.it
Mercato delle Gaite
In June,in Bevagna, for more information: www.ilmercatodellegaite.com
Festival of the Two Worlds
This festival was established by Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958 with the aim of creating an opportunity for Italian, American and European cultures to meet and exchange ideas. Today is one of the most prestigious international artistic events and offers performances of theatre, dance, prose and lyrics performed in evocative venues such as the Cathedral Square. This is where the final concerts of the Festival take place.
End of June-mid-July, Spoleto - www.spoletofestival.it
Launched in 1973, today it is one of the most important jazz music festivals in the world. The event lasts ten days during which, from morning to night,many concerts take place in the historic center of Perugia. The music presented covers the entire music landscape meeting every taste of the listening public. During the Festival Perugia becomes a meeting point for tens of thousands music lovers, arriving from all over Italy, Europe and the United States.
For ten days dozens of concerts take place in the historic center of Perugia featuring different musical origins including jazz, soul, blues, gospel, pop and salsa. Jazz takes over the city with the pastry shops making cakes in the shape of saxophones and guitars and the museums feature paintings and photography on the subject of jazz.
July, Perugia - www.umbriajazz.com
August in Montefalco Festival
An intense calendar of artistic and cultural events. Ensembles of string and wind instruments fill the streets and squares and the historic center with melodies. Shows for children as well as pleasant evenings in the taverns of the Town Quarters complete the festival. August in Montefalco culminates in a fascinating procession, crossbow contests, many flag-wavers, and the choreographic "Flight of the Ox".
August, Montefalco - www.montefalcodoc.it
Italian First Courses Festival
This is a festival for promoting the quality first courses of Italian cuisine: pasta, rice and soups are featured. It is divided into various sections, such as the tasting of first courses at the taverns of the historic center, tastings guided by Grand Chefs, and the cooking school of the Great Masters. Also shows with comedians and artists in the fifteenth century setting of the Auditorium San Domenico. All this entertainment along with the tasting of first course dishes.
September, Foligno - www.iprimiditalia.it
Orvieto With Taste
A prestigious wine and food event aimed at rediscovering and protecting traditional flavors and products. A slow food itinerary for experiencing flavors and aromas while strolling through the streets and visiting historic buildings. Guided food and wine tastings for comparing Umbrian and Italian foods and wines. It includes events sponsored by the international network of the "Città Slow", the "Cities of Good Living".
September, Orvieto - www.orvietocongusto.it
Giostra della Quintanta
September, Foligno - for more information: www.quintana.it
A great event dedicated to the lovers of the "Food of the Gods", which every year transforms the squares and the historic center of Perugia into a lively open-air chocolate shop. Amateur and semi-professional workshops, tastings, exhibitions and other events are held in the historic town center. This is a unique, varied festival, which features the biggest names in Italian and international confectionery.
October, Perugia - www.eurochocolate.com
Umbria Book Fair
Originated as a publishing fair of Umbra, it has become an important appointment in the Umbrian cultural scene, held in the enchanting surroundings of historic Perugia. The fair is five days featuring new releases, meetings with authors, debates, conferences. Aperitifs with music and literary desserts all revolving around books. Writers, philosophers and intellectuals from Italy and abroad take part.
November, Perugia - www.umbrialibri.com
Fiera dei Morti
November 1st and 2nd, Perugia
Fair of the Prized Norcia Black Truffle
An agricultural-food products fair that promotes the typical specialties of the Valnerina: the prized black truffle from Norcia, sausages and salamis, cheeses, Castelluccio lentils, spelt, and wild berries. The exhibition also includes crafts, farming implements, and typical national food products. Folkloric entertainment, shows and sports competitions are all centered around the truffle.
February-March , Norcia - www.comune.norcia.pg.it
Saint Valentine Celebrations
The entire month of February is dedicated to celebrations in honor of St. Valentine, Terni's first Bishop. Among the various events is "Terni-St. Valentine. A Year of Loving". A yearly prize in recognition of a special act of love is awarded: past awards include those given to the memory of Israeli Premier Rabin and to Mikail Gorbaciov. Events include conferences, concerts and theatrical performances.
February, Terni - www.sanvalentinoeventi.it
Umbria Jazz Winter
Umbria Jazz Winter Festival - December - January
The Umbria Jazz Winter Festival delivers five days of great music in the picturesque setting of Orvieto. Concerts are held in the 19th-century Luigi Mancinelli Theatre, the halls of the Emilio Greco Museum, the 14th-century Palazzo Soliano, the Hall of the Quattrocento in the Palazzo del Popolo, and the Palazzo dei Sette. The event kicks off with street parades and continues with a series of knock-out performances. The New Years Eve dinner is the high point of a packed evening with music and concerts lasting well into the New Year.
December, Orvieto - www.umbriajazz.com