Giostra della Quintana
festivals of Umbria
- Ascension Day - 15 August festivals are listed separately below)
Italian Antiques show
– (mid April)
A famous palio, a spectacular run held every year on 15 , in which three teams, clad in the distinctive colours of
yellow, blue and black, with white trousers and red belts and neckbands
and devoted to S. Ubaldo (the patron saint of Gubbio), S. Giorgio,
and S. Antonio, run up much of the mountain from the main square in
front of the Palazzo dei Consoli to the Basilica of S. Ubaldo, each
team carrying a statue of their saint mounted on a wooden octagonal
prism, similar to an hour-glass shape 4 m tall and weighing about 280 kg.
Corsa dei Ceri, Gubbio
A crossbow competition dating back to 1410. The competitors are members of the crossbow clubs in
who dress in Renaissance costume for the competition. The winner receives a banner made especially for the event each year by a noted artist. After the competition there is a procession through the town's torch-lit streets.
There is also a display of flag-throwing, a popular activity in Italy.
The corresponding event in Sansepolcro takes place on the second Sunday of September.
Palio della Balestra
This palio is a mediaeval joust that involves knights from the various city factions of Orvieto
competing to win the Palio victory standard on 30 May from 9 pm onwards in Piazza del Popolo. Originally the joust was named the Corsa alle Oche and required each knight to charge his
horse towards a couple of unfortunate geese hanging from a rope, whereupon he was supposed to take off their heads. Today’s
tamer version has a white handkerchief in place of the geese, which the knight is supposed to grab and deposit in the appropriate basket. The joust in fact has two victory standards: the Palio di Contrada, which is awarded to the winning Contrada faction, and the Paliotto Individuale, given to the best knight.
29 May 6 pm, Palazzo dei Sette – presentation of the Cava and Pistrella
30 May 4 pm – blessing of the horses and knights in Piazza Belisario and Piazza della Repubblica,
6 pm procession of the nobles of Cava and Pistrella, performance by the Gruppo Arcieri e Balestrieri di Orvieto, flag-throwing and music,
9 pm Piazza del Popolo joust for the assignation of the Paliotto, 9.30
pm procession in period costume, 10 pm Palio dell’Oca.
Palio dell’Oca, Orvieto
The infiorate taking place on the Sunday after Corpus Domini
(Corpus Christi), the ninth Sunday after Easter,
is an unusual act of religious devotion, namely the creation of
elaborate pictures composed using cut up flower petals spread along the
streets of Spello. The entire town is carpeted in flowers and some of
the compositions display remarkable skill. The Infiorate is competitive
and awards are given to the teams in a number of categories. The
tradition of flower petal compositions is relatively recent in Italy.
The famous Corpus Domini flower carpet celebration in Genzano, 30 km
outside Rome, dates from 1778, and the Spello tradition began only in the
1930's but is now famous. Work is carried on throughout Saturday night. At noon on
Sunday, the bells of the cathedral are rung and the Bishop sets forth to
parade through Spello, piazza by piazza.
Infiorate di Spello
Perugia - Umbria Jazz summer – (July)
Gubbio - Roman Theatre season – (mid July to August)
Fiume (near Gubbio) – Crayfish Fair – (mid September)
Assisi - Celebrations for St Francis of Assisi – (4 October)
Città di Castello – Trade fair of the Truffle and woodland products – (end October/early November)
Torgiano – Italian wine judging competition - (end October/early November)
Narni – Wine and Chestnut fair – (first weekend of November after the 6 November)
Ferragosto is arguably the most important holiday in the Italian calendar. Its
roots are Roman - probably pre-Roman - and linked to the middle of
summer and the end of hard labour in the fields. During Christian times
ferragosto became Ascension Day and commemorates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
into heaven. Almost all businesses except restaurants are closed.
Families gather together for marathon meals, both at home and also at
restaurants so reservations are essential. There are innumerable feasts
and festivals on this day throughout Umbria and the rest of Italy. Here
are a few taking place in Umbria (dates approximate).
The event takes place from August 15 to the first Sunday of September in honour of Lucrezia Borgia
with mediaeval dinners, tournaments, historical parades, conferences, concerts, cinemas, exhibitions.
15 August to the first Sunday of September.
Le Vaite, Spoleto
"Hunting the bull" with historical costumes, from 10 August to the second-to-last Sunday of the month.
Spoleto Experimental Opera House di Spoleto "A. Belli"
From mid-August to early October.
Gubbio Gubbio no Borders
Festival of music and entertainment. Middle two weeks of August.
Citerna Earth Citernae
Ceramics market, from 2 to 17 August approximately.
Cooking race - the products of the race are eaten afterwards. 19 August approximately.
Montone Donation of the Holy Spina
Parade in costume, performances and challenges between districts.Mid-August.
Corciano Corciano Festival
Evenings devoted to art, history, culture, tradition, gastronomy. Mid-August.
Tuoro sul Trasiemeno Ferragosto Torreggiano
Shows, cultural events, concerts, from 1 to 17 August.