Ferragosto – Five Facts You May Not Know
Ferragosto is a major Italian holiday and falls each year on August 15th, where you may be forgiven for thinking that the entire country has shut down. In actual fact, most of it does.
The origins of Ferragosto
Today the holiday is celebrated as a Catholic Holy Day – the idea that August 15th is the day when the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven after her life on earth.
Ferragosto actually dates as far back as 18BC, when the Emperor Augustus introduced the holiday as one of a number of other Roman holidays that were celebrated throughout the month of August.
Workers were able to spend much of August relaxing and vacationing after working hard the rest of the year, and centuries later, another famous Italian dictator, Mussolini, also rewarded citizens with a few days holiday over the 15th.
Under Il Duce’s regime, Italians were allowed to travel to other parts of the country at discounted rates, something not usually available for less well off social classes.
Chuiso per ferie
You will notice that most shops, banks and services will be closed for the day and as Ferragosto marks the beginning of the summer holiday, many will remain closed for the entire week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or for the month!
Plenty of museums and tourist attractions remain open though, giving both tourists and Italians plenty to do.
Festas and Food
In Le Marche, many towns and villages hold their own festivals, where local food is served in abundance, with music and fireworks continuing into the night.
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary may be marked with processions carrying a statue through the centre of town, culminating with a special church service.
One thing is for sure, in Le Marche Ferragosto brings people out in their droves, and it’s great for us to see the beaches full, town centres come to life and cafes and restaurants full of family and friends who all make the most of the holiday.
READ MORE: LIVING IN ITALY