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Festivals and Events in Umbria
Umbria has a full calendar of festivals throughout the year. Here you will find information and a description of the events in Perugia and Terni, with links to their websites where available...
Festivals in Perugia
Celebrated on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of May every year, the Calendimaggio festival is dedicated to St-Francis, Assisi's patron saint. Flower arrangements adorn the streets and the local townspeople dress in colourful period costumes. The festivities include love song competitions, as well as traditional games and events. The festival culminates in the prestigious Palio, which is contested by the Magnifica Parte de Sotto and the Nobilissima Parte de Sopra, the two districts which comprise the city. The two opposing teams vie for a valuable prize. This event mirrors the rivalry of the 1300s between the Fiumi and the Nepis families which raged over a period of two centuries. A jury of historians, directors and musicologists make up the board of judges and award the prize of the Calendimaggio festival to the district which displays and interprets the essence of the return of spring with the best love songs, costumes, races and games.
- For the Calendimaggio Festival website: Click here (in Italian)
Crossbow Palio St Rufino
Taking place on the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday of August, the Palio St-Rufino is a traditional competition between the crossbowmen of Assisi. The city's three Terzieri factions San Francesco, San Rufino & Dive Marie compete for the prized "Drappo", painted by a local artist. The Palio is followed by a procession in period costume, banquet and celebrations.
- For the Palio St-Rufino website: Click here
Castiglione del Lago
Colariamo i Cieli (Let's Colour the Sky)
An annual festival for kite-flying enthusiasts. Kites are flown by participants at the old airport strip in Castiglione del Lago to the accompaniment of food, wine and music. Takes place in the Spring.
- For the Colariamo i Cieli website: Click here
Tournament of the Quintana (Giostra della Quintana)
The Tournament of the Quintana is an annual jousting tournament held in Foligno between the four regions of Foligno. Knights joust for metal rings hanging from a wooden statue, called the quintana. With each challenge, the ring gets smaller and smaller. A historical parade of participants in Baroque-style dress winds through the city centre the night before the contest. The Challenge Tournament is held in June, with the Return Game in September.
- For the Tournament of the Quintana website: Click here
Race of the Candles (Corsa Dei Ceri)
For centuries, Gubbio's Corsa dei Ceri has been celebrated on 15 May, St-Ubaldo's eve. The festival began after an important victory in a war against enemy cities, when the comune decided to host a festival to celebrate and express gratitude to Ubaldo, the bishop of Gubbio. Participants compete as opposing teams representing either St-Ubaldo, St-Anthony or St-Giorgio, and each team carries the "candle" with the statue of their saint attached, through the streets to the Basilica of St-Ubaldo. The candles are large seven-metre high wooden octagonal pillars. Though it is a race of sorts, the candle with St-Ubaldo always enters the church first - the winner is determined by the participants and bystanders to be the team showing the most skill in getting their candle to the church.
- For the Corsa dei Ceri website: Click here
Palio della Balestra
The Palio della Balestra is a traditional crossbow contest which dates back to the twelfth century AD. The contest takes place in September in the Piazza Grande in Gubbio, with the winning crossbowman the one who accurately hits the most targets. The winner receives the "pregevole" silk banner. The festival ends with a fireworks display.
Chocolate Festival (Altrocioccolato)
Gubbio's Chocolate Festival is organised not just to celebrate the beloved food, but also to educate the public about the social, political and economic issues associated with chocolate production.
Palio dei Terzieri
Ancient disputes between the three sectors of Montefalco are played out in archery competitions for this annual festival. Renaissance-style theatre and music performances, as well as plenty of food and drink, draw the crowds to Montefalco (generally in August).
A much-anticipated festival in celebration of chocolate. Over the course of nine days, Perugia hosts cooking lessons, tastings, exhibitions, awards and more based on chocolate. Usually in October.
- For the Eurochocolate website: Click here
Umbria Jazz Festival
The annual Umbria Jazz Festival brings dozens of concerts by world-renowned musicians to the centre of Perugia. Usually in June.
- For the Umbria Jazz Festival website: Click here
Trasimeno Music Festival
Musicians from around the world descend on Lake Trasimeno for the annual music festival. In June or July.
- For the Lake Trasimeno Music Festival website: Click here
Trasimeno Blues Festival
Arguably the most important blues festival in Italy, the nearly two-week long festival brings some of the top blues musicians in the world to Umbria. Exhibitions and other events also take place in conjunction with the festival.
Infiorate di Spello
The streets of Spello are decorated with religious decorations and stunning floral designs for this annual religious festival.
- For the Infiorate di Spello website: Click here
Wines of the World (Vini nel Mondo)
Hundreds of wineries present their creations at this multi-day wine festival. During the festival, wine tastings, music, food and art bring the Piazza del Mercato alive.
- For the Vini nel Mondo website: Click here
Spoleto Festival (Festiva di Spoleto)
Spoleto revels in several weeks of art, dance, theatre and music during this popular annual festival. Usually at the end of June.
- For the Festiva di Spoleto website: Click here