ITALY: Ferragosto

Ferragosto in Italy: Origins and Traditions

Celebrated on August 15, Ferragosto may well be considered the height of the Italian summer; many Italians still take their summer vacation around this time, with the cities emptying and the beaches filling up.

Ferragosto, which coincides with the Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary, is a holiday that goes back to Roman emperor Augustus’ times. Several festivals took place during the month of August to celebrate the harvest; in 18 BC, Augustus introduced the ‘Feriae Augusti’ to connect them all and provide a longer period of rest after the harvest, a time of intense agricultural labor.

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