While Spain gets a lot of attention for its tomato throwing festival La Tomatina and the Running of the Bulls, Italy also has its fair share of unique festivals.
BATTLE OF THE ORANGES
A re-enactment of a 12th century battle with citrus fruit is among the biggest food fights in Europe. People either charge through the streets or throw oranges from a cart patrolling the area. Unlike La Tomatina, the oranges aren’t even squished to ensure maximum impact.
BRA CHEESE FESTIVAL
Not as scandalous as it sounds, the Bra Cheese festival is a massive biennial international cheese festival held in the Italian city Bra. It attracts around 200,000 in one weekend, promoting all sorts of regional producers and their cheeses.
UMBRIA JAZZ FESTIVAL
This jazz festival began as a small free jazz concert in some of Italy’s most beautiful locales like Piazza del Popolo. Now the show goes non-stop for ten days in the heart of Perugia and has attracted headline names like B.B. King, Sir Elton John and Sting.
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL
The oldest film festival in the world began in 1932, and still to this day shows a range of eventual Academy Award-winning films and avant-garde masterpieces. Interestingly, when the festival first started it was co-opted by Nazis to showcase propaganda films, but has since well and truly overcome those difficult times, recently premiering acclaimed films like Gravity and The Shape of Water.
FESTIVAL OF SAN GIOVANNI
As many people as 30,000 cram themselves together to watch a massive fireworks display that lasts for almost a whole hour, recounting a devastating battle from 1169. The day afterwards, locals dress up in period costumes and ride the traditional Lucia boats down the bay in honour of the almost 900-year-old battle.