Our pick of Umbria’s finest annual events
HomeAway travel expert
Umbria is something of an underrated holiday destination. There is no coliseum; no canals easing their way through the cities; for that matter, it doesn't have much in the way of cities at all. What it does have, however, is raw and idyllic beauty. This is the place for those who looking to get away from it all; to relax for the duration of their stay, rather than hasten around congested tourist hotspots
The region placed in the very heart of the country, and represents everything that is wonderful about traditional Italian culture. Quaint rustic towns, sprawling green hills - and everywhere you look, some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe. If this sounds like your idea of heaven, these aspects alone are reason enough to go; but why not plan your visit around one of the many annual events that occur throughout the year? Whichever one you choose, HomeAway Holiday Rentals is sure to have the perfect rental property for you. Start planning now, with our guide to just some of the happenings on offer.
Top 5 Umbria annual events
Umbria Jazz Festival
Widely considered to be one of the greatest and most important events of its genre, the Umbria Jazz Festival is more than likely the main reason for visitors to the province. The Perugia-based celebration is held every July, and has proudly played host to a multitude of star names, not just from the world of jazz but from a gamut of genres. Since its inception in 1973 the likes of Elton John, Sting and Alicia Keys have graced the stage of this wonderfully diverse fiesta, as well as the finest jazz musicians from across the globe.
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Festival Dei Due Mondi
Another taste of Umbria’s musical pedigree, the Festival of Two Worlds is an amalgamation of various aspects of Italian culture. The event is primarily an opera showcase, one that rather impressively boasts names such as Luciano Pavarotti on its list of past performers; but there is so much more to be enjoyed than just music. The medieval town of Spoleto resonates for three weeks during the summer, with a variety of concerts, exhibitions, ballet, cinema and visual arts scattered across multiple venues. The town itself is a charming place to while away the hours between festivities - home to medieval bridges, country-green hills, gorges and Romanesque architecture.
Mercato Delle Gaite
If you’re pining for something a little bit different during your Umbrian adventure, why not take a step back in time with this unorthodox yet wholly traditional festival in the town of Bevagna? This is the ultimate celebration of the area’s proud medieval heritage, affording travellers and locals a chance to sample the lifestyle of the era - with a competitive edge thrown in for good measure! The four gaites - that’s quarters to you and - of the town battle it out to be declared the most historically accurate amidst a spate of banquets, workshops and displays.
Celebrated on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of May each year, the Calendimaggio festival is a commemoration to St-Francis, the town of Assisi’s famous patron saint. For three days the streets are laden with floral arrangements and brightly-attired townspeople, with festivities ranging from love song competitions to traditional games and events. The festival draws to a climax with the prestigious Palio, contested by the Magnifica Parte de Sotto and the Nobilissima Parte de Sopra districts which embody the city. When all’s said and done, the arrival of spring is joyously celebrated and a prize awarded to the district who has wholeheartedly embraced the spirit of the season.
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Ever since Dahl penned his tale of Charlie living out his fantasies in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, barely a man, woman or child alive hasn’t harboured dreams of replicating the experience. The good news is that no golden ticket is required to access this nine-day celebration of all things cocoa in Perugia. The many squares of the Umbrian capital are transformed into a wonderland of workshops, cooking classes and, most alluring of all, free samples of one of the region’s most lauded exports. Irresistible as it may be, just try not to overstock your luggage for the flight home!