With summer approaching, many people have one thing on their mind: vacation. If you're an intrepid traveler and like to go to a different place each summer, why not branch out and go international? Visiting another country gives you the unique opportunity to experience a different way of life, enjoy authentic local cuisine, and take in the local art scene and regional festivals.
And if you're looking for a place that has it all, Tuscany is a fantastic choice. Aside from the fact that this region boasts an idyllic landscape, bountiful vineyards, and some of the best food on the planet, this birthplace of the Renaissance is (unsurprisingly) also a mecca of art and culture.
While Tuscany has a full calendar of events throughout the year and you won't be at a disadvantage no matter when you visit, summer is the idea time to take a trip because of the many festivals, fairs, celebrations and events that are held.
To help you make the most of your stay in a luxury villa in Tuscany, we've listed some of the most popular festivals and events held here in the summertime.
The Tuscan Sun Festival
Held in Florence, the Tuscan Sun Festival is an annual music and art festival that celebrates the lifestyle of the region. The festival includes world-class concerts, culinary events, visual art, fitness and dance, wine tastings, lectures and literary events, film and other local traditions.
The San Ranieri Boat Race
On the 17th of June, the city of Pisa celebrates its patron saint's day. To celebrate, the city's four historic districts (San Martino, San Francesco, Sant'Antonio, and Santa Maria) each elect eight oarsmen to represent them by competing in a boat race on the river Arno for a prize. This tradition dates back to the time when Pisa was a Maritime Republic.
The Palio of Sienna Race
Known locally as Il Palio, this annual horse race is held in honor of the Virgin Mary. Ten riders ride bareback around Siena's central square in an effort to win the Palio, a precious hand-painted silk banner bearing the image of the Virgin Mary. Prior to the race, the town gathers for a large feast with many people dressed in costumes. The event is held twice a year in Siena, once in July and again in August.
The Monteriggioni Mediaeval Festival
Each year in July the Monteriggioni community organizes the popular event, which is regarded as one of the best costume festivals in Italy. As you make your way through the walled town of Monteriggioni, professional performers and actors will be dressed in mediaeval clothing, with jesters and acrobats to entertain you, and music and poetry readings to listen to. You can watch mediaeval trade demonstrations and taste food based on antique recipes. Check out the mediaeval battle reenactments, as well.
The Volterra A.D. 1398 Mediaeval Fair
Every year in August, the town of Volterra goes back into time to the Middle Ages to celebrate the Volterra A.D. 1398 mediaeval festival for one week, beginning on the third Sunday of the month. Everyone in the town dresses in mediaeval clothing and there is music and food everywhere.
The Hazelnut Festival in Panzano
If it's Italian food you're craving, this festival is for you! The Hazelnut festival, which takes place at the Panzano in Chianti, features an array of local dishes that are served at outdoor tables all along the town streets. The feast is significant, since it takes place on August 14th, the day before Ferragosto (Assumption Day), the most important holiday in Italy.