Festival Forecast: Italy

Bologna Festival
Bologna : April-October
Musical performances in classical and jazz are held in church cloisters and other gorgeous settings throughout the city during this six-month celebration. The festival's site has practical info.

Made in Bo
Bologna : July and August
Late night outdoor disco events are all the 'rave' in Parco Nord.

Independent Days
Bologna : September
Punk rock comes to the boot for one day in September.

Scoppio del Carro
Florence : March or April (Easter Sunday):
Translated as the 'Explosion of the Cart' festival, this event includes Italians gathered around a cart full of fireworks to set them off. If dangerous explosives don't sound entertaining, this may not be the festival for you. The good news is the celebration is safer today than it was during the crusades.

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Florence : Late April to June or July
We've got opera, we've got ballet, we've got music, and we've got Italy's oldest and most prestigious festival, Maggio Musicale. Visit the Maggio Fiorentino website to learn more.

Calcio Storico
Florence : June
An elaborate procession and a grand finale of fireworks frame this rowdy 16th-century football match. Mamma mia! The Calcio Storico site will get your endorphins racing.

Feast of St. John the Baptist
Florence : June
This is the day Florentines party in honor of their patron, Saint John the Divine.

Milan's Street Market
Milan : Tuesdays and Saturdays
Being a fashion capital, Milan is the perfect place to buy second hand designer clothes and Via Papiniano is the place to do it. Stalls are open from 8 AM to 1 PM on Tuesdays and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 7:30 PM.

Milan : A Week Before Mardi Gras - the Following Sunday
What makes this celebration unique is the fact the festivities continue through Mardi Gras and onto the following Sunday. All the blasphemous fun is centered around Piazza del Duomo. Visit the site to learn more.

Summer Series
Milan : June and July
Lots of outdoor concerts and theater entertain people on the streets before the city practically shuts down for the month of August.

Maggio dei Monumenti
Naples : Weekends in May
May of Monuments is a series of events with a different theme every year. Guided walks through the historic district, exhibits and fairs and chamber music recitals are just a few examples of the array of celebratory activities free to all.

San Gennaro
Naples : mid-September
Not only is the bust of San Gennaro saved in a silver reliquary, so are two viles of his coagulated blood. The viles are taken out for the faithful to see three days a year amongst much pomp and ceremony. When the blood liquefies, believers line up to kiss it. Ciao, Naples.

Martedi Grasso
Rome : Two Fridays Before Shrove Tuesday-Shrove Tuesday
In the Roman version of Mardi Gras, local folks (and maybe you!) drink frappe and kids dress in costumes Halloween style. The actual night of Martedi Grasso is a reason for Romans to host private parties.

Settimana Santa
Rome : Easter Week
This is the time to see Papal processions and staged ceremonies dating back to pagan days. On Easter Sunday, the Pope gives a blessing broadcast the world over from a balcony overlooking the always-crowded St. Peter's Square. Visit the site (in Italian) to learn more.

Festa della Primavera
Rome : Late April or Early May
Flowers ornament the Spanish Steps and orchestral and choral concerts ornament the ears in Trinita dei Monti during this spring celebration. The endearingly simple site has info and photos.

Festa di San Giovanni
Rome : June 23
Saint John (Giovanni) was apparently a fan of stewed snails and porcetta (pork) because lots of them are consumed during his festival as throngs of people dancing and singing.

Festa di San Pietro e Paolo
Rome : June 29
Before Peter, Paul, and Mary there were the patron saints of Rome, Peter and Paul. The event is celebrated with singing and music and a street fair.

Fiesta Capannelle
Rome : mid-June-July
Throw on your dancing shoes and join this Latin America-flavored party at the base of Rome's racetrack.

Tevere Expo
Rome : mid-June-July
Annual handicrafts fair along the river; also includes nighttime merchants, bars, and live entertainment.

La Festa di Noantri
Rome : July (Last Two Weeks)
Medieval Trastevere's summer festival in honor of the Virgin—including stalls for trinkets and snacks, a grand procession of the Virgin's effigy being paraded through the streets, and then, to top it off, a fireworks grand finale. This is also when the neighborhood becomes an enormous outdoor restaurant with tables lining the streets. Ciao!

Festa della Madonna delle Neve
Rome : August 5
The Italians celebrate Mary's purity at the Basilica di Santa Maria with a 'snowfall' of rose petals over the congregation during Mass.

Sagra dell'Uva
Rome : First Week of September
This festival celebrates the grape growers from all regions of Italy. And, what do you get when you put wine-makers, musicians, half-priced grapes and shopping in one place? You get a monstrous party.

Settimana dei Vini
Siena : First Week of June
This week of wine serves up drinks at the Enoteca Nazionale.

Il Palio
Siena : July 2 and August 16
Arrive three days early, watch trial runs, and pick a contrada to root for at this bareback horserace. Visit the site to learn more.

Weekly Market
Siena : Throughout the Year on Wednesdays
From 8 AM to 1 PM, this extensive city market fills the streets around the Fortezza Medicea and La Lizza Park.

Venice : January and February (Ten Days Leading up to Ash Wednesday):
Nationally celebrated holiday, but Venice is where the heart of the party lies. Venetians pull on their elaborate masks and costumes and turn the streets into a massive party. The Carnevale site has information about this year's bash as well as past celebrations.

Feast of St. Mark
Venice : April 25
In the name of the big square in the center of town, we can't forget Saint Mark, the patron saint of the Venetians. The Venetians celebrate their patron saint in Italian fashion by closing up most businesses for the day.

Voga Longa
Venice : A Sunday in mid-May
The 18-mile (30km) rowing race from San Marco to Burano brings out the contestants' friends and neighbors as well as fans of strong-armed Italian men the world over. Or is that just us? Visit the site to learn more about the wave-making event.

Biennale d'Arte
Venice : June-November, Odd numbered years
At this prestigious and controversial International Exposition of Modern Art, Venice is used as the art gallery. Paintings are displayed in pavilions, public parks, and around town. The Biennale website has enough eye candy to get you through an even numbered year.

Festa del Redentore
Venice : the third Saturday and Sunday in July
What's the best thing to do when a plague is lifted? How about throwing a spectacular shindig? This is how the Venetians celebrate the lifting of the 16th-century plague, fully equipped with a floating party boat and fireworks. Spettaculo!

Venice International Film Festival
Venice : Late August-early September
You want movie stars? You want reasonable ticket prices? Then forget about Cannes, and head to Venice for their International Film Festival, the next most respected film celebration next to the French biggie. Visit the site and start dreaming.

Regata Storica, Grand Canal
Venice : First Sunday in September
Join this aquatic spectacle! This is a day of opulently decorated gondolas and exciting regattas.

Venice : Late October
The maratona (marathon) starts in Villa Pisani and runs right through Venice, feet and all.

Festa della Salute
Venice : November 21
The Italians salute the end of devastating plagues, in this case the 17th-century plague, with great big parties. So why not join the Italians in this great festival, and celebrate by walking into La Salute's