Summers in Abruzzo are always filled many festivals, events, concerts, and a great lively buzz as many families arrive to their holiday homes, relatives come back to visit from abroad and tourists flock to the seaside and cooler mountain resorts. Here is a list of our favourite summer festivals and events in Abruzzo, which we update continuously as interesting new announcements come up.
Walk with shepherds
The tradition of seasonal flock movement to higher altitudes (vertical transhumance) has been practiced in Abruzzo for many centuries. If you are curious about what’s it like to be a shepherd, join them and their sheep flocks early in the morning walking from the small town of Arsita up to the mountain pastures. You will stop for a traditional breakfast and hearty lunch at the pasture at an altitude of 1700 metres above sea level. In the afternoon, a shuttle will take you back to the parking area. To see more details and book, go to the event’s page.
When: June 19
Street Food Festival in Città Sant’Angelo
Up to a dozen of street food stands will set up along the town’s beautiful streets. In the evening, there will be live concerts, dancing, and a local talent show. For details see Visit Città Sant’Angelo.
When: June 16-19
International classic cars show
The Avezzano Circuit – Abruzzo Gran Tour is a much-awaited event for Avezzano and the region. It is one the most important international events for classic car lovers attracting thousands of spectators. This year, there will be 85 cars participating in the event with 25 beauties built before 1945. They will cruise our spectacular mountain roads with sharp bends and panoramic vistas. One of the highlights of the rally is the Concorso di eleganza, a public voting that attracts around 6000 spectators who choose the most elegant car by ballot. It takes place in Avezzano on Risorgimento Square, Market Square, and Republic Square on Saturday, July 2 from 5 to 6 pm. There you can see the classic cars close up, talk to their lucky owners, and cast your vote. See the full programme here.
When: June 29 – July 3
Guardiagrele Opera Festival
Summer evenings in the beautiful town of Guardiagrele fill up with classical music. Operas and concerts are held in picturesque squares. See the full programme on the festival’s website.
When: from the end of June to August. The dates for 2022 will be announced shortly.
Music in Alba Fucens
Alba Fucens, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in Abruzzo, hosts music concerts in the ancient Roman amphitheatre and stunning medieval churches Santa Maria in valle Porclaneta, Santa Lucia in Rocca di Cambio and San Pietro Alba Fucens. Make sure to stroll among the glorious ruins of what once was a Roman megacity (read about Alba Fucens in issue 22 of ABRUZZISSIMO, available to but here) before the concerts, it is especially beautiful at sunset. See the full programme on Festiv’Alba website.
When: June 29 – August 30
Pescara Jazz Festival
The International Jazz Festival in Pescara is turning 53 years old this summer. Over three weeks, Italian and international jazz musicians will give be open-air concerts in the port of Pescara, the Teatro D’Annunzio, and several other venues. Tickets for some performances sell fast, so don’t wait, book them now. The full programme is coming up soon on the Pescara Jazz Festival’s website and their Facebook page.
When: June 15 – July 26
La Giostra Cavalleresca
It’s one of the biggest summer festivals in Abruzzo attracting thousands of spectators. The city’s largest piazza is transformed into a Medieval arena, complete with sand, damsels, galloping horses, and knights, drawing thousands of locals and tourists. The Knightly Joust, features tournaments over two weekends in late July and early August. Before each competition, 600 locals decked out in gorgeous replicas of 15th-16th century costumes walk in a procession along Corso Ovidio to Piazza Garibaldi. The full programme will be announced soon on the organiser’s website.
When: July 28 – August 7
A week-long truffle feast in Campovalano accompanied by live concerts. Food stands will be selling dishes with local truffles every evening. The hugely popular Sagra del Tartufo attracting thousands of people is going plastic-free this year and all plates and cutleries used will be biodegradable. During the festival, you can also visit the archaeological site Necropoli di Campovalano, one of the biggest and best-preserved in Central Italy, to see some fascinating artifacts going as far back as late Bronze Age.
See the full programme here.
When: July 11-17
Festival of Sant’Andrea in Pescara
The last weekend of July, the city of Pescara celebrates the Feast of Saint Andrew, the Patron Saint of fishermen. On Saturday evening, food stands are set up on Piazza Sant’Andrea and concerts begin. The morning after, after the Mass at the church of St. Andrew, a procession of fishing boats takes the statue of the saint to the harbour. The festival’s programme is filled with music, theatrical performances and a great atmosphere. The following Monday evening it finishes with a grand firework display that is watched by thousands of people from the beach. The detailed programme of the festival will be published soon on the organiser’s Facebook page.
When: July 30-31
Jazz Festival in Sulmona
The Muntagninjazz festival returns to the Valley Peligna. Dozens of concerts will take place in July and August. The festival aims to bring music to small mountain locations and this year venues will include Introdacqua, Bugnara, Pacentro, Anversa, Campo di Giove, and Sulmona. Some of the biggest names in Italian jazz are expected to perform this year. The full programme will be published in the coming weeks on the festival’s Facebook page or website.
When: July 8 – August 22
Dining with the Byzantines in Crecchio
The hugely popular festival A cena con i Bizantini is a throwback to the 6-7th century when the Byzantines settled along the coast of the Chieti province. During the festival’s three days the small village of Crecchio is animated with processions in historical costumes, medieval music and dances. You can taste ancient Byzantine dishes, watch medieval crafts and trades demonstrations and visits the village’s medieval castle (haunted, according to locals). For more follow the festival’s page.
When: July 29-31
Porchetta Festival in Campli
One of the oldest food festivals in the region, la sagra della porchetta, will be holding its 51th edition in August. A dozen Italian porchetta producers gather in Campli to compete for the gold medal and, for several days, the town fills up with the divine smells of roasting pork and the sounds of music, as various bands play Italian pop, rock, indie, and Latin American tunes. Porchetta is a moist boneless pork roast which has been made in Abruzzo for many centuries. The exact dates haven’t been announced yet, so check the festival’s website and their Facebook page in the coming weeks.
When: August 18-23
Il Catenaccio in Scanno
A small but, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful summer events in Abruzzo, Il Catenaccio (or “Ju Catenacce” in dialect), a re-enactment of an ancient marriage procession. Locals, dressed in traditional festive costumes, walk the narrow streets of the medieval village in pairs, led by the bride and groom. The women’s costumes are made exactly the way they were in the 1700s. The procession finishes in the central square with dances and traditional music. You can see a video of a past event below. Keep an eye out for the programme announcement here.
When: August 14
La Perdonanza in L’Aquila
Since 1294, the city of L’Aquila has been celebrating La Perdonanza (The Celestinian Forgiveness). Anyone who enters the Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio between August 28 and 29 is granted plenary indulgence. The week-long celebrations include concerts, the Mass, opening of the Holy Door, and the procession carrying the historic 13th-century document, Bolla del Perdono, signed by Celestine V. The Celestinian Forgiveness celebration has recently been declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. For details, go to Perdonanza-celestiniana.it.
When: August 23-29
Tagliacozzo mid-summer festival
In August, Tagliacozzo hosts a big music festivals. Local convents, churches, and town squares become venues for classical music and jazz concerts, dance performances and book presentations. Watch Italian operas under the stars, listen to Rossini and Tchaikovsky at sunrise or attend a concert in a beech forest at sunset — there will be plenty of unforgettable experiences. Many concerts are free. See the full programme on the festival’s website.
When: July 29-August 28
Sagra della polta in Pacentro
For some traditional cucina povera and a good excuse to wander around the picturesque town of Pacentro head to this small lively evening celebration. The ancient traditional dish polta that will be served is a mix of cabbage, beans and potatoes.
When: August 13, 8pm
Medieval banquet in Carapelle Calvisio
The streets of the tiny village of Carapelle Calvisio (population 78 people) will fill up with medieval music, singing and dancing as hearty ancient dishes will be served to all guests seated at a long table. It is a great opportunity to see this beautiful village, learn about its rich history and support the local community.
When: August 6, from 5pm
La notte nell’Ilex
For one week in August, the town of Elice returns back to the 14th century with spectacular historical re-enactments, medieval music and banquets. Torture chambers are set up, court jesters and stilt-walkers wonder around the streets, astrologers predict your future, knights hold competitions. La note nell’Ilex is by far the most spectacular historical re-enactment in Abruzzo with 400 locals and actors participating in the event. You can rent medieval costumes and feast at evening banquets (book your place well in advance).
When: Keep an eye on the event’s page for the dates to be announced soon.