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The Italian Holiday of Ferragosto

Beppe Salerno
Posted by Beppe Salerno on Sep 29, 2015 1:00:00 PM

 

Summer in Italy

 

For Italians, August means Ferragosto. It's more than a holiday; it's an important part of the summer.

So what is Ferragosto?

According to Wikipedia, Ferragosto is "an Italian and Sammarinese public holiday celebrated on 15 August, coinciding with the major Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary. The term is also used as a stand-in for the summer vacation period around mid-August, which may be a long weekend (ponte di ferragosto) or most of August.

 

Summer in Italy

 

To an Italian, Ferragosto means vacation. For the whole country, and for almost the entire month of August (three weeks for most people), work obligations don’t matter. If you only take one week of vacation, you are regarded as a mythological hero; picture a lonely knight riding towards a mid August sunset in an empty city.

 

Summer in Italy

 

Insane isn’t it? 

 

Summer in Italy

 

It’s in the Italians' DNA and no matter how low the economy is or how tight a job deadline, the whole country heads to the beach. Cities are like ghost towns on Ferragosto. 

 

Summer in Italy

 

We Italians say that you don’t want to get hurt  (hospital staff is at a bare minimum on Ferragosto) or die on Ferragosto (no one will be paying any attention - including the mortuary - until a couple of days later). You don’t want to have your car break down, because car mechanics (like all other shops) will be closed.  Of course your friends won’t be there to help you either. 

 

Summer in Italy

 

Despite all this, you don’t struggle with Ferragosto; instead you just relax and go with the flow, and the flow usually heads to the mountains to chill or to the coast to party on the beach.

 

Summer in Italy

 

The food chapter of Italian Ferragosto is just as insane. On Ferragosto you have a commitment to show up, and not empty handed.  Everyone brings food and you better showcase a good appetite. At Ferragosto you can’t pass on a sumptuous, yet informal, lunch that highlights all the best flavors of summer. Caprese salad, bruschetta and pasta are followed by grilled meats and watermelon.  Wine flows and banquets become louder. Just when things seem to start calming down, the water bomb battles start. Those are epic for both kids and adults.

 

Summer in Italy

Overall, to most Italians Ferragosto is about quality time with their family and friends. They (we) leave all troubles behind; someone else will take care of them. Careers change, money comes and goes but family time is gone when it’s gone. 

Before ruling that Ferragosto is totally irresponsible, you should try it once. It’s awesome!

 

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Topics: Italy History & Culture, Useful Info: Italy

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