Italy’s summer season is filled with music festivals and events – the warm weather means you can enjoy many of them al fresco, too. Concerts range from classic to contemporary, and some are even gratuito (free) to watch.
The following are some of our top picks, but there are dozens more all over the country. If you have any favourites, leave us a comment and let us know.
Lucca Summer Festival, Tuscany
14 June – 29 July 2017
Running throughout the month of July, Lucca’s Summer Festival is the main music festival in Tuscany, boasting an impressive line-up of some of the most influential artists in the industry. The festival is made up of several concerts which take place in the open-air Piazza Napoleone. 2015 saw sets from the likes of Elton John, John Legend, Robbie Williams, Snoop Dog, and Bob Dylan, while the first acts announced for 2017 include Green Day, Imagine Dragons, Kasabian and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with more to be confirmed. Tickets are available online or at the box offices in Piazza del Giglio and Piazza San Michele.
Browse our holidays to Tuscany.
Umbria Jazz Festival
7-16 July, 2017
For 10 days in July, the town of Perugia becomes a global music village, as hordes of music lovers take to the cobblestone streets to experience what is known as the world’s best jazz festival. Performances take place across the town, from piazzas and gardens to wine bars (where the jazz comes with dinner and drinks) and the Arena Santa Giuliana. You’ll find lots more info on their website, including ticket details.
See our selection of holidays to Umbria.
Puccini Festival, Viareggio
14 July-19 August, 2017
Puccini is celebrated as one of the most outstanding Italian artists worldwide, and Torre del Lago in Viareggio is famous for hosting the Puccini Festival since it began in 1930. The outdoor theatre is an amazing setting to enjoy acclaimed operas such as Madame Butterfly, Tosca, and La Boheme. Take advantage of being located so close to Florence and add an extra few days to explore the city. Tickets range from around £20 to £160 - we can sort these out for you.
Check out our short breaks to the Puccini Opera Festival.
Taormina Opera Festival
Taormina’s Opera Festival sees performances of classics like Carmen, Don Giovanni and Il Barbiere di Siviglia performed at the town’s Teatro Antico, a huge open-air Greek theatre with views across to Mount Etna. There are also performances at the Teatro Greco in Syracuse, further down the coast. You can buy your tickets online (although the site is in Italian) or at the box office at Palazzo dei Congressi.
Take a look at our holidays to Taormina.
Various dates between 27 March and 3 December 2017
The hilltop town of Ravello is famous for its stunning views and beautiful gardens, and is a popular daytrip for those staying in Sorrento or on the Amalfi Coast. During the summer months, however, people often stick around until the evening, when the concerts of the Ravello Festival begin. Most performances take place at the beautiful Villa Rufolo, often with those famous views as a backdrop. You can buy tickets online or at the box office in Piazza Duomo.
Have a look at our holidays to Ravello.
Estate Musicale Chigiana, Siena
6 July – 1 August 2017
This classical music festival is put on by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana and features renowned musicians as well as talented young players who are attending the academy’s summer school courses. Concerts take place all over Siena, in atmospheric venues including churches, palazzos, abbeys and historic theatres. Tickets are reasonably priced and can be bought via the academy’s website.
See our holidays to Tuscany.
Verona Opera Festival
23 June-27 August, 2017
Every summer, Verona hosts its world-famous opera festival in its magnificent Roman amphitheatre. With a huge seating capacity of 20,000 spectators per evening, a great stage and impressive acoustics, it’s little wonder the festival is one of the highlights of the operatic calendar. The operas to be performed this year include Carmen, La Traviata and Aida. Find out more about the Verona Opera Festival in our online guide.
Take a look at our Verona Opera Break itinerary here.
MITO Settembre Musica
September 2017, exact dates to be announced
This dual-city music festival is one of the biggest in Italy, with concerts and recitals taking place across Milan and Turin. Venues vary from city piazzas (where you can listen for free) to historic churches and even iconic sights like the Duomo di Milano and Teatro alla Scala. There’s plenty to choose from – opera, classical, contemporary, jazz – and you can buy tickets easily online or at the box office in the city.
Browse our selection of holidays to Milan.
What’s your favourite music festival in Italy?
Photos: Puccini Festival from APT – Versilia via Flickr; Ravello Festival from Pino Izzo, Fondazione Ravello