Top Events

Settimana Santa, March/April

Maggio dei Monumenti, May

Wine & The City, May

Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, June/July

Ravello Festival, June to September

January

It might be the coldest month of the year, but Campanian bambini (children) don't mind. January is time for regali (gifts), brought to all good children by an elderly, broomstick-riding woman.

La Befana

On 6 January, Campanian children wake in the hope of finding gifts delivered by La Befana, a female version of Father Christmas. Free concerts and events are held at various locations, including Naples' Piazza del Plebiscito.

February

Short and accursed is how Italians describe February. It might still be chilly, but almond trees start to blossom and Carnevale season brightens things up with confetti, costumes and sugar-dusted treats.

Carnevale

In the period leading up to Ash Wednesday, many southern Italian towns stage pre-Lenten carnivals. Kids don fancy costumes, and elaborate carri (floats) are paraded down the street. This is also the time for Carnevale treats like chiacchiere (fried pastry dough sprinkled with powdered sugar).

Festa di Sant'Antonino

Sorrento's patron saint is celebrated on 14 February with street stalls, fireworks, and musical processions through the centro storico (historic centre). It's also the perfect time to tuck into Sorrento's famous torta di Sant'Antonino; a chocolate- and cream-filled tart.

March

The weather in marzo pazzo (Crazy March) is temperamental. While the official start of spring is 21 March, things only really start to open up for the main season during the Easter Holy Week.

Settimana Santa

Processions and passion plays mark Easter Holy Week across the Campania region. On Good Friday and the Thursday preceding it, hooded penitents walk through the streets of Sorrento. On tiny Procida, Good Friday sees wooden statues and life-size tableaux carted across the island.

Festival MANN

For eight days in late March and early April, Naples' Museo Archeologico Nazionale serves up a feast of theatre, dance, concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings and panel discussions, both Italian and international.

May

Roses and early summer produce make May a perfect time to travel, especially for walkers. The weather is warm but not too hot and prices are good value. It’s also patron-saint season.

Processione delle Statue

On the first Saturday in May, reliquary busts of San Gennaro and other saints are paraded from Naples' Duomo to the Basilica di Santa Chiara. The celebration usually ends with the miraculous liquefaction of San Gennaro's blood, stored in two phials.

Maggio dei Monumenti

As the weather warms up, Naples puts on a mammoth, month-long program of art exhibitions, concerts, performances and tours. Many architectural and historical treasures usually off limits to the public are open and free to visit.

Wine & the City

A three-week celebration of regional vino in Naples, with free wine degustations, aperitivo sessions and cultural events in palaces, museums, boutiques and eateries across the city.

Napoli Bike Festival

Neapolitans get on their saddles in May for the city's burgeoning bike fest (www.napolibikefestival.it). Running over three days, activities include city cycling tours, a parade of vintage bicycles, as well as live music and exhibitions.

June

Summer kicks off: the temperature cranks up quickly, lidi (beaches) start to open in earnest and some of the big summer festivals commence. The Anniversary of the Republic on 2 June is a national holiday.

Napoli Teatro Festival Italia

Naples' month-long theatre festival serves up Italian and foreign theatre, performance art, and exhibitions, both mainstream and fringe. Events take place across the city, from theatres to metro stations.

Ravello Festival

Hilltop Ravello draws world-renowned artists during its summertime festival. Spanning everything from music and dance to film and art exhibitions, several events take place in the exquisite Villa Rufolo gardens from late June to late August.

July

School is out and Italians everywhere are heading to the coast or mountains for their summer holidays. Prices and temperatures rise. The beaches are in full swing, as are several major music and cultural festivals.

Giffoni Film Festival

Europe's biggest children’s film festival livens up the town of Giffoni Valle Piana, east of Salerno (www.giffonifilmfestival.it). Attracting children and teens from across the world, the week-long event includes screenings, workshops, seminars and big-name guests such as Mark Ruffalo and Robert De Niro.

Sagra del Tonno

Tiny Cetara plays host to this annual tuna festival, held over four days in late July or early August. Tuna dishes aside, you can taste-test the town's celebrated anchovies, made famous thanks to its colatura di alici (anchovy paste).

Festa di Sant'Anna

Ischia celebrates the feast day of Sant'Anna to spectacular effect on 26 July. The island's local councils build competing floats to sail in a flotilla, with fireworks and a symbolic 'burning' of Ischia Ponte's medieval Castello Aragonese to boot.

August

August in Campania is hot, expensive and crowded. Everyone is on holiday and, while it may no longer be true that everything is shut, many businesses and restaurants do close for part of the month.

Ferragosto

After Christmas and Easter, Ferragosto (15 August) is Italy's biggest holiday. While it now marks the Feast of the Assumption, even the ancient Romans honoured their pagan gods on Feriae Augusti. The beaches are super crowded.

September

This is a glorious month in the south. As summer waxes in autumn, the grape harvest begins. Adding to the culinary excitement are the many local sagre (food festivals), celebrating regional produce and traditions.

Festa di San Gennaro

On 19 September, San Gennaro's powder-to-blood miracle takes place in Naples' Duomo. The event sees two phials of the saint's blood liquefy. It the miracle fails, the faithful consider it a bad omen for the city. The miracle also takes place in May and December.

Festival Ethnos

Ethnos (www.festivalethnos.it) delivers over a week of world music in September and early October. Expect both local and international acts, playing in venues across the Greater Naples region.

December

Despite the cooler days and longer nights, looming Christmas festivities warm things up with festive street lights, nativity scenes and Yuletide specialities. Naples welcomes in the new year with free special events and fireworks.

Festa del Patrocinio di San Gennaro

On 16 December, believers squeeze into Naples' Duomo to witness the miraculous transformation of San Gennaro's blood from dried form to liquid. If the miracle occurs, the city is deemed safe from disaster. The event also occurs in May and September.

Natale

The weeks preceding Christmas shine with religious events. Many churches set up nativity scenes known as presepi. People from across the country head to Naples to buy its famous pastori (nativity-scene figurines) on and around Via San Gregorio Armeno.