Naples in detail

Month by Month

Top Events

Settimana Santa, March/April

Festival MANN, March/April

Maggio dei Monumenti, May

Wine & The City, May

Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, June/July

January

It might be the coldest month of the year, but Naples heats things up with free concerts on Epiphany and neighbourhood bonfires in honour of an early-Christian hermit.

La Befana

On 6 January, Neapolitan 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 Piazza del Plebiscito.

Festa di Sant’Antonio Abate

Known colloquially as ’O Cippo ’e Sant’Antonio, the feast day of St Anthony the Abbot is celebrated on 17 January with the building and lighting of cippi (bonfires) in neighbourhoods across the city.

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, Neapolitan children don fancy costumes while both young and old indulge in Carnevale treats like chiacchiere (crispy, fried pastry dough sprinkled with powdered sugar).

March

The weather in marzo pazzo (Crazy March) is capricious: sunny, rainy and windy all at once. Elaborate Easter eggs fill shop windows and an arts festival takes over the Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Festival MANN

For eight days in late March and early April, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale serves up Festival MANN (http://festivalmann.it), a feast of theatre, dance, concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings and panel discussions, both Italian and international.

Festa della Madonna dell'Arco

Held on Easter Monday in March or April, this festival sees thousands of pilgrims walk and run barefoot to the Santuario della Madonna dell'Arco, located near the village of Sant'Anastasia at the foot of Mt Vesuvius. Many fall into a trance-like state.

May

Early-summer produce, concerts and other cultural events make May in Naples perfect. The weather is warm but not too hot and there's a palpable buzz in the air. 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 the 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 exhibitions, concerts, performances and tours. Many architectural and historical treasures usually off-limits to the public are open and free to visit. Events are usually listed on the Comune di Napoli website (www.comune.napoli.it).

Wine & the City

A three-week celebration of regional vino in Naples, with free wine degustations, aperitivo (apéritif) 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.

Pausilypon: Suggestioni all'Imbrunire

From mid-June to late July, the ancient clifftop theatre at Pausilypon becomes an evocative setting for sunset music concerts and theatre performances (www.suggestioniallimbrunire.org). The weekly event also include preshow aperitivo drinks.

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.

August

August in Naples is hot. 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 supercrowded.

September

September is a glorious month to visit Naples. Warm days are tempered by cooler nights, the shops and restaurants that shut for part of August are back in business, and cinephiles celebrate Naples' annual film festival.

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.

Napoli Film Festival

The one-week Napoli Film Festival is known for showcasing lesser-known independent talent, including filmmakers based in Campania. The program also includes web series and video blogs made in southern Italy.

December

Despite the cooler days and longer nights, looming Christmas festivities warm things up with festive street lights, nativity scenes and Yuletide specialities.

Festa dell'Immacolata

On 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a fireman scrambles to the top of the Guglia dell'Immacolata – a baroque obelisk on Piazza del Gesù Nuovo – to place a wreath of flowers on the statue of the Virgin Mary.

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 presepi (nativity scenes) and people from across the country head to Naples to buy its famous pastori, famously sold on and around Via San Gregorio Armeno.

Capodanno

Naples celebrates New Year's Eve with an evening line-up of music acts in Piazza del Plebiscito, an all-night outdoor disco on the Lungomare, and fireworks over the city's iconic Castel dell’Ovo.