Italian Music Events and Festivals

Italy bursts with every kind of music from north to south. The country is home to several music festivals, especially in the summer when almost every piazza seems to be setting out the chairs for some kind of local performance or another. If you like music and are traveling to Italy at any time of the year, it would be wise to save this list so that you can check out at least one of these music festivals or venues.

Florence: The Maggio Musicale Festival is organized through the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino theater, which has operated as Florence’s center for music since the theater opened in 1933. The festival is a must-attend for opera aficionados and is the oldest and most important music festival in all of Italy. Come to listen to opera belt through a majestic setting and city. The festival is held annually from May to June. Check out the Maggio Musicale Festival’s website for more information.

Orvieto: The much lauded Umbria Jazz Festival stretches even in the winter months in the week after Christmas, ending on New Year’s Day. What a treat to listen to world class jazz in such a beautiful setting as Orvieto with its magnificent Duomo! Check out the Umbria Jazz Festival’s website for a list of who will be playing.

Enjoying jazz in Umbria!

Perugia: The Umbria Jazz Festival began in 1973, putting jazz from the clubs outside in the piazze. Where better to listen to wonderful music than in such a setting and under such a warm sky. The ten-day festival is held during the second week of July and has attracted some of the best names in jazz throughout its history. Take a look at the Umbria Jazz Festival’s website to see who’ll be on next year!

Pesaro: Every year opera lovers flock to Pesaro to celebrate the life and work of Gioachino Rossani at the Rossini Opera Festival. The festival is held for about two weeks during August. Not only are Rossini’s operas performed in grand settings, but there are also a number of lectures, film premières, and other musical performances to keep festival goers happy. You can’t walk away without knowing a little bit more about the librettist. See the Rossini Opera Festival’s website for more information about programs to be held this year.

Positano: As if an excuse is needed to go to beautiful Positano located on the amazing Amalfi Coast! And if you like chamber music, than look no farther. Not only does the International Chamber Music Festival host performances of opera and chamber music in churches and outside settings, but also holds classes available from internationally renowned musicians. The festival is held during late June or early July. Please see the International Chamber Music Festival website for more details.

Ravello: Ravello is located high on the Amalfi Coast and boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. And if you like classical music than you have another great reason for heading there. The Classical Music Festival is held from March until October and offers some wonderful music in a beautiful setting. See the Ravello Concert Society’s website for more information and performance schedules.

Ravenna: Take a break from mosaic hunting during April to November and head to the Ravenna Festival. The festival really gets going in the middle of the summer when the usual classical and opera music is joined by jazz, dance, film, and drama. Most of the concerts attract big names in the music world and are held in the Teatro Dante Alighieri. Here’s a link to the Ravenna Festival’s website for more information.

Rome: All year round the Auditorium Parco della Musica hosts concerts. There is a concentration on Italian music and are often a week of a certain genre like jazz. Otherwise in the summer there’s the Teatro dell’Opera’s stunning performances in the ruins of Terme di Caracalla, a bath complex built by the Emperor Caracalla, during June and July. The setting is magical and the performances never fail to leave you wanting to see every single one. Here is the website for the Auditorium Parco della Musica and here for the Terme di Caracalla summer opera schedule.

San Remo: The San Remo Festival or Festa della Canzone is held every year in the stunning resort town of San Remo in February or early March. This festival is more than just a simple festival: It’s actually a music contest that makes or breaks the careers of Italian pop stars. Not for the light hearted, but entertaining all the same. Even if you’re not in San Remo during the time of the festival, don’t worry, it’s now televised and can be watched throughout Italy. Check out the performers at the San Remo Festival here.

Spoleto: Every year for two weeks between June and July, the Umbrian town of Spoleto opens all its doors and piazze for the Festival dei Due Mondi or Festival of Two Worlds. There is much music to be seen, such as jazz and classical, but also there’s so much more. The festival is touted as an arts festival and attracts performances and artists from all around Italy. See the Festival of Two Worlds’s website to find out what’s on in the next year.

Opera in Verona’s Arena

Verona: If you like opera then there’s no better place to listen to it than in Verona’s ancient Roman Arena. Every year from June to September the city hosts a large scale opera performances that are said to be the best in the country, especially the yearly Aida. The arena has hosted performances since 1913, almost one hundred years! See what’s on next year on the Verona Arena’s website.