After Natale and Pasqua, Ferragosto is the third festivity Italians mostly appreciate overall. During this period of the year, Italian cities get empty, whereas beaches fill up welcoming people from all over the world. 

what is Ferragosto exactly?

Traditionally, Ferragosto is an Italian national holiday celebrated on 15th August. Its roots lie in ancient Rome under the emperor Augustus. As a matter of fact, Feriae Augusti – a set of feasts established by Augustus himself – had the purpose to provide Roman citizens a longer period of rest after the harvest. Later, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Catholicism, this festival was converted into a religious festivity commemorating the Assunzione, namely the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.

Nevertheless, how and where do Italians celebrate Ferragosto? What do they like to do the most?

If you are curious enough to find it out, you better scroll down and read until the end of the present article! And if you are planning to visit Italy here there are some useful books for you:

how and where do Italians celebrate Ferragosto?

Relaxing on the beach 

Ferragosto relaxing on the beach and with an Aperitivo during Summer in Italy

Spending Ferragosto vacations with family or friends on the beach is usually the very first choice. Indeed, most Italians literally “flee” from those cities that are dreadfully hot and sticky during the summertime – like Milan, Turin, Rome, Bologna, and so on-. On the contrary, people who live in coastal cities – such as Naples, Palermo, Bari, Rimini, etc. – can enjoy more pleasant and milder weather, as well as cooler temperatures. 

In any case, many events take place on the most famous Italian beaches, such as those of Adriatic Coast, Amalfi Coast, and Emerald Coast, during the day of Ferragosto: in the morning, they usually organize funny games for children, dancing and water aerobics sessions for young people and adults. Instead, in the afternoon, space is given to traditional Italian Aperitivo. On this occasion, you can have a tasty cocktail with your friends, listen to great music, and eat tons of appetizers and savory snacks. Finally, in the evening you have the chance to do lots of different things according to your tastes: going to a beach party, celebrating in an exclusive nightclub, going for a stroll downtown where you can be entertained with traditional music concerts, or eventually watching the fireworks around a bonfire. 

Fun fact: Are you wondering which is the representative song of the Italian summer? Of course Un’estate al mare by Italian singer Giuni Russo.            

Having a good time in the mountains 

Ferragosto Having a good time in the mountains during Summer in Italy

In case you aren’t into the sea like a lot of Italians, mountains are the perfect alternative where to spend your Ferragosto! The most popular destinations for hikers and fresh air lovers are Alpes and Appennines, the two main mountain ranges in Italy. Here people have the possibility to explore wild areas along with expert tour guides, hike into the woods seeking appetizing mushrooms and truffles, or reach small mountain villages with breathtaking views. 

Plus, in some Italian regions where a vast production of wines normally appears – as in Piedmont, Tuscany, Campania, Sicily -, it is also possible to visit local wineries that often belong to wealthy families. In these places they provide you information about the various techniques used for making wine, focusing on grape pressing, fermentation, and aging; after that, the procedures of bottling and storage are shown. When the visit comes to an end, you are allowed to taste local wines, basically accompanied by delicious platters of cold cuts and cheeses. 

Exploring Italian lakes 

Exploring Italian lakes during Ferragosto and Italian Summer - Lake Garda

Another typical activity that some Italians really prefer doing during the day of Ferragosto is going to the lake. Just think of the huge amount of lakes scattered throughout Italy – for example, Lakes of Garda and Como in Lombardy, Lake of Bracciano near Rome, and Lake Trasimeno in Umbria. In these wonderful locations, it’s quite common to take a cruise around the lake itself, taste seafood dishes in a restaurant nearby, or sunbathing on the lake shores. 

Remember that it is also possible to fish but you need to get information previously because in some parts of Italy fishing is forbidden in specific periods of the year.     

Spending time in the countryside

Spending time in the countryside during Italian Ferragosto and Summer - Tuscan Maremma

Not interested in spending your day of Ferragosto on the beach, in the mountains, or at the lake? Don’t worry about that, because an alternative to the proposals mentioned above exists: the countryside!

As you already know, Italy is full of countryside, hills, and plains. Hence, if you decide to head to the Tuscan Maremma or the Po Valley in summer, you could stop at a holiday farm to have a barbecue or at a trattoria – in English inn – where to enjoy wholesome food and later have a nap under the trees. For families with kids, they usually offer entertainment services and carousels. Alternatively, you might be hosted in farms or cottages where you can experience rural life. Here they give you the chance to hoe the ground, grow plants, and raise animals.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could feed hens or witness the birth of a calf? For nature enthusiasts, this would surely be something not to be missed! Additionally, you are able to drink homemade wine and eat healthy farm-to-table products. Lastly, you could choose to go for a ride in an open country. 

Fun fact: do you know there’s a very famous Italian film where the typical summer landscape of the Tuscan Maremma is displayed? Here is an excerpt from the movie Il Ciclone directed by Italian actor Leonardo Pieraccioni.   

Staying in town 

Staying in town in Ferragosto - Visiting Pompeii in Naples

What if you didn’t manage to leave your home city on Ferragosto? Well, you need to know that most shops, businesses and public offices are closed for the summer break; even public transport is not in service. In fact, you could bump into signs like chiuso per ferie – literally closed for vacation – popping up all over the place. However, plenty of museums and cultural sites still stay open. Consequently, locals and tourists have the opportunity to visit major Italian attractions such as the Colosseum, Pompei ruins, Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and other cultural institutions across the rest of Italy.

At the same time, city parks remain open during Ferragosto; on this occasion, people often go there carrying their picnic baskets. After putting a towel on the grass, they relax and eat in good company. Rather, when the air becomes cooler in the evening, you can drink some cocktails, have dinner – make sure that the restaurant you would like to go to is open! – or take a walk in the center. Even though there are few people and it’s hot, I’m sure you won’t regret the moment when you walked around an Italian city in loneliness! 

Anyway, you shouldn’t feel alone because different events take place in the squares of the main Italian cities.        

What do Italians eat and drink on Ferragosto?

What do Italians eat and drink on summer?

Commonly, Italians are used to eating fresh and uncooked food such as mozzarella, tomato salad, ricotta, and cold meats in summer. Mostly, they eat a lot of fruit like watermelon, rockmelon, grapes, peaches, and so on. Regarding cold drinks, the most appreciated are iced tea, iced coffee, sodas, granita, and barley water. For some Italian foodies, eating fresh couldn’t be enough! For this reason, they opt for more flavourful dishes like eggplant parmesan, spaghetti omelet, rice salad, or pasta salad. Generally, they consume these foods on the beach or outdoors – this happens mainly in the south of Italy -. Wine must be present on the Italian table, too! In this regard, there’s a dessert that is very easy to make: peaches in red wine. Trust me, once you take a sip of this juicy drink, you won’t be able to get enough of it! 

Keep in mind that you can have all these meals I referred to until now during the entire summertime – more specifically from the end of May until the beginning of September -, not only on the day of Ferragosto.    

What Are Ferragosto Festivities and Traditions in Italy?

What Are Summer Festivities and Traditions in Italy?

As we already said previously, if you are unable to leave for vacation, or simply decide to stay in town, you won’t face problems spending your Ferragosto cheerfully because you’ll find dozens of celebrations all over Italy, including food, music, parades, and of course, fireworks. Here is a list of the 5 most popular Italian festivities taking place on 15th August.

Palio dell’Assunta in Siena 

First of all, we need to cite one of the most famous Italian manifestations occurring in Mid-August: Palio dell’Assunta in Siena. Celebrated on 16th August, it has its roots in the Middle Ages. During this day, the seven contrade – the plural form of contrada – challenge each other through horse races in Piazza del Campo, the main square in Siena. The winners of this tournament will gain the respect of the whole city and its inhabitants.

Gran Galà di Ferragosto at the Reggia of Venaria, Turin  

Secondly, we cannot fail to mention another important festivity related to this day: Gran Galà di Ferragosto at the Reggia of Venaria, near Turin. Tuxedo, refined people, Dj sets, and fireworks are the keywords to describe the stunning and sophisticated Royal Palace of Venaria where to celebrate Ferragosto with style and class.  

Festa dell’Assunta in Trappeto, Palermo  

In the third place, there’s another important feast attracting people from all over Italy on 15th August: Festa dell’Assunta in Trappeto, a small village near Palermo. During the religious procession at the sea, the statue of the Virgin Mary is put on a boat that is dragged through the entire coastline of the town whereas believers pray and follow it. Actually, in almost every coastal town this ritual occurs, especially in South Italy where a stronger religiousness exists.    

Rome’s Gran Ballo di Ferragosto 

Going on, it’s time now to introduce another significant Italian festival: Rome’s Gran Ballo di Ferragosto. If you think that a city like Rome will leave you alone on the day of Ferragosto, you are dead wrong because on 15th August the main Roman streets, districts, and squares – such as Via del Corso, Piazza del Popolo, Garbatella – fill up with live dance performances. While dancing, you can get something to eat and drink nearby, too.       

Fireworks Show in Rimini 

If you are looking for the most spectacular fireworks in Italy, you need to head to Rimini. Why so impressive? Because several beach clubs located on the Adriatic Coast are economically and practically involved in the organization of this unforgettable event. Surely, this fireworks show will keep you with your nose up the whole night!

A Midnight Swim 

Did you know many Italians are used to taking a swim on 15th August at midnight? Before doing that, some guys – principally youngsters – meet in groups and then go to the beach. When the clock strikes midnight, they take a dip together and have fun. 

Creepy fact: in South Italy, many people believe that you shouldn’t take a swim at midnight on Ferragosto because you might be cursed! In fact, in some coastal towns of southern Italy, a series of unexplained deaths among youngsters happened after midnight and the following day. Superstition? Who knows…     

Useful vocabulary for Ferragosto 


Finally, you should check the following glossary including some useful words and expressions concerning Ferragosto.

Italian English 
Assunzione Assumption 
Processione Procession 
Vacanze estive Summer break 
Chiuso per ferie Closed for vacation 
Andare in spiaggia To go to the beach 
Festa in spiaggia Beach party 
Corsi di ballo / aquagym Dancing / water aerobics sessions 
Fuochi d’artificio Fireworks 
Falò Bonfire 
Bagno di mezzanotte Midnight swim
Cestino da picnic Picnic basket 
Fare una crociera sul lagoTo take a cruise around the lake 
Cantina Winery
Tagliere di salumi e formaggiPlatter of cold cuts and cheeses 
Trattoria Inn 
Agriturismo Holiday farm
Grigliata Barbecue 
Frittata di pastaSpaghetti omelet  
Insalata di riso / pasta Rice / pasta salad 
Orzata Barely water  
Anguria Watermelon  
Cantalupo Rockmelon 
Vino con le pesche Peaches in red wine 

Now that you have all the information you need about Ferragosto in Italy, what would you like to do on 15th August if you are in Italy? Going to the beach? Spending time in the mountains or the countryside? Staying in town? Each of them is a great option.

What matters is celebrating!    

By: Alfonso Di Somma

Born and raised in Italy, he is an Italian professional translator and a tireless traveler. His main passion? Foreign languages!

Learn Italian watching Italian TV Shows 

If you are learning Italian and you want to get familiar with the Italian language, start watching Italian TV shows!

Who doesn’t enjoy relaxing in front of the TV and watching something entertaining? It may seem like a lazy thing to do, but what if you switch to an Italian TV Show? Now you are adding an exercise for your brain! In fact, one of the easiest ways to be immersed in the Italian language and culture is by watching an Italian TV Shows!

By trying to understand the dialogues, recalling what specific words mean, learning words by the context, and hearing new and everyday expressions you can build up your vocabulary and acquire a sense of the language.

But where can you watch Italian TV Shows? In this article, I am going to tell you exactly where and what to watch.

Where can I watch Italian TV shows?

Even though you won’t get access to all of the Italian TV Shows, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video still offer a lot of Italian series and movies here in the US. In addition you can use subtitles in both English and Italian, which can help if you are learning Italian.

If you are looking for TV Shows Italians watch nationwide, the main tv broadcasting companies in Italy are Rai and Mediaset, who offer live or on demand content for free on RaiPlay and on MediasetPlay.

You’d also be surprised to know how many Italian TV Shows are available in full or partially on Youtube.

If you really are into Italian television and TV Shows you may be interested in getting a trusted vpn to get access to every content Italians watch.

What Italian TV Shows can I watch?

Italian TV shows

Here below I made a list of 30 Italian TV Shows you can watch right now. I included TV series, documentaries, talk shows, cooking shows, reality shows, game shows, sitcoms and even a soap opera!

Let’s discover them together.

Italian TV series

Thanks to the fact that there are many episodes and a story to follow, Italian TV series are a good way to encourage a person to learn Italian. Here below I’ve listed some for you.

1. La Fuoriclasse

La Fuoriclasse is an Italian TV Shows about the life of a teacher of Literature and Latin in an Italian High School in Turin. The Show links together teachers’ and students’ lives.

Watch it here on Rai Play.

2. Detective De Luca

Il Commissario De Luca takes place in Bologna in between 1938 and 1948 and it’s one of the best Italian TV Shows of the period. It is an exciting detective story that sees a faithful historical reconstruction of Italy of that time.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime here.

3. Curon

The Italian TV Show Curon is a supernatural drama that sees two teenage twins, Daria and Mauro, discovering some mysterious family secrets. It takes place in the beautiful landscape of Curon, a town in the Italian region Trentino Alto Adige, known for its submerged bell tower.

Watch it on Netflix.

4. Romanzo criminale

Another Italian TV Show worth to see is Criminal Novel, based on real crimes of the banda della Magliana, a criminal organization active in Rome in the Seventies.

Watch it on Prime video

5. Genitori vs figli

Parents versus children is an IItalian TV Show about the relationship between parents and their children.

You can watch it on Rai Play.

6. Ordinary Heroes

The original title in Italian is “Liberi Sognatori” which means “Free Dreamers”, but it was translated into “Ordinary Heroes”.

This Italian TV Show is a documentary on the true stories of three Italian citizens who stand up for their rights:

Libero Grassi, an Italian businessman passed into Italian history, because he announced publicly in newspapers and tv that he wasn’t willing to pay the pizzo (protection money) to the mafia.

Mario Francese, the first Italian journalist to expose the Italian mobster Toto Riina.

Renata Fonte, the first Italian woman to become a culture assessor, whose murder was probably ordered by Antonio Spagnolo who took her place afterwards.

You can watch the three 90 minutes episodes of this fantastic Italian TV Show on Netflix.

7. Suburra: Blood on Rome

Suburra is an Italian TV Show based on the Mafia Capitale investigation. The series takes place in Rome and it shows the rotten part of Italian society, the corruption and the relationship between organized crime, the church and politicians. It is a prequel of the homonym Italian movie Suburra. The name comes from the ancient lower class area of Rome that was notorious as a pleasure district.

As you can get from the title it can get wild and violent.

You can watch the 2 seasons and 18 episodes on Netflix.

8. The Trial

The trial or Il processo is an Italian TV Show in which a public prosecutor and a criminal lawyer clash in court to shed light on a homicide.

The language is slightly more formal since the series takes place mostly in a courthouse.

You can enjoy the 8 episodes of the first season on Netflix.

9. Baby

Baby is an Italian TV Show loosely based on the baby squillo scandal, that is an underage prostitution ring in Rome. A “squillo” is infact a prostitute.

The main characters are Chiara and Ludovica, two students of a private school for rich people in the wealthy Parioli district of Rome. The two girls start to work as escorts for money and to escape the boredness of their lives.

You can watch the 2 seasons of the Italian Show Baby on Netflix.

10. Summertime

The Italian tv serie Summertime takes place in Cesenatico during the Summer, as you may have foresaw from the title. Summer is also the main character’s name. She actually hates Summer and, instead of having fun like all her friends do, decides to work in a hotel where she meets Ale. That’s the beginning of a modern love story.

You can watch the 8 episodes on Netflix and IMDb Tv.

11. Luna nera

Luna Nera, Black Moon in English, is an historical and fantasy Italian TV show that takes place in 17th century Italy when witches used to be hunted and persecuted. The Italian show rotates around a group of women accused of witchery.

Watch the six episodes on Netflix or IMDb Tv.

12. My brilliant friend

L’amica geniale is a very successful Italian TV show based on the novels of the Italian writer Elena Ferrante:  the story focuses on the special friendship between two young girls in 1950s Naples. At that time the regional Italian languages were still much more used than Italian, therefore you will hear some Neapolitan.

You can find the 2 seasons of 8 episodes each on HBO , Prime Video or RaiPlay.

13. Un medico in famiglia

Un medico in famiglia (A doctor in the family) is an Italian TV series started in 1998 and still ongoing! It rotates on the everyday life of the Martini family, composed by Lele, a widow doctor, his three children, nonno Libero and Cettina, the nanny.

Watch it here on RaiPlay.

14. Come diventare popolari a scuola

How to become popular at school it’s an Italian TV series in 10 episodes about a teenager, Umberto Mieli, who wants to be noticed in school using all kinds of strategies, rarely successful.

You can watch it on RayPlay here.

Soap operas in Italian

Soap operas appear to be one of the best Italian TV Shows to learn a language, since they present more or less the same people, situations and talk with more emphasis. The best Italian Soap opera that you cannot miss is: 

15. Un posto al sole

It’s one of the most popular Italian style soap operas broadcasting almost everyday since 1996.

You can find more than 5600 episodes of it! Impossible to catch up, but you can start watching some episodes on RayPlay.

Sitcoms in Italian

Unlike series, sitcoms are shorter and make humor about everyday situations. For this reason, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the Italian language to get some jokes. But, you can always test yourself and see how much you can get with the following sitcoms.

16. Love Bugs

Love Bugs is an Italian sitcom made of short funny sketches about the everyday life of an Italian couple. There are three seasons on Youtube; the episodes are non sequential so you can always look for more by typing Love Bugs 1, 2 or 3 on Youtube.

In the second season you will find the Italian actress and showgirl Elisabetta Canalis as the main feminine role.

17. Camera Cafè

Camera Cafè is an Italian sitcom that takes place in front of a coffee machine in the relaxation room of an office. The humor of the Show is mainly based on misunderstandings between the main characters Luca Bizzarri and Paolo Bitta and the other colleagues.

You can watch it on Youtube and IMDb Tv.

Documentaries in Italian

In general, documentaries are known as an educational tool, so even better if you watch them in Italian! Here, I listed some documentaries on different topics. 

18. Storia delle nostre città

Story of our cities is the Italian TV Show you want to watch to start traveling with your mind to some of the most beautiful Italian cities. The episodes are about the history of some of the most beautiful Italian cities such as Genoa, Asti, Cosenza, Arezzo, Perugia and Agrigento. It was broadcasted by Rai Storia, you can watch it here on RayPlay to start dreaming about your Italian holiday. You may also find some episodes on Youtube.

19. First team: Juventus

If you like calcio (Italian football) then you will enjoy watching this Italian Show about the football team Juventus, most commonly called Juve by Italians.

You can watch this docu-series of 6 episodes on Netflix.

20. Caro marziano

If you are up to watching something short and interesting in Italian, Caro Marziano (Dear Martian) is the Italian TV Show for you. It’s a sort of documentary of 38 episodes of 15 minutes each presented by Pif and broadcasted in 2017. Pif meets common people in Italy and abroad to Show their lifestyles and life on earth to Martians.

You can watch it here on Raiplay.

Reality Shows in Italian

Reality Shows can be easier to follow for a learner since they use an everyday language and are mostly mindless. So if you like this genre, here below are some Italian reality shows you can watch.

21. Temptation Island

Italian TV shows

If you are a reality Show fan then you already watched all the episodes of the American version. And you also know that it puts together singles and couples to supposedly test the strength of their relationship. You can watch the Italian Temptation Island and more “trash” in Italian here on witty tv.

22. Amici

Amici (Friends) is an Italian TV show that puts together a school of young singers and dancers. I’d say it’s a hybrid between a reality show and a talent show. You can watch some episodes here on witty tv.

Talk shows in Italian

Following,  I listed some talk shows in Italian. In fact, talk shows can be very helpful to get to know the Italian culture from different perspectives.

23. Che tempo che fa

Italian tv shows

The Italian TV show Che tempo che fa (What’s the weather like) is conducted by Fabio Fazio who always invites interesting guests from different fields, such as tv personalities, doctors, actors, comedians, singers, politicians, international guests and more.

To be fair, it has also been the most watched tv show during the Covid 19 pandemic since it offered updates on the virus and virologists expertise in simple and understandable words for people at home.

You can find the latest episodes here on RaiPlay and you can also watch it live on Sundays around 9 pm Italian time.

24. C’è posta per te

Italian TV shows

Watch C’è posta per te (There is mail for you) here on witty tv . The idea is to reconnect lovers, relatives or friends after a long time by sending an invitation to the program through a postino (postman). Prepare your kleenex, it could be very emotional.

25. Le Iene

The Hyenas is a comedy satirical show presenting different entertaining sketches and journalistic reports.

Watch le Iene here on MediasetPlay .

Cooking shows in Italian

Without a doubt, everyone loves Italian food, so if you want to cook Italian recipes and learn Italian culinary traditions, here are the best choices for you.

26. La prova del cuoco

The Italian cooking talent show The cook’s test is something you will enjoy watching if you like cooking and want to receive cooking tips from Italian cooks and amateurs. And as a plus you will learn common vocabulary about food and you will get familiar with Italian measurements (litri, grammi, chili…) . You can watch the last seasons here on RaiPlay.

27. Cotto e mangiato

Cooked and eaten gives you quick and delicious Italian recipes to make with a few ingredients. You can watch this Italian TV show here on MediasetPlay.

28. È sempre mezzogiorno

It’s always midday meaning it’s always time to cook! This Italian TV show is conducted by Antonella Clerici who was also the historical conductor of La prova del cuoco.

Watch it here on RaiPlay.

Game shows in Italian

Finally, if you are a game show lover and you want to test yourself with quizzes, here are a couple of Italian shows for you.

29. L’eredità

The inheritance is a very followed Italian game show broadcasted by Rai. Basically, competitors must correctly answer different types of questions in order not to be eliminated and move on to the next round. Only one competitor will make it to the final round, la ghigliottina (the guillotine), and have the chance to win a prize pool.

You can watch some episodes here on DailyMotion .

30. I soliti ignoti

And the game of The usual unknowns is loved by young and old folks. A player has to guess the identity and the profession of eight people following some clues and mostly the instinct.

You can watch it here on DailyMotion and you can find some episodes on Youtube as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab some popcorn and start watching an Italian TV show!

By: Lucia Aiello

Lucia Aiello is one of the co-founders of LearnItalianGo. Born and raised in Italy, she is a passionate Italian teacher and language enthusiast.