After Christmas, Ferragosto is the second most important festivity in Italy. The most awaited festival corresponds with the beginning of the summer holidays and brings a stream of Italian visitors to the beaches and the cities. If you would like to go out on the night of Ferragosto, make sure to book a table in your favourite restaurant. Also, note that most shops are closed for the festivities.
The Ferragosto finds its origins in ancient Rome and was later interwoven with the Catholic tradition. The name Ferragosto comes from the Latin feriae Augusti (rest of Augustus), in honor of Octavian Augustus, the first Roman emperor, from which the month of August takes its name. It was a period of rest and celebration established by the emperor himself during which a number of parties celebrated the end of the agricultural labour.
Throughout the Empire festivals and horse races took place, draft animals were adorned with flowers. In addition, it was custom for the farmers to express their best wishes to the landowners, in exchange for a small tip.