When you search for “Events in Italy”, your search engine throws over 2.1 million types of activities and destinations your way. But what about ones that will show you new skills, or enhance your vacation by introducing Italian culture off the beaten track?
If you’re looking for a few ways to expand your travel horizons in 2019, here are 19 experiences to add to your bucket list…
1. Be a part of the parade at Venice Carnival
Find yourself in a sea of beautifully-decorated masks and extravagant costumes at the Carnevale di Venezia.
Dating back to the 11th century, the Carnival attracts thousands of visitors to Venice during early spring, who come to admire one of the most artistic and famous events in the world.
This year’s festivities begin on the 16th of February, continuing through until the March 5th.
2. Learn a new skill at Venice Glass Week
The people of Venice have been making crystal and glass since the 10th century, when the Venetian merchants brought back the secrets of production from the East.
There’s nowhere better to discover the art of glass than by visiting Murano, a short boat tour from Venice, where everyday life revolves around the glassmaking industry.
Every year a whole week is dedicated to the glassmaking, not just of Murano, but also in Mestre and central Venice a whole host of activities take place.
2019’s Glass Week begins on September 7th.
3. Tick off a bucket list experience: Easter Mass in St Peter’s Square
Easter celebrations begin on Palm Sunday, Good Friday sees a torch-lit procession and the most anticipated day of all is Easter Sunday when the Pope makes his blessing at noon.
Tip: If you attend the Vatican at Easter you’ll need to arrive early on the day and expect to stand for a long time - but we promise it’s worth it! For more tips for visiting the Vatican, read this article.
4. Keep your wallet happy with free admission to museums
Free Museum Day is an initiative that began in 2014 and has since seen over 10 million visitors to the 450 participating state museums since it began.
Up until 2019, free visits only took place on the first Sunday of each month but this has now been increased to 20 days throughout the year which is good news if you’re visiting on a Sunday!
5. Take part in the Year of “Slow Tourism”
Italy’s Minister of Culture announced that 2019 will be focussed on getting tourists off the beaten track to little-known corners of the country by way of train, cycling and walking.
If you’re looking for inspiration, the funicular railways of Naples are a fantastic way to see the hills surrounding the city, or you could spend a day visiting Padua from Venice by train! Of course, one of the most beautiful journeys by train is through Cinque Terre, where you can gaze upon miles of the sparkling sea while you travel.
6. Celebrate the life of Leonardo da Vinci
2019 is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death and an abundance of museums and galleries are celebrating and marking this anniversary.
Tuscany, the region of his birth, is hosting the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Genius and Textiles in Prato, just a short train ride from Florence. In Florence itself, the Uffizi Gallery will be exhibiting the Codex Leicester which is on loan from Microsoft founder Bill Gates!
Of course, you can mark the occasion by visiting The Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, or the Ambrosiana Gallery which is expected to hold an exhibition including his works.
7. See Pisa in a new light
One of the most spectacular festivals in Italy is the Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa, Tuscany.
70,000 wax candles are placed along the riverbanks of the Arno to highlight the features of the buildings and bridges of the city. Oil lamps illuminate the famous Leaning Tower and candles are also floated on the river itself.
Taking place at dusk on June 16th, it’s sure to be an illuminating experience!
8. Watch the sunrise & sunset in Cinque Terre
These five picturesque hilltop towns on Italy's west coast remain one of the most iconic locations in Italy.
Watch the sunrise with an Italian coffee, or relax after a day of exploring with a glass of wine in hand while you watch the sunset - there’s nothing quite like it!
9. Live your best life in Tuscany on a wine tour
With more than 350 grape varieties in Italy, it really is the homeland for oenophiles.
Tuscany is one of the most famous winemaking regions, as it is home to the Sangiovese grape which appears in Chianti - Tuscany’s most popular export.
So why not taste the wine on the doorstep of where it has been made? A wine tour is the perfect way to experience the true Tuscan lifestyle!
10. Broaden your musical knowledge at the Puccini Opera Festival in Tuscany
Tuscany offers an abundance of culture, art, and festivities to enjoy. And where better to watch a Puccini opera than in its birthplace?
Imagine yourself in a venue besides a lake at sunset, spending your evening enjoying a performance of Madame Butterfly, Aida or Tosca with a beautiful glass of Chianti in hand.