Thursday, August 6, 2015

Beware, we are in Ferragosto

"When all else fails, take a vacation" Betty Williams

Hello! If you are in the northern hemisphere I  hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer.  If you were in Italy right now, you would be immersed is some strange but lovely phenomenon called Ferragosto.

So what is Ferragosto?  Officially, Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15 a tradition born 2,000 years ago when the Romans celebrated the end of the grain harvesting season with well-deserved festivities and a break from work.  The Church being unable to stop the festivities added the celebration of the Assumption of Mary to August 15.  But to say Ferragosto is a summer holiday would not be even scratching the surface.

In Itay and many other parts of Europe, most people take their vacation during the month of August (Agosto in Italian, hence the second part of the Ferr-agosto word).  If you are planning to  travel to Europe during the month of August make sure you book your accommodations well in advance, unless you want your only overnight option to be a yacht for 36,000 Euro a night; been there, have not done that.

But let's look a little more into the realities of Ferragosto:

  • As every employee wants to take their vacation during the month of August many small businesses just close completely for a couple of weeks in August.
  • If you are trying to get anything done during the month of August, Forget About It!  Just accept the fact that everyone you have to deal with is on vacation, about to go on vacation or not even there.
  • You can basically scratch the month of August from the calendar and join everyone else at the beach (like Sperlonga or Vieste) or the cooler mountains.
  • Be prepared for tons of traffic anywhere near the ocean.
  • If you decide to stay in the city, enjoy the abundance of parking spaces and zero traffic but remember, most businesses will be closed and is really too hot to do anything anyway.
  • There is even a word in the Italian language for the day when everything goes back to the normal daily routine:  "Rientro" meaning re-entry, after Ferragosto, or course.  
  • Look for the religious festivities of the Assumption of Mary, being one of the most popular celebrations the one in Siena.

As I day dream of past Ferragostos and get ready to continue the tradition this year, I hope you are enjoying the warm and long days of summer.

Arrivederci for now,

No comments:

Post a Comment