Ready for the countdown? Five days left before the mid-August holiday… it’s time to celebrate!

August 15th is a crazy day in Italy. This holiday, called “Ferragosto”, comes from the Romans, when the Emperor Augustus made the decision to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of a period of rest for the workers. In the VII century AD, the mid-August holiday was linked to Catholic tradition, by celebrating along with the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The tradition of mid-August daily trips arose during the Fascist Regime, with the “People’s Trains of August”, which allowed everybody – even those who did not earn too much – to go on holiday by offering discounted prices.

BombeAcquaPhoto Credit: La Festa di Ferragosto

Today the “Italian Ferragosto” is a time for celebration; the people want to slow down the summer and let it last longer. The real Ferragosto is celebrated by young people, who stay at the beach the whole day, playing games and jokes on each other (like throwing water balloons), and having aperitifs. When the night comes, everyone meets at the beach again, lounging in the sand around a bonfire. Some swim under the moonlight, while others toast the long cheerful night. Time flies by, while young people chill out and play the guitar, reminiscing and singing old songs from the 80s and 90s.

The Ferragosto bonfire expresses what summer should be: “not just a season, but a mood.” Credit: Falò  di Ferragosto

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