Whether it’s films or music, books or performative arts, festivals are a great way to immerse oneself in a place and its culture. In Italy, there are some of the best. Our pretty boot country loves to put on events themed around specific topics – we might be aesthetes, but we’re brainy, too – all the more so when the weather’s hot and life moves outside.
In other words: summer is Italy’s prime season for festivals. So, without further ado, we’ve rounded up three you should absolutely add to your calendar. Diverse in their reach and subjects, they’re worth travelling to (you’ll get to see some rather beautiful spots along the way!) and planning your next holiday around. Take note, and we’ll see you there.
Ischia Film Festival
Film buffs should not miss the Ischia Film Festival (IFF), an international film competition held in what’s probably one of the best settings there are: the evocative outdoor spaces of the Aragonese Castle in Ischia Ponte, on our beloved Green Island.
Focusing on the relationship between cinema and territory, the event spans open-air screenings, site-specific exhibitions and sunset talks with directors and actors, from young and emerging names to industry mainstays.
This year marks the 20th edition under the artistic direction of founder Michelangelo Messina, meaning it’s going to be even more special than usual. There’ll be 91 features participating from all over the world – 57 on site and 34 online, for the non-competitive section – covering themes ranging from the environment to human-interest stories, social issues and family dramas; plus the opportunity to attend screenings for free. Every morning at 10 am, 20 tickets will in fact be released on the festival’s website on a first come, first served basis for 20 lucky cinemagoers to snag.
That’s not all. @ischiaismore – the consortium we’re part of with our Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa – will be partnering up with IFF to give out the Aenaria Award for best scenography, to recognise the importance of the location, the set and the design in establishing a film’s atmosphere.
The accolade makes perfect sense: thanks to its scenic landscapes and dramatic backdrops, Ischia has long been a destination for filmmakers, serving as background for more than 30 feature films, from the 1952 comic romp “The Crimson Pirate” with Burt Lancaster, to the 1999 drama “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, featuring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Top tip: Stay at Mezzatorre and check out our guide to the island here.
Ischia Film Festival runs from 25th June to 2nd July.
Festival dei Due Mondi
Held in Spoleto, Umbria, the Festival dei Due Mondi (literally, Festival of Two Worlds) hosts some of the best international performing acts from the realms of dance, music, theatre and the visual arts, as well as roundtable discussions on a range of cultural topics. Its 65th edition, which kicks off the 24th of June, will bring to the hillside mediaeval town over 60 shows in 17 days, and more than 500 artists from 36 countries.