Found yourself in Florence…or Italy for that matter? Wondering why all the streets are practically deserted yet filled with tourists and closed shops? Well, because August is the month where Italians head to lounge and bask at the seaside (or lakeside) cool off in the mountains and perhaps even head abroad.

And August 15th is “Ferragosto”, a National holiday thought to commemorate the end of summer and a hard working season in the fields.

http://goitaly.about.com/od/festivalsandevents/qt/august-italian-holiday-ferragosto.htm

However, according to catholic church accounts, Ferragosto is actually a Holy Day of obligation to commemorate the assumption of the virgin Mary.

Also, the name “Ferragosto” is derived in latin terms to mean “Augustus’s Festival” with Augustus – the ancient emperor of Rome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferragosto

In any case, there are festivities throughout Italy for this National Holiday for example in Montepulciano the day will be filled with pageants and games: http://goitaly.about.com/od/montepulciano/a/montepulciano.htm

And festivities are still running through the 16th if you have time to make a quick jaunt to Sienna to witness Palio in the main square: http://goitaly.about.com/od/festivalsandevents/qt/siena-palio.htm 

We wish you all a very relaxing and enjoyable Ferragosto! BUONA FESTA! 

(Article by Coral: www.curiousappetite.wordpress.com @curiousappetite)