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On 15 August in Italy we celebrate Ferragosto. A festival with a religious significance that coincides with the height of summer. We explain the origin of the party and give you some ideas on what to do and where to go. To organize a trip outside the city and spend a weekend of leisure, while respecting the anti-contagion rules

Mid-August in Italy is traditionally celebrated with trips outside the city and picnics. Here are some suggestions on what to do and where to go (ph. Istock)

Ferragosto is celebrated on August 15, in Italy, the Republic of San Marino and Canton Ticino. A national holiday with a religious significance (the Assumption of Our Lady is celebrated), which is traditionally spent in company, with trips out of town with packed lunches, picnics, refreshing dips, but which this year, due to Coronavirus, will have a different flavor.

In this particular Ferragosto 2020 we will not have to let our guard down: it will be necessary to keep the distance and avoid gatherings. But this does not mean that there will be no lack of opportunities for recreation. Below, we offer you some ideas on what to do in August and where to go on the weekend. And we also explain the origin of the party.

The term “Ferragosto” derives from the Latin expression Feriae Augusti, which means the “rest of Augustus”. In fact, the term indicated a holiday that the Emperor Augustus instituted in 18 BC. and that, adding to the celebrations of the Vinalia rustica, Nemoralia or the Consualia, marked a period of long rest and celebration. The agricultural work was finished and, after the hard work in the fields, the Romans could enjoy themselves by watching horse races and other public games.

The celebration of the Feriae Augusti originally fell on August 1, while the choice of August 15, when we celebrate Ferragosto today, is due to the Catholic Church, which made the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary coincide.

Mid-August is a national holiday by the concordats between the Italian State and the Vatican. While the tradition of the trip outside the city was born in the Fascist period. In fact, in 1931, the then Ministry of Communications established the “Ferragosto Popular Trains”, which allowed Italians to reach their holiday resorts at a reduced price only on 13, 14 and 15 August. Two offers: day trips within a radius of 100 kilometers and three-day trips within a radius of around 200 kilometers.

On that occasion, many Italians saw the sea, the mountains, the cities of art for the first time.

Out-of-town trips and celebrations will certainly not be missing even this summer. Even if, due to Coronavirus, this will be an armored August 15th. In fact, there are several measures signed by the mayors of various Italian towns to limit gatherings and reduce the risk of contagion. The main concerns are discos, beach parties and bonfires.

We therefore intervene on the Lazio and Cilento coast, in places such as Anzio or Agropoli, with the prohibition of access to the coasts on the night of August. But the free beaches become off-limits after sunset also in other Italian places, such as Numana, in the Marche, or Chioggia, in Veneto. Stop also in Modica and Scicli and on the Ragusano coasts, where many beaches in the area will be inaccessible from 9pm to 6am.

Then there are those who forbid water balloons, as in Viareggio and Castiglione della Pescaia. In Capri, compulsory mask also outdoors from 14 to 30 August. While in Vercelli, given the increase in positive cases, all the major events were canceled. Other updates, in the Corriere della Sera article, Covid, what can be done in August?

It will be a different August 15th, then, but it will not necessarily pass on the sly. In fact, throughout the Italian peninsula, with due caution, there is no shortage of events and appointments (often by reservation and with a limited number) to animate the Ferragostan weekend.

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