Tutti in Ferie / Ferragosto

August is the month when traditionally everyone goes on holiday. It is still considered a social stigma to be left at home in a city.  I remember a couple of years ago stopping off in Naples on our way home from Puglia over Ferragosto, the biggest holiday weekend of the summer, to find this normally bustling city deserted. It was indeed eerie to see Naples, where the streets usually resemble a chaotic medieval scene from a movie set completely abandoned. All the metal shutters on the shops were down with only the legally required number of food shops open to supply those of us left in the city heat.

Now a large part of the Tuscan economy relies on tourism, but it has taken years for the shopkeepers to overcome the stigma of being at home on 15th August, Ferragosto. Ten years ago Lucca was just beginning to be on the tourist map, the city would be deserted by its citizens for the entire month. The bemused tourists would arrive to find the shutters down on the shops and restaurants. The bars closed and even some of the museums. I recently sent some guests off to see a beautiful newly restored local castle and was shocked when they told me it was only open at weekends. Now if they want to raise money and its profile it would seem logical to open up when your punters are about.  However the Comune (local council of Lucca) are starting to realize the need to cater for our summer guests and we have had concerts in the piazza throughout August in the evenings.

I understand the sense of escaping from the summer heat of a city to the sea or the countryside, but it is also lovely to come down from the hills or in from the bustling resorts to Lucca or other Tuscan towns in the early evening and have a stroll around the elegant shops and piazzas and perhaps practice your Italian in the open air cinema. Listening to a concert under the stars in a beautiful piazza or simply enjoy dinner sitting out, watching life go by and indulging in a wonderful home made ice cream in these car free towns.

So enjoy Ferragosto, the Italian Christmas holiday of the Summer.
Buone Vacanze a tutti.


  1. These ice-creams look so delicious!!!

  2. This is a thoughtful and insightful blog and I look forward to more.


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