In today’s article called “August 15th: Ferragosto in Italy”, I am going to talk about an Italian holiday: Ferragosto. I will explain the origin of the celebration, and, in this way, you will be able to understand why the month of August is a relaxing month for many Italians!

Ferragosto in Italy

Once again, this year we have reached August, the vacation month for Italians. However, even though the whole month is considered a period of rest, during which we take it easy, the actual day of Ferragosto falls on the 15th.

But why is this period so important? Is it a recent holiday or does it have its roots in the distant past? Read on to find out more!

The term Ferragosto is derived from the Latin feriae augusti, the Augustan holidays to be exact, instituted by Emperor Augustus.

In ancient times, it denoted the period of well-deserved rest granted to farmers at the end of the harvest. These festivities used to begin on August 1st, but then Ferragosto was moved to the 15th, at the request of the Catholic Church, to coincide with the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary.

Although these two vacations fall on the same day, Ferragosto has not lost its identity, continuing to this day to be far more popular as a secular holiday rather than a religious holiday.

Also contributing to making Ferragosto even more popular was the fascist regime, which encouraged and promoted short trips and out-of-town outings right around the day of Ferragosto.


Needless to say, history influences the way people act and how important the cultural heritage is of each country.

This brief although comprehensive explanation clarifies why August is the month of vacation and rest in Italy. Of course, a further explanation may come from the knowledge that this is a very hot month during which there is a need for a break. However, we mainly continue to act following a millennia-long tradition.

ila firma

Listen to this episode called “Ferragosto in Italy” in Italian! You can find the script here!

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