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Five Tuscan summer festivals you should not miss

  • It is no wonder summer is one of the most popular times of year to visit Tuscany: the weather is fantastic, the cities and towns are buzzing and the days are long - perfect for fitting in as much (or as little) activity as you like.

    There is also plenty going on. Festivals in Tuscany stretch across the warmer months and range from historical reenactments to modern music events. If you are looking for a summer festival to suit your taste, we have a few fantastic options for you.

    Mercantia

    There’s a feast for the senses when Mercantia hits the streets of Certaldo, a small hilltown about an hour’s drive from Florence. Spectators are invited to enter the “fourth dimension” at the many intriguing performances that take place each day in atmospheric locations, from secluded courtyards to secret gardens. Leave your car at the bottom of the hill and ride the funicular railway up to the heart of the action.

    Il Palio di Siena

    The world-famous Il Palio di Siena is a fast and furious bareback horse race that takes place not once but twice a year in Siena’s medieval Piazza del Campo. Different districts of the city enter a horse and rider, sporting their colours and emblems, to race around the perimeter of the shell-shaped piazza, cheered on by hundreds of spectators. In the days leading up to the race, Siena’s streets are dressed with colourful local banners, while on the afternoon of the event the piazza buzzes with historic parades before the horses and riders go under starter’s orders at 7pm.

    Pistoia Blues

    For almost 40 years, the city of Pistoia has hosted the internationally renowned Pistoia Blues festival in the Piazza Duomo, an historic setting for this contemporary event. This year’s big names include Alanis Morissette, James Blunt, Graham Nash and Steve Hackett. For villas in the area, see here.

    Medieval Festival

    The good people of Monteriggioni travel back in time to the Middle Ages once a year, bringing the period to life with a fun annual Medieval Festival. Proceeds begin in July with a costumed banquet at the castle, and, for the following two weekends, the locals go about their business dressed in costume, transformed into nobles and commoners from yesteryear. There’s live music, dance and theatre performances, and the chance to taste traditional regional food.

    Lucca Summer Festival

    Every July, the pretty walled city of Lucca reverberates to the sound of top international acts as the month-long music event Lucca Summer Festival comes to town.

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