Festivals of Sicily
Here is a list of some of the major festivals in Sicily each year, organized by season. If you'd like more information on any of these, or would like to know about smaller, local festivals in a specific area, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Festa di Sant'Agata
February 3-5, Catania
The people of Catania celebrate their own Saint Agata for two incredible days, nearly round the clock, parading through their streets, eating, and shouting. The festival is the best season to visit the famous outdoor market of Catania.
Sagra del Mandorlo in fiore (Almond-blossom Festival)
First two weeks of February, Agrigento
While any time is a good time to visit Agrgiento for its impressive collection of Greek temples, the first two weeks of February are especially beautiful with the almond trees in full bloom. Medieval travelers claimed the white almond blossoms were the snow of Agrigento's winter. Besides the usual festival events, there is also an International Folklore Festival that takes place at this time.
Martedi Grasso (Carnival)
Tuesday before Lent, Many towns and cities
Catholics love Carnival. We especially recommend the festive celebrations in Acrireale, Sciacca, and Termini Imerese, with Acrireale being most wildly over the top. For more information, please contact us.
Pasqua, Easter Week (dates vary)
In every town and city, Easter Week is full of religious and festive events. Ask us about special events in Alcamo, Caltanissetta, Castelvetrano, Enna, Erice, Marsala, Messina, Milazzo, Noto, Piana degli Albanesi, Prizzi, Ragusa, Scicli, and Trapani. Better yet, join our annual Easter Festivals Tour (see "small group tours" page)
Santa Lucia delle Quaglie
First and Second Sundays of May, Siracusa
To thank her for saving the city of Siracusa from a famine in 1642, the silver statue of Santa Lucia (St. Lucy) is carried around the Piazza Duomo with music and a festive atmosphere.
Third week of May, Noto (SE Sicily)
In the beautiful World Heritage Baroque city of Noto, the Infiorata Festival is celebrated by covering an entire street with flower petal designs. Noto also honors its own St. Corrado in February, August and September with processions.
Festa di St. George
Last Saturday of May, Ragusa
The Festival of St. George is a re-enactment of the martyrdom of St. George, followed by one of the grandest fireworks displays in Sicily and some of the best food, too.
Greek Classical Theatre
The Ciclo di Spettacoli Classici (Cycle of Classical Plays) is a grand summer season in the world's finest Greek theatre. Every summer features famous directors and actors from across Europe. For details, please visit their website in English at http://www.indafondazione.org/en/ or contact us directly.
International Festival of the Arts
Taormina hosts a world-class International Arts festival in the Greco-Roman theatre from July into September, that includes a world-class International Film Festival in July. Performers range from the National Theater of Scotland to pop artists such as Moby and Lauryn Hill, avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn, Italian pop stars like Andrea Bocelli, and touring Opera companies and orchestras. The film festivals screens major and independent productions from across the world. Tickets sell out well in advance. See http://www.taormina-arte.com/
Festa di St. Rosalia
Second week of July, Palermo
"U fistinu" is the best time to visit the capital of Sicily. A huge processional with fireworks, tons of special street food and drink, and the best of Sicilian music. Not to be missed.
August (first two weeks) & all of September
- August 1-6: Festa del Santo Salvatore is a celebration of Santo Salvatore (special food, mass, parades, music) that culminates on the afternoon of August 6, when locals scramble along a greased pole to touch a statute of the Saint.
- August 14: Madonna della Luce is celebrated by a procession of boats in beautiful Cefalù harbor.
- September: Throughout September fishermen cook fresh, delicious fish on the docks of Cefalù harbor.
Renaissance Music Festival
August 13-15, Erice
One of the best music festivals in Sicily. Top international Renaissance and Medieval music artists perform in the beautiful mountaintop village of Erice. The festival blends into Ferragosto celebrations on the 15th with fireworks and special foods.
Passeggiata di Giganti (Procession of the Giants)
August 13-15, Messina
Messina's biggest festival is marked with two processionals celebrating Mata, who founded the city, and his worthy opponent, Grifone the Moor. Locals in festive dress parade statues of these ancient figures around the city, accompanied by special food, drinks, and music.
Ferragosto, (Assumption Day)
August 15, Every city and town in Sicily
This is the mid-summer holiday for all Italy. In the Siracusa Grand Harbour there is a yacht regatta, followed by a traditional Sicilian longboat race. Even the Madonna becomes a sailor. Every town in Sicily has festive foods and evening fireworks.
Festa di St. Bartolomeo
August 24, Lipari, Aeolian Islands
Head to the lovely Aeolian Islands for sun, sea, quiet, and volcanic grandeur. To mark the festival of their patron saint on August 24th, there's magnificent fireworks display over the sea.
Sagra del Miele (Honey Festival)
October 1-10, Sortino (Siracusa Province)
This festival remembers the famous "honey of Hyblea" prized by the Greeks and Romans. Join the locals in this small town deep in the hill country, next to the Pantalica National Park, for special foods, fun, and, of course, many varieties of honey.
Festa dell'Immacolata (Festival of the Immaculate Conception)
December 8, All towns and cities in Sicily
Every town in Italy celebrates the Virgin Mary on December 8. Sicily brings its own particular flavor to this festival. After dark, statues of the Holy Mother are carried through the streets of every town under golden lamps, accompanied by marching bands, garlands, fireworks, and locals dressed in their best attire. Not to be missed.
Festa della Santa Lucia
December 13 & 20, Siracusa
This is the largest and most important festival in Siracusa. It begins with a grand procession of the silver statute of Santa Lucia. Dignitaries, marching bands, holiday lights, hundreds of barefoot local citizens attend the statue, followed by Lucy's preserved forearm, as they're carried across town from the Piazza del Duomo to the Chiesa di Santa Lucia (on the 13th) and back (on the 20th). Both days begin and end with mass in the Cathedral and are a vibrant example, like most of these festivals, of the living traditions of Sicilian Catholicism.