Remembering my first Ferragosto in Italy

What is Ferragosto?

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15th which has historic and religious connection; the Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary also known by the time of the Romans as the time to celebrate the harvest season. But, modernly referred to as the Italian holiday marking the celebration of all things summer, before summer actually comes to an end!

In today’s day, it is interesting to see how this summertime holiday has been altered but yet remains with the same spirit as always; vacation, getting together with friends, and celebrating life!

So I wanted to take a look back on my first Ferragosto here in Italy!

Here is tidbit of one of my first ever blog posts back in 2012:

My first Ferragosto in Italy I celebrated in Sardinia, Costa Smeralda.

I always knew that Italians took off work for vacation in August but had always figured it was just for vacation.  But really there is a reason for the vacations in August,  there is an actual holiday!  

It’s called Ferragosto.

To celebrate this holiday the tradition goes that if you’re in the city you have a grill out during the day, while if you’re by the sea you have a grill out with friends at night.  Since we were in Sardinia my first Ferragosto, we followed the tradition of a dinner at a friend’s house. 

The menu was simple… appetizers of brushetta, foccacia, formaggio, salami, and olives with the pairing of spirtz or sangaria cocktails to keep fresh.

While for the main course any meat or vegetable that could go on the grill – simple, easy and good to match the company of friends.

I understand the whole tradition & summer vacation period but what does the holiday of Ferragosto significate?  

I keep asking my friends to explain to me but most gave a general response of it tying back to the church for a Saint…  I did a little reading up on this Ferragosto 15th of August holiday in Italy… not to bore you but here is a tid bit I came up with to be culturally savvy –

Ferragosto began with the Romans as a day to celebrate the hard harvests of the summer and to provide a rest period for the people.  

It is also referenced as a sacred day in the Cattolic church to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Historically, religiously and traditionally, the 15th of August is a holiday to celebrate by taking the time to rest, vacation & simply… enjoy life!