When and where to find some of the best live, annual music festivals in Italy.
The melodic, poetic Italian language naturally lends itself to a rich musical culture. Today this manifests most popularly in the San Remo music festival, but music finds so many more outlets in this country. Concerts and days-long music festivals in Italy ring out all year long, up and down the peninsula.
Here are some of Italy’s most popular international music festivals and concerts that span all music styles. Although we’ve divided them into three categories, look closer and you’ll find that they don’t limit themselves to just one style. Mark your calendars!
Electronic in Turin:
Turin has been recognized as an avant-garde arena for the music scene and emerging artists in the past several years. Plus, the city is a great starting point for a full immersion in the surrounding wine country, from Alto Piemonte up north to the Langhe and Roero where Barolo, Barbaresco, and many other great wines are produced in the south.
Kappa Futur Festival (July)
The Kappa Futur Festival is a two-day electronic musical concert in Parco Dora in July. It grew to 40,000 attendees in 2015, making it Italy’s largest summer electronic music festival. Featuring fresh names and old favorites in house and techno plus with a smattering of after-parties in between shows, this is a not-to-be-missed summer event.
TOdays Festival (August)
The relatively new TOdays Festival once again proves Turin’s ultra-cool status on the music scene. Not just electronic, but everything from rock to experimental music fills five different locations throughout the city in three days. In addition, other events like workshops, labs, and speakers are held. Ticket prices are as low as €15 for a single day; expect an even better deal for all three days.
Torino Movement (October)
Torino Movement is a techno and electronic music festival with five stages and twelve hours of music. Fill your ears with music from world-renowned artists and new stars, and don’t be surprised to see Halloween costumes in the mix. The setting is in the ex-factory halls of Lingotto Fiere, giving it an urban vibe. In 2015, over 25,000 people attended the one-night concert.
Club to Club (November)
Club to Club began as a way for listeners to club-hop while listening to concerts throughout the city. But with tens of thousands of attendees in the past several years, Club to Club has happily expanded to some of Turin’s coolest venues to hold the crowds. Listen to worldwide leaders of house, techno, and progressive electronic, and get the chance to listen to artists previewing their work for the first time. During the four day event, there are also documentaries, open-air markets, talks, workshops, and more.
Jazz in Perugia
Umbria Jazz Festival (July)
One of the most important jazz festivals in the world, the Umbria Jazz Festival in the “green heart of Italy” was first held in 1973 and nearly every year thereafter. Today, its ten days of concerts are filled with Italian and international jazz music ringing off the stones of Renaissance streets in the hill-top city of Perugia. Expect to hear contemporary music too—from pop to rock and roll, Cuban salsa to African tribal music. Over 200,000 people attend every summer; and there is also a winter jazz festival held in Orvieto from December to January. All concerts are held in the historical city center and popular locales, including wine bars. Here, summer practically begs for a chilled white Umbria IGP Grechetto, a grape that gives just the right amount of depth and subtlety to pair with the unexpected notes of jazz.
Classical in Milan
Teatro alla Scala (all year)
Imagine looking out from a gold-trimmed opera box over red velvet drapes of curtains onto the stage below. La Scala in Milan (in full, Teatro alla Scala) is Italy’s most important opera house and one of the top in the world. Its seasonal repertoire is more varied than other leading opera houses, including not just popular favorites among its famous operas, classical concerts, solo recitals, and ballet but also unexpected and unfamiliar shows. Tickets are not always easy to purchase and are usually expensive; but for a cultural, classy evening out that doesn’t break the bank, be sure to check out the ScalAperta promotion (Open Scala) with tickets at half price (more details here). On the other hand, if you want a particularly special night, attend the opening evening of the season on December 7, the day of the Milan’s patron Saint Ambrose. That is, of course, right after popping open a bottle of Sparkling Metodo Classico from the region to start off your winter festivities in style.