Ever feel the need for a month-long holiday? Perhaps it’s time to move to Italy because when August rolls around almost everyone takes at least 3 weeks off work to participate in Ferragosto, that is, Augustan Holidays. And, as typical with all things Italian, it incorporates family, good food, and leisure!
Roman Emperor Augustus declared the month of August as Feriae Augusti due to the number of religious holidays within the month, and because agricultural work was finished, allowing farmers to take off as well. Major feasts focused on Diana and Vertumnus, symbols of motherhood, fertility, and the ripening of crops. During the Christian empire, these attributes transferred over to the Virgin Mary, and major feast days transferred to the feast of her Assumption into Heaven. To this day, Italians still take the month of August off to celebrate the fruits of their labor and enjoy a little leisure time, leaving the cities to relax on the beach!
How to vacation like an Italian
A true celebration of ferragosto involves 3 weeks of vacation, but while most of us can’t quite swing 3 weeks out of the office, you can still embrace the spirit of Ferragosto!
Great food is central to Italian living, and taking a vacation only increases its excellence. Italians are crazy about sharing family-style meals – think lots of pizza, grilled meats and fish, and lots of watermelon! In fact, watermelon is such a staple during ferrogosto it has its own feast – Cocomerata (watermelon feast).
Don’t forget that the most important part of vacation is not to just disconnect from work, but to reconnect with family and your community. Take time together to explore your vacation spot and get to know the locals. Or if you’re planning a staycation, play being a tourist in your own city and get in touch with its inner community. Check out the most popular foodie spots and support your local small businesses.
No matter what your August plans, ferragosto is a vacation from stress and worry. As the Italians say “Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto” – eat well, laugh often, love much.
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