HomeLifestyleTravelTravel Guides

Save the date: Spring Festivals of Liguria

5 min read

Save the date: Spring Festivals of Liguria

Get a spring in your step with our pick of Liguria’s finest spring festivals! There really is something for all the family.

Liguria, also known as the Italian Riviera, takes you to a coastline filled with charming villages and untouched beauty in the north of Italy. Embrace a slower pace of life and feel truly relaxed here with golden beaches stretching as far as the eye can see. With a deep sense of culture and tradition, Liguria welcomes you with open arms. Every year festivals take to the streets and the towns light up with lots of colour and cheer. Let’s take a look at some Spring festivals for you to enjoy on your Ligurian adventure.

Boats in the Ligurian coastal city of La Spezia 

Shop 'Til You Drop…

19th March 2023, La Spezia

Every town and city has its own patron saint and celebrates them on a special day. In the Ligurian coastal city of La Spezia, it’s Fiera di San Giuseppe, where you’ll find a three-day event that brings together street vendors from across Italy. To fuel your shopping, tuck into local food and embrace the accompanying cultural events.

Coloured buildings the sights of the Cinque Terre 

Race Around the Cinque Terre…

25th March 2023, Monterosso al Mare

For a thrilling way to see all the sights of the Cinque Terre, you can join the Sciacchetrail, a race that starts and ends in Monterosso. This circular route takes in almost 30 miles, winding along the many paths of the Cinque Terre. We’d say that one of the race highlights is passing the vineyards that produce the region’s renowned passito (sweet dessert wine) of sciacchetrà.

Monterosso Lemon Festival lemon trees 

When Life Gives You Lemons…

20th May 2023, Monterosso al Mare

There’s one destination you’ll never be short of lemons and that’s in Monterosso! Each year this vibrant Cinque Terre town hosts a celebration of citrus with the Monterosso Lemon Festival.

The village shines yellow as narrow streets are lined with lemon themed food stalls. Aside from the many baskets and crates of lemon varieties that are grown in this region, you’ll find many delicious by-products. Limoncino, Liguria’s own lemon liqueur (and not to be confused with limoncello), takes centre stage, but you can also tuck into lemon cake, lemon marmalade, and lemon cream.

Take the 8,000 lemon-scented steps, a gentle walk that starts at the historical summer house of the Nobel Prize winning Italian poet, Eugenio Montale. The significance of including Villa Montale is because the fruit was the muse for Montale’s famous poem I Limoni (The Lemon Trees), in his collection Ossi di seppia. There’s also a rhythmic marching band, a contest for the juiciest, sweetest, and largest lemon in the town’s main square of Piazza Garibaldi, and a competition for the best lemon-decorated shopfront. Monterosso beaches are never far away, if you fancy a refreshing dip in the sea.

Sestri Levante, known as the fairytale town 

A Land of Fairytales...

8th June 2023, Sestri Levante

While Portofino and the Cinque Terre tend to receive the most adoring gaze from visitors to the Italian Riviera, we also recommend you head to Sestri Levante, known as the fairytale town.

Once a small and secluded island, now the town is connected to the mainland. You’ll find it delightfully easy to explore with its many hiking and cycling trails. In June, Sestri Levante hosts the Andersen Festival, which is all about celebrating fairytales and unconventional theatre. It becomes a magical world for little and big kids alike, with a programme of music and dance, circus shows, street theatre, puppetry, and even film. By the name, you won’t be surprised to learn that the festival is dedicated to the 19th century king of fairytales, the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote The Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling, and lived in the town for a short period during his Grand Tour.

Be sure to visit the romantic beach in the Baia del Silenzio (Bay of Silence) by the Old Town, which also holds performances, from jugglers to children’s competitions. Outside of the festivities, Sestri Levante has a pedestrianised area filled with beautiful boutiques and restaurants, several lovely public parks with children's play areas, lidos, and a gorgeous promenade to enjoy an evening stroll, or passeggiata.

fishing town of Camogli  

For the Fishermen...

14th May 2023, Camogli

The pretty fishing town of Camogli becomes a feast for the senses in May. To honour San Fortunato, the patron saint of fishermen, Camogli holds Sagra del Pesce, which celebrates all things fish!

Overlooking the port, you’ll find the main square of Piazza Cristoforo Colombo buzzing. A huge frying pan that weighs 28 tons and holds a capacity of 2,000 litres cooks up an impressive 30,000 fish portions. These dishes are then sold to the public, with all money raised going to charity. Sagra del Pesce has been taking place since 1955, so it really has gained momentum over the years, and now features a wonderful bonfire and firework display.

Monterosso al Mare boats on the water 

Flower Power...

11th June 2023, Across Liguria

To celebrate the festival of Christ, Corpus Christi, families spill out of churches and into the streets for a religious procession. Then it's time to eat, drink, and enjoy fireworks displays together. Monterosso al Mare is the best place to celebrate as the streets are lovingly decorated with an array of flowers and petals, however wherever you stay in Liguria, you’re bound to be welcomed into the celebrations.

The Coastline of Riomaggiore, Vernazza,  

Into Summer...

24th June 2023, Across Liguria

As spring draws to a close, a festivity known across Italy is also celebrated in Liguria. Midsummer Day and San Giovanni Battista Day, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, both provide a touch of magic to the evenings. Witness a wonderful blend of religious and pagan rituals, including bonfires and processions throughout many towns and villages. We recommend you head to Riomaggiore, Vernazza, or Monterosso al Mare, which holds a large fried anchovy event. You can also head to Portovenere near the Bay of Poets to watch a wonderful boat race.

Glass of wine with the background of Liguria da Bere 

A Taste for Wine…

29th June, La Spezia

Celebrate all the finest wines from Liguria, including prestigious wine labels DOC and IGT at the Liguria da Bere, an event that takes place in the historic heart of La Spezia by the Bay of Poets and across Liguria.


Discover the Real Italy with Citalia    

Ready for Italy? Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape!   

Citalia banner

Visit citalia.com to discover the real Italy on your next adventure.


Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter