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Rocking the Cradle of the Renaissance

  • Learn more about Italy’s summer music festivals
  • Check out what’s in store for Summer 2024 in Florence and Tuscany
  • See the sites while rocking out to your favorite performers
  • Discover the diversity of Italy’s vibrant music scene
  • Follow the music off the beaten path

Music, especially live music, is a big passion of mine, so when June comes around and I smell summer in the air, all I can think about are concerts and festivals.

Italy is synonymous with music and the country hosts some of the best music festivals, artists, and concerts in the world year round. Anyone coming during the summer can choose from a wide array of options all over the peninsula ranging from Umbria Jazz to Opera at the Arena di Verona to Roma Summer Fest or Lake Como’s Nameless Festival, one of the largest dance music festivals in the country.

While I would love to take a deep dive with you into all of Italy’s wonderful festivals, and perhaps at some point I will, for the time being I will limit myself to four local music festivals that this rock and roll girl just can’t get enough of.

🔗 ➡️ Firenze Rocks

People flock from all over Italy and the world for this outdoor music festival which takes place in mid-June at the Visarno Arena inside Florence’s massive Cascine Park. I have seen some of the best concerts of my life here and the vibe is always amazing. It’s hard to pin down favorites, and I try to go to the festival every year, but a few past standouts were the Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, and The Who.  Seeing the legendary British band live at Firenze Rocks fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine and was pure perfection.

🔗 ➡️ Lucca Summer Festival

Oh, charming Lucca, how I love you. This elegant walled Renaissance town comes alive in the summer with its spectacular music festival. I am so upset that I didn’t look at the 2024 roster before booking my tickets to go to the US in July! This year Lucca Summer Festival will welcome, among many others, Rod Stewart, Lenny Kravitz, and the Smashing Pumpkins. The festival has been going strong since 1998 and takes place in the enchanting Piazza Napoleone, right in the heart of this lovely Tuscan city, strategically located quite close to the tony seaside towns of Versilia.

🔗 ➡️ Pistoia Blues

This festival, held in the delightful town of Pistoia, a little gem just over a 30-minute train ride from Florence, is not strictly blues and features more commercial and alternative artists. I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing both Ben Harper and Nick Cave here. 

This year’s debut concert is Calexico on July 4 and later shows include Dee Dee Bridgewater and Mario Biondi (I’m a huge fan of both).  The best thing about Pistoia Blues?  The concerts take place in its magical and picturesque Piazza Duomo making any show there feel very intimate and special.

🔗 ➡️ Estate Fiesolana

What is not to love about Fiesole’s music, dance, prose, and arts festival that runs from June to September and takes place at a Roman amphitheater?  

Perched just above Florence, this Etruscan/Roman hill town boasts one of the most interesting festivals around and you get to experience it from inside an archeological site, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a few nice breezes as well.

I saw Fantastic Negrito there a couple of summers ago and last year Suzanne Vega played the venue. This year’s very rich season features Rufus Wainwright, one of my all time favorite singer songwriters.

If you follow the music, especially that of Italy’s rich summer festivals, I assure you it will often take you off the beaten path, give you access to unique spaces and sites, lead you to make new discoveries, and bestow upon you once-in-a-lifetime experiences and memories.

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