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Though we’re currently in the darkest depths of winter, the new year is on the horizon and with it all our dreams for a glorious 2016. Those who use January as the time to book your travel plans for the coming year will surely be considering their options already, and working out just where they want to head. Italy – just a short flight from many UK airports – is a great location that’s easy to get to and full of history.
Here we round up five of the biggest festivities in Italy, around which you can plan some pretty awesome holidays.
From the film festival in Rome to the world-famous Verona Opera Festival or the traditional Italian Palio horse race in Siena, there’s plenty to get excited about in 2016.
Forward-thinking travellers can also grab up to 35% off some of the holidays listed here, with prices starting from £349 per person.
Rome Film Festival: 16-24 October 2016
The International Rome Film Festival turns the historic city into a hub for celebrities and creatives between 16 and 24 October 2016. Set in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, stars and film connoisseurs alike will gather in the city.
Meanwhile, on Via Veneto, a film market (Business Street) will run alongside the festival.
A four-night break to Rome during the film festival starts at £435 per person – saving up to £77 per couple. The price includes four nights at the three-star Hotel Piccadilly on a B&B basis and return flights from London Gatwick with easyJet, based on departures 18 October 2016.
Verona Opera Festival: 24 June – 28 August 2016
Opera-lovers can enjoy an open-air show of greats like Carmen or Aida at the Festival Arena di Verona between 24 June and 28 August. The ancient Roman amphitheatre seats around 20,000 visitors and plays host to the operas.
Verona, perfect for walking tours, is the gorgeous city immortalised in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Arena will also feature popular music artists throughout the year, such as Adele, who will be touring the city on 28 and 29 May 2016.
A three night break to Verona, during the opera festival, costs from £425 per person – saving up to £77 per couple. The price includes three nights at the three-star-plus Hotel Giulietta e Romeo on a B&B basis and return flights from London Gatwick with British Airways, based on departures 10 July 2016.
Venice Carnival: 23 January – 9 February 2016
The Venice Carnival is a world-renowned event, bringing millions of visitors to the city every year. The festival includes a candlelit boat parade, street entertainment, concerts and the Festa Veneziana along the Grand Canal.
A four-night break to Venice during Carnival costs from £349 per person – saving up to £451 per couple. The price includes four nights for the price of three at the four star Hotel Savoia & Jolanda with a complimentary upgrade to half-board and return flights from London Gatwick with easyJet, based on departures 31 January 2016.
Umbria Jazz Festival: 8-24 July 2016
Every July, Perugia in Umbria becomes a global music town for 10 days, as locals and tourists descend on the cobblestone streets for one of the world’s most famous jazz festivals.
The festival includes a number of performances and events through outdoor locations from 8 – 24 July.
You can get a five-night getaway to Umbria during the jazz festival from £399 per person – saving up to £190 per couple. The price includes five nights at the three-star Hotel Villa Pambuffetti in Montefalco on a B&B basis and flights from London Gatwick with easyJet, based on departures 12 July 2016.
Il Palio in Siena: 2 July & 26 August 2016
Il Palio di Siena is a twice-annual horse racing event that has been celebrated since 1644, and is therefore one of Italy’s longest-lived traditions. The event takes place on 2 July and again on 26 August, with various festivities taking place in the days leading to the main event, such as al fresco dinners and horse trials.
40,000 Siense locals pour into the Piazza del Campo, joined by an extra 20,000 Italian and international guests – meaning that early booking is absolutely required.
You can get a five-night getaway to Tuscany during the Palio from £415 per person – saving up to £262 per couple. The price includes five nights for the price of four at the four-star Hotel Garden on the outskirts of Siena on a B&B basis and return flights from London Gatwick with easyJet, based on departures 7 July 2016.
For more information, visit Citalia (01293 731 753).