Ferragosto is a public holiday in Italy celebrated on 15 August. It has ancient origins with the Feriae Augusti, the festival of Emperor Augustus, who made the 1st of August a day of rest after weeks of hard work on the fields. It became a custom for the workers to wish their employers "buon ferragosto" and receive a monetary bonus in return. These days it starts from the 15th August, as the Catholic church marks the day that of the feast of the Assumption; the day when Catholics believe the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven, body and soul, at the end of her earthly life. Ferragosto - a happy combination of ferie (holidays) and agosto (August), the national holiday presents the opportunity for Italians to escape the heat – but not before one last hurrah. A national holiday to celebrate the start of the holidays - the Italians know how to enjoy themselves! There a great events across Italy on that day - such as the Palio Race in Siena or the Gran Ballo di Ferragosto in Rome - city-wide parties across various piazzas is dedicated to dancing or Concerti all’alba in Riva al mare (the concerts at dawn by the sea ) at Milano Marittima, Cesenatico or Riccione.
The special holiday is celebrated either will a Ferragosto lunch or Dinner with friends and family. Sea or mountain? Friends or family? Whatever your schedule, here are some quick and easy ideas to prepare for the occasion, without spending too much time cooking and socializing. Typically dishes for the Ferragosto Lunch are dishes which require minimal preparations and include salads such as Panzanella; Caprese; Pasta Fredda (cold pasta dish); Insalata di Fagiolini (Bean salad); Frittata di Riso; Prosciutto e fichi (Smoked Ham and Figs)and as dessert either a Zuppetta di pavesini al limone or a few coffee-based desserts such as Biscotti con gelato al caffè or Semifreddo cremoso al caffè.