The Italian holiday period of Ferragosto dates back to Roman times when the Emperor Augustus permitted a period of festivity followed by a long period of rest to celebrate the end of the main agricultural activity and the hard labour which it demanded.

In the not too distant past it was common for businesses to close for the entire month of August, but now holidays are much shorter. The main holiday falls on the 15th but it is not uncommon for festivites to commence a few days before and continue until a few days after. Ferragosto is celebrated in varying degrees in different parts of Italy, with week long organised events that start early in the morning and continue long into the night in some parts, whilst in others the holiday is marked with a special meal with friends and family.

Ferragosto is not a religious holiday but it does coincide with the Roman Catholic Feast of Assumption, which celebrates the bodily taking up of The Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life. The holiday also coincides with the peak activity of the Perseids meteor shower which gives those that celebrate late into the night the opportunity of witnessing this astral event.

Ferragosto activities around Lake Garda include:

Pallo delle Contrade- on August 15th, this celebration of the fishing community has been repeated annually for over 50 years. As dusk falls on the stretch of water between the port and the town hall, there is a race between the flat based gondolas of the nine contradas. With contrada members and the oarsmen in full traditional costume the winners receive the wooden statue of Our Lady Of Assumption
Let’s rock-on August 16th-the top event of the Let’s Rock program is the European Pink Floyd show at Porto Torchio. Peerfoming on stage are the tribute band Big One, who are followed with a stunning firework finale.
Medieval weekend-on Friday 16th at 9pm the celebrations begin with a concert in the courtyard of Palazzo Barbieri. The Ensemble Lumieres Medievales perform a musical journey through Europe in the middle ages. The celebrations continue throughout the weekend with the streets being turned into a noisey medieval market and a on Sunday 18th, a great fireworks finale, set up to re-enact the great fire of the castle.
Mercato de Forte-on August 15th in via Dietro Castello you have the opportunity to purchase quality items in this market set up by the consortium of Forte dei Marmi. To close the day at 9pm in the Piazza del Municipio their is a concert performed by The Martones.
Feste del Porto-on August 14th and 15th there will be a tribute to the lakes fishermen. Entertainment for both adults and children will take place in the towns charming port and at dinner time it will be possible to sample lake fish cooked in traditional recipies.
Festa dell’Ospiti-from 10am on August 15th a festival of music and food, organised by the Parish of Santa Maria Assunta will be held in Piazzale delle Ginestre.  The festival will be repeated the following day at the Feste Sagra di san Rocco in Oldesio.
The Yellow Night festival starts at 8pm on August 14th- the whole town will dress up in yellow to celebrate the towns most emblematic product from which it derives it’s name. Entertainment and music will fill the streets of the historic centre of the old town which between the lake front and the mountains. A firework display that lights up the town and produces breathtaking effects as it reflects off of the rock face, will serve as the finale to the days festivities.