Discover the events
The Varallo Carnival starts on January 6th that, in carnival terms, is defined as the day of the "Vecchia Pasquetta”, and ends on the first day of Lent with the Trial of Marcantonio (the main mask). During the trial, the most relevant facts of the town chronicle are pilloried, then the event ends with the good luck bonfire that is a recurring custom of the alpine carnivals. Among the moments not to miss, there is the presentation of the Cecca, Marcantonio’s wife, whose identity is hidden until the evening of the "Veglione” (masked ball) specifically dedicated to her. Other key events are the Carnevalaà n’t’la straà, with games and shows for children; the Giobiaccia on Thursdays; the Bal d’la Lum, a great masked ball; the Paniccia Reale and the Trial of Marcantonio.
The historical Carnival and the biggest fagiolata in Italy of Santhià
It is the oldest Carnival in Piedmont. It originates from the Abadia, mentioned for the first time in a document dating back to 1338, then replaced in the eighteenth century by the Antica Società Fagiolesca, the precursor of the current Carnival Committee.
There are several key events during this Carnival: the presentation of the masks and the delivery of the keys, an opportunity to pillory the facts of the town; the 3 masked parades held in the afternoon of Carnival Sunday, the Mardi Gras, and Carnival Monday at night; the largest fagiolata in Italy, on Monday, during which about 20,000 portions of beans are distributed. A peculiarity: in the morning of the fagiolata, the Pifferi e Tamburi Corps, one of the oldest and most important corps in Italy, at 5:00 am begins to sound the wake-up call to the town and especially to the square commanders who preside over the fagiolata. Despite the early waking, everyone welcomes them.
The Carnival also hosts events such as the Pule (a questing event) and Congreghe (when everything that is collected during the Pule is auctioned off) and yet balls and social games, so as to involve everyone in what is the craziest moment of the year. The Carnival ends with the bonfire of the "Babaciu”, the king of the Carnival.
The Carnival of Borgosesia, in its most typical and characteristic expression of Mercû Scûrot was established in 1854 by a group of people with a sense of humor who decided to celebrate in their own way the last day of Carnival, on Ash Wednesday, parading through the streets of the village a coffin containing a straw puppet representing Carnival. The subsequent year the puppet was given the name "Peru Magunella”, the first originating from the dialect name of the patron saint of the town (St. Peter) and the second from "Magoni”, a nickname with which the people of Borgosesia were identified. Only 30 years later, the mask began to be interpreted by a person and given a wife known as "Gin Fiammàa”. The main characteristics of the Carnival of Borgosesia are its dance parties on Saturday night along with cultural evenings and the three masked parades in the afternoon.
Vercelli Carnival – The Grand Carnival of Piedmont
The Carnival of Vercelli is an important event, known even beyond the regional borders. It begins with the presentation of the main masks of Vercelli: Bicciolano and his wife, Bela Majin. It continues on with celebrations, "fagiolatas” in the various districts, and children’s dances, all leading to its most important and best-known event: the parades of floats and masks. These are unique moments that embody the true spirit of Carnival, and that see the participation of many carnival committees throughout the province and the appreciation of an increasingly large audience ready to experience the joy and carefree time of this moment in the year when everything is possible. The events are held along Viale Garibaldi on the two Sundays before the end of the carnival period.
"Marcello and Franco Bertinetti” International Fencing Trophy, Vercelli
Established in 1967 from the idea of Aldo Venè, this trophy wanted to celebrate the great Marcello Bertinetti. The competition, which since 1995 has also been named in honor of Franco Bertinetti, is based in Vercelli (a city that boasts one of the best fencing schools in the world as well as an excellent tradition of fencers) and involves the participation of the top four teams ranked at the World Championship, in addition to the Italian National Team, of course. The prize is a trophy representing a fencer, made of bronze and resting on a silver base. The closing ceremony is particularly charming, with the two finalist teams competing on the stage of the city’s theater.
Until 2004, the competition represented a stop of the Fencing World Cup.
Campo Fair, Caresanablot
Organized by ANGA chapter of Vercelli (National Association of Young Farmers) at the city’s Polo Fieristico this Fair can count on the presence of more than 130 exhibitors, guaranteeing the participation of stands that present the most varied products of the Vercelli area and its traditions: from the agricultural sector to the food and wine sector, to automobiles and crafts created by local artists and artisans. The Fair also offers a catering service.
"Antico Lupino" Historical Fair, Vercelli
The Fair held on the second last Sunday before Easter, featuring lupini beans, hazelnuts, and other "comfort foods” originates in the night of time from an ancient pagan rite, in commemoration of the dead that, just like on November 2nd, is associated to dried fruit and other delicacies of the season
Procession of the "Sette Marie", Varallo
While in the evening of Holy Friday, the procession takes place exclusively in the village, departing from the Collegiate Church of San Gaudenzio to reach the Church of San Giacomo and back, in the afternoon of Palm Sunday, the procession departs from the Collegiate Church of San Gaudenzio to reach the Sacred Mount. During the procession, seven unmarried women with their faces hidden by a black funeral veil parade in sadness: two of them support a third one carrying the cross, wrapped in a white sheet and without the body of Christ, while the others form a symbolic square of sorts. Following the "Seven Marys” are the members of the Confraternity of the Holy Trinity. They wear blue tunics and carry lanterns while the members of the Confraternity of the Sacred Sacrament wear red tunics and lead in the procession the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Sacred theatrical representation, Quarona
On Palm Sunday, the sacred theatrical representation focuses on the first portion of the Passion. On the evening of Good Friday, the 18 paintings of the Way of the Cross are reenacted through a theatrical performance.
This event finds its origins in 1833 when the processions organized by the individual confraternities founded in the eighteenth century and soon regulated by a specific order of appearance were merged with the one of the Holy Crucifix of St. Andrew that took place in Vercelli on Good Friday.
The so-called "machines” are sculptures in colored wood depicting the various episodes of the Passion of the Christ, from the Mount of Olives to the Crucifixion. In ancient times, the stretcher for the sick was called a "machine”. Subsequently, the term indicated in a broader sense the base on which the statues were placed for transportation on Good Friday to the St. Andrew Basilica where they are all grouped and from where the procession begins parading them under the light of candles and torches through the streets and squares of the town center. The relic of the Holy Cross is also part of the procession.
The Race of the Oxen, Caresana
According to some, this event originates from a religious vow made by the citizens to celebrate the end of the plague, even if it is more likely that the race originated spontaneously. In fact, on the occasion of the St. George Fair, it was customary to participate in the procession with the animals yoked to the carts all the way to the so-called pillar, a milestone of sorts located outside town. When returning to the village, everyone wanted to be the first to bring back the blessed bread, and so competition of sorts between the ox-pulled carts began. Therefore, this was likely how the race originated and how, over the centuries, its celebration became official. The starting positions for the race are selected via a draw; the oxen are decorated with garlands and caparisons, and the cart drawbars are also embellished, then the procession of the Saint’s relics takes place. Mass is celebrated in the church of St. George, and at the evangelization, the oxen are taken to perform three votive and propitiatory rounds and subsequently brought in front of the race starting rope. The Mayor, after having spoken the customary words: "resti pitiquesti dareissá vechí pumín via” fires the shot that starts the race that ends at the "cavetto”.
Valsesiana Cattle Fair - Borgosesia, Fobello, Alagna Valsesia, Alto Sermenza, Scopello, Campertogno, Rimella, and Quarona
These are spring and winter festivals that take place according to the transhumance schedule. Cattle, sheep, and goats are herded and exhibited at the fairs, where it is also possible to taste the typical products of the valley’s gastronomic tradition and admire local handicraft items.
The Race of the Oxen, Asigliano
This race, borrowed from the one held annually in Caresana, originated likely as the result of a religious vow made to the patron saint of the village in the fifteenth century when the plague was decimating the population throughout the area. Since 1436, the San Vittore Festival and the Race of the Oxen have been celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Initially, the ceremony called for the citizens of Asigliano to untie four pairs of oxen along the "lea dla stassion”, as a way to say thanks to St. Vittore right after the singing of "Deus Teorum Militum”. Now, the event is a little different and features: markets, shows, dancing, and dinners without ever forgetting the tradition.
The Toma Days - The Beer days, Quarona
The "Toma Days” is an event created for the promotion and valorization of the dairy production of the Valsesia and the consumption of fresh milk. The activities and the events with to remark the importance of the pastures in the alpine area, with particular attention to the production techniques, from fresh milk to cheese, giving prominence to the excellences of the Valsesia cheese production.
The "Beer Days” are dedicated to the promotion of microbreweries in Piedmont and to give value to the characteristics and quality of the oldest craft beer production in the world.
Founded in 1998 from a brilliant idea of the Artistic Director of the former Viotti - Valsesia International Contest (now known as Valsesia Musica), Vincenzo Balzani, it features several distinct areas of competition: violin and orchestra, piano, opera singing, and a special competition dedicated to young people (Monterosa Kawai). Since the very beginning, the violin and orchestra competition attracted the attention of the world’s most promising musicians. The reasons for this sudden success, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, are based on the excellent program and the incredibly attractive opportunity for young musicians to participate in a large symphony orchestra. An amazingly simple recipe that turned out to be the winning ticket of this contest boasting a roll of honor of extraordinary prestige.
It is undoubtedly one of the most important trade fairs in public areas taking place in the province. It is held along Viale della Rimembranza, and during the days of the Fair, it is open to the public from morning to late afternoon. The May Fair is visited annually by more than 100,000 visitors and hosts more than 400 operators from all over Italy that display a wide range of products: from food and wine to handicrafts, both Italian and foreign, as well as clothing, gift items, housewares, and leather goods. Over the years, this variety turned into the strong point of this Trade Fair held at the beginning of the summer.
Right downtown, by the charming Abbey of St. Andrew and along Viale Garibaldi, ancient crafts, educational stands, organized exhibitions, food and wine tastings, and floral competitions welcome the visitors. However, the true protagonists of the event are farm animals that, for the occasion, are welcomed in the green spaces surrounding St. Andrew Abbey. This is a unique opportunity to get to know better the Vercelli area and its roots.
Music Festival, Varallo
On the occasion of this festival, the town of Varallo, capital of the beautiful Valsesia, welcomes singers, musicians, bands, and amateurs of any kind and origin who perform their repertoire along the streets, alleys, squares, and courtyards or in front of the small and charming city bars. A festive atmosphere in every corner fills the city with the notes of a wide variety of musical genres capable of bringing together different generations. The European Music Day is celebrated simultaneously in 85 countries.
A major competition in Alta Valsesia. The departure is from Piazza Grober in Alagna (1,192 meters a.s.l.) to reach the 4,554 meters a.s.l. where the highest mountain hut in Europe stands: the Capanna Regina Margherita. The race takes place in pairs and covers a total distance of 35 km and 3,490 meters in a single ascent. At the same time, the Sky Race takes place from Alagna to Indren, a race covering a total distance of 22 km and 4,000 meters of ascents and descents.
Guide Festival, Alagna Valsesia
A traditional festival celebrating the Alpine Guides. It features a parade accompanied by a marching band, Holy Mass, and the ascent to the bell tower and lunch.
Sentiermangiando, Fobello and Cervatto
A traditional food and wine stroll along the ancient trails of Valsesia. This event offers the opportunity to taste local products paired with wines from the Regional Gattinara Winery and Terre del Nebbiolo from Northern Piedmont, as well as to discover the art and nature of these charming locations.
A few festive days dedicated to a market-expo event focused on trade, artisan, and industrial activities and a presentation of the Pro Loco, Agencies, and Associations of Valsesia. The event also features art and culture, as well as the opportunity to attend free shows and concerts held by major Italian music celebrities in the beautiful setting of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. Great attention is dedicated to local foods and wines, and the city of Varallo is dressed up for the occasion for the entire event.
Sapori d’Alta Quota, Alagna Valsesia
A town market and tasting events featuring excellent food and wine from Alto Piedmot at Passo dei Salati, 2971 m above sea level.
Sentieri dell’Arte, Valsesia
Guided excursions and hikes across the mountains of Valsesia to discover the chapels and oratories of the valley.
Camerata Ducale Concert, Vercelli
An annual evening concert that is held in the church courtyard of the St. Andrew Basilica to celebrate the patron of Vercelli during this festival.
Musica a Rima, Alto Sermenza
Several concerts widely rewarded both by critics and audiences feature big names in the classical and jazz music scene in Valsesia.
Blueberry Festival, Rassa
Founded in 1969 to offer tourists the abundant harvest of blueberries on August 15th, nowadays, the festival is an important summer event for visitors and locals alike.
Combined with an exhibition of typical Valsesian handicrafts, where the various artworks are manufactured and presented the same day, the event also offers a tasting session boasting about 70 different types of grappa (bitter, dry, sweet, or aromatic) with different flavors.
Sagra d’la Panissa, Vercelli
This festival was established in 1991 from an idea brought forth by citizens and shopkeepers who wanted to promote one of the historical districts of Vercelli, Porta Casale, through one of the most typical dishes of the Vercelli cuisine tradition: Panissa. After many years, the festival changed from a one-day celebration to a six-day event where, in addition to tasting delicious traditional local dishes, visitors can enjoy musical entertainment. Dancing evenings shows and dance school performances, with particular attention to culture and sport, are all in the program. This is why, after so many years, the Panissa Festival has become a fantastic appointment not to be missed.
Sagra della Rana, Vercelli
This is the "oldest” festival in the province of Vercelli.Since 1976, a simple occasion to meet and enjoy eating frogs and only frogs gave life to this successful gastronomic event. The main purpose of the festival is to make known the Cappuccini district of Vercelli, the past struggles of its people, its traditions, focusing on the most typical trades such as the "ranatè” and the "ranatera” but also the "starnighin” (flintman) and the "pascadur” (fisherman). In the evenings, it is possible to taste frog dishes prepared according to old traditional recipes, but also other specialties of the Vercelli’s cuisine. And of course, after dinner, songs and dances fill the air with the great orchestras that enliven the last summer evenings.
Sera dei Lumi, Guardabosone
Itinerant shows in the historical center, music, folklore, theater, magic, and handicrafts are the stars of this event where downtown is lit with candles that create a magic atmosphere.
Sagra dell’Agnolotto, Vercelli
Organized by Rione Cervetto in Piazzale Ex-Montefibre, this event is an opportunity to taste the traditional agnolotto dish and spend a happy evening combining the taste of the local gastronomic tradition with an after-dinner of music, dancing, and merriment. There are many other initiatives organized simultaneously with this festival that allow Vercelli to celebrate the end of the summer, including cultural, sports, and charity ones.
The Festa dell’Uva (Grape Festival) of Gattinara has the goal of introducing thousands of visitors to the jewels of the territory and its excellences, first of all, the "Gattinara D.O.C.G.” wine. The agenda is full of events that will animate the streets and the numerous "tabine” set up for the occasion.
Rosario Fiorito, Alagna Valsesia
This devotional procession is popular among the Walser, a population of German origin who settled at the foot of Monte Rosa centuries ago and left evidence of its traditions both at the religious level and at the historical-artistic and artisan ones. This procession takes place at Alpe Vigne, above Alagna, on the first Sunday of October. It originated from the custom of the valley’s dwellers to go to pray the rosary on the Sesia glacier, below Monte Rosa, for the souls that wandered there in the shape of butterflies. After reciting the rosary, they would have a snack, and the leftovers were thrown into the crevasses to feed the souls. The event resumed in 1982 and continues to this day.
Historical Reenactment Procession, Vercelli
The event is organized on the first Sunday of October by the Comitato Manifestazioni Vercellesi, constantly involved in events and initiatives that promote the history and traditions of the territory. The initiative includes a parade of historical masks from Vercelli and the surrounding areas departing from Piazza Pajetta to reach Piazza Cavour.
Established in 1950 by Vercelli-based musician Joseph Robbone, this prestigious international competition is a springboard for young talents on the music scene who wish to emerge. Great artists took the stage at the Viotti Music Contest before starting a brilliant international career, including Luciano Pavarotti, Claudio Abbado, Salvatore Accardo, and many others. The competition is held annually in the provincial capital and is one of the few in the international field to include several music disciplines and boast different juries for each category. The jury is formed by celebrity musicians, musicologists, critics, artists of Italian and foreign nationality. Piano and opera songs alternate during the event.
The "Città di Vercelli" International Festival of Civil Poetry, Vercelli
Since 2005 it is the only Italian festival of contemporary civil poetry. Every year it awards prizes to the best poets.
All Saints’ Celebration Festival, Vercelli
This festival takes place every year on Viale Rimembranza, and it is tied to a custom of the past. The people who visited the cemetery to remember their dead on All Saints Day strolled along Viale Rimembranza, where peddlers sold their products, especially chestnuts. In recent years, the event has been renewed under a modern light by ASCOM and features exhibitors hailing from all over Italy.
San Martino Festival, Gattinara
It takes place on the second Tuesday of November, attracting many visitors in town who take advantage of this event to discover small treasures among the stalls set up across downtown. The San Martino festival is also the moment when the next Carnival in Gattinara is officially announced: if the town marching band, that is, the Corpo Musicale S. Cecilia, parades along the main street, it means that everyone agreed to celebrate it.
The Valley of the Nativity Scenes, Cellio with Breia
Visiting the Nativity Scenes in the many villages.
The Nativity Scenes of Postua
Since 1984, the nativity scenes have been set up along the streets of the village. In every corner, in the gardens, and under the arcades, they stand out for their uniqueness and charm.
Alpine Christmas, Valsesia
Every year, in a different mountain location, the Italian Alpine Club organizes an event known as "Alpine Christmas” that features a get-together and a torch-lit walk to the church where the Holy Mass is celebrated, at the end of which there is the exchange of greetings and the distribution of mulled wine, chocolate and panettone for all participants.
Monterosa under the stars, Alagna Valsesia
A traditional torch-lit procession to which ski instructors participate with skis on their feet descending from the slopes overlooking the town of Alagna to the main square, where a light show followed by music and entertainment welcomes everyone. During the day, along the streets of downtown, the traditional crafts and food, and wine market takes place.
New Year’s Eve Concert, Vercelli
Held by the Camerata Ducale Orchestra at the Civic Theater, it is now an unmissable event for those who love music and wish to greet the new year.