If you happened to visit Italy during August, you may have noticed that many businesses are closed for the traditional summer vacation and many Italians have already headed to the beach. August is the month when most of the country shuts down, including the big manufacturing industries.
The pinnancle of the summer in Italy is August 15th and is called Ferragosto. This day is also a national holiday celebrated by the Catholic Church. For tourists, Ferragosto can be a good moment to visit the big cities, unusually empty, even if some museums and services may be closed too. Local festivals (called sagre) and bigger events abound all across the country. The Italy for Visitors guide on About.com has compiled a nice list of key events happening this summer.