How to Celebrate Ferragosto in Milan

How to Celebrate Ferragosto in Milan

If you’d have visited a few years ago, you’d have probably found the experience of the mid-August feast Ferragosto in Milan to look more like a moon landing. But times have changed; the people of Milan can now see through F-day without the need for any military-dropped survival packages, and, hear ye, they can also have fun!

This post is about old and new options throughout the day that offer up some informal, authentic entertainment (and food). Needless to say, you’ll be outdoors, so grab your mosquito repellent, a picnic blanket, and maybe a jumper – given the recent weather conditions – and find out how you can be truly jolly on Ferragosto in Milan without the lapping waves of cool water splashing on the beach. It is possible, trust us.


This railwaymen hangout was re-opened in 2012 after 15 years of silence; it’s been there since 1896, alongside the rebirth of the entire Ortica neighborhood, an area of the city once slightly forgotten and now starting to enthusiastically follow the wave of the adjacent Lambrate design district. It’s traditionally a place to dance and play bocce (find out if you still have a good aim) or cards.

On Ferragosto, they open at 2 p.m., meaning you can spend a day playing or lazy afternoon waiting for the evening and dinner to be served (Mamma Rita’s inspiration comes from Abruzzi and Emilia regions). There’s live music for a spot of dancing, and this year the program promises popular music from Sandro Rossi. If you do want to stay for dinner, don’t forget to make a reservation.


This is probably the most renowned Ferragosto party in Milan. It’s organized by Radio Popolare, a radio network traditionally close to the left-wing movements. In the past years, just saying, the Mayor has shown up for an amusing self-ironic singalong.

The philosophy of this event is that nobody should feel alone in the city of Ferragosto. Admittance is free, and just as you would do for a picnic with your friends, you’re supposed to arrive with food and drinks that you’re willing to share. Gates open at 2 p.m., so place your blanket on the grass and wander around the big tables in search of something you dare to taste.

Line up has yet to be published, but usually, you will be able to dance to reggae and alternative music from the late afternoon, thanks to a mix of DJs.


If you really can’t think of a summer party without real water, get yourself down to the Idroscalo, the window on the river of the city. This solution is particularly eligible if you’re with kids or if you yourself do not disdain to jump on inflatable castles.

Our suggestion is to access the area from the Punta dell’Est, where you can sunbathe on the “beach” (beach loungers and rooms are available for rent), hire a pedal boat at the Bar Chalet, and behave as if you were to challenge the seven seas, only with no waves.

You can stroll in this two square kilometers green island searching for the kids’ area, go for a swim in one of the two pools (a reasonable entrance fee is required for adults), or decide to grab a bite or an ice cream in one of the bars of the area. Some of them are quite pleasant spots for a pre-dinner drink, and there will be some DJ sets after dark – it’s all sounds a little commercial.


Many Milanese people are crazy for Argentinian Tango, even after realizing that a Tango class will not lead them to some Latin love affair – which means it must be cool. Should you fancy moving your hips, you might want to get yourself to the Auditorium square, which on Ferragosto night will turn into an open-air Milonga with Orquesta Tipica Alfredo Marcucci.

The event will start at 8.30 p.m.; admission is free. Remember, before accepting an invitation to the dance floor, etiquette entitles your partner to at least three rounds – be ready!


This feasible walking itinerary will guide you from a faraway land where Ferragosto doesn’t even exist to celebrating fireworks. All in one city, isn’t this incredible? OK. Let’s start.

Chinatown is well known in Milan to be a lively place where you can find anything at any time. This makes the relatively new pedestrian area very nice to browse on a holiday morning. Stop for lunch in one of the many Chinese restaurants (Jubin is always open and has a pretty decent selection of what – to be objective – we will generally call Oriental food). Then walk along via Bramante and reach Parco Sempione.

The city Aquarium is located within the park, and it’s always open (admission fee 5 Euro). You will not see any sharks in here, but if you’re lucky, you might be waved at by the eight hands of an octopus. You can spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in the park, relaxing or gravitating around Piazza del Cannone, the main meeting area where the Milan Municipality every year organizes the most diverse activities for those who remain in the city in the summertime, usually culminating with fireworks. There, you have survived your Milanese Ferragosto with style.

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