Top 5 Spring festivals in Italy

Easter Week, Rome & Florence: 29th March-1st April

If you can be in Italy during Easter Week you will be treated to splendid traditions, poignant rituals and abundant food as Lent reaches its end. While Easter Mass is held across the country in every church, it’s the one led by the Pope at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome that tops the agenda. He also blesses the Via Crucis on Good Friday, where a huge cross is lit with burning torches near the Colosseum. Alternatively, head for Florence where the Scoppio del Carro, or explosion of the cart, provides a spectacular display of fireworks and parades in medieval costume on Easter morning. Wherever you are, Easter Monday, or La Pasquetta, is a day of festivity, fun and social gatherings – to say nothing of fine food and wine, which goes without saying.

Italian courses in Rome

Festa di San Marco, Venice: 11th-12th May

All you romantics out there, head for Venice on 25th April. As well as being Liberation Day in Italy, celebrating the anniversary of Italy’s liberation by the Allies in WWII, it is also the feast day of Venice’s patron saint, San Marco. And it is during this Festa de San Marco that Venetian men traditionally present the woman they love with a red rosebud, or bocolo. Enjoy the parades in St Mark’s Square and woo your beloved in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities – guys, this one will win you brownie points with your loved one.

Italian courses in Venice

Sagra del Pesce, Camogli: 12th May

It would be impossible to talk of festivals in Italy without bringing up food at some point. The Sagra del Pesce (Fish Feast) Festival in Camogli, just south of Genoa, is a must for anyone who likes fish as, every year on the second Sunday of May, this small and pretty fishing village perched on the Italian Riviera hosts a massive, jovial and free feast of freshly caught fish. And it really does have to be seen to be believed. For the entire day, fishermen swap their nets for aprons and devote the day to frying their produce in a giant saucepan that’s 5 metres wide (that’s over 16 feet) with a 7 metre handle – possibly even more impressive than the fish that comes out of it. Whatever the case, it’s fish for everyone – it’s delicious, and it’s free!

Italian courses in Genoa

Infiorata di Noto, Sicily: 12th May-20th June

Spring is a time for flowers, and there’s nowhere better to get your fill of colour and scent than in the picturesque Baroque town of Noto in southeast Sicily. On the third weekend in May the pavements of Noto are covered with intricate ‘carpets’ of flower petals that form stunning mosaic patterns and pictures. Local artists go to town with their designs which are all made out the most natural materials possible – in addition to flower petals, they use earth, wood cuttings, seeds and more. The artists begin their creations on Friday, for all to enjoy over the weekend, and then on Monday children are let loose with delight to run through the flowers and destroy the designs. But, at least for one weekend, locals and visitors to Noto look down rather than up, as usually it is the beautiful balconies overhead that catch the eye, not the pavement underfoot.

Italian courses in Taormina

Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto: 28th June-14th July

The pretty hill town of Spoleto in southern Umbria plays host to the Festival dei Due Mondi, one of Italy’s most famous performing arts festivals. So-called as its founder, composer Gian Carlo Menotti, hoped to bring together the old and new worlds of Europe and America, it is a packed programme of music, opera, theatre, art and sculpture, and each year draws in first-class artists from around the world. As can be expected, Spoleto gets very busy during the festival, but Orvieto is about 90 minutes away and makes a perfect place to escape the crowds whilst still staying within easy distance of the festivities.

Italian courses in Orvieto

Take a German course in Vienna this April and enjoy the Easter Markets

One of the best-known Easter markets in Vienna is that held in front of the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace. This year over 58 exhibitors will be showing off their wares, ranging from Easter eggs and handmade souvenirs to regional and national culinary offerings. Children are offered the chance to make marzipan Easter Bunnies at a special workshop, to go hunting for Easter eggs and at the children’s museum, all whilst the adults enjoy “Jazz at the Easter Market.”

The Old Vienna Easter Market at the Freyung, is another market with a beautiful setting, this time in the beautiful main square in the Old Town. Each year, the largest mountain of Easter eggs in Europe is constructed here, normally consisting of 40,000 painted Easter eggs. Another market is the Arts and Crafts Market Am Hof, which also offers stalls celebrating Easter traditions and offering decorative crafts.

Click here to learn more about Cactus Language’s German language courses in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and the US!

Top 5 French course destinations this spring

Cactus offers locations within France and Canada where you can take a French course, but these are our pick of the top five for springtime study.

1. Paris

As one of the world’s most iconic cities, Paris is a hugely popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, as is the case with any such city, the prices reflect its popularity and throughout the summer they are especially high. Spending time in Paris during the spring is therefore a much better idea – the weather will be warm, the trees and parks will be nice and green, there’ll be far fewer crowds and best of all, you won’t have to pay through the nose. A light spring evening, a large glass of wine and a prime people-watching spot on a café terrace…what more could you want at the end of a day of French lessons?

More on French courses in Paris

2. Annecy


Annecy has got to be one of France’s most picturesque towns, with its turquoise lake and stunning mountain backdrop. In the summer Annecy attracts thousands of visitors who come to swim in the lake or hike in the surrounding countryside, and in the winter it’s a great base for skiers and snowboarders, so the spring is one of the less busy (and therefore less expensive) times of year. By April most of the low lying snow will have melted, making hiking and biking possible, but anyone who fancies spending a day or two on the slopes might be lucky and still get a few days in higher up in the mountains.

More on French courses in Annecy

3. Tours


A beautiful city located in the heart of France’s chateaux-filled Loire Valley, Tours is known as the “garden of France”. Despite its attractive surroundings, the title actually comes from the large number of parks in the city, and what better place to watch the seasons change and the green return than here? Outside of lessons you’ll be able to experience all that this historic city has to offer, and visit the pretty surrounding area with its fairytale castles and endless vineyards.

More on French courses in Tours

4. Nice


Located on France’s up-market Riviera, Nice has long been a favourite with holidaymakers from all over Europe. Its unique blue waters and lovely climate make it a great place to relax and un-wind, but often there are lots of other people with the same idea! To enjoy the weather and surroundings without the crowds, the best time to go is probably April or May, when you get the best of both worlds. If you take a course a French course in May, you’ll be able to enjoy ‘La Fête de Mai’, which takes place every Sunday in the month and includes a series of free events, and refreshments featuring locally produced food.

More on French courses in Nice

5. Bordeaux


It’s great to visit Bordeaux in the spring time. The vineyards surrounding the city are full of colour, the weather is pleasant and as it’s still within term time, you’ll get a really authentic experience of life in this lively university city. You’ll also get chance to explore all the usual tourist sites, but without the crowds and the queues, and you’ll probably also benefit from cheaper air or rail fares when you book your travel there and back. Events taking place in the city include the Escale du Livre, a well-known book fair that is held around the Place Renaudel in March, and the Bordeaux Spring Fair which is held from late April to early May on central Place de Quinconces – in close proximity to both of our French schools in Bordeaux.

More on French courses in Bordeaux

Please visit the Cactus Language website for full listings of French courses and to book.