As the Epiphany rounds off the festive season, Italians and tourists alike look to the country’s annual cultural highlights to take the edge off back-to-work. 2023 promises the return of some of Italy's best-loved events, celebrating Italian culture, oenology, art and design. Here are seven of our favourites. Venice Carnival The legendary Venice Carnival returns to the city from February 4th to 21st 2023. This year’s carnival is entitled “Take your time for the Original Signs”, and takes its theme from the elements. It promises to be another spectacle of colour, lights and street performances, perfect for families and revellers of all tastes. Venice Carnival Back in time Combining pagan rituals from Antiquity with centuries-old Venetian tradition, the carnival is a celebration of the city’s unique heritage. Venice’s iconic canals will be at the centre of the festivities, which will feature performances on and around the water. Grab a mask Don’t miss the “12 Marie” (12 Marys), twelve women dressed in historical costume who process down the Canal Grande aboard gondole towards Piazza San Marco. Other events include carnival floats parading across the city, and an exclusive themed dinner inside a gorgeous palazzo. The full programme is available at the carnival’s official website, www.carnevale.venezia.it Vinitaly The 55th international wine and spirits exhibition will take place this year from 2nd to 5th April in Verona. Spread across ten hectares and welcoming over a hundred thousand visitors annually, Vinitaly is the world’s largest fair of its kind. Vinitaly Spoilt for choice The exhibition is comprised of large pavilions, housing stalls where visitors can explore the thousands of products on offer. The space also features themed areas, with halls dedicated to organic products, international wine, wine-tasting and mixology, among others. For those wanting a deep dive into the world of wine, the fair also hosts discussions, guided tasting sessions and seminars. Refuel Don’t worry about wine-tasting on an empty stomach. The complex also includes top-notch dining options at the Food Park Area and Sol&Agrifood Hall. Easy Access The exhibition is held in Fiera di Verona in the South part of the city, reachable by car (exit Verona Sud) and public transport (by train to Verona Porta Nuova). The event is easy to navigate, complete with a map, app and parking and shuttle bus services. Make the most of it A trip to Vinitaly works perfectly as part of a long weekend in Verona, which runs various wine-themed events in its restaurants and squares to coincide with Vinitaly. For information on events, tickets and producers, visit www.vinitaly.com 100\u02da Arena di Verona Opera Festival On selected dates from June to September, the Arena di Verona will celebrate its 100th season with fifty performances of works that defined the Arena’s history. Classical music fans from around the world are expected to line the seats of the 2000-year-old amphitheatre, one of Italy’s largest. Arena di Verona Vissi d’arte Alongside new and old productions of classics by Verdi, Rossini, Puccini and Bizet, the music festival will include five exclusive performances by ballet and opera stars of today. Put on your dancing shoes On July 19th, Italian étoile Roberto Bolle will dance alongside distinguished colleagues from international ballet companies in “Roberto Bolle and Friends: la danza senza confine [dance without borders]”. Three tenors and more Music lovers cannot miss performances by three of opera’s biggest names: Plácido Domingo, Jonas Kauffman and Juan Diego Flórez. The choir and orchestra of Milan’s Teatro Alla Scala will also be gracing the stage, in their first ever performance at the Arena. Tickets and information at www.arena.it Milan Fashion Week Milan is a non-negotiable part of any fashion lover’s itinerary. This year, Milan Fashion Week runs from 13th to 17th January for menswear, and 21st to 27th February for womenswear. Milan Fashion Week You may be a little late to the party, as tickets sell out fast and most of the shows are by invitation only. But not to worry! Many of the shows are streamed live, including on a big screen in the magical Piazza Duomo. The city is your Front Row The global fashion capital comes to life off the runway as well. Whether or not you attend the shows, events and after-parties, central Milan is the place to be when this year’s Fall/Winter collections land. The fashion world descends onto the city, complete with celebrities, outlandish clothing and plenty of backstage buzz. Flying off the rack During Fashion Week, Milan’s shopping district greets the influx of avid shoppers with open arms. Iconic Italian and international brands complement their new collections by pulling out all the stops at their flagship stores in the city. Be sure to stop by the Quadrilatero della Moda, the fashion district in Milan’s historic centre. Enclosed within Via Monte Napoleone, Corso Venezia, Via Manzoni and Via della Spiga, the concentration of high fashion in the Quadrilatero matches that of the catwalk. Salone del Mobile The 61st edition of the Salone del Mobile lands in Fiera Milano (northwest of Milan) on 18th to 23rd April this year. A hub for furniture designers, distributors and buyers, Milan is packed during this period, so be sure to plan ahead. Salone del Mobile Milano Take a (designer) seat The exhibition is the global destination for interior design, showcasing latest trends in furniture and home décor from the world’s top brands. Whether you’re looking for a sofa, decorative items or quirky fabrics, a tour through the pavilions will feel like walking through an issue of Elle Decor. A World of Interiors Themed exhibits include Workspace 3.0 and SaloneSatellite, dedicated to designs for educational and professional settings and emerging designers under 35. Also don’t miss Euroluce, which displays lighting fixture designs from over four hundred brands and is in its 24th season. Check out Salone del Mobile’s website for details: www.salonemilano.it Festival dei Due Mondi Spoleto The Festival dei Due Mondi (“festival of two worlds”) at Spoleto is a celebration of the Arts. Coupling tradition and innovation in music, dance, visual art and theatre, this year’s festival will run from June 23rd to July 9th. Artistic heritage Ever since its foundation in 1958, the festival has played host to some of the biggest names in the arts. It aims to bring together the “two worlds” of American and European culture. Past attendees include Luciano Pavarotti, Roman Polanski, Nino Rota and Ezra Pound. What’s On Explore the range of concerts, plays, operas, dance and more, in both indoor and outdoor venues. This year’s programme has yet to be released. Nevertheless, last year’s figures – hundreds of performances by over six hundred artists – promise an unparalleled and diverse cultural experience. Get involved Several events allow audiences to participate in the festival, with interactive performances and yoga to get you moving. And don’t forget to take time for sightseeing! Spoleto is one of Umbria’s many jewels, and the festival’s landmark concert takes place in front of the medieval cathedral. Keep an eye on the official website festivaldispoleto.com to purchase tickets. For places to stay in Italy, visit Passepartout Homes luxury villa rentals.