The Best Guide to the Top Festivals and Events in Milan

How about planning your trip to Milan during Festivals or Events? Here are the Top Festivals and Events in Milan which you can attend during your trip.

Located in northern Italy, Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region and is one of the most famous cities in Europe. This buzzing metropolis historically served as the capital of the Western Roman Empire and ranks second in most populous cities in Italy, second only to Rome. At present, Milan is regarded as an alpha global city and is a major hub for art, fashion, commerce, tourism, education, finance, and more. 

With the wealth of things to do here, it’s no wonder that Milan is among the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. But if you want to truly discover the local traditions and culture here, one of the best things you can do is attend the major happenings in the city. 

We’ve made it easy for you and compiled the top festivals and events in Milan. This list has everything from religious and traditional festivals to fashion and sporting events. (Pro tip: Store your bags, suitcases, or other items at a luggage locker in the city for a hassle-free experience).

Brown Horse Statue - Top Festivals and Events in Milan
Top Festivals and Events in Milan

Top festivals and events in Milan

Festival of Sant’Ambrogio (O bej O bej)

Milan Carnevale Parade

One of the biggest religious events in the city, the Festival of Sant’Ambrogio or the “O bej O bej” is held every 7th day of December as a tribute to Saint Ambrose, Milan’s patron saint and a beloved city prospector. Both the locals and residents from different parts of the Lombardy region come together in Milan to celebrate the festival, which is typically held at the Sant’Ambrogio Basilica and surrounding areas. 

During this event, different stalls and vendors can be seen offering local street food, arts and crafts, Milan’s specialty wine known as the vin brulé, and more. This fun annual event is a definite must-visit if you’re in town during the first week of December.  

Ambrosiano Carnival

Carnevale Ambrosiano

The Ambrosiano Carnival, also known as Milan Carnival, is one of the most extravagant and lively events held in the Italian city. According to local legend, Saint Ambrose was late to arrive during the beginning of the Lent season and the city decided to wait for him, which is why the festival is held a week after the Ambrosian Rite and the Venice Carnival. 

While it is not as famous as its counterpart in Venice, the Milan Carnival is still as colorful and enjoyable. The attendees dress up in flamboyant costumes and glitzy masks and parade around the streets of the city up to the Piazza del Duomo. Because of how popular this event is, it is recommended that you book a hotel months in advance.

Milano Fashion Week

group of women wearing dresses in a fashion show - Top Festivals and Events in Milan
Top Festivals and Events in Milan

If there’s one thing that Milan is famous for, it definitely is fashion. The city is among the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world, along with New York, Paris and London. When it comes to fashion events in Milan, the most important is the Milano Fashion Week, which takes place twice a year. 

This fashion show is also a clothing trade show. While the name says “week”, the actual event lasts just a little over a month. The Milano Fashion Week hosts numerous shows that feature some of the top luxury brands and fashion designers in the world.

Ognissanti (All Saints’ Day)

As a predominantly Catholic city, Milan celebrates the Ognissanti, otherwise known as All Saints’ Day or Festa di Tutti i Santi. Held every 1st day of November, the Ognissanti is a national holiday where friends and families commemorate the Catholic saints and celebrate by having meals together and exchanging gifts.

 While most businesses close shop during Ognissanti, some special events, live music and other gatherings take place across Milan, particularly near the churches. Although this is not a huge gathering like other festivals in the city, this day allows guests to experience an authentic tradition that’s been around for centuries.

Milano Film Festival

Started in 1996, the Milano Film Festival is the most awaited cinema festival in the city. The event brings together individuals and filmmakers in the independent film industry. The event was originally meant to be a competition for only short films; however, in 1999, the event started to include feature films into the mix. 

What makes the Milano Film Festival different from others is that it does not categorize the movies they screen and the directors get feedback from the audience by way of workshops and meetings.

Italian F1 Grand Prix

red and black sports car on tunnel - Top Festivals and Events in Milan
Top Festivals and Events in Milan

The Formula One Italian Grand Prix is one of the biggest sporting events not just in Italy but also the world and is among Milan’s top events every year. While the Grand Prix is actually not held in the city of Milan but in the neighboring city of Monza, it is well worth the half-hour journey to get there. 

The racing event takes place during September and is held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. This major event draws fans and tourists from all parts of the globe and should be on your bucket list, whether or not you are a Formula One fan.

Tredesin de Mars

The Tredesin de Mars is an important traditional festival that honors the conversion of the Milanese to Christianity. According to the city’s legend, St Barnabas arrived on the 13th of March to Milan drove a cross into a round stone, believed to be the ones that can be found on the floors of the Santa Maria del Paradiso. 

It is said that wherever St. Barnabas walked, the snow would melt and flowers would start to bloom. Despite no historical proof of this happening, the locals still believe and celebrate Tredesin de Mars as a way to welcome the arrival of spring. During this festival, a religious procession is held from Porta Romana to Porta Vigentina.

Milan Jazz Festival (JAZZMI)

Top Festivals and Events in Milan
Top Festivals and Events in Milan

While the Milanese are known for their affinity for music, the jazz genre has a special place in the city’s heart, which is why they hold an annual event especially for jazz music. The Milan Jazz Festival, known locally as JAZZMI, takes place around the first week of November and lasts for up to an entire month. In this music festival, a variety of Italian and European jazz artists play music across different venues in Milan, such as the Bistro Milano and Blue Note. 

That was all about the Festivals and Events in Milan Italy. If you are planning your trip to Milan and looking for Top Things to do in Milan then check out our other post.

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