At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

8 March 2016

La Festa della Donna – Women’s Day

Bright fragrant mimosa signals respect 

Mimosa flowers are the traditional gift to mark La Festa della Donna
Mimosa flowers are the traditional
gift to mark La Festa della Donna
Women’s Day is celebrated in Italy on this day every year and is an occasion for men to show their appreciation for the women in their lives.

All over Italy today men will be seen carrying bunches of prettily wrapped mimosa to give to women who are special to them.

The flowers might be for their wives, girlfriends, mothers, friends or even employees and are meant as a sign of respect for womanhood.

The custom of men giving mimosa to their ladies began in the 1940s after the date 8 March was chosen as the Festa della Donna (Festival of the Woman) in Italy.

The date, which coincides with International Women's Day, has a political significance for campaigners for women's rights in Italy, marking the anniversary of a strike by female textile workers in New York in 1857 and the so-called 'bread and peace' strike by women in Russia in 1917, but has more recently become a celebration similar to Mothering Sunday or St Valentine's Day.

Yellow mimosa was chosen as the flower to give because it is in bloom at the beginning of March, it is relatively inexpensive,and the scent of it in the atmosphere is a sign that primavera (spring) is just round the corner.

Continuing with the theme of mimosa, you might see on restaurant menus at this time of the year variations of dishes such as risotto mimosa, or pasta mimosa (made with finely scrambled eggs). Many restaurants will have a special menu just for today to celebrate the occasion.

And some cake shops will have Torta Mimosa in their windows, a concoction made with sugar, orange juice, whipped cream and orange liqueur.

Buona Festa!

Ristorante La Ciotola in Bergamo has a special  menu to celebrate La Festa della Donna
Ristorante La Ciotola in Bergamo has a special
menu to celebrate La Festa della Donna
Travel tip:

In Bergamo in Lombardy a special menu to celebrate La Festa della Donna has been devised by Ristorante Pizzeria La Ciotola in the lower town. The restaurant in Via Papa Giovanni XXIII invites people wishing to celebrate the occasion to share 'a peaceful and relaxing evening with friends’ and enjoy some Bergamo specialities, such as casoncelli alla bergamasca and polenta taragna.

Travel tip:

After enjoying a special meal to celebrate La Festa della Donna in Bergamo, why not enjoy a walk along Via Sentierone in the lower town, past Teatro Donizetti, to the monument to Bergamo’s celebrated composer. It was erected in 1897 in Piazza Cavour, off the Sentierone, to commemorate the first anniversary of Donizetti’s birth. An imposing structure in white marble, it depicts the composer sitting on a bench gazing at the figure of a female playing the lyre. Set in the middle of a pond and surrounded by plants and trees, the monument is inscribed simply ‘A Gaetano Donizetti’. You could almost imagine the prolific composer of operas is looking longingly past the mythical musician in the direction of the nearby theatre, which was renamed Teatro Donizetti after his death.


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