While many of us associate St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with green beer, Irish music, corned beef and cabbage, it is a feast day that is celebrated around the world. Expats from Ireland and the US living in Italy have even created a tradition of Irish celebrations to commemorate the lively and festive occasion. Tourism Ireland leads an annual campaign for landmarks across the globe to illuminate in green lights as part of Ireland's annual Global Greening campaign - it’s no surprise to see a green Coliseum on March 17th. There are plenty of Irish pubs in Italy that offer a wide selection of drinks as well as Irish, Italian and international bar food throughout the day. Some cities even have multiple day festivals that truly paint the towns green. If you find yourself in Italy on March 17th, get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day with some great celebrations that take place across Italy.
Irish Churches in Rome
Italy is known for having some of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Europe and Rome is home to some amazing Irish churches. For a more traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Italy, you might choose to check out the Basilica of San Clemente, San Patrizio a Villa Ludovisi, or Sant’Isidoro a Capo le Case, which are associated with Ireland. A Mass for Lá Fhéile Pádraig is typically held at St Isidore's College on St. Patrick’s Day. All are welcome to the event and you will see Rome’s Irish community and friends of Ireland unite in a nostalgic chorus of “Hail Glorious, St Patrick”.
Irish Pubs in Italy
Since Italy is home to large communities of Irish and even Irish-American expats, it’s not hard to find Irish pubs throughout the country. One of the most authentic Irish pubs outside of Ireland is in the historic district of Bolzano in Northern Italy. Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Bolzano is the perfect opportunity to find some unique food and beer pairings in the Bel Paese. There are also a few Irish pubs in Verona known for their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, like Hartigan’s Irish Pub and Birreria. If you plan to raise a toast to St Patrick with a pint of Guinness in Rome make sure to visit Scholars Lounge, which usually has live bands performing throughout the day.
Irlanda in Festa
In some parts of Italy, St. Patrick’s Day gets several days of drinking, dancing, and celebrating all things Irish with “Irlanda in Festa”. The famous festival that can be found in Bologna, features parties, live concerts, bar crawls, and other festival affairs. Piazza Lucio Dalla is decked out with the colors of Ireland for 3 days. Irish cuisine will be featured with a dedicated street food area so you can taste traditional Irish dishes and some dishes with a unique spin. The festival also features a historic typical craft market, dance stages, workshops for children and dart tournaments.
Milan hosts “Ireland week”, seven days of events paying homage to Irish history and culture for St. Patrick's Day. After last year's success, "Irish Tourism" chose Milan to organize the second edition of Ireland week which started on March 12th and continues through Sunday, March 19th. The Irish week is confirmed as an official and very important appointment in the Milanese events schedule. The week of festivities is sponsored by the municipality of Milan, and by 'Irish Embassy in Italy.
Saint Patrick’s Week: Rimini
There is an exciting lineup of St. Patrick’s Day events in Rimini every year. Rimini, a small seaside town, celebrates with a 3-day festival of events. The Irish festival includes traditional dinners, music sessions, and plenty of Irish drinks. The Wild Horse Pub is one of the most popular places to revel in the festivities.
Arianna DiCicco is an educator and writer from California, born into an Italian American restaurant family with strong ties to her grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, Italy. She has lived in San Francisco, Rome and New York City where she’s made deep connections within the Italian communities and gained new perspectives about her own culture. With a Masters in International Education, Arianna has a love and passion for learning and educating others about Italian history & culture.