Second week in August

Each year, the residents of Grosseto come together to hold Festambiente under the summer Tuscan sun.

If you want to get philosophical, the festival is the culmination of the local’s respect for the environment and the fragile ecosystem that surrounds their city. More simply, it’s an ecological festival, but one held in typical Italian style.

The one week event is dominated by street shows, cabaret, theatres and environmental indie movies, which are judged by journalists and cinema experts as part of the Clorofilla Film Festival. It’s held in Enaoli – a 3 hectare festival site located at the feet of the Parco Naturale della Maremma in Grosseto.

The festival opens at 5:30pm each night and the evening concerts are scheduled for 10:30pm. Tickets are €8 if you rock up before 8pm and €12 if you rock up afterwards. Children under 12 get in free.

Like any Tuscan festa, there’s also food, but this time it’s food with a conscience. The event usually has three open-air restaurants, two ‘bio-bars’ and a ‘bio-pizzeria’, all of which serve up local dishes prepared with organic ingredients only.

Throughout the week, visitors can take part in new age activities like yoga, re-birthing and shiatsu, try their hand at some canoeing or trekking or buy from the endless array of stands selling organic and natural herbs, soaps and liqueurs. There’s even a garden with recycled plastic furniture for the kids.

As well as being a hell of a lot of fun, Festambiente is an important arena for Italy’s many politicians and ministers looking to plug their environmental plans to a big and very supportive audience. Every night, the festival hosts one political debate, which at times can get very heated.

Once the disputes are settled though, the mikes are handed over to famous and environmentally-aware Italian bands to perform long into the night.

The exact dates of the festival change each year, so for more information, check out www.festambiente.it/index.php/inglese.html