JUNE IS a wonderful time of year for jetting off on your summer holidays.

Thankfully, with the beautiful weather we’re having here in the UK at the moment, you don’t need to get on a plane to experience the summer sun. Grab yourself a 99, finally ditch that jacket and head to one of the UK’s many beautiful beaches, because our fleeting summer is finally here.

If you are lucky enough to be going aboard for your summer holidays, Italy is a great place to go – especially in June, when there are so many different annual events to attend.

he Tuscan Sun Festival, a popular summer arts festival that gathers well-known artists and musicians for a week of music, art, cuisine, wine, and wellness is held in June, in Florence. The festival boasts cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, and pre-concert receptions with locally-made products and Tuscan wines – the perfect festival for foodies.

On June 16, the Luminara of Saint Ranieri is celebrated in Pisa. The absolutely stunning spectacle celebrates the eve of the feast day of Saint Ranieri, Pisa’s patron saint.The Arno River, the buildings lining the river, and the bridges are all illuminated with the flames of over 70,000 lumini (small glass candle holders). ?

The Historic Regatta of Saint Ranieri is celebrated the day after. Four boats (a boat from each of Pisa’s districts) row against the Arno River’s current. When a boat arrives at the finish line, one man has to climb a 25-foot rope to reach the victory flag.

One of the most important festivals, a religious day, takes place on 24th Jun in Florence: the feast day of San Giovanni – Florence’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist. Every year, for San Giovanni, the city organises many cultural and folkloric events – topped off with the spectacular i fochi di San Giovanni fireworks show. One of the most interesting parts of the celebrations is the tradition that the final match for Calcio Storico Fiorentino is played on the same day.

On all of these days lots of food is consumed – of course.

Panzanella is a popular dish in Florence. It is a sort of bread and tomato salad, that is not only a perfect dish to eat on a warm summer day, but it’s a great way to use up any stale bread you may have left over. The dish combines bread, tomatoes, other vegetables, and herbs. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it’s a quick, easy, low-cost way to spoil your family on a beautiful summer’s eve.