Are you wondering when and how we celebrate Mother’s Day here in Italy?
Maybe you’re traveling in Italy over Mother’s Day and want to treat your mamma with a special experience in bella Italia.
Or perhaps your mom will be in Italy on an upcoming trip, and you want to organize a special treat for her.
No matter the reason, read on for the scoop on:
- When we celebrate Mother’s Day in Italy
- What Mother’s Day is called in Italian
- How Mother’s Day is celebrated here in Italy
- Special experience you can surprise your mom with if you’re traveling in Italy on Mother’s Day
I’m a mom of three here in Italy and I’ve celebrated my share of Mother’s Days here in Italy. It’s a lovely place to celebrate being a mamma!
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When is Mother’s Day Celebrated in Italy?
In Italy, we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. This is similar to the United States, but different from many other countries, like the United Kingdom (which celebrates the holiday three weeks before Easter Sunday).
The origins of Mother’s Day in Italy date back to Greek and Roman times, when the celebration was about the feminine and fertility, and the passage from the cold winter to the warm summer.
The first celebrations in Italy for mothers were actually during Fascist times, when women with the most children received awards!
Today in Italy, Mother’s Day celebrates all moms.
Mother’s Day in Italian
Mother’s Day in Italian is La Festa della Mamma.
If you want to wish someone a Happy Mother’s Day in Italian, you can say Buona Festa della Mamma.
Listen to the pronunciation of Buona Festa della Mamma:
How We Celebrate Mother’s Day in Italy
Celebrations may be similar to your own country, and of course, they vary by family.
Italian mothers often receive flowers, have breakfast made for them, and are taken out to dinner. Schoolchildren usually make a card or craft for mamma for the holiday.
In our family, my kids usually make me breakfast in bed and my husband does something to make my day special, like setting me off on a walk in the countryside or booking a massage for me.
12 Special Ways to Celebrate Mom in Italy
Whether your mom is already traveling in Italy or she’s got a trip coming up, here are some ideas for how to make the day extra special. There’s something for every time of mamma!
And, these are all things that I’ve personally done and would love to do again.
Spend Time at Romantik Hotel Turm’s Spa
This 4-star hotel in the Dolomites is one of my favorite places to visit. I’ve been frequenting the hotel and its spa since 2004, and the owners are always making the spa better.
At the Turm, your mom can get a massage in one of the beautiful rooms, relax under the stars in the salt room, take a hay bath (a local specialty), enjoy one of the multiple saunas, or reserve a facial or body treatment.
She can also enjoy the indoor/outdoor pool and the local cocktail, the Hugo.
Perfect For: The mom that loves to be pampered. The mom that takes care of everyone and deserves a day of someone taking care of her.
Rent a Spot at an Italian Beach Club
In May, your mom can soak up the sun on a sandy (or pebbly, or rocky) beach in southern Italy. I recommend the beaches of Puglia or Sicily in late spring. The water may be a little chilly (it was on my trip to Puglia last week), but that doesn’t mean your mom can’t enjoy the beach and the views of the gorgeous, clear, turquoise water!
And afterward, she can explore some of Puglia’s charming towns and cities like:
Perfect For: The mom that loves to lounge in the sun, book in hand, with the sound of waves in the background.
Soak in Tuscan Hot Springs
Send mom into Southern Tuscany for a soak in some of Italy’s most beautiful hot springs. While there are complexes for soaking and getting treatments, you can also relax in outdoor hot springs in nature.
Perfect For: The mom that loves being pampered in nature.
Have an Aperitivo with a View
Your mom will be spoiled with incredible views in Italy – why not pair one of them with aperitivo?
A winning spot in many cities is a rooftop bar, at sunset or even during the day. Or, head up to a famous viewpoint like Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence or the lungomare of Monopoli.
Whether she sips an Aperol spritz with a bird’s eye view of Bergamo’s majestic monuments or enjoys a glass of Lagrein while marveling at alpenglow in the Dolomites, it will be a moment she won’t forget.
Read more about Aperitivo in Italy!
Perfect For: The mom who loves a nice view!
Sleep in a Castle
Italy has thousands of castles, and many of them have been made into incredible hotels. From the Dolomites to Sicily, you’ll find a castle for your mom. Some of my favorites include:
- Castel Fragsburg (Dolomites)
- Castello di Velona (Southern Tuscany)
- Castello di Tornano (Chianti)
- Castello di Spessa (Friuli)
- Castello di Reschio (Umbria) *I haven’t stayed here but would love to!
Perfect For: The mom who loves history. The mom who wants to feel like a queen for the night.
Go for a Bike Ride
Whether your mom loves cycling epic hills, cruising at the beach, or getting a little boost from an e-bike, there are scenic and fun cycling opportunities throughout Italy. I spent years as a cycling guide here in Italy and still explore the country by bike.
Some options for your mom:
- Valleys of Dolomites – Flat riding in Dolomites valleys; amazing views without crazy climbs!; easy to rent a bike through Südtirol Rad and you can even utilize the trains when needed
- Electric Bike Ride – Italy’s a cycling country and you’ll find bike rentals nationwide, including electric bikes
- Day Bike Tour in Countryside – Head into the countryside with an organized tour; they often include wine tastings or lunch
- Multi-Day Bike Tour – Spend a week cycling with a experienced guides; check out Backroads for luxurious and casual hotel options
Good To Know: Italy doesn’t have a lot of city bike tours like you may find in other countries.
Cycling is one of our Favorite Things to Do in the Dolomites.
Take a Private Tour of a Monument
Whether she’s at the Greek Theater in Taormina (Sicily), on Isola Bella in Stresa, visiting one of Italy’s Ferrari Museums, or checking out the Doge’s Palace in Venice, having your mom see it on a private tour will make it more meaningful. She’ll be able to ask all of her questions and have the tour tailored to her interests and curiosities.
Perfect For: The mom who loves to dig deep. The mom who loves trivia night. The mom who’s passionate about a specific landmark or destination.
Go to a Soccer Game in Italy
Italian soccer is in full swing in May, and there will for sure be a partita (match) on Mother’s Day Sunday.
If you can’t make it to a Serie A game (the main league), also look into the other leagues like Serie B or even non-professional leagues.
Attending a soccer game is such a way to get an insider view of Italian culture!
Read more about Going to a Soccer Game in Italy.
Perfect For: Sporty mammas who don’t mind having a panino outside the stadium for dinner. Mammas who love soaking up Italian culture!
Go Wine Tasting
Barolo, Chianti, Brunello… the list of famous Italian wines continues, and you’ll also have access to lesser-known, but still incredible wines like Morellino di Scansano or Primitivo from Puglia.
Depending on your mom’s style, you could visit a modern, international winery like Antinori in Bargino (Tuscany), or stop in at a smaller producer like Ca d’Gal in Santo Stefano Belbo (Piedmont).
Remember that many wineries here in Italy require advance notice for a tour or tasting, so be sure to book ahead!
Read more about Visiting Montalcino, home of Brunello wine.
Perfect For: The mom who loves a glass of wine or is passionate about learning more about vino italiano.
Attend a Concert
While May is too early for an opera in Verona’s open air arena, you can still find concerts of all genres from classical to jazz to international pop stars. And, many cities have concerts in churches or theaters.
I’ve seen some amazing ‘big name’ concerts here in Italy, but some of my favorites have been classical music concerts in small venues like churches or theaters.
Perfect For: The musical mom. The mom who loves to jam in the car and in other countries.
Enjoy a Special Dinner
A ‘special dinner’ means different things to different moms. It could be an evening at a sagra (food festival) in the hills of Umbria or a dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tuscany.
Here are a just a few places to check out that your mom may enjoy:
- La Cantinetta di Rignana (Greve in Chianti, Tuscany)
- La Subida (Cormons, Friuli)
- Da Michele (Naples)
- Da Vincenzo (Positano, Amalfi Coast)
- Villa Crespi (Orta San Giulio, Italian Lakes)
- Trattoria Corrieri (Parma, Emilia-Romagna)
- Il Frantoio (Ostuni, Puglia)
- Ristorante Maggese (San Miniato, Tuscany)
Curious about how we tip here? Read all about Tipping in Italy.
Perfect For: The mom who needs a break from washing dishes. The mom who loves trying new foods and restaurants.
Learn a New Specialty at a Cooking Class
Does your mom love to cook? Or want to learn some Italian basics or complicated dishes? Sign her up for a group class or lessons with a private chef! Many courses begin at a local market, where your mom will help choose the fresh ingredients for the dishes to be prepared. You can also sign her up for courses that include wine pairings.
Your mom will learn the secrets of lakeside cooking at Bellagio’s Ristorante Salice Blu with entertaining Luigi Gandola.
Sign her up for a chocolate-making class at the Perugina factory near Perugia.
Or, have her take a class with Florence legend and cookbook author Emiko Davies at Enoteca Marilu in foodie hotspot San Miniato. *I haven’t done this yet, but it’s on my list!
Perfect For: The mom who collects Italian cookbooks. The mom who wants to perfect her pasta-making skills.
Have Custom Sandals Made on Capri
If your mom will be on the Island of Capri, treat her to a pair of custom-made Capri sandals. Made famous by movie stars and celebrities, these handmade sandals can be simple leather straps or decked out in colorful jewels – whatever suits your mom’s personality and style!
Canfora made Jackie Kennedy’s sandals it’s the high-end option, while many others line the streets, including Capri Pride.
Perfect For: The fashionista mom.
I hope this has given you some ideas for special experiences for your mom for Mother’s Day in Italy or any other time!
Buona festa della mamma!
And a special Mother’s Day shout out to my mom, Faye. I love you, mom!
Mother’s Day in Italy FAQ
No, Mother’s Day is not a public holiday. Many businesses are closed because it’s Sunday, but restaurants and tourist attractions are open for business.
Mother’s Day here in Italy isn’t as big of a deal as I’ve seen in the United States and the UK (for Mothering Sunday). It’s much less commercial and most gifts are smaller or handmade.
Like moms around the world, Italian moms appreciate loving gestures from their families. I hear about Italian moms receiving flowers, going out to dinner, and being relieved of typical daily chores.