The lowdown on Father's Day 2023: when it is celebrated, what to do, and typical sweets
06 March 2023
When Father's Day is celebrated in Italy and around the world
When is Father's Day? It varies from country to country, as the date has never been agreed on for this civil festivity.
Father's Day in Italy, and in many Catholic countries, is celebrated on 19 March, the day of St Joseph, the putative father of Jesus. The same applies in Spain with Día del Padre (Father's Day), in Portugal with Dia do Pai and in Italian Switzerland, while in France, the United States of America and England the holiday is celebrated on the third Sunday in June.
What to do on Father's Day
It's the perfect occasion for a trip out of town or a day of open-air fun for both young and old. So let's find out what to do on Father's Day in Italy.
If you're on the hunt for ideas, we recommend The Genoa Aquarium, a magical place where even adults can become children again for a day. On that very day, Rome will host its Fun Run, the cross-city run linked to the Run Rome The Marathon event. What better occasion to run all together between the Imperial Forum and the Circus Maximus? Meanwhile, in the surrounding areas, you can enjoy a trip to the Castelli Romani, and perhaps lunch in one of the fraschette (inns) in Ariccia, authentic taverns where you can taste typical products, including the famous porchetta (roast suckling pig).
The origins and history of Father's Day
The history of Father's Day dates back to the Middle Ages, with the Benedictine monks considered the first to recognise and respect it; but it was not until the mid-1600s that the celebration of St Joseph, and thus of the ultimate Father, was extended to the entire Catholic Church at the behest of Pope Gregory XV.
For decades, 19 March was considered a public holiday in Italy, but since 1976 it has become a civil holiday.
Sweet delicacies to sample on Father's Day
Like so many other holidays and festivities, Father's Day in Italy is also marked with sweets and delicacies that vary from region to region. The most famous, and popular from north to south, are the bignè di San Giuseppe, small fried sweets filled with custard and sprinkled with icing sugar.
In Tuscany, St Joseph's rice fritters are prepared for the occasion, while in Naples, St Joseph's zeppole (doughnuts) with plenty of pastry cream can be enjoyed at any time of the year, even though they were originally made specifically for Father's Day.
In Rome, on the other hand, 19 March marks the celebration of San Giuseppe Frittellaro, a Capitoline tradition with far-reaching roots. The celebration takes place at the Church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami (St Joseph of the Carpenters) in the Roman Forum, where the day is honoured with solemn rites, processions and the famous banquets based on delicious fritters.