The festivals holdings of the Warburg Institute Library span the period 1450-1800, focusing mainly on Italian festivities, with smaller sections on other countries.  Click here for the complete digital holdings.

The section on festivals comes after the sections on theatre and music. The festival books collection is part of a wider collection of sources on Chivalry, Banqueting, Hunting, Falconry, Tournaments, Fencing, Wrestling and Dancing. The sources on festivals cover the Italian towns and regions of Venice, Padua, Verona, Treviso, Bergamo, Milan, Turin, Parma, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara, Florence, Pistoia, Pisa, Siena, Perugia, Liguria, Urbino, Rome, Naples and Sicily. These are followed by the larger topographical divisions of France, Germany, Low-Countries, and England. The material already digitised covers a wide range of secular and sacred festivities: births, marriages, funerals, carnivals and other seasonal entertainments.

The collection was initially assembled by Aby Warburg and reflects his research on Florentine festivities, especially the Intermezzi of 1589. Although Warburg’s study on the Intermezzi was published in 1895 he continued collecting material on festivals throughout his life. The set of pamphlets and engraving describing the 1608 wedding of Cosimo de' Medici and Maria Magdalena of Austria were in fact acquired in 1929, shortly before his untimely death. 
Click here for list of digitised Florentine festival books

Warburg's interest in festivals is another facet of his life-long fascination with the persistence of classical antiquity. While other sections of the Library enable researchers to trace the survival of the pagan gods in fields as varied as art, astrology or fortune telling books, the festivals section provides records of numerous early modern triumphal chariots, processions and plays in which participants paraded as the gods of the Greek and Roman pantheons.

After the Library moved to the United Kingdom in 1933 further acquisitions were prompted by the research of various scholars and doctoral students associated with the Institute, with a particular focus on French and Netherlandish festivals. The digital collections also include a series of pamphlets printed on the occasion of Henri III entries in Italy.

Library Holdings :

DCH Sources

       180- Chivalry

       250- Banqueting  

       550- Hunting, Falconry

       600- Tournaments

       615- Fencing and Wrestling

       655- Fools

       660- Dancing

       700- Sources. Italian Festivals.Venice

       800- Padua, Verona,Treviso, Bergamo

       1200- Milan

       1320- Turin

       1370- Liguria

       1390- Parma, Modena,Bologna

       1700- Ferrara

       2000- Florence

        2710- Pistoia, Pisa

        2900- Siena

        3000- Perugia

        3150- Urbino

        3200- Rome

        3410- Naples

        3475- Sicily

        3975- French Festivals

        4500- German Festivals

        4895- Low Countries. Festivals

        5500- English Festivals


DCA Studies

100- Children's Games

200- Birth, Marriage,Funerals

400- Seasonal and PopularFestivals

595- Chivalry

690- Banqueting

800- Hunting,Falconry

900- Triumphs

955- Tournaments

1100- Fencing

1160- Wayfaring Life

1300- Fools

1400- Dancing

DCK Studies. Festivals. Antiquity

DCN Italy

DCL Spain

DCB France

DCE Germany

DCD Low Countries

DCM England

DCI Scandinavia. Eastern Europe. Russia

Links and References

The Society for European Festivals Research
From the University of Warwick

Re-creating Early Modern festivals
From the University of Edinburgh

Food History News
A must for food historians. Includes extensive collection of links.


Renaissance Festival Books 
from the British Library

Early Modern Festival Books 
from the Warburg Institute Library