Witches' Night


and other legends about Saint John's Night

Celebration of the solstice - Comune di San Giovannni in Persiceto
Celebration of the solstice - Comune di San Giovannni in Persiceto

According to Italian tradition, the night before the Festivity of Saint John the Baptist – 24th June - saw witches flying toward the Great Walnut of the Eremo di Tizzano (Hermitage of Tizzano) in order to celebrate Sabba (a meeting with the Devil).


If witches felt tired of flying, the locals used to put Saint John's herbs on the threshold of their houses so that witches could not cross it. They include garlic, mugweed, Aaron’s beard, lavender, rue and vervain. Witches could be seen until midnight, and then they were forced to disappear as it was Saint John’s Day.


Even though Saint John's Night, which is better known as the Witches' Night, ceased being an official holiday in 1872, it still a part of folk tradition of many Italian regions, including Emilia-Romagna.


A magic aura has surrounded this event since ancient times: at the summer solstice, the Sun's maximum elevation instilled a new vital force in all herbs and plants on earth: that's why Saint John's Night was an ideal moment to burn the old herbs and plants as well as pick new ones to use for the next magic practices, make propitiatory fires to avert the Evil One as well as protect fields, pick unripe walnuts to prepare the best walnut liqueur, eat snails, including their horns, to defeat the adversities of life and put a bunch of Saint John's herbs under the pillow to have premonitory dreams.


Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am-12am;

Monday and Thursday 3.30pm-6.30pm

Pro loco di San Giovanni in Persiceto

Corso Italia, 69 - 40017 San Giovanni in Persiceto

Ph. 0339 051 826839

  • info@proloco-persiceto.org
Info on the tourist location

URP - Public Relations Office

San Giovanni in Persiceto

Address: Corso Italia 78 - 40017 San Giovanni in Persiceto (BO)

Toll free number 800 069678


Opening times
Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat 8.30am-1.30pm

Thu 8.30am-6.30pm

Opening times (July and August)
Mon – Sat 8.30am-1pm

Loc. San Matteo della Decima c/o Centro civico
Via Cento 158/a - 40017 San Giovanni in Persiceto
Phone: +39  051 6812057


Opening times

Mon – Sat 8.30am-1.30pm



Last update: 06-09-2019