The celebration of Italian food, drink and culture takes over Festival Square this August

Festa Italiana, the festival that invites us to indulge in all things Italian, has announced its full weekend programme. Festa-goers will be able to enjoy authentic food and drink, cooking masterclasses, banquets, classic movies and live music.

The weekend is a celebration of Manchester’s Italian community and heritage; drawing inspiration from the traditional festivals in Italy. Though we sadly can’t guarantee Italian weather we can all promise to bring our Mancunian appetites.

Think Italian music, think opera right? Or maybe a quick tarantella? Think again

The Festa will be returning to Festival Piazza, Cathedral Gardens in Manchester city centre on the bank holiday weekend, 27-29 August 2021. We have a look at some of the highlights. 

Friday 27 August will be family daySienna Cecco, a talented chef with her own YouTube channel and TV appearances under her belt, will be hosting a cooking demo to teach kids how to make simple and tasty dishes with ease, and Julia Martinelli from Pasta Factory will deliver a fun kids’ pasta masterclass.

Maurizio Sienna Pasta Chef At Festa Italiana Manchester
Sienna Cecco and her trainees

Celebrity chefs come to Manchester

Saturday 28 August will see the return of Sienna with another family masterclass, followed by back-to-back workshops and book signings by  Gennaro Contaldo and Giancarlo Caldesi.

In the evening, legendary Italian restaurateurs, authors and Saturday kitchen favourites Gennaro Contaldo and Giancarlo Caldesi will be joining two of Greater Manchester’s most renowned Italian chefs - Francesco Scafuri from Tre Ciccio and Salvi’s Maurizio Cecco. The night promises to be jam-packed with anecdotes, authentic food and great conversation between the chefs. Tickets are £65 and are available here.

On Sunday 29 August, Gennaro Contaldo will be back with another Parmigiano Reggiano masterclass and book signing, and Fran Scafuri will be taking guests through a very special recipe. Then celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur Aldo Zilli will be hosting a masterclass and book signing as he chats and cooks with Maurizio Cecco.

Pizza Van By Proove At Festa Italiana
Proove will be providing pizzas all weekend at Festa Italiana

What can I eat?

Throughout the weekend, returning Festa favourites Café Cannoli will be selling delicious cannoli made using authentic ingredients imported directly from Sicily, local lads Paul and Mike from I Knead Pizza will be bringing their wood-fired oven along to serve up their highly acclaimed Neopolitan pizza, while Sicilian NQ will be serving up artisan gelato, coppa della casa, brioche gelato and brioche col tuppo.

Manchester’s very own Pasta Factory will be serving up a menu of simple, authentically Italian fresh pasta, all dishes will be paired with handmade sauces, lovingly prepared using in-season produce, and with family and culinary roots in Puglia Italy. Paradiso Authentic Italian will be bringing its range of tiramisú to the Festa.

Long-standing Festa friends Proove will be joining the line-up with their delicious authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, while Lucky Mama’s will be making it debut, serving extruded pasta with fresh homemade sauces and their signature savoury/sweet dough balls.

Barmen Serving Pint Of Peroni At Festa Italiana Manchester
Peroni makes a welcome return Festa Italiana

Naturally, Salvi’s will be frying up Pizza Fritta while Salvi's Coffee Bar serves Italian coffees, espressos, iced coffees served up with fresh Italian cakes.

T’arricrii will bring the essence of Sicily to the Festa Piazza on Cathedral Gardens with their mouth-watering arancini and fritto misto and Tre Ciccio will be setting up a traditional Italian Deli stall selling its finest produce including pasta, meats, cheeses, sauces and olive oils.

The Peroni Showcase Bar will be doing what it does best and serving up Peroni all weekend while the Main Festival Bar will be bringing all of the Italian classics to the party, including Aperol Spritz, the Festa's signature cocktail Limoncello Spritz in partnership with official Festa brand partner Limonce, Italian craft beers, Prosecco, Italian wine, Negronis, gin and tonic, San Pellegrino soft drinks plus Birrificio Angelo Poretti will also be bringing its craft Italian beers served from its Piageo Bar.

Gelato Festa Italiana
Ice cream at Festa Italiana

What about entertainment?

Think Italian music, think opera right? Or maybe a quick tarantella? Think again. This year Compagnia Sole Luna will be flying over from Naples and performing each day, bringing traditional folk music revisited in a folk-rock style from southern Italy, while DJs will be spinning records each night.

Peroni doesn’t just do drinks; this year the beer-slingers will be popping up a portable cinema throughout the weekend, complete with bean bags, deck chairs, popcorn, Peroni on tap and themed classic movie screenings of Cinema Paradiso, Romeo and Juliet and La Dolce Vita.

The cinema will be located in the peaceful setting of the Cathedral Gardens trees with a Peroni bar right next to it; Festa goers can just turn up, take a seat, relax and wait for the movie to start while Peroni ushers will serve popcorn ahead of each screening. 

Festa ItalianaCathedral Gardens, Manchester city centre27-29 August 11am-11pm

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