Have a bellissima bank holiday packed with pizza, pasta and Poretti

Imagine Liam Gallagher on a Vespa sipping an Aperol. That kind of Italian-Mancunian fusion is pretty hard to come by. However, Festa Italiana is back for the fifth year on the bounce, and Cathedral Gardens is prepping for another weekend of Italian food, drink and culture, so we're getting pretty close.  

Although Cathedral Gardens is already pretty reminiscent of Capri with its fountains and fair climate, Festa Italiana is pushing things that extra miglio

Running from Friday 26 August - Sunday 28 August, the festival is run by the family-oriented team from Salvi's, and the programme promises some familiar faces, new surprises and an authentic Italian experience. 

If you're into Mediterranean gin, secret photography exhibitions from the continent, and pizzas with proper crusts, keep your August bank holiday free for the Festa. 

Festa Italiana Pasta Manchester Cathedral Gardens 2022 August Bank Holiday
Pasta la Vista baby Image: Festa Italiana

Turning Manchester into Milan

Although Cathedral Gardens is already pretty reminiscent of Capri with its fountains and fair climate, Festa Italiana is pushing things that extra miglio. The Salvi's fam are aiming to celebrate Manchester's Italian community and create a vibe that matches that of traditional Italian festivals via a combination of food, drink, music, performance and art. 

Last year's Festa Italiana also attracted a record-breaking 38,000 visitors, so we've got our fingers crossed that the August bank holiday comes hand in hand with some Mediterranean temperatures (as it usually does).

Festa Italiana Drinks Manchester August Bank Holiday Weekend Cathedral Gardens
Get the Tuscan tipples in Image: Festa Italiana

It's all about the pasta and Poretti

Let's be honest, what we really wanna indulge in is some cacio e pepe and a couple of limoncellos. Salvi's know best when it comes to food and booze, so the line-up is pretty lovable. 

If we're talking chefs, expect to see the UK rep for Parmigiano Reggiano (and Jamie Oliver's mate), Gennaro Contaldo, the celeb chef Aldo Zilli fresh from This Morning and Celebrity Masterchef, and Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell'Anno. Carmela Sereno Hayes is also making an appearance, and the list wouldn't be complete without the Salvi's father-daughter duo Maurizio and Sienna Cecco, of course. 

Some of Manchester's top Italian street-food vendors and restaurants will also make sure the nosh is never disappointing as Café Azul, Café Cannoli, Destination Doughnut, I Knead Pizza, Lucky Mama’s, Proove, T’arricrii, and The Pasta Factory are prepping everything from crusts to carbonara. 

Booze then comes courtesy of iconic Italian brands like Aperol, Birrificio Angelo Poretti, Gin Mare, Mare Capri, Luxardo, and everyone's favourite Italian pint provider, Peroni. Saluti. 

Festa Italiana Festival August Bank Holiday Weekend Cathedral Gardens 2022 Panel Discussion
Chatting about pasta is also a pro Image: Festa Italiana

That's Entertainment

Because all that pizza and pasta has to be matched with big party vibes, Festa Italiana will also have live music, art, and a host of workshops, demonstrations, banquets and author chats. Some of the interactive experiences include a Campari masterclass, a book signing with Giancarlo Caldesi, and a pizza-making workshop from the team behind Pizzeria Da Michele

Queen of pasta in all its forms, Carmela Sereno Hayes, will be making a return with pasta workshops and chats all weekend long, there's an exciting mystery photography exhibition that "cannot yet be talked about in detail", and if you're bringing the bambinos, there's loads of family-friendly fun to be had in the gardens too with a Let's Grow Allotment. 

If your guilty pleasure is a bit of traditional Italian folk-rock, Compagnia Sole Luna is flying all the way over from Naples and performing on each day of the festival, and The Manchester Tenor is belting out some operatic tunes too. In between live performances, DJ's will be spinning records to make sure that the groove keeps goin'. 

Festa Italiana Pizza Oven August Bank Holiday Manchester Cathedral Gardens
Things are heating up ahead of the Festa Image: Festa Italiana

Final Festa fine print

Festa Italiana is free to enter, so that's us sold, and it runs from Friday - Sunday on August Bank Holiday weekend (26 - 28 August). Promising to serve up "something to suit all palates and quench every thirst", it's hard not to get excited about everything.  

For updates on vendors, announcements, and family-run fun, follow Festa Italiana on social media and find your best House of Gucci-esque sunnies - there are only seven weeks to go. 

Read next: Things to do in and around Leeds: July 2022

Read again: Open air festival style eating and drinking spots for summer

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