Salvis, San Carlo and Proove will take part in Festa Italiana (23-25 June)

Organisers of Manchester’s first dedicated three day Italian festival have announced the full programme of exciting events.

Festa Italiana will transform Cathedral Gardens into Manchester’s own “Little Italy” from the 23rd to 25th June, promising a long weekend of good food, drink, music and family fun.

The event hopes to recreate the atmosphere of festivals in Italy where the community comes together to socialise and relax.

Whether it’s lounging in hammock with an Aperol Spritz, feasting on pizza, finding the perfect cheese, chilling out with a Prosecco, learning how to make pasta, or dancing the night away, this will be a weekend where Mancunians can revel in La Dolce Vita.

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Salvi's Maurizio Cecco (left) will be doing a food demo in the Live Cookery Theatre

Food, the most celebrated part of Italian culture, will be central to the proceedings and opportunities for feasting will come courtesy of some of Manchester’s best Italian restaurants and street-food traders who will be serving the very finest cuisine at the Festival’s Italian food court; Salvi’s with their typically Neapolitan produce, San Carlo Cicchetti serving a whole roast porcetta, wood fired pizza from Didsbury’s Proove and I Knead Pizza, fresh pasta from The Pasta Project and Tigellae offering focaccia stuffed with home-cured meats, antipasti and cheese.

Cathedral Gardens will also host a special Italian food market featuring various Italian food producers, many of whom will be visiting Manchester especially for the Festival. You’ll find a range of regional meats, cheeses, speciality oils, wines, gelato, Prosecco, focaccia, cakes, pasta and more.

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Festival sponsors, Aperol are to host an Aperol Spritz Bar

There’ll be no shortage of fine Italian beverages to wash it all down with. Festival sponsors, Aperol are to host an Aperol Spritz Bar complete with moped seats and hammocks. Italian breweries Moretti and Peroni, both partners to the Festival, will run their own beer bars with Peroni specializing in their Ambra beer. There’ll also be a dedicated Limoncello bar, True Terroir Wines, a Con Gusto Prosecco bar and a San Pellegrino bar serving non-alcoholic drinks.

Enhancing the atmosphere will be a live Italian band playing authentic Italian festival music to help get the party started. Apparently, for the occasion, they have been learning some classic Manchester tunes so festival goers might expect a bit of Happy Monday’s or Stone Roses with an Italian slant.

The event runs between 11am-11pm and DJs will take over into the evening.

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An Italian band will be playing some Manchester tunes
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Salvis chefs will attempt to cook a giant 50-metre pizza

There will also be a Live Cookery Theatre featuring a host of demonstrations from the best Italian chefs in Manchester including Maurizio Cecco of Salvis, Dylan Thomas of Gusto, Filippo Pagani of San Carlo, Michele Magnotta of Proove, Lewis Drewe of Veeno, and Chef Carlo Molon who is flying over from Milan for the occasion.

As with all Italian events, children are most welcome so there’ll be face painting, balloon making, pasta decorating and pizza making. A group of genuine Italian Nonnas will also be showing people how to make fresh pasta shapes from scratch all day long.

On the Sunday at 2pm, Salvis chefs will attempt to beat the record they set in October 2016 when they created a giant 20-metre pizza on Albert Square for Manchester Food and Drink Festival. This time they are attempting to put together a giant 50-metre pizza and once it’s been made, topped and cooked, Salvi’s will need lots of hungry helpers to demolish it.

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Watch some chef demos in the Live Cookery Theatre

The Festival Piazza will be free to attend with other events and activities taking place at Salvi’s restaurants and other venues in the city.

Festa Italiana, Cathedral Gardens, 23rd - 25th June, 11am-11pm - see Festa Italiana’s Facebook page for more details