Programme revealed for Manchester's first FREE Italian Festival

Between the 23rd and 25th June, Manchester’s first Italian Festival - Festa Italiana – will be bringing a huge Italian party to the streets of Manchester.

By Ben Brown | 8 June 2017

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Between the 23rd and 25th June, Manchester’s first Italian Festival – Festa Italiana – will be bringing a huge Italian party to the streets of Manchester. The festival will transform Cathedral Gardens into Manchester’s own “Little Italy” for the weekend, with a programme of events and activity all devoted to Italian culture.

The event will recreate the atmosphere of festivals in Italy where the community comes together to socialise, enjoy great food, drink and listen to live music. So here’s an idea of what to expect:

Food, that most celebrated part of Italian culture, and the most important part of life in Italy, will of course be central to the proceedings. Feasting opportunities will come courtesy of some of Manchester’s best Italian restaurants and street-food traders – serving up the very best Italian cuisine, in one place, for the first time at the Festival’s very own fine Italian food court.

The Italian food market will be a heavenly mix of authentic producers, many of whom will be visiting Manchester especially for the Festival. There’ll be meats, cheeses, oils, wines, gelato, Prosecco, focaccia, cakes, pasta and more.

Participants include

  • Salvi’s serving the very finest Neapolitan produce,
  • San Carlo Cicchetti serving Porcetta,
  • Proove, West Didsbury serving Wood Fired Pizza,
  • Tigellae serving focaccia stuffed with home-cured meats and cheeses, antipasti and tiramisu pots,
  • Mr Roll serving traditional Sicilian dishes,
  • The Pasta Project serving fresh pasta dishes,
  • I Knead Pizza serving wood fired pizza,
  • Cabrelli Brothers serving Aperol Spritz sorbet,

There will even be a resurrection of the 20-metre-pizza that Salvi’s created on Albert Square for Manchester Food and Drink Festival in October 2016. This time the ambition is to beat the last record and for 50 metres of pizzas to be devoured! The spectacle will be happening at 2pm on Sunday and Salvi’s will need lots of hungry helpers to demolish it.

There’ll be no shortage of fine Italian beverages to enjoy. For one, festival sponsors, Aperol will be hosting an Aperol Spritz Bar complete with moped seats, hammocks and more. Moretti & Peroni are getting in on the action too, both partners to the Festival and running beer bars. Peroni will be specializing in their Peroni Ambra beer. There’ll also be a dedicated Limoncello bar, Prosecco bar – and a San Pellegrino bar for those choosing not to have a tipple.

The Live Cookery Theatre will host a programme 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 The Sheraton Hotel in Milan for the occasion! Plus, the real stars of the show, a group of Italian Nonnas will be making pasta from scratch all day long, and there’ll be kids pizza making too.

A live Italian band will be playing authentic Italian festival music – loud, lively, foot stamping tunes to really get the party started. Especially for the occasion they are learning some Manchester classics so festival goers can expect a good old Happy Monday’s singalong with an Italian twist! DJs will take over into the evening.

As with all Italian events, there’s no excluding children– there’ll be face painting, Italian balloon making, pasta decorating, pizza making and more.

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 is one weekend where Mancunians must revel in La Dolce Vita.

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