The free to enter weekend long festival celebrating Italian food, drink and culture... Festa Italiana, the free to enter weekend long festival celebrating Italian food, drink and culture returning to Festival Piazza, Cathedral Gardens in Manchester city centre on bank holiday weekend, 27th – 29th August 2021, has announced its full weekend programme. The Festa is born out of Manchester’s Italian community and heritage; drawing huge inspiration from the traditional festivals in Italy and adding a touch of Mancunian flavour to create a weekend dedicated to bringing people together to enjoy authentic Italian food and drink, cooking masterclasses, banquets, movies and live music.
When it comes to the very best in authentic Italian food, Festa Italiana never fails to deliver. 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 Neapolitan pizza, while NQ Sicilian 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 carefully crafted tiramisú to the Festa; this hero of Italian desserts will be prepared by Mattia and his team using only the freshest of ingredients.
Long-standing Festa friends Proove will be joining the line-up with their delicious authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, whilst the glorious Lucky Mama’s will be making their debut, serving extruded pasta with fresh homemade sauces and their signature savoury/sweet dough balls.
Also on the bill, the driving force behind Festa Italiana, family run Salvi’s will be frying up its popular Festival dish, Italian 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 Italian produce including pasta, meats, cheeses, sauces and olive oils.
On Saturday 28th August, in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano, legendary Italian restaurateurs, authors and UK TV favourites Gennaro Contaldo and Giancarlo Caldesi, will be joining Maurizio Cecco, Salvi’s and Fran Scafuri, Tre Ciccio, in the kitchen, talking guests through the menu and answering questions for the duration.
On Friday 27th August, there will be a series of family masterclasses for those attending with children. At 1:30pm Sienna Cecco, Salvi’s owner Maurizio Cecco’s 12-year-old daughter, 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 at 2:30pm, Julia Martinelli from Pasta Factory will deliver a fun kids pasta masterclass.
Saturday 28th August will see the return of Sienna Cecco at 12:30pm with another family masterclass. Following Sienna, there will be back-to-back workshops and book signings hosted by celebrity chefs and award-winning authors: Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano, (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast) at 1:30pm, and Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch) at 2:30pm.
On Sunday 29th August, Gennaro Contaldo will be back at 12:30pm with another Parmigiano Reggiano masterclass and book signing, and at 1:30pm, Fran Scafuri from the incredible Tre Ciccio in Altrincham will be taking guests through a very special recipe. At 2:30pm, celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur, Aldo Zilli (The One Show, This Morning, Celebrity Masterchef) will be hosting a masterclass and book signing.
The food side of Festa sets the bar high but the drinks offering more than delivers; visitors can say ‘Ciao’ to Crodino, the sophisticated, sparkling and surprisingly non-alcoholic Italian Aperitivo famous in piazzas across Italy since 1965. Festival-goers will enjoy the authentic Crodino experience and can even try their first Crodino for free.
Birrificio Angelo Poretti will also be bringing its craft Italian beers served from its Piageo Bar.
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 & Tonic, San Pellegrino soft drinks.
Music and Festa Italiana are a match made in heaven; this year Compagnia SoleLuna 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 brew-based showstoppers will be popping up their 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.
Screening times Fri-Sun:
12pm: Romeo and Juliet
2.30pm: Cinema Paradiso
5pm: La Dolce Vita
Fri 27th – Sun 29th August
Opening 11am – 11pm every day
Festival Piazza, Cathedral Gardens