Are you ready to travel with us through Italy’s 10 most important food and wine festivals?
The history of festivals is always part of a broader and wider cultural-folkloric moment, of which the food and wine festival represents the culinary event par excellence. Usually such a folk festival is organised on the fringe of territorial patronal festivals or, especially in recent years, it can also represent an event in its own right, aimed at highlighting particular typical products that characterise the cultural and social fabric of the territory.
InItaly has therefore chosen 10 of the most renowned festivals in Italy to propose them not only to authentic enthusiasts, but also to the merely curious.
The 10 most famous Italian festivals:
- BrodettoFest in Fano (Marche)
Certainly one of the most renowned festivals, although by now defining this event as a festival has become reductive, is the BrodettoFest, now in its 21st edition. The event, which takes place in Fano (in the Marche region), has taken on an international character and brings together the best chefs from northern and central Italy for a fish soup challenge.
The BrodettoFest, which usually takes place from 1 to 4 June, is a real boon for an entire supply chain: from the fisherman, responsible for the quality of the raw material, to the chef, creator of tasty and attractive dishes.
- Salso Street Food Festival
We now move on to Salsomaggiore Terme (Parma) for the Salsa Street Food Festival. The event, which will take place from 24 August to 26 August, provides a full immersion in the great street food market. The kitchens open their doors at 6 pm and accompany visitors until late at night.
In addition to typical sandwiches and fast food delicacies, there will also be a tasting of local craft beer. Of course, music by local bands will also be provided to liven up the evening.
- Festival of the Montella Chestnut IGP
The grand tour of festivals does not stop even in the middle of autumn. Certainly an obligatory stop is the Sagra della Castagna di Montella (Avellino), a culinary event recognised nationally and beyond. The ancient village of Avellino offers a five-day event full of events and tasty experiences. From 1 to 5 November, it will be possible to taste not only the classic chestnut, a Campania IGP product, in all its variations, but also a total immersion in the town’s gastronomic heritage.
From dairy products, to savoury pies with local porcini mushrooms, to special handmade pasta cuts that accompany dishes with local black truffles. A panacea, in short, for those who love the mountains and their products.
- Piadina Festival in Bellaria
From 8 to 10 September, Bellaria Igea Marina (Rimini) will host the traditional Romagna festival of food and ancient flavours, during the ‘FESTA DELLA PIADINA La Pìs un po’ ma Tot‘, now in its 20th edition.
A weekend full of flavours with tastings of typical products, local handicrafts and the challenge between the local piadinerie to decree the best piadina. Each piadineria offers a variety of recipes for filling the piadina, for a total of about 40 different specialities balanced between tradition and innovation.
The public can also enjoy music and entertainment in the city centre.
- Gnocchi Festival in Rocca d’Evandro
In August, the Sagra degli Gnocchi (Dumpling Festival) in Rocca d’Evandro (Caserta) has taken place for 46 editions. In a full-immersion day, the ancient recipe for gnocco al sugo, inherited from the culinary tradition of the ancient municipality in the upper Caserta region, is celebrated.
During the event, in addition to the festival’s pivotal dish, it will be possible to taste the local wine, which was already appreciated – according to historical sources – by the ancient Romans, and local dairy products. Accompanying the visitors will be live music and lots of hilarity.
- Festival of Pallette with Mushrooms in Uliveto Terme
In Uliveto Terme (Pisa), on 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 July, the Sagra della Pallette ai Funghi (Festival of Mushroom Pallets) took place. In addition to the Pallette (in the photo), it was possible to taste the typical Chianina meat grills and almond sweets from the area.
The opening of the stands took place at 7 p.m. and the evenings ended late into the night, with musical accompaniment and entertainment for adults and children.
- Polentone Festival in Castel di Tora
On Sunday 26 February 2023, in Castel di Tora (Rieti) polentone and its sauce celebrated a century. One hundred years have passed since that first time when herring, tuna, salt cod and anchovies all met in the sauce that sprinkled polenta, or rather polentone, the only one in Lazio with a lean taste.
In a comfortable and cosy marquee, with the notes accompanying the square events, the 100th edition of the ‘Sagra del Polentone’ came to life on the shores of Lake Turano. The ‘Polentone Festival’ is also an excellent opportunity for those who love to discover the lesser-known jewels of our country. Castel di Tora, perched on the shores of the splendid Lake Turano, is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and offers tourists characteristic corners and breathtaking views.
- Peperoncino Festival in Diamante
From 6 to 10 September 2023, the Peperoncino Festival will take place in the splendid setting of Diamante (Calabria). An event that brings together aficionados from all over the world and that enhances the study and culinary reworking of this particular aromatic spice.
From medical conferences to films and cartoons for children, during this five-day event the chilli pepper will be the authentic protagonist of this beautiful Calabrian city. The fifth edition of the ‘Italian Championship of Chilli Eaters’ is also planned to spice up the atmosphere.
- Feast of Santa Rosalia in Palermo
The night between 14 and 15 July is, for every Palermo resident, a night not to be missed: the Feast of Palermo’s patron saint, Rosalia, is celebrated. In an extremely evocative city, which attracts tourists from all over Italy, the patron saint parades on an oversized float and touches down at the so-called five stations, at the level of which special videomapping projections are provided.
Particularly striking is the Quattro Canti station, where the Scream from the Balcony of Palazzo Costantino takes place. Here, in fact, the intercession of the Saint to preserve the Sicilian capital from the plague epidemic is commemorated. Some actors, dressed in period dress, shout: ‘The plague is over, long live Palermo and Santa Rosalia’. Added to this, of course, are the famous pyrotechnic displays that make this night unique. The patronal festival has reached its 399th edition.
- Festival of the Banari Golden Onion
On 22 July 2023, the Sagra della Cipolla Dorata (Festival of the Golden Onion), a typical product of the island locality, took place in Banari (Sardinia). It was possible to taste typical dishes based on the delicious local onion, drink a good glass of local wine, and stroll through the ancient streets of the village. The programme also included the sale of typical products, live music, DJ sets and book presentations.
Above all, of course, there is the opportunity to stock up throughout the summer on the large (weighing from 400 grams to over 1 kilo), sweet and tasty local onions, famous throughout the island and throughout Italy.