Festa Italiana at Cathedral Gardens

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Festa Italiana
Festa Italia

Festa Italiana, 27–29 August 2021, free entry - Visit now

Festa Italiana Manchester is the country’s biggest festival designed to celebrate Italian food, drink and culture. In just a handful of years it has become established as one of Manchester’s most popular events with many thousands of visitors flocking to 2019’s event.

All held in a specially created city centre ‘Italian oasis’ on Cathedral Gardens

The event takes place across Manchester’s Medieval Quarter, filling Cathedral Gardens with Italian producers, chefs, food, drink and music, and even a pop-up cinema tent showing a series of Italian classics.

Festa Italiana

Best of all, it’s free, and you can expect the UK’s best Italian food traders, an array of high-quality Italian drinks, a banquet hosted by celebrity Italian chefs, cooking demos, family-friendly activities and more.

There’s a huge line-up of events and masterclasses to enjoy too (some are paid), alongside the pop-up bars and street food stalls. You can expect to sample the wares of locally-famed businesses such as Salvi’s, T’Arricii, Proove, Cafe Cannoli, Pasta Factory and many more.

Check the website (link below) for the full line-up, but here are some highlights to look out for:

Banquet, Festa Marquee: On Saturday 28th August, in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano, legendary Italian restaurateurs, authors and UK TV favourites Gennaro Contaldo (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast), and Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch), 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. Tickets available here.

Masterclasses, Festa Marquee: 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.

Festa Italiana

27–29 August 2021
Free entry