Festa Italiana

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Si Ronconi

Festa Italiana must have struck a deal with the god of weather as they had yet another sun-kissed event, held at the end of August. This laid-back weekend-long Italian festival went swimmingly, full of excellent street food vendors, live music and family-friendly activities.

Another sun-kissed event, full of excellent street food

The food options were endless, including Café Azul, Café Cannoli, Destination Doughnut, I Knead Pizza, Lucky Mama’s, Proove and more. We couldn’t resist the arancini from T’Arricrii, which never disappoints, plus a glorious Diavola pizza from Proove – covered with delicate slices of fennel salami and chilli which combined to deliver a powerful hit of flavour.

A pasta dish is a must, and a truffle and mushroom dish from The Pasta Factory was the perfect dish to eat in the warm weather, kicking back and listening to the live music from Napoli’s Compagnia Sole Luna, The Manchester Tenor and a series of excellent DJs.

As a showcase for Italian culture in Manchester, it’s a pitch-perfect celebration of all things Italiano, and a perfect entry point for exploring the best of the city. Local legends, Salvi’s, played a huge role, and rightly so, as they’ve done much for Mediterranean culture over the past few years, with their other-worldly food options (now also available at Deansgate Square).

But overall, the atmosphere is what made it. Everyone was on top form, especially the food and drink vendors, chatty, friendly and delightfully keen to show off their skills and knowledge to everyone from little kids to seasoned Italian cuisine-lovers.

If this year’s event is anything to go by, next year’s will be bigger, better and an absolute must-visit for any Mancunian who loves open-air food, drink and Italian-tinged fun.

Festival Piazza, Cathedral GardensManchesterM4 3BG View map
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What's on near Festa Italiana

Picture of the artist Tourist
Tourist at New Century

London-based songwriter Tourist brings his yearning, bittersweet electronica to New Century in support of his new album, Memory Morning.

from £20.59
The Comedy Vault

Every Monday night upstairs at Fierce Bar, The Comedy Vault hosts an outrageously funny open-mic night. Come and try your hand or just to watch and laugh.

free entry

Where to go near Festa Italiana

Cathedral Gardens
Cathedral Quarter
Cathedral Gardens

Cathedral Gardens is a partially lawned public space in Manchester city centre, located between Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum.

The National Football Museum Manchester
National Football Museum

The National Football Museum is now open to the public, ready to show off its impressive array of football-related exhibits and activities.

Chetham’s Library in Long Millgate in Manchester
Chetham’s Library

Chetham’s Library is one of the must-sees of any visit to Manchester. The library was founded in 1653, and is the oldest public library in the world – but the building dates back even further, to 1421.

Cathedral Quarter

High-class restaurant next to Victoria Station in Manchester, and attached to Hotel Indigo. Famed for steaks.

Cathedral Quarter
Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar

Head to this tiny Italian eatery for an authentic slice of Naples. It majors in mozzarella and the stuff here is a revelation: light, flavoursome, with oily, oozing pesto.

Cathedral Quarter
Mowgli Street food Manchester

The Manchester branch of Mowgli, set up originally in Liverpool by celebrity YouTuber, cookbook writer and curry evangelist Nisha Katona. Mowgli brings authentic Indian street food to Manchester’s Corn Exchange.

The Cosy Club

Elegant and welcoming restaurant and bar in the Corn Exchange, with an attractive domed ceiling and plenty of original features like the staircase and tiles.

Döner Haus

This authentic Berlin kebab and bier haus is the latest addition to the ever-growing Corn Exchange food family.

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