Photo: Jody Hartley

Festa Italiana, the free, weekend-long celebration of all things Italian, will bring a touch of la dolce vita to Cathedral Gardens this summer.

This year, in addition to the producers market, live cookery theatre, bars, street food and live music, there will be two Festa Feasts, both providing a one-off opportunity to experience the ultimate rustic, authentic Italian feast in the heart of the city.

An ‘Italian adventure’ banquet will see the city’s finest Italian food brands collaborating for the first time to create the ultimate Italian dining experience. Salvi’s, San Carlo and Lupo Caffè Italiano will join forces to create a course each of an extraordinary feast.

Following an Aperol Spritz drinks reception, guests will be treated to a four-course dinner showcasing a range of Italian ingredients, dishes and the cuisines. Expect beautiful, simple Italian dishes with exceptional Campanian ingredients from Salvi’s, and classic dishes from San Carlo. And for dessert? Lupo Caffè Italiano’s acclaimed, rustic home cooking in the form of their famous tiramisu.

You’ll also get an after-dinner digestif of either Limoncello di Capri or Molinari Samba as well as live Italian music throughout from a four-piece band coming especially from Naples for the occasion.

The Italian adventure on Friday 13th July includes a donation to the Cure for Florence campaign.

Florence, four years old and from Stalybridge, is a family friend of the Salvi’s team, and was diagnosed with GM1 in December 2016. The condition is life limiting, and this diagnosis has turned the family’s life upside down. The donations will go towards funding further research into finding a cure for GM1, increasing awareness about this condition and giving Florence the best quality of life possible.

“For us the banquet is a great way to support and showcase the best in real Italian ingredients and cooking, something our family and restaurants have always been passionate about,” said Marcello Distefano, Managing Director of San Carlo group.

“It’s great to see the Italian community and people of Manchester and beyond come together at Festa Italiana to celebrate our wonderful food and culture.”

The following evening, Buca’s Bottomless Banquet with Buca di Pizza will be a non-stop gourmet pizza fest – with bottomless Prosecco, too.

Long banqueting tables will offer guests the chance to eat as much as they like from a range of Buca’s pizzas, which are inspired by Italian summers by the lake.

Think a feast of Frestosa, Spring Chicken, Cousin Vinnay, Hickory Pig, Quattro Stage and Wing Commander pizzas paired with bottomless bubbles, or beer or soft drinks if you prefer.

The Italian adventure will start at 7.30pm on Friday 13th July at the Festa Italiana Pavilion, and tickets are £45. Buca’s Bottomless Banquet will run over two 90-minute sessions in the Festa Pavilion at 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Saturday 14th July. Tickets are £25 and include all food and selected drinks.

MORE INFO AND TICKETS