The UK’s biggest and best festival celebrating Italian food and drink is coming to Manchester next month.

Festa Italiana has announced its full programme as Manchester city centre’s Cathedral Gardens prepares to be transformed into Little Italy once again from 26th-28th July.

In just two short years, Festa Italiana has established itself as one of Manchester’s most popular events with nearly 30,000 visitors flocking to the event last year.

This year’s event will be expanding to take in a bigger area around Manchester’s ‘Medieval Quarter’ with even more Italian producers, chefs, food, drink and music than before, scheduled to descend on Manchester for the weekend.

And guess what? This little Italian food and drink fiesta is free to attend.

So who’s going to be there?

You’ll be able to feast on delicious food from family-owned restaurant Salvi’s who will be serving up pizza fritta (fried pizza!) and fresh pasta.

Spring Gardens’ glamorous Italian restaurant Rosso will be serving Italian smoked meats and deli sandwiches.

And no Italian street food bonanza would be complete without some authentic pizza so Didsbury pizza aficionados Proove will be there with their fabulous Fiat 500 which will be converted into a wood-fired pizza oven.

Roving Sicilian street food specialists Cafe Cannoli will be serving up fresh cannoli in Carlotta their refrigerated cannoli cart, and Pasta Factory will be dishing up fresh pasta (including vegan and gluten-free options).

And if that’s not enough of for you, there’s more…

Sicilian brothers Riccardo and Romeo will be coming to Festa for the first time with Tarricrii, serving delicious arancini of multiple varieties (with meat, fish and veggie options), whilst local favourite Taste It, the authentic, Italian gelato producers who have taken Salford by storm, will be bringing artisan, traditional gelato and sorbetto to the Festa.

The Cabrelli Brothers, members of one of Manchester’s great Italian food families, will be coming to Festa Italiana for the first time serving up saltimbocca and filled pizza bread, whilst Vive le Crepe will be bringing crepes filled with delicious sweet and savoury toppings to Cathedral Gardens.

And a fine selection of Italian drinks specially curated for the occasion will be served throughout the weekend.

There will be a Peroni bar, a Limoncello cocktail bar, and an Aperol area which will turn a whole corner of the Festa orange with hammocks and Vespa seating.

Martini will sampling their brand new summer spirit, a vivid red vermouth, and Zonin Prosecco will be on hand to give you your fill of fizz too.

There’ll be a special, free, child-friendly programme of activities throughout the weekend centred around the Bambini Garden, a small VIP area for the little ones with activities like Venetian mask making and face painting along with plenty of pizza and ice cream for your bambinos.

The festival will kick off in true Italian party style on Friday 26th July at the Festa Marquee with a free aperitivo and a free cocktail for the first 200 people to arrive on site.

And for party animals who want to go out straight after work, the Festa will have its own Glam Station to spruce you up for your night ahead. Celebrity stylist Andrew Trott-Barn and his team from byATB, will be giving guests the perfect ‘Martini-ready’ party look with Italian-inspired dry styles. All for free. Winning.

On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July (11am-5pm) at the Festa Marquee, a Live Cookery Theatre will showcase a host of Italian chefs from Manchester to Italy and beyond, giving Festa-goers the chance to learn the secrets of the world’s most popular cuisine.

Expect a lively demonstration by a true Italian cookery icon, Italian chef, TV star and award-winning author Gennaro Contaldo.

And to top the event off nicely, a live band from Naples are flying over especially for the Festival and bringing the perfect hit of traditional Italian folk music to the Festa.

So if you want to fill your boots with pasta, pizza and Aperol, Cathedral Gardens is the place to be from 26th-28th July.


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