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Festa Italiana reveals full weekend programme including food, drink and fun

Watch celeb chef demos, eat amazing food and drink the Italian way at this free-to-enter family event

Festa Italiana, the free-to-enter weekend-long festival, celebrating Italian food, drink and culture is returning to Cathedral Gardens on bank holiday weekend, 26th – 28th August 2022.

Manchester has a long connection with the Italian community and this family friendly Festa draws huge inspiration from traditional festivals in Italy – with the perfect sprinkling of Mancunian flavour. Brought to you by independent Italian restaurant Salvis, the full weekend event is dedicated to bringing people together.

Organisers have now revealed their full weekend programme which includes authentic Italian food and drink, cooking masterclasses, feasts, family activities, and live music.

Festa Italiana Feast – Festa Marquee

On Saturday 27th August, there will be an intimate chefs’ table dinner featuring top class Italian celebrity chefs, Gennaro Contaldo (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast), Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch), and Aldo Zilli (The One Show, This Morning, Celebrity Masterchef), hosted and cooked by Maurizio Cecco (Owner of Salvi’s and head honcho at Festa Italiana UK), with fresh pasta made from scratch by Carmela Serano Hayes (Carmela’s Kitchen).

Guests will dine with legendary Italian restaurateurs, authors, and UK TV favourites who will be in conversation throughout the feast. Maurizio and Carmela will cook up a storm, sharing their insights and knowledge about Italian food, drink and culture. The evening will be toasted with a Gin Mare drinks reception and Italian wine will flow throughout.

Festa feast tickets available here (£95pp plus booking fee – the price includes all drinks for the evening and a four-course meal.

Masterclasses – Festa Marquee

On Friday 26th August at 1:30pm, there will be a cooking masterclass from Maurizio Cecco and his daughter Sienna. The team from I Sapori di Corbara Tomatoes will be flying in from Naples and doing a talk showcasing the brand and their products at 2:30pm, and at 3:30pm Giulia Martinelli of The Pasta Factory will be showing you how to be a pasta master. At 4.30pm the Luxardo Maraschino team will be guiding us through the versatility of their cherries in desserts and drinks, and at 5.30pm there will be a drink making Campari masterclass.

On Saturday 27th August there will be a pasta masterclass from Maurizio Cecco at 1:30pm, then there will be masterclasses and book signings from Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano, (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast) at 2:30pm, celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur, Aldo Zilli (The One Show, This Morning, Celebrity Masterchef) at 3:30pm, and at 4:30pm the Aperol team will be talking you through the methods behind some of the most loved Italian drinks.

Sunday 28th August will see masterclasses and book signings from Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch) at 1:30pm, while Gennaro Contaldo will be back at 2:30pm. Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno will be looking after things at 3:30pm and at 4:30pm there will be a very special pizza making masterclass by the team from Pizzeria Da Michele.

Carmela Sereno Hayes will be hosting ‘Carmela’s Kitchen’ across the entire weekend, with free drop-in sessions on the hour, every hour teaching pasta loving adults and kids alike how to make the perfect (and most beautiful!) pasta.


Over the course of the weekend Café Cannoli will be selling delicious cannoli made using authentic ingredients imported directly from Sicily, local lads Paul and Mike from I Knead Pizza will be bringing their wood fired oven along to serve their highly acclaimed Neopolitan pizza, while Lucky Mama’s will be serving fresh pasta with homemade sauces.

Proove will be joining the line-up with their delicious authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, T’arricrii will bring the essence of Sicily to Cathedral Gardens with their stuffed arancini and Fritto Misto, while Manchester’s very own Pasta Factory will be serving up a menu of simple, authentically Italian fresh pasta paired with handmade sauces with family and culinary roots in Puglia.

Café Azul will be serving up Kickback Coffee, hot and cold drinks, snacks, cakes and grilled paninis all weekend long while Destination Doughnut will be dishing out delightful doughnuts.

The driving force behind Festa Italiana, family run Salvi’s, will be selling sweet treats and branded Salvi’s delights from their Deli.


The Festival Bar will be showcasing incredible signature serves across the weekend including the perfect serve Gin Mare Capri and Gin Mare, and Birrificio Angelo Poretti will also be bringing its craft Italian beers served from its Airstream Bar.

The Aperol Spritz Bar will be offering everyone’s favourite Italian summer refresher while the Main Festival Bar will be bringing you all of the Italian classics Luxardo, Italian craft beers, Ponte Prosecco, the very best Italian wine, and soft drinks.


This year Compagnia Sole Luna will be flying over from Naples, performing each day, and bringing traditional folk music revisited in a folk-rock style from southern Italy, there will also be a full line up of local artists and bands including the city’s best loved opera singer The Manchester Tenor, while DJs will be spinning records each night.


Ben Faulks, aka Cbeebies’ ‘Mr Bloom’s Nursery’, will be hosting Let’s Grow Allotment at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm each day across the weekend, combining the core themes nature, nurture, wellbeing, and imaginative play for audiences of all ages.

The show occurs in a charming pop-up allotment which serves as an interactive play space hosted by two Let’s Grow Nannies with their family of baby fruits and vegetables.

For more info about Manchester Festa Italiana visit the website and follow @festaitalianauk

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