Festa Italiana returned to Manchester for the second time recently (13th – 15th July) and topped its own impressive record from last year to welcome over 28,000 people to the festival over the three days.
Cathedral Gardens once again transformed into Little Italy for one huge celebration of all things Italian, including street food, artisan produce market, Italian bars, “bambini garden” kids’ area, chef demos and banquets.
Mancunians certainly enjoyed a slice of La Dolce Vita at the event, eating and drinking their way around the stalls and revelling in the celebratory atmosphere of the Festival:
• 2,800 pizzas devoured
• 1,400 pasta dishes slurped
• 1,800 pizza fritta eaten
• 300 kg of porchetta munched
• 3,500 scoops of gelato
• 3,000 cannolis scoffed
• 3,000 Aperol Spritz
• 1,000 Capri Spritz
• 8,700 pints of beer enjoyed
The sun shone bright over the Festa as visitors enjoyed delicious and authentic Italian street food from Manchester’s top Italian restaurants and street food vendors including Salvi’s, San Carlo and Rosso. A number of traders came to Manchester especially for the Festival, including Nonna Bionda from Camden who served up their now infamous pizza fritta and Café Cannoli, serving authentic Sicilian cannoli from the UK’s only cannoli cart. The Festa Pavilion hosted chef demos with a mixture of Manchester’s top chefs as well as Italian chefs who flew in especially for the occasion. Top Italian chef Gianfranco Iervolino ran a pizza masterclass with Neapolitan singing throughout and Carmela Sereno Hayes ran pasta masterclasses across the weekend for kids and adults. There were also demos by Carlo Molon of the Sheraton Hotel on Lake Como, Giulia Martinelli from Pasta Factory, Mauro Altieri from Proove and Francesco Scafuri from Tre Ciccio.
New for this year, the Bambini Garden was a haven for families with fun activities for kids throughout the weekend - from plate spinning and hula hooping to trapeze artists and stilt walkers. The event was very family-friendly with lots of families and kids of all ages enjoying the festival across the weekend.
The Festa hosted two special banquets at the Festa Pavilion. The first was an exciting collaboration between Manchester Italian restaurants. Each restaurant served a different course Burrata to start from Salvi’s, truffle risotto cooked in a wheel of parmesan and grilled Sicilian red prawns from San Carlo. Finally, it was tiramisu from Lupo Caffe Italiano and gelato from Taste IT. On Saturday, it was the Bottomless Banquet where diners enjoyed unlimited pizza and booze for a special 90-minute extravaganza.
Maurizio Cecco, festival founder and owner of Salvi’s said, “We were thrilled to be able to bring Festa Italiana back to Manchester after the incredibly successful first year. This year’s event was even bigger and better than before and we are very proud to bring Manchester’s Italian community together and create a space where we can celebrate and enjoy everything that Italian culture is all about. We’re already planning for next year!” Sadly, we couldn’t make it to the festival this year so above we have reproduced the press release sent to us by Siobhan Handley Communications