A three-day free Italian food festival is heading to Manchester at the end of August

The UK's largest Italian food festival, Festa Italiana returns to Manchester for its sixth year at Cathedral Gardens.

By Emma Davidson | 16 May 2023

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Image: Festa Italiana

Bringing food straight from Manchester’s favourite Italian kitchens to the gardens of Manchester Cathedral, Festa Italiana returns to the city for its sixth year this August bank holiday weekend (Friday 25 – Sunday 27). 

Across the three-day event, guests can expect carb-loaded family favourites, as well as pop-up aperitivo bars and masterclasses where budding chefs can learn the art of pasta making and more. Established by Manchester-based Italian deli and restaurant, Salvi’s, the weekend is a celebration of the city’s Italian community and always draws hungry crowds.

Tarricrii Sicilian street food offers a huge range of traditional arancini. Image: Si Ronconi

A dream of Salvi’s owner Maurizio Cecco, Festa Italiana Manchester is steeped in tradition, drawing inspiration from Italy’s street food markets and delis. Previous years have seen traders offering bubble-crusted Neapolitan-style pizzas, Sicilian brioche gelato and bottomless cups of Aperol Spritz, alongside pasta topped with balls of burrata and cured meats.

Traders for 2023 are yet to be confirmed, but we do know that Italian brewing company Birrificio Angelo Poretti will host a ticketed dining experience with classic Italian food from Salvi’s and Italian lager from Poretti’s iconic Piazza. The brewery will have its own dining area at this year’s Festa Italiana where guests can enjoy a sit down meal with a curated menu made to pair perfectly with Poretti. This experience is a ticketed event on Saturday 26 August and the area is open to all on Sunday. 

Masterclasses and workshops will be held by Italian cooking legends like Gennaro Contaldo over the weekend. Image: Si Ronconi

A number of workshops and demonstrations have also been confirmed for the long weekend, showcasing talent from across the Italian cheffing community. Taking to the stage this year to showcase their expertise are Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano, (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast), Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch), Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno, Masterchef UK 2021 quarter finalist and ICG cooking competition award winner Sofia Gallo, and, Salvi’s owner Maurizio Cecco.

Entertaining crowds in-between pizza slices will be a line-up of local performers, live musicians and DJs, alongside activities for kids. The 2022 festival saw over 40,000 people head to Cathedral Gardens as temperatures soared across the summer bank holiday weekend, and 2023 is set to be another triumphant celebration of Italian cuisine.

The festival is completely free to attend and runs from 12-11pm each day.