Festa Italiana: The Full Festival Line-Up including Top Chefs, Italian Food, Drinks & Culture

The city's Italian festival returns this year bigger and better than ever...

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 22 August 2022

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Festa Italiana, the free-to-enter weekend-long festival, brought to you by Salvi’s, celebrating Italian food, drink and culture returning to Festival Piazza in Cathedral Gardens this August Bank Holiday weekend (26th – 28th August), have released their full weekend programme.

The famously family-friendly Festa is born out of Manchester’s Italian community and heritage; drawing huge inspiration from the traditional festivals in Italy and adding the perfect sprinkling of Mancunian flavour to create a full weekend dedicated to bringing people together to enjoy authentic Italian food and drink, cooking masterclasses, feasts, family activities and live music.

Masterclasses at Festa Marquee

On Friday 26th August there will be a cooking masterclass from Maurizio Cecco and his daughter Sienna at 1:30pm, 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.

Festa Italiana Feast at 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 Gennaro, Giancarlo and Aldo, who, along with Maurizio and Carmela, will have conversation throughout the feast, whilst Maurizio and Carmela 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 the delectable four course meal, with all drinks for the evening included in the ticket price.

Festa Feast Tickets


When it comes to the absolute tip-top in authentic Italian food, Festa Italiana just knows what it’s doing; over the course of the weekend, returning Festa favourites, 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 up their highly acclaimed Neopolitan pizza, while Lucky Mama’s will be serving extruded pasta with fresh homemade sauces.

Long-time Festa pals 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 mouth-watering arancini and Fritto Misto, while Manchester’s very own Pasta Factory will be serving up a menu of simple, authentically Italian fresh pasta, all dishes will be paired with handmade sauces, lovingly prepared using in-season produce, and with family and culinary roots in Puglia Italy.

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 described as: light, airy and the perfect balance of sweetness. Also on the bill, 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 doing exactly what it says on the tin and serving up everyone’s favourite Italian summer refresher while the Main Festival Bar will be bringing you all of the Italian classics including Gin Mare, Gin Mare Capri, Luxardo, Aperol Spritz, Italian craft beers, Ponte Prosecco, the very best Italian wine and soft drinks.


Music and Festa Italiana go hand in hand and 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.


Brought to you by Ben Faulks, the co-creator and presenter of the award winning CBeebies brand, ‘Mr Bloom’s Nursery’, Let’s Grow Allotment delivers a truly unique experience by combining the core themes of Mr Bloom’s Nursery with the shows of Ben’s theatre company ‘Plunge Bloom’. Championing nature, nurture, wellbeing, and imaginative play, with a deftness of touch that leaves an indelible impression upon audiences of all ages.

The Let’s Grow Nannies invite you to join them in their pop-up Allotment for a bit of gardening and childcare. Get stuck into feeding Hercules the bodybuilder butternut squash, Peep the Cauliflower and Jolene the sweetheart cabbage. 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.

The Let’s Grow Allotment show runs at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm each day across the weekend.

Festa Italiana is sponsored by: Aperol, Birrificio Angelo Poretti, Gin Mare, Luxardo, Peroni, Ponte and Salvi’s


Festa Italiana

Date: Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August
Times: 12pm – 11pm every day
Cost: Free entry
Venue: Festival Piazza, Cathedral Gardens

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