What are the most original and famous country festivals in Italy? Follow us in this journey throughout food and wine, folk culture and events.
Festivals in Italy
Festivals are considered popular festivals and are often linked to small villages, mountain towns or entire cities. Some festivals are real festivals that can also involve a large part of a territory because they originate from popular, religious or patronal traditions, often celebrating the harvest, a saint or promoting a local food and wine speciality, which is why there are many festivals in Italy.
The sagra is a typically Italian event that creates community and a sense of belonging. Besides being a celebration for the local inhabitants, it also attracts many tourists from both Italy and abroad.
Visit Italy has chosen the most famous and characteristic festivals in Italy, a selection for all fans of this type of authentic Italian event.
20. Festival of the Porchetta di Monte San Severino (Umbria)
The Festival of the Porchetta (roast suckling pig) takes place in the historic centre of the town of Monte San Severino, an event that has taken place every year on the second weekend of September for the past 60 years.
Porchetta, which has now become a typical dish of central Italy but is eaten and celebrated all over the Italian peninsula, is nothing more than a whole pig, hollowed out, boned and seasoned. By now, the Sagra della Porchetta has become a sort of trademark among the festivals in Italy, an excellent product of local gastronomy.
Precisely because of its passion for porchetta, Monte San Severino and in particular Aldo, a local restaurateur, hold the Guinness World Record for the longest porchetta on the planet with an impressive 44.93 metres, a spectacle!
19. Varola Festival in Melfi (Basilicata)
On the penultimate weekend of October, the Sagra della Varola, or more commonly known as the Chestnut Festival, is held every year in the city of Melfi, Basilicata. In 2023, it reached its 62nd edition, now a historic event in Basilicata that always sees the active participation of more than 30,000 people.
The event is held in the well-known Piazza Umberto I and along the streets of the city centre with lots of mountain hut-style stalls and lots of food using the staple food: the chestnut, which can be tasted in all its forms.
The event is free of charge but you can try all you want and buy many typical products such as the Varolata, or chestnuts together with the container in which they are roasted.
Since we are in autumn, the weather is starting to cool down, the leaves are falling from the trees and you are in the mood for seasonal dishes, we recommend you take a look at the autumn festivals not to be missed in Italy.10 autumn festivals not to be missed in Italy❯
18. Avetrana Meatball Festival (Apulia)
In the Apulian town of Avetrana, in the province of Taranto, the Sagra delle Polpette di Avetrana (Avetrana Meatball Festival) is held every year, now in its 22nd year. In 2023, the festival was held on 13 August, a date that tends to change but almost always corresponds to the summer period, and is in fact one of the unmissable events of the Taranto summer.
The festival starts in the evening and continues until late into the night. It is a major event among festivals in Italy because you can taste meatballs in all forms, from fried meatballs to meatballs with sauce, all accompanied by music, events and shows.
17. Agnone Cheese Fair (Molise)
Molise, in the centre of Italy, is one of the least polluted and uncontaminated areas of the peninsula, a place rich in traditions and values. In September, 'Casearia' the national cheese fair is held in Agnone, in the province of Isernia, one of the new festivals in Italy for all cheese lovers.
Casearia is a fair that aims to enhance the Italian milk and dairy products supply chain. The initiative also aims to bridge the gap between north and south, offering products, culture, tourism and environmental sustainability. Companies have the opportunity to offer their products and participants can enjoy whole days among the various stands and taste all kinds of cheeses, from spreads to mature cheeses and creams. Paradise for cheese lovers!
16. Sulmona Red Garlic Festival (Abruzzo)
For the people of Abruzzo, this is one of the summer's ritual events. We are talking about the Sagra dell'aglio rosso di Sulmona (Red Garlic Festival of Sulmona), a typical Abruzzo speciality. Whether you are a citizen of Abruzzo or a tourist, you cannot miss one of the most typical local festivals in central Italy, precisely because red garlic is a typical speciality of the town of Sulmona, also known for its sugared almonds.
The festival, one of the best-known festivals in Italy, is held on the second weekend of July and aims to promote and safeguard red garlic, a local product used extensively in cooking because it gives unique flavours. Over the years, it has become increasingly important, attracting people from all over to enjoy it and taste typical red garlic specialities.
15. Festival of Jujubes (Veneto)
Now in its 43rd edition, the Sagra delle Giuggiole (Festival of Jujubes) of Arquà Petrarca on the Euganean Hills is one of the most popular festivals among locals. Held every year in October, this year it takes place from 1 October to 8 October amidst the medieval atmosphere of the town, which is also known for being the city where the poet Francesco Petrarca lived, and is also one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
What are jujubes? They are a fruit that grows in the Euganean Hills and is very rare in Italy because it is said to have been imported by the ancient Romans and to have originated in Syria. They are very sweet and can be eaten instantly so just picked from the tree or they can be cooked and there are so many recipes for their use.
They have remarkable beneficial properties and this is also the reason for the saying 'to be in a jujube broth' or to feel satisfaction, contentment and a sense of well-being. The Jujube Festival is one of the festivals in Italy that really gives satisfaction because you experience something new that you rarely find.
14. Canederli Festival in Vipiteno (Trentino Alto Adige)
Canederli are one of the most popular traditional Tyrolean dishes. The city of Vipiteno hosts the Sagra dei Canederli (Dumpling Festival) in September. It is one of the most eagerly awaited festivals in Italy and is the result of the good Tyrolean summer
The Canederli are the stars of the show and can be tasted in any form: with speck, thin, refined with liver, mushrooms or even sweet. This mega round dumpling will please everyone.
13. Sagra del Tartufo di Alba (Piemonte)
The International White Truffle Fair of Alba is one of the largest and most popular food and wine events in Italy. Now in its 93rd edition, it is one of the best-loved festivals in Italy, welcoming every year hundreds of thousands of tourists and enthusiasts from all over Italy and of course abroad, all ready to taste the delicious truffle.
For truffle lovers, Alba is the Mecca of taste, because you can taste it in all its forms and variations. There are immersive experiences, sensory analyses to recognise the truffle and taste its quality, and experiences of tasting fine wines. Yes, but when? In 2023, the International Truffle Fair starts on 7 October and ends on 3 December, an entire month dedicated to truffles.
12. Polenta Taragna Festival (Lombardy)
The Italian town of Cologno al Serio in the province of Bergamo (Lombardy) hosts the Sagra della Polenta Taragna, the Italian pride of the Valtellina. The festival, one of the most popular gourmet festivals in Italy, is held annually in October in Piazzale Mercato - Piazza Caduti sul Lavoro.
It is an event created to amuse and entertain, imagine good music, good food, all accompanied by shows, this is the Polenta Taragna Festival. Polenta should be enjoyed in company, while drinking a good wine, accompanied by local cheese or sausage, a triumph of flavours.
11. Festivals in Italy: Marché au Fort (Valle d'Aosta)
Valle d'Aosta is one of Italy's most special regions because it is located in the far north of the Italian peninsula and offers breathtaking views and landscapes surrounded by nature, ideal for those who want to purify their souls and immerse themselves in beauty.
However, Valle d'Aosta is also famous for another reason because in the winter months it offers tourists and locals many events, some of which are food and wine events, to delight the palate. In mid-October, the Fort of Bard, an ancient medieval village, hosts the Marché au Fort, the largest market fair of traditional Aosta Valley food and wine products.
There are shows for young and old and tastings to sample local products and specialities: cheeses, cured meats, honeys, baked goods, jams, fruit, beers and quality wines. A true excellence of agrifood in Italy's smallest region, one of the most typical and traditional festivals in Italy. It must be said that you must go there at least once in your life!
10. Brodetto Fest in Fano (Marche)
The BrodettoFest in the Marche region is Fano's unmissable festival celebrating its flagship dish: fish soup, the famous brodetto di Fano. Held in June, the 2023 edition took place on 1-2-3-4 June.
A series of affiliated restaurants are waiting for you to taste this delicacy and have you sample their own version.
9. Fish Festival in Camogli (Liguria)
In Camogli, one of the most beautiful villages in Liguria, not far from Cinque Terre, celebrates the Fish Festival. A record-record-breaking fried fish pan is the main attraction of the event dedicated to St Fortunato - the patron saint of fishermen - usually celebrated on the second Sunday in May. It is one of the festivals in Italy you will definitely want to visit.
Besides irresistible cargos of fried fish, you can taste the delicious focaccia with cheese too.
8. Montella's Chestnut PGI Festival (Campania)
The annual Sagra della Castagna di Montella IGP 2023 is scheduled from 1 to 5 November.
Montella's chestnut PGI Festival is one of the most famous wine and food events in Irpinia. Usually, it takes place during the first weekend of November. With this festival, they want to celebrate the chestnut, delicious fruit of the area.
In 1987, their chestnut received the Denomination of Protect Origin (DOC), and it was the only case of fruit and vegetable product in Italy to be part. Then in 1992, the UE Commission gave Montella's Chestnut the recognition of Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP) - Protect Geographic Indication (PGI).
Since 1977, they organise this festival to promote Montella's Chestnut, an autumn fruit with excellent nutritional properties.
7. Piadina Festival in Bellaria (Emilia-Romagna)
Piadina Romagnola is the typical flatbread of Emilia-Romagna. The food and wine festival for this year was scheduled from 8 to 10 September in Bellaria Igea-Marina, in the province of Rimini, but the dates tend to be confirmed every year for the month of September.
You will find sweet and salad Piadinas, made with traditional or new recipes, filled in more than forty ways. There will be the assignation of the cup for the tastiest Piada. Music and entertainment are also planned in the city centre.
6. Festival of the Pallet with the Mushrooms in Uliveto Terme (Tuscany)
In Uliveto Terme (a hamlet of Vicopisano in the province of Pisa), the Sagra delle Pallette ai Funghi (Festival of Mushroomed Pallets) is held every year in July. The 2023 edition was held on 14-15-16 and 21-22-23 July and took place in the town's stadium.
The Pallets are very known in Tuscany, but not really outside the region.
The pallet's recipe consists of a soft corn polenta of a consistency similar to semolina pudding. It is served on a soup plate with a tasty mushroom or meat sauce, otherwise with delicious cheese fondue or vegetable sauce.
During the festival, it is possible to taste this dish in different combinations.
5. Polentone Festival in Castel di Tora (Lazio)
We are in the province of Rieti, it is the month of February, and in Castel di Tora, on Lake Turano, the Polentone Festival takes place, an event that celebrates the town's most representative dish. After a stop in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic, the festival returns in 2023 with its 100th edition. Next year. in 2024, it will celebrate 101 years.
The castle's location is in a dominant position. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Lazio. The festival takes root in the far 1920. Here, they dress polenta with herring, tuna, salt cod and anchovy, which enrich the Sugo Magro, prepared by the village's women.
This local food tradition is so old and rooted that Castel di Tora has become an official Italian Polentari's Cultural Association member.
4. Peperoncino Festival in Diamante (Calabria)
If you are looking for one of the most successful and most popular festivals in Italy for strong stomachs, well, you have to go south because in September there is an appointment not to be missed in Calabria: it is the Peperoncino Festival.
In the chilli pepper capital of the world, Diamante, five days of gastronomy, conferences, exhibitions, shows and cinema and the historic challenge between chilli pepper eaters.
3. Pumpkin Festival in Venzone (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
The Venzone festival is one of Italy's most important pumpkin festivals, and is celebrated on the fourth weekend of October each year.
This link between Venzone and the pumpkin took origin from a curious story when the city decided to build the church's bell tower. They called a master from Udine. He covered it with brass and put on a wonderful golden ball with a cross. But, when the municipality had to pay him, they offered him one-third of what they have agreed.
The master thanked them but, unsatisfied, during the night swapped the ball with a gold-painted pumpkin. Over time, the pumpkin deteriorated and fallen into many pieces. So they discovered the joke.
2. Santa Rosalia Feast in Palermo (Sicily)
If you are looking for one of the festivals in Italy where you can eat well, have fun and drink in the company of beautiful people, you have to go down to the far south, to Sicily. One of the most popular events is in Palermo: it is the Festino di Santa Rosalia, patron saint of the Sicilian city. The feast takes place on the night between 14 and 15 July: the cart of the saint is carried in triumph along the procession to the Foro Italico where fireworks can be admired.
One of the main aspects of this feast is the food and wine. During the celebration, you can taste typical dishes, such as the boiled octopus (in Sicilian "l’u purpu vugghiutu"), Sfincione, a symbol of Palermo street food (a sort of soft bread dressed with a sauce of onion, anchovy, caciocavallo cheese and breadcrumb), and then, snails and frozen watermelon.
1. Golden Onion Festival in Banari (Sardinia)
In July, the town of Banari hosts the renowned Sagra della Cipolla Dorata (Festival of the Golden Onion), listed among the top 50 events in northern Sardinia. Banari is a town in the Meilogu, not far from Sassari. The golden onion is in fact a typical product that grows only here, representative of the Borgo in Pietra Rossa.
You can taste typical dishes made of the delicious protagonist onion, drink good wine and walk along the ancient streets of the village. There will be the occasion to buy on for the entire Summer these big, sweet and tasty onions, famous everywhere in Italy.
The festival takes place in Piazza Umberto I, and during the event there are exhibitors of local handicrafts, folk music entertainment and much more.
The event's organizers are APS Pro Loco di Banari and Camera di Commercio di Sassari. It is part of the Salude & Trigu project, a platform to promote Northern Sardinia which includes all the most fascinating events in the area.