Autumn in Italy is full of warm, intense colours and delicacies. Here are 10 of the most important festivals and events dedicated to local products.
There is no single answer to the question 'What is the best time to visit Italy?', but autumn certainly has a lot to offer in every region, bar none. The significant influx of summer holidaymakers is now behind us, and the villages and towns are returning to their everyday lives, revealing themselves to visitors in a truly authentic way. In the meantime, the whole world changes colour: nature takes on a thousand warm shades of red, yellow and brown, and typical seasonal products appear on the tables of the various regions of Italy, each one different from the other in its offer of local food and dishes. To celebrate these first fruits and vegetables, many village festivals and events have sprung up all over the peninsula to help us experience autumn at its tastiest. Here is a selection of some of the most important Italian festivals of 2022.
Tastes recall smells and take you back to places. It is the magic of certain dishes.
10. Pomaria, the Val di Non PDO apple festival
Let's start in the northern mountains of Trentino Alto Adige, specifically in Val di Non and Val di Sole. Here, the forbidden fruit of Eden is famous and much loved: that is why a festival dedicated to it was a must. So Pomaria was born: a festival dedicated to the world of apples that will take place on 15 and 16 October 2022 in Casez to celebrate autumn's arrival and the harvest's end.
In addition, 'Pomaria on the road' is back. From 1 to 16 October, various villages and realities linked to the 'Road of apples and flavours of the Valli di Non e di Sole' will be in the spotlight. Here, walks and events dedicated to apples but also pears, cheese, honey and other delicious local products await you.
9. International Fair of the White Truffle of Alba
The White Truffle of Alba is renowned excellence of Piedmont. From 8 October to 4 December 2022 in Alba, in the province of Cuneo, the 92nd edition of the event dedicated to the Tuber Magnatum Pico will be staged.
The calendar of the festival is packed with events, such as cooking shows by great chefs of national and international cuisine, historical re-enactments of the millenary culture of Alba, 'Unusual Dinners' in unusual locations, cooking courses in the prestigious setting of the Castle of Roddi, and much more.
However, the historic heart of the 'Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba' (International Fair of the White Truffle of Alba) is the Alba White Truffle World Market, an elegant open-air setting of over 2,000 square metres in the 'Cortile della Maddalena' in Alba's historic centre. The market is the ideal place to buy magnificent specimens of Tuber Magnatum Pico under the supervision and support of the Quality Commission. Here you can also buy the best local food products and fine wines from Langhe Monferrato and Roero.
8. Pizzocchero d'Oro and Weekend del Gusto in Teglio
The Valtellina is an Alpine region located in the province of Sondrio in Lombardy. It is the perfect destination for lovers of nature, mountains and good food. One of the most famous typical dishes here is 'pizzoccheri', a variety of pasta in the shape of an elongated rectangle made with buckwheat flour mixed with other flours. The town of Teglio is considered the home of this culinary speciality. In the last months of the year, it offers numerous weekends to savour the 'pizzoccheri' of the Accademia del Pizzocchero and other tasty local dishes.
Here is the 2022 calendar: every weekend in September, the Pizzocchero d'Oro Festival will be staged; 1-2 / 8-9 / 15-16 October 2022, the Mushroom Weekend; 22-23 / 29-30 October / 5-6 November 2022 the Game Weekend; 12-13 / 19-20 / 26-27 November 2022 the Autumn Flavours Weekend.
7. Imperia New Oil Festival
The city of Imperia, in Liguria, has a long history of oil excellence. Since the 7th century, its hills and the entire western Ligurian region have been rich in olive trees producing 'olive taggiasche' (Taggiasca olives are a particular variety of olive tree typical of this area). This precious fruit has always influenced life, the economy, and cuisine. To celebrate the extra virgin olive oil, Imperia hosts every year 'Olioliva'. This great event offers the best of local gastronomy but also various moments dedicated to entertainment and culture.
From 4 to 6 November 2022, the historic centre of Oneglia, in the province of Imperia, will be transformed into a showcase where local companies will propose Ligurian agrifood excellence. The programme includes visits to farms and oil mills, tastings and tours, and many cultural meetings, exhibitions, cooking workshops and entertainment for young and old.
6. Talamello Fossa Cheese Fair
On the heights of Romagna is a charming medieval village called Talamello which, in addition to the beauty of the historic centre, offers the opportunity to take beautiful walks to discover the surrounding nature. The hamlet is famous for producing 'formaggio di fossa'(pit cheese), a delicacy that derives from a tradition introduced in the Middle Ages. The name of this typical cheese product derives from the fact that, during August, the cheese is placed in underground pits dug into the rock and then pulled out in November, when it has finished maturing, precisely on the occasion of the 'Fiera del Formaggio di Fossa' (Fossa Cheese Fair).
During these days, the village's streets will come alive with food stands offering typical quality products from all over Italy and, for the curious, it will be possible to watch the 'sfossatura' of the cheese (the moment when it is dug out).
Dates 2022 are to be updated.
5. Chianni Wild Boar Festival
The village of Chianni lies in the province of Pisa, in an area surrounded by low mountains and chestnut woods. Wild boar hunting is widespread in these forests, and since 1976 one of the most popular festivals in Tuscany has been celebrated every year in November. The Sagra del Cinghiale (Wild Boar Festival) includes a series of lunches and dinners to highlight the Chianni area and its cuisine linked to hunting and agriculture. These days, traditional flavours, folkloric parades and live music will enliven the village streets.
Dates of the 2022 edition to be updated.
4. Cremona Nougat Festival
Cremona is a city in Lombardy with a beautiful old town centre. It is famous for its violin-making tradition (the Stradivari collection at the Violin Museum is very important, testifying to the city's cultural heritage) and for its 'torrone' production.
The 'Festa del Torrone' (Nougat Festival) is one of the most popular festivals of the year and is dedicated to this iconic regional delicacy, that is one of the most classic Christmas sweets, made with almonds, honey, sugar and egg whites. On this occasion, from 12 to 20 November 2022, masters and producers from all over Italy will perform in a nine-day event full of appointments, gastronomic challenges, guided tastings and much more. Not to be missed are the maxi Nougat Constructions, the Golden Nougat, the Historical Re-enactment of the Marriage between Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza, and the Final Show.
3. Porcino and Chianina Autumn Festival in Castelfranco di Sotto
Let's return to Tuscany, this time in the municipality of Castelfranco di Sotto in the province of Pisa. The Chianina is an Italian cattle breed typical of specific areas of Tuscany, renowned for the excellent quality of its meat. The famous local 'Sagra del Porcino e della Chianina' (Porcini Mushroom and Chianina Meat Festival) was born to safeguard gastronomic traditions in an area where the industrial vocation is becoming more and more established.
There is no better occasion to taste delicious traditional dishes, almost all based on Chianina, such as fresh tortelli (a type of stuffed pasta with a rectangular or square shape) and various types of pasta with Chianina meat sauce, Chianina hamburger, Chianina roast beef and numerous dishes based on porcini mushrooms.
The dates for the Porcino and Chianina Autumn Festival 2022 are not yet available.
2 . Bagna Cauda Day in Asti
Bagna cauda is a gastronomic speciality of Piedmont whose name translates as 'hot sauce'. It is a typical autumn and winter dish, prepared with garlic and desalted and boned anchovies. It is simmered in olive oil and becomes a sauce eaten by dipping various types of raw and cooked seasonal vegetables.
In Asti, Bagna Cauda Day takes place during the autumn. It is an event that, in 2022, will be held from 25 to 27 November and from 2 to 4 December. These days, the streets of the city centre come alive with enthusiasts of the tasty culinary speciality and numerous initiatives. Still, the event does not stop there: it is as if thousands of people in different locations in Italy and the rest of the world were symbolically eating together.
1. Cologna Veneta Mandorlato Festival
Cologna Veneta is a municipality in the province of Verona in the Veneto region, known in Italy and abroad for its 'mandorlato', a refined Christmas cake whose origins date back to the first half of the 19th century. Its invention is due to an apothecary who, around 1840, had the intuition to mix honey, sugar, egg white and peeled almonds. The recipe, processing times and techniques are still the same today as they were then, and in recent years several soft sweets enriched with different flavours have been added to the almond cake.
Cologna Veneta celebrates its most famous sweet with the 'Festa del Mandorlato' (Mandorlato Festival). In addition to this refined delicacy, the event will also feature other typical local products such as potatoes and red radicchio. Still, there will also be crafts, music and shows for young and old.
Official dates for the 2022 edition are not yet known.
The history of cooking is the history of the world.