Food Festivals in Italy: 12 Months of Sagra to Plan Your Trip Around
A 12 month calendar of food festivals in Italy for foodies looking for fun events and happenings to plan your trip to Italy around!
In Italy, there’s always a reason to celebrate, which may be one reason life seems to revolve around food and wine. Or is it the other way around?
In fact, there’s literally a food or wine festival happening every month of the year in every region of Italy, celebrating everything from the arrival of seasonal foods to regional wines just waiting to be uncorked.
Feast your eyes on the best food festivals for every month and every season of the year! Some are so local they don’t have a website, but you’re assured a truly authentic Italian cultural experience. Other events draw foodies and revelers each year by the thousands.
Read on to learn more fun food facts and the best food Italy has to offer when you’ll be there to enjoy it — from local cuisine, specialty wines, and all the warm and inviting festivals of food you’ll find. Mangiamo!
12 Months of Food Festivals in Italy
January - Gennaio
Sagra della Sfincia di Priescia, Montelepre
Montelepre's residents welcome this Italian food festival every year on the 6th of January to celebrate their traditional Sicilian sweet treat, sfincia di priescia. Drop by the Piazza Principe di Piemonte to share this uniquely shaped pastry with the town’s citizens.
February - Febbraio
Battle of Oranges, Ivrea north of Turin
Local legend has it that when the tyrant Marquis tried to enforce droit du seigneur on the miller’s daughter, Violetta, she decapitated him and started a revolt against the nobility. The Battle of Oranges is a celebration of this 12th-century Italian skirmish reenacted with 500,000 pounds of flying citrus. This three-day food fight lasts from Sunday till Shrove Tuesday, and is a real treat for gourmands looking to try fagioli grassi capunet, salam duja and toma cheese.
Carnivale in Viareggio
This coastal Italian festival starts on Ash Wednesday and continues on for 15 days until Lent. The festivities begin with a triple cannon shot and feature 5 parades that showcase handcrafted papier-mâché figures, an appearance by the mascot Burlmacco, and a spectacular fireworks display. Foodies get to enjoy carnival specialties like cenci fritti, cenci al forno, seafood, bomboloni and more.
Nero Norcia, Norcia
Italian truffles are renowned, and this black truffle festival is a popular gastronomic exhibition held at the Piazza San Benedetto to discover the authentic taste of the Umbria region. Over the weekend at the end of February to March, you can sample the iconic black truffles, local breads and cheese, wines, and the IGP prosciutto (ham) of Norcia. Work up an appetite by walking around the painting exhibits, theater performances, costume parades and expert discussions!
Carnevale in Venice
We simply cannot talk about Italian food festivals without mentioning this world famous Venetian Carnival! Held at St. Mark's Square during the last two weeks of February, this gala is intrinsically linked to Venetian food and Lent, a period during which people give up eating meat. Attendees can expect to experience extravagant parades, beautiful concerts, masked balls, and taste the city's alcohol-soaked doughnuts — frìtole — always a popular street food in Venice around Lent.
March - Marzo
CAMPANIA, LAZIO, SICILY
Feast of San Giuseppe (St Joseph’s Day)
Celebrated on March 19th, this Italian holiday celebrates Italian Father’s Day in honor of San Giuseppe. The highlight of the festivities is the many versions of zeppole available across the country. These crispy fried dough balls are a beloved street food in Campania, though they’re found throughout central and southern Italy. The most popular are the sweet and fancy zeppole di san Giuseppe; fried donuts that are everything you’ve dreamed of and more!
“Taste” in Florence
A three-day extravagant delight for your senses held at month’s end, the TASTE food fair in Fortezza da Basso is dedicated to excellence in taste and food lifestyles. You’ll start your journey by attending the Taste Tour where you will sample various gastronomic treasures, after which you will learn more about them at the Taste Ring, then peruse the kitchen ware used to make them at Taste Tools, before finally buying whatever you please at the Taste Shop!
April - Aprile
Romanesco Artichoke Festival, Ladispoli near Rome
There’s lots to do in the small Sicilian town of Ladispoli during its annual artichoke (carciofi) festival. First held in 1951, the festival features cooking contests, food booths, artichoke sculptures, and even free wedges of fried artichokes that are handed out to everyone at the event.
Schiacchetrail in Cinque Terre
On the 2nd of April every year, contestants from across the world participate in a 47 km foot race through the vineyards and 5 towns of the Cinque Terre. While these hiking trails are normally on every traveler’s bucket list anyway, the main purpose of this race is to bring attention to the local sweet passito wine, Sciacchetrà. It is the ultimate holiday for those who love adrenaline as much as their wine.
Sagra di Cannolo, Piana degli Albanesi
Sicily's best known dolce is the cannolo, and the best time and place to eat all the cannoli you’ve dreamed of is during the first week of May near Palermo. For three days, this little Albanese town becomes a pilgrimage destination for cannoli-lovers from across the globe. From trying an authentic giant cannolo to a cannoli-eating marathon, you'll discover all the best ways to enjoy this classic Sicilian dessert!
Sagra do Carciofi/Artichoke Festival, Ramacca
For two weekends in April, the agricultural town of Ramacca welcomes the arrival of spring by preparing tasty dishes featuring one main ingredient - Violetto Ramacchese. It is definitely worth a drop by to try the region's specialities and shop for local products.
The world's largest wine festival, Vinitaly takes place over four days in Verona every April, where wine professionals from across the globe come together to exhibit their products. Visitors get to indulge in the finest wines and devour yummy snacks, all while walking around a great deal (wear sensible shoes)!
May - Maggio
Fish Festival of St. Fortunato
Dedicated to the Patron Saint of fishermen, St. Fortunato, the Sagra del Pesce started off as a customary offering of fresh fish by the wives of local fishermen to the Virgin Mary in exchange for their husbands' safe return from World War II. Today, the festival is celebrated during the second weekend of May, and starts with a dazzling fireworks display and bonfire. Followed by music, dancing, and all the seafood you can eat, the highlight of the event is the 30,000 fresh fish portions cooked and supplied for free, straight from the world’s largest frying pan in the town’s main square!
Sagra del Limone, Monterosso, Cinque Terre
Every year on the third Saturday of March, the town of Cinque Terre celebrates their most prized fruit — the lemon! There’s limoncino, lemon cake, lemon ice cream, and even an afternoon walk of “8,000 lemon-scented steps” through the streets of Monterosso. The day ends at Piazza Garibaldi with prizes for the most beautiful showcase and the “biggest lemon.”
Celebrated on the first Sunday of May since the 13th century, this annual food festival in Sessame is a celebration of one of the country's most beloved dishes; risotto. During this festival, the humble rice dish is the main protagonist all day long, so come by and feast on all its delicious varieties along with other tasty seasonal eats.
Porchettiamo in Perugia
The Italian Porchetta Festival is a must-visit food festival for anyone who loves roasted pork. Celebrated every year in May for three days, the best porchetta producers in Italy assemble in San Terenziano di Gualdo Cattaneo to present their very best Italian porchetta sandwiches, craft beers, street food, cread, cake and more. Later, take part in the Porcorriamo or Pork Run to burn off the extra calories!
June - Giugno
Gelato Festival in Florence (Piazalle Michelangelo):
The Gelato Festival in Florence is a fierce 2-day competition between the world's best artisanal gelato makers. The masters of gelato will showcase their creations under the hot summer sun, in a bid to win the Gelato Festival World Masters title. Pay the entry fee to indulge your sweet tooth, cast a vote for your favorites, and make time to stop by “Buontalenti”, the largest mobile ice cream production lab in the world.
ProsciutTiamo Ham Festival in Saint Marcel
The picturesque village of Saint Marcel comes to life every year on the third week of June to exhibit their expertly seasoned raw ham. The 3-day event is full of food, music and festivities. Remember to bring your camera along to take photos of the amazing scenery!
July - Luglio
Sagra del Cuoppo a Saviano
For 2 days in July every year, the town of Saviano comes out to celebrate fried finger-food (crispy fish, veggies or zeppole) in a paper cone, known as the cuoppo. Check out the musical performances, workshops, puppet shows and exhibitions at the Piazzale Enrico di Nicola, as you hop between stalls tempting you with aromas of street food, pizzas and wine!
Sagra del Limone, Massa Lubrense
Every July, juicy femminello (Massese lemons) are celebrated in all their sweet and sour glory as the star of the show. Think Limoncello, lemon custard, lemon pies, lemon jams, lemon cake and anything else limone you can think of - Sagra del Limone is sure to have it!
Sagra di San Marzano (Tomato Festival), Striano
Granted that almost all food festivals in Italy are synonymous with pastas, pizzas, salads and more, but which festival specifically highlights traditional Strianese dishes that are made with the sweet San Marzano plum tomatoes? Only the Tomato Festival that is conducted at the end of July in Striano! Rest assured the event also serves up local wines, cheeses and craft beers for those who need accompaniments with their scrumptious dishes.
The ancient Piazzo Mercato del Pesce, during late July, plays host to this festival of street foods from across Italy. The 5-day event celebrates Sicilian specialities like panelle, arancine, cabbucio, cannoli, and moire. The wine tasting corner will likely be the best way to end your night.
August - Agosto
Sagra della Mugnaia di Elice, Pescara
In mid August, residents of the hilltop village of Elice pay tribute to mugnaia pasta, a rustic handmade speciality of the Vallata del Fino valley that is served with meat sauce. And while one hill hosts culinary events, the other features a medieval reenactment of La Notte Nell’ilex, so be sure to visit both.
Sagra del Mare, Procida
The Festival of the Sea is celebrated for 4 days every summer, at the gorgeous inlet of Acquamorta. Visitors are welcome to sip on a glass of wine and feast on the fresh catches of the day in local dishes like peppered mussels and seaweed pizzas. Make sure to also witness the Graziella, the best dish competition that is conducted for local Procida women!
Fiordilatte FiordiFesta, Agerola, Campania on Amalfi Coast
There are many Italy food festivals that celebrate cheese, but none like this one in the town of Agerola, the capital of softened fiordilatte. This mozzarella cheese, made from cow’s milk, is celebrated every year in the first week of August with tastings, cheesemaking demonstrations and fiordilatte-based menus. It's a cheese-fanatic's dream come true!
Sagra della Nocciola, Cortemilia
Every August, the community-based festival of Sagra della Nocciola or Hazelnut Festival presents tourists and the residents of Cortemilia the opportunity to take part in and showcase the local cuisine and culture. Mainly focusing on hazelnut specialties like delicious chocolate cakes, sweetened cookies, cream spreads and aromatic oils, the festival also hosts events like a classical music concert, a dance show, a fireworks display, colorful parades, and a hazelnut-themed contest for amateur bakers and pastry chefs.
September - Settembre
Sagra del Peperoncino, Diamante
The Diamante Peperoncino Festival, conducted in mid-September, is one of the most popular food festivals in Italy. Created by the journalist Enzo Monaco in 1992, the festival lasts five days and features a whole host of organized events. These include professional discussions on the benefits of pepperoncini, expert cooking shows, musical performances, photo exhibits, a spicy cinema festival, and 500 varieties of these chili peppers featured in regional dishes like nduja di Spilinga, sardella di Crucoli, and morsello di Catanzaro.
Pizza Village, Naples
Italy is home to the greatest pizza festival in Europe, and it's located right in the spot where it all started, Napoli’s Lungomare Caracciolo coastal promenade. Every year, for 5-7 colorful days, pizza stalls make thousands of freestyle, wood-fired, gluten and gluten-free pizzas. It's safe to say this event is best attended on an empty stomach!
Sagra di Tortellino, Castelfranco, Modena
The Sagra di San Nicola is a celebration of the hand-made pasta, tortellini. Legend has it that this popular pasta was made to resemble the beauty of a woman’s navel, everyone would agree that this hand-made egg pasta cooked in a sumptuous capon and veal broth is far from a joke!
Sagra Nazionale del Gorgonzola, Gorgonzola
The iconic town of Gorgonzola is located on the Milan metro line, and is home to the National Gorgonzola Cheese Festival. It is on the second or third weekend of September that the town's high street, Via Italia, comes alive to celebrate the famous cheese that bears its name! Come by to taste cheese that melts in your mouth coupled with freshly baked bread. Cheese-making demos, and “zola”-based dishes like polenta, lasagna, risotto and more are just some of the things you can look forward to.
Sagra del Fungo Porcino in Motta Visconti between Milan and Pavia
If you are visiting Milan this fall, make a quick stop in Motta Visconti to celebrate the Porcini Mushroom Festival. With various culinary delights centered around these wild mushrooms, you will get to taste a variety of fine foods, meats, cheeses and wines of the region in the month of September.
Festa della Crescia, Monte San Vito
Held in September, over three days in Le Cozze, a hamlet of Monte San Vito, this gastronomic festival is dedicated to the crescia. Crescia is an Italian flatbread native to Marche that is traditionally made during the Easter holidays and eaten with sausage. Served either baked or grilled, and stuffed with meat or Nutella, crescia is particularly great when accompanied by local wines and craft beers - it's definitely a must-try!
Salon del Gusto, Slow Food Festival, Turin
Started by Carlo Petrini in the 1980s, the Terre Madre slow food festival is in essence an international market with one main aim; to promote a world where good, clean and fair food is the norm. The festival is celebrated every two years not just for tasting and eating, but also for exploring, learning and shopping from the very best artisanal producers.
Formaggi Festival, Bra near Turin
Reserve the third week of September to attend this biennial International Cheese Festival to get a taste of the finest in Italian formaggi. Promoting regional produce, natural cheeses, chocolates, and dried fruits, the festival hosts tasting events to help you find the best pairings for your favorite wines.
Cous Cous Festival, San Vito Lo Capo
This 10-day multi-cultural event invites visitors to taste incredible recipes from international chefs in each of the 6 Cous Cous Houses. The festival offers abundant opportunity to sample and learn about the many kinds of couscous, making it a real pleasure for those who love cooking. For those who just wish to eat, there are stalls and booths that invite you to try the wide range of delicacies from Lebanese tabouleh to couscous with coconut milk.
Sagra del Pistachio/Pistachio Festival, Bronte near Mt Etna
The “green gold of Sicily” is a frequently used ingredient in most Italian foods, which is why two weekends in October every year see an annual festival displaying pistachios and their products. Visit the foot of the volcano to savor some pesto, pistachio-flavored chocolates from Modica, cakes, arancini, pasta and even ice cream. Between tastings, you can also attend the shows, drop by shops, or even escape it all and go on a guided tour of the town if you wish!
October - Ottobre
Sagra della Castagna (Chestnut Festival)
Every Fall, you’ll find Chestnut festivals held in October, celebrating the arrival of the beloved castagna or chestnut. In Campania, you can enjoy it in the town of Scala, between Amalfi and Ravello; in Tuscany in the town of Marradi, between Faenza and Florence; and in the town of Fenis in the Val D’Aosta. For two weekends, you will get to taste chestnuts in a number of glorious preparation styles like gnocchi, cannoli, tronchetti, castagnaccio, and more.
Mortadella Festival in Bologna
During MortadellaBo, the Pink Queen of Bologna is honored with pink and white decorations spread out all around the town square. For four days, the city center hosts events based on Mortadella. This includes tastings, guided tours, cooking shows, LEGO exhibits, jazz performances and even sports!
If you love traditional balsamico di Modena and want to experience the making of it locally, make plans to be in Spilamberto the first weekend in October for the MAST COT festival. The centerpiece of this annual celebration is the boiling of the grape must to begin its long aging into becoming the sweet and delectable traditional balsamic vinegar.
Sagra dell'Uva di Marino/Marino Wine Festival, Marino
This annual grape festival attracts thousands of people on the first Sunday of October with processions, period costumes, music and food stalls that sell snacks, bread and wine. The real main highlight is the town's Fountain of the Four Moors, which during the festival flows with white wine that is offered to the crowds for free!
Sagra della Mela (Apple Festival), Valtellina, Lombardy
The annual Apple and Grape Festival is a three-day event hosted by the Villa di Tirano that celebrates Valtellina’s sweet and juicy apples from the slopes of the Alps. Apples and grapes, however, are not the only things attendees get to try during this festival! You will also get to taste other typical products of Valtellina and take part in tons of activities like riding in a horse-drawn carriage, attending concerts and more.
Alba International White Truffle Fair, Alba between Turin and Genoa
Held every weekend from October to November, the Alba International White Truffle Fair is Italy’s largest food fair about truffles, offering the best place to buy truffles from the Langhe, Monferrato, and Roero areas. The festival features cooking shows, educational pavilions, wine tastings, and a unique Truffle Sensory Analysis. The best way to take it all in is to spend a whole day strolling about and trying the local cheeses, cured meats, desserts, mushrooms and the famous hazelnuts from Piedmont and chestnuts from Cuneo.
Ottobrata Zafferanese in Zafferana Etnea, Catania
October in Zafferana Etnea offers the opportunity to celebrate Sicilian fall foods like Etna mushrooms, apples, cakes, and wine. The food festival involves music and art that go with the many unique flavors of the fall harvest. These flavors are showcased through different themes each Sunday, drawing focus to the area's native products and their craftsmanship.
Scale del Gusto, Ragusa Sicily
The Scale del Gusto (Stairs of Taste) is a 3-day event that takes place along the stairs that connect Ragusa to Ibla, and is arguably one of the best Italian festivals showcasing artisanal food and art. A true treat for the senses, it pays tribute to the uniqueness of the Hyblean land by showcasing both local foods and wines.
L’Oro di Spello/Festa dell’Olivo e Sagra della Bruschetta, Spello
Attend L'Oro di Spello to find out just how elaborate it can get to celebrate “Spello’s gold” or extra virgin olive oil for 5 weekends starting from the end of October! This time of year sees events, tastings, concerts, parades, and educational workshops all about olive oil production conducted in many towns and locations around Italy. But in Spello, the festivities boil down to three main days across three rioni (districts), where bruschetta drizzled with new olive oil, regional legume soups, sweets and other delights enhanced with the olio nuovo are on offer.
The EuroChocolate festival takes place in Perugia between the 14th and 23rd of October every year, and is an absolute must-attend if you love chocolate. Tastings, displays, sculptures and exhibits featuring chocolate bananas, chocolate liqueurs, chocolate bars and even chocolate kebabs - it's chocolate everything, as far as the eye can see!
November - Novembre
November Porc, Parma
Light-heartedly called the most gluttonous relay of Italy, November Porc is a race that is conducted through 4 local towns in Bassa Parmense; namely, Sissa, Polesine Parmense, Zibello, and Roccabianca. The festival is celebrated all month long in honor of the famous prosciutto and culatello hams produced here, with every weekend having a new theme and featured product to try. Restaurants along the “Strada del Culatello” even offer local pork dishes at bargain prices!
Fiera del Formaggio do Fossa in Rimini, Emilia Romagna:
In order to obtain the highest quality, tangy amber-colored cheese, the people of Emilia Romagna place cheese in fosse or caves once a year. The cheese is left to age for three months, and is only removed on two Sundays in November to celebrate the Festival of Pit Cheese, Ambra di Talamello. Be brave and tuck into this creamy flavorful cheese along with some other regional products!
Sagra del Pane dell’Olio, Sestri Levante
Visit Sestri Levante during the 10 days between November and December to welcome the harvest season the right way - with bread and olive oil, of course! Sample the finest Ligurian cuisine as you travel along the coast where local mills promote this classic companion for bread. The “green oil” is showcased in workshops, cooking shows, tasting menus, guided tours and even local olive groves.
Festa del Torrone, Cremona
This is one of the few Italy food festivals that celebrates all things torrone (nougat). Perfect for those with a sweet tooth, the Festa del Torrone event takes place during the third week of November and involves Cremona coming alive for 9 whole days. Watch and experience live shows, cooking demos, parades, and tastings, all accompanied by the sweet sound of music in the air. Don’t forget to sample their famous mustard before leaving!
Every November, CioccolaTò — the sweetest chocolate festival in Turin — draws chocoholic foodies from around the world to the baroque Piazza San Carlo. Well over 100 chocolate makers from Italy and other countries offer free samples and sell chocolate by the kilo while competing to be named the very best!
Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco, San Miniato
The last three weekends of November herald the truffle season in Tuscany, where exhibits and tastings of this “white gold” captivate audiences from across the world. The National Exhibition of the White Truffle of San Miniato is all about degustation, so expect to savor many small portions of dishes like fried polenta topped with truffle sauce, pizza bianca con tartufi, and flatbread with truffle sausage. Everything with a glass of mulled wine of course!
Merano Wine Festival, South Tyrol
Known for playing host to one of the most exclusive Italian festivals for wine, Merano turns into a wine-aficionados paradise for four days in November. Walk into the fancy halls of Kurhaus and experience wine like never before with tastings of premier national and international wines. When you’re done, head to the Catwalk Champagne, Spirits Experience Area, or the delicatessen festival Culinaria to complete your dream food and wine holiday.
December - Dicembre
Bolzano (Piazza Walther)
Florence (Piazza Santa Croce)
Turin (Piazza Castello, Piazza Solferino, Piazza Santa Rita, and Borgo Dora)
Rome (Piazza Navona)
Merano (Piazza della Rena)
Christmas in Italy is characterized by the many Christmas markets scattered across the country during the month of December. Drop by one to feel the Christmas spirit in the air along with the aroma of cinnamon, Christmas cakes and biscuits. You will find brightly illuminated streets filled with food gifts, mulled wine, traditional delicacies, artisanal toys, spectacular exhibitions and musical shows among other things!
Sagra del Cinghiale (Wild Boar Festival), Suvereto
Dating back to 1968, the Sagra del Cinghiale (Wild Boar Festival) festival was born with the intention of celebrating foods that showcase wild boar meat, as well as local wines from the Val di Cornia that enhance these dishes. Today it is seen as more of a competition to win the treasured delicacy and occurs over two weeks in November and December. This festival is definitely best suited for those who enjoy getting adventurous with their food!
When you do actually visit Italy food festivals, you will see that they are about so much more than just food. They also symbolize century-old culture, traditions and the stories of each region. Visiting these events is one of the most fantastic ways to gain insight into the people of La Italia, so what are you waiting for? Pick your favorites and get packing!