Italy in a day – Festa Italiana, Manchester

This weekend we headed to Manchester to spend the day at Festa Italiana Manchester – a free, weekend-long celebration of all things Italian.

I must admit that I expected a handful of food stalls and one of those little prosecco wagons.

Actually, Manchester’s Italian community had transformed Cathedral Gardens into ‘Little Italy’ creating a city centre oasis of la dolce vita.

We approached the festa to the sounds of a swing band on stage “You Wanna Be Americano”. The sun was hot and crowds gathered to drink spritz and eat street food.

The big brands with promotions – Aperol, and Peroni – had a roaring trade. While the queues lingered we found a smaller bar in the corner where we were served with larger (£5) and prosecco (£6) quickly.  We sampled several of those, along with drinks from the MenabreaLimoncello Di Capri, and Aperol stands.


And then there was the food… starting with porchetta from San Carlo, we also made our way through arancini, gelato, and sweet canoli.

What was most surprising about the Festa Italiana was that it was well attended by the Italian community with plenty of Italian spirit. I guess that’s because it was organised by family-run Italian restaurant group Salvi’s – and the city’s wider Italian food community – according to the Manchester Evening News.

We were lucky that the Italian weather stayed all day too!