Italy for foodies: The yummiest festivals for summer 2024

Discover authentic experiences, flavors and traditions

In Italy, a sagra is a local festival, very often involving food. These traditional celebrations first appear back to the Middle Ages! Already at the time, in fact, local communities gathered to celebrate religious or agricultural events.

Today, the sagra is a social moment and an opportunity to promote local traditions through food, music and dances. And as there are so many of them, we thought you could use some help to discover the best Italian food festivals for summer 2024 on Ferryhopper!

Tables and lights during a food festival in Italy

A typical Italian summer festival

The best 10 Italian food festivals in summer

Local festivals are a wonderful opportunity to discover the traditions and taste the local products of various Italian regions. These authentic moments of celebration and good food usually take place in summer, attracting many visitors from all over the world.

So, we made a list of the best festivals to help you take your trip to Italy to the next level:

1) The eggplant festival in Milazzo

The eggplant is one of the key ingredients of the Sicilian cuisine, and as such it has been magnificently celebrated since 1988 in Santa Marina, a hamlet of Milazzo. During the first half of August, Pozzo Square comes alive with parades, stands and tastings of typical eggplant dishes.

During this tasteful event, you will be able to try local dishes such as parmigiana, caponata, pickled eggplant, fried meatballs, and many other delicacies masterfully prepared by locals.

And, of course, this experience wouldn't be whole if this gastronomic journey wouldn't be accompanied by live music, dances, and performances by national and international folk groups.

Part of the event is then dedicated to "The Golden Eggplant", a farmer contest awarding the largest vegetable.

2) The Cous Cous Fest in San Vito Lo Capo

Can only one ingredient unite chefs from around the world for 10 days? Apparently, it can! One of Italy’s most renowned and popular food festivals is held every year in San Vito Lo Capo in the province of Trapani.

Couscous, a popular North African dish, is, of course, the star of the event, where national and international chefs compete for the title of "World's Best Couscous". This year the festival will take place from the 20th to the 29th of September. As always, there will be music performances, traditional dances and art exhibitions.

This is a unique opportunity to dive into the culinary culture of different countries, discover new flavors and appreciate the beauty of northwestern Sicily!

3) The caper festival in Salina

A trip to the Aeolian Islands in June is an excellent idea if you’re looking for a quiet atmosphere but still want to attend a local festival.

In the small Pollara Square, on the island of Salina, the caper festival has been celebrated for 26 years and attracts visitors and food lovers. An opportunity to taste one of Italy's gastronomic excellences, try new dishes, and discover all the secrets of this small and tasty ingredient.

The event starts at sunset and includes various tastings (Malvasia wine included).

Tip: in 2024, Salina's caper festival will take place on the 2nd of June, a great excuse to plan an unforgettable Aeolian adventure!

Capers and local products showcased on a stand in Salina island, Italy

Capers and other local products during the festival in Salina

4) The Panino della Nonna (Granny’s sandwich) festival in Giovinazzo

Since 1996, the charming seaside village of Giovinazzo (20 km from Bari) celebrates a nonprofit event that aims to promote the gastronomic traditions of the region.

The sandwich, called cugno, can be prepared with a variety of delicious and local ingredients: sun-dried cherry tomatoes in oil, lampascioni, artichokes, peppers, eggplant, anchovies, mortadella, provolone and many others. In short, a sandwich for all tastes, also available in a gluten-free option!

In 2024, the Panino della Nonna festival will take place on the the 12th and 13th of August. You will be able to stroll around the flea market and watch various children-friendly performances.

Important: since the first edition, all profits of the festival have been donated to charity!

5) The Piadina Festival in Bellaria Igea Marina

From the 13th to the 15th of September, the Piadina Festival returns to Romagna for its 21st edition. This event celebrates one of Italy's most iconic and beloved dishes. The resort town of Bellaria Igea Marina, just 10 km from Cesenatico, hosts every year a weekend of tastings and entertainment.

The festival has stands offering various recipes for piadina filling, from the most traditional to the most innovative. In addition to food, the historic center also comes alive with performances, concerts and craft markets.

Add this date to your calendar and get ready to fall in love with the "queen of Italian street food"!

Some piadine cooking during the festival

Delicious piadine ready to be enjoyed

6) The Sfogliatella festival on the Amalfi Coast

Most people don’t know that Campania's most famous dessert was created in a convent on the Amalfi Coast.

In fact, the sfogliatella Santa Rosa was invented in the 18th century by some nuns in the small town of Conca dei Marini, between Amalfi and Positano. This cake was created using simple ingredients such as flour, milk and sugar and decorated with cream and sour cherries.

Every year, Conca dei Marini celebrates this delicacy with a big festival where many master pastry chefs try their hand at making and revisiting the classic sfogliatella in different and original ways.

Tip: the Sfogliatella festival normally take places in early August  (the exact date for 2024 is yet to be announced). The narrow streets and belvederes of Conca dei Marmi are filled with music and theater performances, DJ sets and art exhibitions. A trip to the Amalfi and Sorrento Coasts could be a great opportunity to attend this event!

7) The Phlegraean Sea Festival in Monte di Procida

We continue with another food festival in Campania that has been drawing thousands of visitors to the Phlegraean Bay for more than 30 years:

The Sea Festival in Monte di Procida is a beautiful event taking place for 3 consecutive evenings in August in the picturesque inlet of Acquamorta. Here you will be able to feast with fresh seafood, seaweed fritters, peppered mussels, mixed fried delicacies, and many other delicious treats prepared a few steps from the sea, all accompanied by excellent local wines.

As always, there are musical performances, folk dances, and stands with local handicrafts. The festival is also held in an environmentally friendly way, using only biodegradable plates, cutlery and glasses.

Tip: the town of Monte di Procida is only 13 km away from the port of Pozzuoli. From here you can hop on a ferry to the Procida and reach this island in just 40 minutes. Check the Pozzuoli - Procida ferry route to learn more!

8) The Notte del Basilico (Basil Night) in Celle Ligure

Although the date for the 2024 edition has not been confirmed yet, we already know that usually Liguria turns green in July!

Basil Night is an event that celebrates this local culinary plant and its fragrant aroma with original ideas, delicious combinations, and more traditional recipes, such as the famous Genoese pesto. Get ready to taste focaccia, fresh pastries, and even ice cream and cocktails with basil!

Plan a vacation to the Riviera di Ponente to relax by the sea with great food. You can get to the town of Celle Ligure easily from Savona or Genoa.

Preparation of Genoese pesto during the Basil Night in Celle Ligure, Italy

Learn how to make fresh Genoese pesto during Basil Night!

9) The pork and snail festival in Cagliari

This JuneCagliari 's Terramanini Park will celebrate the second edition of the pork and snail festival, when residents and visitors will have the opportunity to taste some great Sardinian products. The exact dates are yet to be announced.

The program includes fixed-price menus with either pork or snails accompanied by appetizers, side dishes, bread, and wine. Those who prefer to eat something else can instead visit the various street food stands offering a variety of local and international cuisines.

There will also be lots of live music, DJ sets and events for the little ones!

10) The Red Onion and Blue Fish Festival in Tropea

The Tropea onions are one of the most distinctive products of Calabria! Their shape, intense color and sweet flavor make it one of the finest Italian food delicacies. So, how about trying it in the place where it originated, during the festival that celebrates it?

In July (exact date to be announced for 2024), the famous Tropea onion and the local fish come together to create a beautiful gastronomic event. During the festival, you can taste numerous red onion dishes and lots of fried seafood, and buy products from local Calabrian artisans.

Tropea is located just 25 km from Vibo Valentia and it's one of the most charming beach towns in Italy. What are you waiting for? 😏

Carts filled with Tropea red onions

The red onion of Tropea, an Italian excellence in the world

Save the dates of Italian food summer festivals in 2024 and start planning your next vacation! On Ferryhopper you can book your ferry tickets to many ports in Italy without hidden fees!

Explore all available routes in our Map of ferries and get ready for the yummiest of adventures!