Street Fairs and Festas

High arbors of elaborate lights illuminate the streets, folk or rock music fills the air, delicious aromas waft temptingly, while the cheerful chatter of voices rises. Festas provide some of the best cheap entertainment in Italy and can be found throughout the summer and autumn seasons all over the country.

This type of home-spun fun is called a “sagra”. Deriving from the term sacra festa, they are frequently held in conjunction with a religious festival or saint’s feast day and feature some type of religious observation or procession as part of the activity line-up. But for the most part, as with everything in Italy, it boils down to the food. While it may proclaim a saint’s day, the bigger headline is the type of delicacy they will be cooking up. If there is a food item made in Italy, there is a festival to pay homage to it.

Long communal-style dining tables are set up, providing a great chance to interact with the locals. Most sagre have fund-raising efforts for the church or organization hosting the party, so be sure to buy a raffle ticket while you’re there. Music and dancing into the wee hours round out the evening’s entertainment.

You can find out about local sagras by checking the posters glued up around town or by asking at the information office. The lively atmosphere, good food, and congenial company will surely make these festivals a highlight of your trip.

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