Peterborough Italian Festival 21 – 22 September

Now in its fifth year, Peterborough’s Italian Festival has gone from strength to strength, growing from a one-day event to a full weekend affair

italian-festival-1Each year, the city’s Italian Community Association team up with Peterborough City Council to organise a festival celebrating all things Italian, attracting thousands of people from across the region – including much of Peterborough’s 10,000-strong Italian population. Last year’s event saw Papa Luigi’s selling pizza slices for charity throughout the Saturday, and riverside eatery Riva creating a bespoke, pop-up restaurant in the cathedral square on the Saturday night. Other attractions included Gino D’Acampo live on stage, flag throwers from Florence, a genuine Italian market, cookery demonstrations by chefs from Forli (Peterborough’s twin town), Vespa and Lambretta displays, Italian holiday offers from Britaly Travel and Italian car memorabilia.

This year will include special guest Gennaro Contaldo – a renowned Italian chef who previously worked with Antonio Carluccio at his Neal Street restaurant in London, and once mentored a young man named Jamie Oliver.

Other delights at this years event are yet to be revealed, but it is certain to bring a true flavour of Italy to Peterborough’s streets. And we mean that literally. While other festivals may strive to provide a feast primarily for the eyes and ears, the Italian Festival is going straight for your tastebuds. Oh yes, there will be food…

That’s what it’s all about, enjoying a bit of Italian food, a bit of Italian music, having a glass of Italian wine and all of us having a bit of fun together

says council leader Marco Cereste,

italian-festival-3To help this along, Peterborough’s Italian restaurants will be out in force – Mattoni, Riva, Ristorante Fratelli, Barista, Papa Luigi, and The Pasta Shop all offered tastings of their wares last year, with Papa Luigi also hosting a ‘take and bake’ pizza making for kids and the World Pizza Eating Championships.

It all began back in 2009 when Marco Cereste – also Chairman of the Italian Community Association (ICA) – first suggested an Italian festival for the city to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ICA.

It just occurred to me that it would be really nice to run something for the city to try and bring all the communities together and enjoy a flavour of Italy

Marco is keen to point out, however, that you don’t have to be Italian to take part – it’s open to anybody who has an Italian product – and you certainly don’t have to be Italian to enjoy it. Chris Falco, proprietor of Peterborough restaurant Riva – who in 2011 dished up over 1,000 meatballs to eager festival-goers – explains:

That’s the really nice thing about the city. It started off with the idea that an Italian festival would attract an Italian audience, but the audience we saw last year couldn’t have been more diverse



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