John Bensalhia kicks off the Autumn season with a strong-line up of Italian events and festivals coming your way this September.
September has arrived, and there's much to do in Italy this month. Foodies will be delighted to know that there are some great festivals celebrating all kinds of cuisine and ingredients from salt to ice cream. There's also food for the soul, with fun education about the Middle Ages and the worlds of comedy and satire.
Palau, 2nd- 8th September 2019
Take a drop of local Sardinia tradition. Add a dash of modern culture. And you have the acclaimed Isole che Parlano Festival.
The 23rd edition of this event officially begins in early September, and as an event for all the family, it delivers beyond expectations. Cultural elements such as music, photography and the theatre combine with special workshops and initiatives for children. The wide range of events is mirrored in the equally eclectic choice of event locations from local beaches through to archaeological locations through to the local streets and squares.
A big selling point of this event is that it's a great source of education. Take, for example, the introduction of different styles of music, which will be performed at the event. English folk music. German electronica. Arabian jazz... the list goes on. Other special initiatives include a retrospective of the work of Italian reporter Fausto Giaccone, and an exploration of the relationship between the arts and the world of childhood and adolescence.
Cervia, 5th- 8thSeptember 2019
Cervia's very own “white gold” will be celebrated in style this September.
I'm talking about the highly acclaimed sea salt of Cervia, and the annual Sapore di Sale (The Flavour Of Salt) has a long and memorable history, even going as far back as the 18th century.
Salt is a vital commodity of Cervia, and there's even a salt museum in the region that looks at the detailed production process and a look at the saltworks. One of the most important elements of this festival is the marking of the Armesa de sel, which distributed 100 quintal of salt to the locals of Cervia – via a special transportation boat called the Burchiella.
As well as this, there are many exhibitions, discussions, conferences, markets and tastings of salt-based products. If, like me, you're a fan of the pure sea salt taste, this event is a must-visit.
Bellaria, Emilia Romagna, 13th- 15th September 2019
There's nothing quite like the special traditional bread made in Italy, and one of the finest is the traditional Romagna bread, the Piadina.
The Piadina Festival spans a weekend, and it's a brilliant opportunity to sample this tasty bread. A notable aspect of the Piadina is the sheer amount of fillings that can be enjoyed. Traditional and modern fillings run the whole spectrum, including cheeses, meats (such as fried bacon), fish, onions, sauces... the list goes on.
Italy prides itself on its high quality food festivals, and the Piadina Festival is no exception. A lively, enjoyable atmosphere makes this an ideal family day out. As well as the different kinds of Piadina Festival on offer, there are cooking demonstrations, food stands, and some great entertainments for all.
Roncone Lake, 21st- 22nd September 2019
The next course on the September 2019 menu is the highly regarded Mondo Contadino festival. An eno-gastronomic celebration of the local food and drink of Chiese Valley and Trentino, this is an event that can attract an impressive guest list of Michelin chefs, who will be on hand to provide cooking displays in their own inimitable style. The line-up this year includes award-winning pastry chef, Manuel Ferrari, who will be using the finest local ingredients to create a delicious dessert.
The rural angle of this event offers a charming home-grown feel for visitors, and it's another one that has appeal for all the family. Young ones can enjoy activities and competitions, while mums and dads can learn all about the processes of making cheeses and enjoying traditional meals with tasty enticements such as carbonera polenta.
Foligno, 21st- 22nd September 2019
Handcraft – a hugely popular hobby. If you're either a fan of handcrafts or are looking for a new pastime, then the Week Hand festival in Foligno is the one for you.
There's much to pack in the Saturday and Sunday, with a market on both days, featuring 50 exhibitors from all around the country. Unique, quality products that are sure to make special presents for family and friends.
Meanwhile, children can enjoy a choice of activities, with learning areas for toddlers and older children. The Bebuù Explore area is for children aged one to four years, offering a range of creative and sensor-based activities, using recycled materials. Children aged five to 10 meanwhile, have access to the Bebuù Let's Learn area, which offers an enjoyable range of workshops. Painting, sewing, scrapbooks – lots of fun!
For older attendees, a good choice of workshops and activities encompasses a range of subjects including climate change, embroidery, independent sewing, and knitting mills. Come to Palazzo Trinci, and discover the wonders of handcrafting: great fun for all ages.
Gubbio, 25th- 29th September 2019
Travel back in time to the Middle Ages this September, with Gubbio's fascinating retrospective of the local history.
A fun visit to the past, the era of the Middle Ages is explored through a number of ways, such as re-enactments, guided tours, role play, and entertainment shows. The event invites a selection of local and worldwide authors to come and talk about their views on the era. Exhibitions and market stalls add further splendour to this first rate history tour, and it's an ideal way to learn about the period in a fun but informative fashion. This year will also explore a specific theme, which is Women: The Other Face Of History.
Catania, 26th- 29th September 2019
From salts, breads and cheeses to ice cream. Italy is justly renowned for its worldwide reputation as the king of the ice cream. What better proof than September's Sherbeth international handmade ice cream festival?
An ice cream paradise awaits you in Catania, where ice cream makers from around the globe will whip up the finest quality produce for you to enjoy. Like many in this list, the ice cream festival makes for a wonderful family excursion – with so many ice cream flavours to enjoy, the kids will be especially pleased. There's also insight into the methods of ice cream production through talks, meetings and workshops.
It's the ice cream of the crop, so be sure not to miss it!
Livorno, 27th- 29thSeptember 2019
Livorno's in-depth analysis of the “ridiculous” (Il senso del ridicolo) tackles many aspects of the worlds of comedy and satire.
Exploring this world, the three-day festival presents a series of talks and discussions from a selection of invited experts and authorities on the matter. Massimo Recalcati will look at the tragi-comic vicissitudes of human desire. Sofia Gnoli explores the history of fashion extravagances from Marie Antoinette to Lady Gaga. Filippo Ceccarelli discusses the funny vanity of power. Many more fascinating discussions will occur at The Spirit of Ridiculous, which will also include film screenings, readings and meetings.