Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

October 3, 2016

Italy’s food festivals are not just a chance to taste fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture – and autumn is the time to go

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Italy’s best-kept food secret is the sagra. A festival organised to show off a local food or drink (or both), a sagra is a place where you’ll eat well – and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitions, demonstrations and special menus. And they’re not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have soared beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where you’ll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

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