There are many things Italians do well and food, music and wine are some of them.

This weekend, the Festa Italiana or the “Italian party” will run for the second time — featuring even more food and entertainment than before. Last year, with the Festa Italiana had more than 10,000 people gather to “exploring the culture, entertainment, and culinary diversity of Italy” according to their website. The Italian American Civic League and Italian Club of Salt Lake have worked tirelessly to ensure that this year is even more authentically Italian than the last.

“We, as a committee, have been hyper focused on being authentic so we let that guiding principle drive our every decision,” said Nick Fuoco, director of the Festa Italiana festival. “Each vendor at Festa Italiana has been hand-selected to provide a truly unique and authentic Italian experience.” This includes the ability to eat uniquely authentic Italian food alongside wines from actual vineyards in Italy.

Fuoco’s passion for his community and heritage shines as he eagerly shares details of the entertainment to be had during the two-day festival. “We are flying in famous Italian bands from all over the globe,” he said. “Blend that with the live opera and traditional Italian music and it will create a non-stop cultural experience.”

Though you may initially come to for the food — among which can be found delicious, well-known Italian dishes such as arancini, pizza fritta, zeppole, and cannelloni — and the hand-picked wines, the entertainment will be prevalent through out the entire event. The Saturday night feature will be Marco Calliari, an artist famous in Canada and Italy for his “high-energy Italian Rock Show,” as Fuoco described it. Additionally, thanks to the U’s own Giuliana Marple and the Italian Club of Salt Lake City, the two-man duo Vincenzo Bencini and Luca De Paolis are being flown in straight from Rome, Italy to perform and bring a unique, modern Italian experience to Salt Lake.

La Festa Italiana is sure to amaze you with its authentic cuisine and immense Italian talent, but what you are sure to leave the festival remembering is the passionate and generous spirits of the Italian people. As the community moves to become a stronger presence within Salt Lake culture, it is the hope that Salt Lake, as it becomes a larger city, will become an epicentre for Italian culture in West. By sharing what is so central to Italian identity, including its music, art, food and most importantly, love of life, the Festa Italiana aims to not just expose locals to what it means to be Italian, but to welcome them into a rich heritage that continues to blossom in the United States.

“We hope that attendees will leave full after eating some of the most unique and authentic Italian dishes that any festival in the country offers,” said Fuoco. “We also hope they will experience the music, art, and vibrancy of the Italian culture. And most importantly, we hope they have fun and come back each year! Grazie e ci vediamo alla Festa!”

The Festa Italiana will take place Sept. 17-18 in The Gateway.

To learn more about La Festa Italiana, check out their website here.

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