During the summer time there are traditional food festivals called “sagre” in all the Italian regions where local products or traditional dishes are celebrated. The food festivals, which are usually held once a year, keep local culinary traditions alive and represent an entertaining and a social gathering moment.
The territory of Cortona keeps these traditions alive by organizing several food festivals that have now reached the 50th edition in very time of the year, especially during the summer.
Sagra della Bistecca - T-bone Steak Festival
The “T-bone Steak Festival” (Sagra della Bistecca) is the most important gastronomical event in Cortona during the summer, which takes place every year on the 14th and 15th August in the Parterre public gardens of Cortona, to celebrate the mid-August bank holiday with good local cuisine.
On a 14-square-meters grill stoked with burning resinous coal, some chefs prepare succulent T-bone steaks of Chianina race and underdone, in respect of the old Tuscan tradition. These tasty T-bone steaks must go with excellent Chianti DOC wines to satisfy the palates of all the refined people who attend the festival in large numbers every year.
The T-bone Steak Festival promotes also the sale of local and Tuscan typical products thanks to many gastronomical stalls, where you can buy the famous Pecorino cheese of Pienza, cinta senese cold cuts, sauces and jams, wine, olive oil and tasty cantucci biscuits.
Sagra del Fungo Porcino – Porcini Mushrooms Festival
The “Porcini Mushrooms Festival” (Sagra del Fungo Porcino) takes place every year the weekend after the T-bone Steak Festival in the Parterre public gardens of Cortona. Even this food festival is not to be missed, since you can taste delicious dishes with mushrooms found in the mountains around Cortona. The local cuisine is characterized by lots of recipes for tasty mushroom starters, first courses, main courses and side dishes, which must absolutely go with excellent local wines.
Sagra della Lumaca – Escargot Festival
loc. Fossa del Lupo
In the small village of Fossa del Lupo, at the bottom of Cortona, since 1984 the Gruppo Sportivo Juventino organizes every year in June the renowned “Escargot Festival” (Sagra della Lumaca), for all the lovers of snail dishes and of local typical products. The program also schedules live shows, dancing evenings, bicycle tours in the countryside, cards tournaments and much more.
Sagra del Piccione – Pigeon Festival
The “Pigeon Festival” (Sagra del Piccione) has been organized every year between July and August since 1974, in the village of Montecchio, which is 6 km away from Cortona. The menu proposes typical local dishes and, only for a few evenings, delicious traditional recipes with pigeon meat. Everything is accompanied with good live music, games and shows.
Festa del Carro Agricolo – Farm Wagon Festival
Every year in October since 1976, the association “Il Carro” organizes along the streets of the village of Fratticciola, which is 10 km away from Cortona, the “Farm Wagon Festival” (Festa del Carro Agricolo), to rediscover rural traditions and to find smells and tastes from the past. This festival offers seasonal products like grapes, olives and chestnuts to celebrate together the coming of Fall. Among the events, we remind you a parade in old costumes, some photography exhibitions, the agricultural implements exhibition and old games for a passionate going back to our origins.
Sagra della castagna – Chestnut Festival
The traditional “Chestnut Festival” (Sagra della castagna) takes place every year in October in the village of Teverina, which is located on the mountains around Cortona. There you can taste delicious recipes with chestnuts harvested in the local woods.
Sagra della castagna – Chestnut Festival
Another “Chestnut Festival” (Sagra della Castagna) is organized at the beginning of October, near the beautiful Fortress of Pierle. Together with gastronomical specialties, the group Amici Valdipierle proposes dancing evenings and live music.
Sagra del cinghiale – Wild Boar Festival
In July, on the soccer field of the quiet village of Pergo located at the bottom of Cortona, you can attend the “Wild Boar Festival” (Sagra del cinghiale), an event that cannot be missed by game lovers.
Sagra della pastasciutta – Pasta Festival
Since 1997 you can attend in June the “Pasta Festival” (Sagra della pastasciutta) in the village of Fratta, next to the Church of Sant’Agata, where some local women prepare hand-made specialties such as gnocchi, pici and tagliatelle dressed with different meat sauces.
Festa dell’autunno – Fall Festival
In September you can take part in the “Fall Festival” (Festa dell’autunno), which is organized every year in the village of Fratta, next to the Church of Sant’Agata. There will be a different menu every evening in order to rediscover old recipes of the rural tradition.
Sagra della ciaccia fritta – Fried Bread Festival
loc. San Pietro a Cegliolo
The “Fried Bread Festival” (Sagra della ciaccia fritta) takes place every year in December in the village of San Pietro a Cegliolo, on the square in front of the church. It promotes a traditional recipe of bread, which is fried in olive oil, salted and served with new wine.
Calici sotto le stele – Goblets Under the Stars
To celebrate the shooting stars night of Saint Lawrence, every year on the 10th August Cortona organizes the event “Goblets Under the Stars” (Calici sotto le stele), where you can taste excellent wines from the best local wineries.