Here we are with our seasonal appointment regarding cultural and gastronomic events around Italy. The months of September and October are packed with enticing events spanning throughout cinema, painting exhibitions and delicious food festivals.

Let’s begin with a fantastic initiative that, unfortunately, stems from the recent earthquake that hit central Italy on 24 August 2016. The tragic event caused major damage in the regions of Lazio and Marche, particularly in the towns of Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto, Pescara del Tronto and Amatrice. Many solidarity initiatives have been organized to collect funds and help the locals who have been hit by the tragedy. One of these is called “Un’Amatriciana per Amatrice”. To help with disaster relief, between 12 and 18 September 2016, numerous restaurants throughout Italy will donate money from each sale of pasta all’amatriciana to the Italian Red Cross. Although these are the official dates of the initiative, many restaurants (even abroad) are already donating €2 to the Italian Red Cross for every plate of pasta all’amatriciana that they sell. If you would like to help the victims of the tragedy by other means, click here to learn about the options.

Amatrice’s signature sauce is a famous cultural feature of the town. The 50th festival was to be held just days after the quake. September is, after all, the month that bids farewell to summer and welcomes autumn, the foodie season for excellence. Grapes, Olives, Truffles: it’s definitely harvest time, and the choice of food festivals is mindboggling.

If you want to discover wine in off-the-beaten-path destinations, don’t miss the Valtidone Wine Fest in and around Piacenza, in the region of Emilia Romagna. The event happens every Sunday of the month and in different towns around the area, allowing you to taste delicious DOC wines paired with gastronomic excellences, and to discover the beautiful territory. For example, the first pit stop of the itinerary is in Borgonovo Val Tidone. Local wineries will proudly present their Ortrugo, a white wine from autochthonous grapes. This wine will be combined with the chisöla, the typical focaccia bread with ciccioli (pressed cakes of fatty pork), a PDO product. On the following weekends, your glass will be filled up with Malvasia in Ziano and with vini passiti in Nibbiano. You can also taste the PDO cold cuts of Piacenza, such as pancetta; and explore the art of milling at the Lentino Mill Museum.

Autumn Wine Event: Valtidone WineFest

Wine, off the beaten path. Photos from Valtidone WineFest


If you love great food and classical music, our local connections have tipped us off with the amazing Cena di Note initiative. The sensorial experience includes a 30-minute classical music concert with artists of international fame, followed by a dinner inspired by the concert and often prepared by Michelin-starred chefs. The first appointment is on 30 September in Malcesine on Garda Lake. Evangelina Mascardi will perform in the beautiful local castle, while Chef Leandro Luppi will propose a Michelin-starred dinner at the lakefront Ristorante Vecchia Malcesine. The next stage is on 14 October in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the magical woods between Italy and Slovenia. Anna D’Errico will perform Robert Schumann’s “Waldszenen”, while Alessandro Gavagna (1* Michelin) will the protagonist in the kitchen.

Even though we at Italian Special Occasions DMC love to promote local events that are off the beaten path, we cannot avoid mentioning some of the most important and famous food events at international level. For those of you with a sweet tooth, don’t forget the Eurochocolate Festival in Perugia from 14 to 23 October. There are many different appointments during the ten days of the festival, all revolving around chocolate in the most interesting ways. For example, “Chocolate with the Writer” is a series of meetings with national and international authors that will talk about their work while drinking hot chocolate with you (every day at 6 p.m.); “Chocolate Sculptures” on Sunday 16th allows you to admire real artists working on enormous chocolate blocks to realize wonderful sculptures. If you want to get busy in the kitchen, every day from 10am to 8pm there are courses for both chocolate lovers and professionals to improve their knowledge on the use of chocolate in a wide range of ways and in learning more about this delicacy. Another famous and prestigious foodie event is the International Truffle Fair of Alba, from 8 October to 27 November 2016. You can read more about this event in our article “Fall Flavors in Piedmont

EuroChocolate Festival - Choco Art

Chocolate Artist at work! Photo from Eurochocolate/faciok


From the arts of chocolate making and truffle hunting, let’s pass to the arts of cinema and painting. One of the most awaited for cultural appointments this fall is the 11th Annual Rome Film Festival. It will be held in the Auditorium Parco della Musica designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano between 13-23 October 2016. Films will be screened here and at other venues throughout Rome. If you happen to be in the Capital some days earlier, don’t miss the exhibition called “Guttuso: Anxiety of realism”. It brings together a selection of works belonging to the period of the art experience of Renato Guttuso and offers a particular view on the artist’s creation.

Up north, Palazzo Roverella in Rovigo welcomes you to “Nabis, Gauguin and Italian Avant-garde Painting” from 17 September 2016 to 14 January 2017. The exhibition documents the birth of the modern figure painting with a wealth of pictorial and graphical materials, and its extraordinary adventure between the school of Pont-Aven and the Nabis movement, around the charismatic figure of Paul Gauguin.

Italian Pop Art Exhibition

Works by Giangiacomo Spadari, Cesare Tacchi and Antonio Fomez. Photos from Magnani Rocca Fondazione


Off the beaten path, the town of Mamiano di Traversetolo (near Parma), will explore the colorful world of Italian pop art. Fondazione Magnani Rocca hosts “Italia Pop. Art in the Years of the Boom” from 10 September to 11 December. Here you will find works by de Chirico, Burri, Baj, Schifano, Mambor, Baruchello, Fioroni, Ceroli and many others.

If you dream of finding an exhibition with masterpieces of the greatest artists of the time—from Giovanni Bellini to Mantegna, from Dosso Dossi to Raphael, from Leonardo to Michelangelo to Titian—head to Ferrara. From 24 September to 8 January 2017, Palazzo dei Diamanti hosts “Orlando Furioso. 500 Years”. Apart from such works of art, you will find ancient and Renaissance sculptures, engravings, tapestries, weapons, books, and artefacts of extraordinary beauty and value. They will bring back to life Orlando Furioso’s fantastic world of knights and warriors, at the same time offering an evocative portrait of Ferrara at the time of the work’s conception.

Are you looking for a particular kind of art, culture or food event around Italy’s hidden gems? Would you like to combine local experiences with a creative family reunion or corporate event? Contact Italian Special Occasions DMC for travel ideas and sensorial journeys that make your Italian experience truly unforgettable and unique!


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