In a country where seasonal foods are venerated on Italian tables as if beatified saints, one could say that the sagra, or food festival, is a sort of gastronomical religious holiday. Throughout Italy, every month of every season has something new to table, and summer is perhaps the sagra's most buzzing period.
Sagre are culinary and social adventures: the websites (when they exist) are often vague, and the towns difficult to reach. Indeed, most events are reachable only by car. (Check websites and call phone numbers for directions, or to find out whether or not they are near a bus or train stop.)
But we promise it's worth it. Ingredient-specific experts prepare the food, and everything is extremely affordable for the quality. You will see one ingredient used in more ways than you ever thought possible, and you are not likely to enjoy Italian cuisine in more authentic settings than these.
While some are stand-based and stand-up, many often take place in gymnasiums or event centers and feature multi-course menus. So show up, wrestle for a spot and sit down where you can. You may find yourself next to anyone from a goth punk with a passion for pine nuts to the senior who licks his lard-covered plate.