The Big Guide to Puglia’s Food Festivals

WE (L) COME BACK TO PUGLIA

Sagre food festivals celebrate the Pugliese spirit. These communal feasts are vibrant, welcoming occasions. You will eat well, side by side with neighbours and with strangers. There is no better way to get to the heart - and to understand the importance - of our regional cooking.

 The Big Guide to Food Festivals in Puglia

Puglia’s sagre food festivals showcase local cuisine, cooking traditions and culture. While not unique to Puglia - sagre festivals are one of Italy’s best kept food secrets - food is an integral part of our region’s identity. These are intensely social occasions where you are as likely to feast side by side with locals as with strangers.

A chance to celebrate a new crop of seasonal produce, many sagre have their roots in local harvest traditions and pagan festivals.

A Communal Feast

 

The chance to feast with family and neighbours, with friends and strangers is at the heart of many celebrations in Puglia.

The chance to eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers bringing their goods to stall. There are demonstrations and tastings.

But a sagra is not just about the food. These are welcoming social occasions. The glue that binds us. Local culture and traditions are shown off. Luminarie and fairy lights decorate the streets and squares to make impromptu al fresco dining spaces. In the background tamburelli beat the fevered rhythm of traditional pizzica.

You will find something happening on every alley and in every street corner, even in the semi-private courtyards where locals prepare food at home to share with whoever may come passing by.

Grab a steaming plate of lampascioni fritters, the first of the season. Share a glass of negroamaro with a stranger who will want to convince you that this local delicacy is far better than the finest white truffle from Emilia-Romagna.

We often joke that in Puglia we only have two seasons - estate and non-estate, summer and not summer. Food and the sagre are flags that mark all four seasons and the inevitable, bittersweet passing from one season into another.

January

Sagra del suino | Pig festival | Lucera, Foggia

February

Sagra del maiale nero | Black pig festival | Faeto, Bari

March

Festa di San Giuseppe | Saint Joseph’s Day | across Puglia

April

Sagra della cuddhura | Cuddhura festival | Santa Cesarea Terme, Lecce
An Easter sweet - a braided bread baked around a boiled egg in the shell.

Sagra delle arance | Orange festival | Vico del Gargano, Foggia

Sagra delle pappaiottule | Pappaiottule festival | Castri di Lecce, Lecce
Fried bread balls; wet stale bread mixed with eggs and cheese, deep fried and subsequently baked.

Sagra dei tarallucci e vino pappaiottule | Taralli and wine festival | Alberobello, Lecce

May

Sagra della seppia | Squid festival | Margherita di Savoia, BAT

Sagra te le puccia all’ ampia | Wood-fired oven baked bread festival | Novoli, Lecce

Fera ti li cerasi | Cherry festival | Leverano, Lecce

June

Negroamaro wine festival | Brindisi, Brindisi

Sagra del fioroni | First figs festival | Fasano, Brindisi

Sagra della ciliegia ferrovia | Railway cherry festival | Turi, Bari
La “Ferrovia” is the most common cherry variety in Puglia. The peel is vermilion red, the pulp is pink. Strong and crunchy it has a sweet and juicy flavour 🍒.

 

July

Sagra te lu ranuncolo | Summer food festival | Merine, Lecce

Sagra della frisa | Frise festival | Matino, Lecce

Carnevale estivo del fegatino | Summer liver carnival | Crispiano, Taranto
...and it’s not just liver on offer. Enjoy mozzarella, focaccia, snails, ice cream and bombette.

Strade golose | Artisanal food and wine festival | Gallipoli, Lecce

Boccondivino | Artisanal food and wine festival | Carovigno, Brindisi

Marangiane in festa | Aubergine (eggplant) festival | Castri di Lecce, Brindisi

Sagra della frisa e del pesce fritto | Fried fish festival | Gallipoli, Lecce

Festa del pasticciotto | Pasticciotto festival | Surat, Lecce
Traditionally a lemon custard pastry, though some are filled with baked cherries, jam, pistachio cream nutella, or a combination.

Sagra della polpetta | Meatball festival | Grottaglie, Taranto

Sagra del polpo | OctopusFest | Mola di Bari, Bari

 

August

Sagra del prosciutto | Prosciutto festival | Faeto, Foggia

Mercatino del gusto | Food market | Maglie, Lecce

Sagra della sceblasti | Sceblasti bread festival | Zollino, Lecce
Cooked on stone in wood-burning ovens, typical of the countryside of Zollino and according to tradition, the first bread of the day to be baked, usually at dawn. Made from flour courgettes, olives, onion, pumpkin, oil, chilli, salt and capers.

Calènder Beer Festival | BeerFest | Tuglie, Lecce

Sagra du contadinu  | FarmerFest | Giurdignano, Lecce

Sagra dei Sapori | Food festival | San Pancrazio Salentino, Brindisi

Le Notti del Mito | Nights of myth festival | Caprarica di Lecce, Lecce

Sagra Te Cose Noscie | Festival of the known | Ugento, Lecce

Calici di stelle | Wine tasting under the stars | Trani, Bari and Copertino, Lecce

Sagra delle orecchiette | Orechiette festival | Cisternino, Brindisi

Sagra dell’ Anguria | Watermelon festival | Botrugno, Lecce

Sagra della peroca | Peach festival | Canosa di Puglia, BAT

Sagra del caciocavallo | Caciocavallo cheese festival | Monteleone di Puglia, Foggia

Note di gusto | Food and wine festival | Palagiano, Taranto

Sagra della mozzarella | Mozzarella festival | Francavilla Fontana, Brindisi

Sagra del pesce spada| SwordfishFest | Savalletri, Brindisi

Mareviglioso | Fish and seafood Fest | Polignano a Mare, Bari
Marvellously named celebration of seafood and fishermen playing on the words "mare" (sea) and "meraviglioso" (marvelous); includes the Palio del Mare with a blessing of the fleet, a boat parade and a boating competition.

September

Sagra del maiale | Pig festival | Villa Baldassarri, Lecce

Sagra della zampina e del buon vino | Sausage and wine festival | Sammichele di Bari, Bari

Sagra del Pane di Altamura DOP e Lenticchia di Altamura IGP | Bread and lentil festival | Altamura, Bari

 

October

Sagra delle olive | Olive festival | Sannicandro di Bari, Bari

Profumi e sapori d’autunno | Scents and tastes of autumn | Cassano delle Murge, Bari

Sagra della volìa cazzata | Green olive festival | Mariano, Lecce
Let’s just call it that; the name actually means the “F*cked Fly” Festival.

La Sagra del calzone | Calzone festival | Acquaviva delle Fonti, Bari
Not the folded pizza, rather a flat shortcrust pastry pie traditionally made with spring onions.

November

Festa del vino novello | New wine festival | Locorotondo, Bari

Bacco nelle gnostre | Wine festival | Noci, Bari
The gnostre are the residential courtyards where you will find locals serving up their home cooking to passersby.

Sagra del fungo cardoncello | Mushroom festival | Ruvo di Puglia, Bari
The festival of the cardoncello, a mushroom believed to have supernatural powers, and the mushroom of love during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Il cardoncello novello | New wine and cardoncello festival | Gravina, Bari

Sagra del carciofo | Artichoke festival | Trinitapoli, BAT
Discover more.

December

Sagra della cartellata | Cartellata festival | Trani, BAT
We made the ones pictured.

Pettole nelle gnostre | Pettole festival | Noci, Bari
Back to the gnostre of Noci for these deep fried dough balls, a Christmas tradition.

Sagra della pittula | Pittula festival | Surat, Lecce
More deep fried Christmas dough balls.

La cucina povera | Where we ate

 

Our traditional cuisine translates as  “peasant food”. Though it now symbolises simple but inventive dishes using seasonal, locally produced and fresh - always fresh - ingredients.

We ate in | Alberobello | Bari | Cisternino | Gallipoli | Lecce | Monopoli | Ostuni | Peschici | Polignano a Mare | Santa Maria di Leuca | Tricase | Vieste

More | read about our Food & Drink Experiences in Puglia

 

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GO DEEPLY INTO PUGLIA

The endless olive groves stretching as far as the eye can see and clusters of trulli are both reasons to visit the Valle d’Itria. Indeed, no trip to Puglia would be complete without visiting Polignano a Mare, eating seafood by the old port in Monopoli and exploring the trulli. But even with a dash of Lecce and shot of Otranto you would still be experiencing what most of Puglia’s visitors experience. And while the Valle d’Itria may draw the majority of Puglia’s visitors, it’s Salento that puts the “extra” into extraordinary.

"We are in Puglia."

~ Hillary Clinton