During the months of July and August, summer street-festivals commonly known as a SAGRA are held all over Italy. The Sagra is kind of a salute or festival held in honor of a specific thing. For example, A Sagra di Vino would be a Wine Festival. A Sagra di Polpetti would be a Meatball Festival. A Sagra di Mela would be an Apple Festival and a Sagra di Pesce would be….it’s on the tip of your tongue…the clock’s ticking….a Fish Festival..!
Of the many Sagra’s held during the month of August (Italy’s big vacation month) the Sagra di Pesce is one of my favorites. I keep my eyes peeled for a Sagra di Pesci held locally, but the one we usually wait for is in the port city of Cesenatico. Oddly enough, the Sagra di Pesce di Cesanatico is held from October 30th – November 1st. Long after the tourist season is over but wildly popular none-the-less. (Athough plenty of towns celebrate a Sagra di Pesce in August).
Cesenatico is a port town of about 20,000 people on the Adriatic coast and located about 30 kilometers from the city of Ravenna, and also one of the main fishing hubs in Italy with more than 5,000 tons of fish caught each year by an estimated fishing fleet of 100 boats. Cesenatico is also known for its canal which was designed (but not built) by Leonardo di Vinci. And it’s along the canal that the Sagra di Pecsi is held.
It’s no stretch to say that during the Sagra di Pesce di Cesenatico the entire town is dedicated to fish! Go to any restaurant or trattoria over the weekend and fish is what you’ll find being served. But that’s not all: a huge open-air market takes center stage and in and about the stalls you’ll find a variety of fish recipes being served. Everything from fried fish kebabs cuttlefish with peas, passatelli in fish broth, and also including specialty dishes like baccalà alla Vicentina and fried calamari.
What makes this particular Sagra important is that the fish of the feast is caught only in the waters of the Adriatic Sea and served fresh. I’m talking “fresh” as in “hauled out of the sea that morning and broughtto the festival.”
How to get there:
Cesenatico is easily reached no matter which direction you are coming from. About 2 hours from Rome. Cesenatico is closer if you fly into Bologna (about 56 miles) and if you take the train to Ravenna the town of Cesenatico is even closer (about 20 miles)
There are at least 10 decent hotels in the local area not to mentin a Youth Hostel in Ravenna.
The Sagra di Pesce at Cesanatico is a weekend chock full of eating and fun. There is a plenty of live music with an area set aside for rides and games for kids.
It’s one Sagra not to miss! If you’re a fish lover you need to be there and bring a big appetite with you!