In Italy, summer is the season of sagre – the local festivals dedicated to typical products – often accompanied by shows and live music. Each village normally hosts at least one sagra, that can be dedicated to a saint or to a local product or dish. A sagra is an ancient tradition and has always been an occasion for the inhabitants of the villages to get together, eat the local food and have fun!
Nowadays, the sagre have not lost their traditional charm and are still a special way to learn about the deep connection between product, territory and tradition.
The sagre are very informal. The food is normally served in plastic dishes, the tables are communal and it can get pretty loud! At a sagra you normally find a big marquee tent, a stage and a dance floor. Eating at a sagra is pretty cheap, but not overly so, as it is often used as fund raising event for the local church, or community. Don’t expect anything fancy or pretentious and be ready for a very genuine atmosphere!
If you are visiting Lake Iseo in August, you will find some of the towns and villages hosting sagre throughout the month, so take the opportunity to soak up some of the local culture and flavours! The sagre are normally advertised around the villages with some very colourful posters on the walls. You can also find out what’s on by asking at the local tourist office.
Festa del pane e delle patate
Discover the past and its traditions with this 2 days event in the village of Bossico. You will be able to visit the ancient wood-fired ovens in the courtyards of the historic center and see the baking of the traditional potato bread. In the restaurants, Saturday and Sunday, you will find typical traditional dishes accompanied by potato bread.
- When: The first weekend of August
Festa del colle di San Fermo
Every year, the group of Alpini of Bossico, celebrates the Saint Fermo at “Colle di San Fermo”, which is reachable with a 1.30 hours in the lovely woods of Bossico. At this mountain sagra you will find local food.
- When: Around 9th of August
- Address: Colle di San Fermo, Bossico (BG)
- For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the official website. Here you can find a map of the paths
Bienno is a medieval village around 30 minutes drive from the North shore of Lake Iseo. It’s not located in the lake area, but this mostra mercato (a sagra with handcraft stalls and folklore workshops) is so nice, that we wanted to add it to the list as a visit is really worth it! It’s very popular and many people from Lake Iseo area visit it every year. Once you arrive in Bienno, you will find plenty of space to park your car and proceed walking in the narrow streets. The village revives the atmosphere of the past, with it historic center hosting over 200 artists and artisans from both Italy and abroad. And of course there will be table where you can eat, in a perfect sagra style.
- When: from the second-last weekend of August to the last weekend of August
- Address: historic centre – Bienno (BS)
- For more information visit the official website
Sagra del Casoncello
This sagra is one of the 28 “Quality Sagra” in Italy and it is well know in Lake Iseo to be the place where you can taste the real casoncello (a raviolo typical of Bergamo province). You will also ind other types of food like cheese, chips and barbecue meat. The sagra normally has a stage where local bands play and there is no lack of dancing couples!
- When: Around the 15 of June
- Address: Area Feste, Via G. Paglia, 3, 24063, Castro
Sagra di San Lorenzo
Probably the most popular sagra in Northern Lake Iseo. Every year at the beginning of August, the little church of San Lorenzo, that overlooks Castro and Lake Iseo, is animated by the local sagra, where you will find traditional food, good wine and live music.
- When: The first week of August
- Address: Colle di San Lorenzo, Via Primo Maggio, 3, 24063 Castro (BG)
- How to get there: You can park your car around via Primo Maggio and walk for around 5 minutes on an old cobbled path. A public transport service run by volunteers is available every day. The bus will stop in Castro at Pizzale Lucchini (45.804419, 10.067536), Piazza del Porto (45.802403, 10.065971) and the Cemetery of Castro (45.802900, 10.063554).
Ferragosto in Piazza
Local food and live music
- When: Around the 15 August
- Address: Piazza del Porto, 24063 Castro (BG)
Festa dei Brigancc
This sagra is located in the hamlet of Fraine, which is a tiny tiny mountain village that overlooks the town of Pisogne. It takes around 25 minutes drive on a winding road to reach Fraine from Pisogne. Just follow the signs to “Val Palot”. At the festival you will find live music and local food.
- When: Around the 8 August
- Address: Hamlet of Fraine, Pisogne (BS)
This is not a proper sagra, but a market exhibition that will animate the town of Pisogne and its historic center, squares, old entrance halls, courtyards, villas and frescoed churches. This popular event will offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in a suggestive atmosphere, rediscover the artisan work, buy handcraft products and be captivated by a rich program of theatrical and musical performances and workshops.
- When: Around 10th of August
- Address: Pisogne (BS)
- For more information email email@example.com
Riva di Solto
Sagra di San Rocco
At the traditional Sagra di San Rocco you will find local food, live music and stands with handcrafts product. Also, on 15th and 16th August at dusk, don’t miss the evocative moment of “Lumini sul lago”, when lots of candles will float on the waters of Lake Iseo.
- When: Around 15 of August
- Address: Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, 2, 24060 Riva di Solto (BG)
Festa di San Fermo
The sagra of San Fermo, that celebrates the Saint protector of children and livestock, is located by the Church of San Fermo, in Sulzano. You will find local food and live music and, on the last evening, a fireworks show.
- When: Around 8 of August
- Address: Chiesa di San Fermo, Via Gazzane, 25058 Sulzano (BS)