Festa Italiana returned to Tampa this weekend for another weekend packed with Italian food and culture. Events for 2023 included Bocce & Bellinis, WineFest of Italy, and Mercato Italiano by Italy Expo. The festival was sponsored by Alessi, Italiano Insurance Services, Radiant, the Tampa Bay Rays, Breathru Beverage Group, Republic National Distributing Company, Valley Bank, and more.
The annual event is a fundraiser for The Italian Club (L’Unione Italiana), a historic building rich with culture in Ybor City. The club served historically as a venue for Italian immigrants in Tampa over the last 100+ years to enjoy social functions and connect with their community and continues to host weddings, galas, corporate functions, and other gatherings.
The annual WineFest of Italy has a number of restaurant partners for their event including Barterhouse Ybor, Bavaro’s, Catering By The Family, Cena, Chill Bros. Scoop Shop, Flor Fina, Talking Pasta, Trattoria Pasquale, and Your Pie Brandon. There was a wide range of Italian food to taste including a complete cheese and charcuterie station, mushroom risotto, gnocchi, stuffed raviolis, wraps, and more.
New this year was an Italian market on the second floor selling olive oils, pastas, sauces, and more. Everything was imported from Italy and also 50% off for guests of the WineFest. Grabbing specialty sauces and pasta for around $2 to $3 could not be passed up. The host of the market is hoping to expand more into Tampa.
The event poured wine bottles from all around Italy, while also pouring limoncello and Aperol Spritz. My personal favorite wine this year was the Cesari Amarone Della Valpolicella 2017. It is ranked 91 points by James Suckling and retails at around $53. The runner-up was the Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso 1.5L from Tuscany, which had the same delicious flavor as the smaller bottle and more suited to big parties.
Of course, I enjoyed a selection of espresso and coffee from Cafe Ala Carte – Tampa Bay. Their Americano and espresso shots hit the spot, especially with cannoli’s and sweets close by.
If you haven’t been to Festa Italiana or WineFest of Italy, I fully recommend it.
For more information on The Italian Club, visit them online at italian-club.org.