Awesome Artichokes & the Sacred Sagra

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From the word ‘sacred’ comes the ‘sagra’ – a weekend food festival dedicated to showcasing the best of local cuisine in a casual setting.

Going to a sagra is a great thing to do in Italy. It allows you to mingle with the locals, eat great traditional Italian food and experience one of the most wonderful foodie traditions there is!

Locals gather to enjoy each other’s company around large banquet tables in a community setting (such as a town hall, a large tent set up for the occasion or even outdoors in a park during the warmer months).

The food is prepared in a makeshift kitchen on site, in which a selection of locals prepares a delicious feast to be served often by the local children who carefully bring your food to you.

It’s extremely casual, and exceptionally delicious. And what’s more, all produce is local – and the prices super cheap to boot.

These great food events in Italy are advertised on large coloured signs posted around the cities and small towns.

This weekend in Rome, there is La Sagra del Carciofo a Ladispoli – the sagra of artichokes in Ladispoli, less than an hour’s drive outside of the central Rome. There will also be entertainment by way of live music performances, a cabaret and even fireworks!

Rome is famous for its artichoke dishes, with Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-style artichokes), a popular starter dish or vegetable side dish. It is delicious served alongside meat dishes, or even pairs well with eggs and cheese.

Risotto with artichokes and artichoke lasagne are other great Italian recipes with this delicious ingredient (and also great for vegetarians!).

Carciofi alla Romana

(Roman-style artichokes recipe)

8 whole artichokes

1 lemon

1 clove garlic

Fresh parsley

Fresh mint

Extra virgin olive oil


First of all, clean the artichokes. The outer leaves are too woody to eat and need to be cut away with a fine knife. You’ll also need to cut the stem to around 4 cm and peel the tough outer layer carefully away from the stem and base.

After you have cut off the pointy top of the artichoke to leave a flat surface, with the flat palm of your hand, roll your palm in a clockwise direction to open out the leaves. This will then allow you to fill the artichoke with a delicious stuffing. Once stuffed, roll in an anticlockwise direction to close the artichokes up again.

To stop the artichokes from turning black whilst you’re working, keep them in a bowl of water in which you have squeezed the juice of one lemon.

Now you can make the stuffing – a mix of finely chopped garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and salt. A drizzle of olive oil mixed in will make it easy to work with as you fill the artichokes one by one with a teaspoon.

In a non-stick pan, place the artichokes face-down. Sprinkle with salt and then pour in water to the level of around half-way up the artichoke. Place a lid on the pot pan and over a medium heat, allow the artichokes to cook for circa thirty minutes.

You can test they are ready by inserting a toothpick to test the centres are nice and soft.

The water from the pot should be nice and flavoursome too, so you can serve the artichokes drizzled with a little of this.

Delicious warm or cold, leftovers are wonderful finely chopped and mixed through some rocket (arugula) leaves for a delicious side salad the day after.


To learn to make delicious, typical Italian recipes before indulging in a delicious meal made by you, we have hands-on cooking classes in Florence and Cooking Classes in a Tuscan Villa.

To explore must-see sights in Rome’s amazing historical city centre such as The Coliseum, Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain, we have small-group Rome guided tours with a great tour guide.

Our guided small-group, skip-the-line tour of the Vatican allows you to see some great collections of precious arts as you visit the Vatican Museum with a great tour guide – and skip the line to do so.

Check out Artviva Walking Tours website for more tours in Florence, RomeVeniceCinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more. We also have private tours in Florence (and Tuscany), RomeVenice, and to the Cinque Terre and beyond.

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