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Celebrate All Things Italian at Festa Italiana Oct. 14-16

Festa Italiana Returns to Campus Oct. 14-16Enjoy a feast of sight, sound and Italian flavor and share the heritage, culture and the romance of Italy at the 33rd Annual Houston Festa Italiana. One of the largest ethnic festivals in Houston, Festa Italiana will once again entice thousands of guests to the University of St. Thomas campus, 3800 Montrose,  for three days from Friday-Sunday, Oct. 14-16.  Sponsored by the Italian Cultural & Community Center (ICCC), the annual festival opens its gates each day at 11 a.m.

Get a glimpse into the festivities by watching a video of last year’s Festa Italiana.

The festival features: 

  • The Taste of Italy Pavilion with food demonstrations and wine tastings
  • Authentic Italian homemade foods
  • Grape stomp for adults
  • Pasta-eating contest
  • The Italian folk dancers, the Tarantella Dancers
  • Live music from Elio Scacio, UST graduate Hamilton Loomis and Hit and Run.
  •  Marionette Puppet show
  • Games and activities for children

Festa Italiana Returns to Campus Oct. 14-16The University of St. Thomas grounds will be lined with booths of authentic homemade Italian foods, many made from recipes handed down from generation to generation and made by members of the sponsoring organization, the Italian Cultural & Community Center.  Foods include spaghetti, chicken marsala, handmade meatball sandwiches, fresh Italian sausage with grilled onions and peppers in a sandwich or on a stick, stuffed artichoke hearts, Italian green beans, and hand-tossed pizza. Favorites among the sweet-tooth crowd were sfingi (Italian donuts), cucciadate (fig cookies), cannoli, Italian cream cupcakes, Italian ices, gelato (Italian ice cream) and biscotti which guests will be able to enjoy with a cup of fresh brewed espresso. Guests also browsed through more than 30 booths of art, jewelry, gifts and more.

In the Taste of Italy Pavilion, guests can participate in several Italian wine-tastings led by wine expert Philip Cusimano. These tastings will require a reservation and a fee. The Pavilion will also feature special food demonstrations by local chefs with the “special of the day” available for purchase in a limited number.

Live music acts throughout the weekend will be highlighted by Elio Scacio, who just released his CD entitled, Lettere D’Amore, a collection of melodies created from love letters by his father to his mother. Scacio’s smooth classical tones will give you reason to pause, to listen, to dance and to sing-along with his imaginative presentations which took him to Carnegie Hall. Galveston native and UST graduate, Hamilton Loomis will bring his multi-instrumental versions of blues, funk and soul to the stage on Saturday night following an appearance by Elio. Friday night will be hopping with the eclectic mix from Charlie, The Godfather, and his exciting and fun musical group, Hit and Run. Between live acts, DJ Italia will play Italian favorites by Frank Sinatra, Dino, Louie Prima and Tony Bennett.

Festa Italiana Returns to Campus Oct. 14-16Don’t miss the Festa Italian a kick-off event, “Holy Happiness,” a performance by Trio Napolincanto, at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 13 in the University of St. Thomas Jones Hall, 3910 Yoakum. Founded in 1997, the award-winning Trio Napolincanto invites us to rediscover the beauty and the universal message of Neapolitan songs. Through a form of theater involving song and storytelling, the Trio highlights the story of a great people, the longing for the infinite and the appreciation for what is truly human. The event is hosted in collaboration with the University of St. Thomas, the Italian Cultural & Community Center and Crossroads Cultural Center-Houston. A $5 donation at the door is suggested.

Festival Hours (Rain or shine):
Friday, Oct. 14 – Saturday, Oct. 15:
11 a.m. - 10 p.m.  (admission is free until 4 p.m. on Friday)
Sunday, Oct. 16:
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Free for University of St. Thomas faculty, staff and students (must show UST ID)
Beginning at 4 p.m. on Oct.14:
$8 for adults
Free for children 12 years and under  
Until September 30, buy and print your ticket online and save $2!

Visit to:

  • Purchase entrance and food tickets online at a discount price until Sept. 30.
  • Sign up to volunteer
  • Make reservations for wine tastings
  • Purchase raffle tickets

For more information, call 713-524-4222 or e-mail