Your Insider Guide to Festa Italiana
Calling all Italy fans—here’s your chance to eat pasta, drink European wine and admire fancy Lamborghinis at this year’s Festa Italiana.
Ciao meets aloha at Festa Italiana, an annual festival that features food, culture and history from the beautiful country of Italy. From music, art, pasta and wine, these two days will be your chance to express your amore for Italy. Here’s your exclusive guide on where to park, what to eat and how much it costs.
Click to the info you want to explore:
- What It Is
- When and Where
- The Passaporto Italiano VIP Experience
- The Festa in Strada (Street Festival)
What It Is
Festa Italiana first took place in 2017 and continued each year through 2019—this is the first time it’s returned since the pandemic shut it down. At this festive food-centric event that celebrates the intersection between Hawai‘i and Italy through Italian-inspired experiences and flavors, the gathered vendors are all top-tier Hawai‘i and Italian businesses, restaurants and chefs.
In the past, the event was split into two parts on the same night: a free street festival and a ticketed VIP experience. This year, the festival and VIP experience will take place over two separate days. Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF) will be the nonprofit partner this year and receive a portion of the proceeds.
When and Where
The Passaporto Italiano VIP Experience will take place at Velocity Honolulu (888 Kapiolani Blvd.) on Friday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. This is a 21+ ticketed event. The Festa Italiana’s street festival will take place the next day on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 4 to 10 p.m. at Mother Waldron Park in Kaka‘ako.
Where to Park
For the street festival, $3 validated parking is available at the Waterfront Plaza. Visit the Festa Italiana info booth for validation.
How Much It Costs
Admission to the family-friendly street festival is free! Bring both cash and credit card because payment options will vary by vendor. There will be an ATM available on site if people need to get cash.
For the VIP experience, tickets are $175 plus tax. The tickets include a selection of food tastings from Italian chefs and restaurants, unlimited Italian wines, Menabrea beer and specialty cocktails. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund.
What to Eat, Drink and Do at the Passaporto Italiano VIP Experience
Try culinary delights from Hawai‘i’s Italian chefs and restaurants and sip on a specially curated selection of Italian wines and custom cocktails all while enjoying the beauty of the Italian exotic vehicles from iconic carmakers Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati. Listen to a DJ spinning Italian tunes and enjoy live entertainment by Pierre Grill and the Mango Season Band. And don’t miss the Max Mara fashion showcase and the special unveiling of local artist Kamea Hadar and Lamborghini’s collaboration, the “LAVA”—the first-ever electric-wrapped Lamborghini, in celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary. HIFF will also be playing films as a backdrop.
Featured restaurants and their dishes:
- Arancino at The Kahala – Rigatoni alla Gricia (pecorino, parmigiano, guanciale, toasted black pepper)
- Bernini Honolulu – Brasato di Guanciale di Manzo
- Giovedi – Seared Ono Crudo
- La Bettola Waikīkī – Sliced Wagyu Bistecca
- MW Restaurant – Shrimp Scampi (Kauai shrimp, carrots, zucchini)
- Quiora – Caponata Crostini (Housemade Focaccia, Ho Farms Tomato, Boccocino Boccocini, eggplant, bell pepper, basil, olives)
- Taormina Sicilian Cuisine – Polpo alla Luciana con Pure’a di patate (Baby octopus, Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato, Basil, Olive, Chili, Yukon potato, Garlic, Heavy cream, Butter, Baquette (Flower, Salt, Paprika)
- Il Gelato Hawai‘i – Pistachio Gelato, Gianduia Gelato, Lemon Sorbetto, Raspberry Sorbetto
- MW Restaurant – Tiramisu
What to Eat, Drink and Do at the “Festa in Strada” – The Street Festival
Stroll around Kaka‘ako to check out the delectable food and fun entertainment. Shop authentic Italian and Italian-inspired culinary foods and a selection of Italian wines, Italian and local beer and traditional spirits. Enjoy live entertainment and street performers and try your hand at Italian-inspired games and photo ops.
There will be luxury Italian cars on display at the street from brands like Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari. One of the four-wheeled highlights will include Hadar and Lamborghini’s “LAVA” car. Over at the artist’s corner, you can view local artists and their artwork—they will also be live painting on site.
Tentative list of food vendors:
- Allegrini Mozzarella – Spaghetti with meatballs, Pasta Carbonara, Tiramisu, Cannoli
- Aroma Italia – Burrata Caprese, Gnocchi Gorgonzola, Butternut Squash Raviolio with Pink Sauce
- Bambino’s – Amatriciana, Quattro Formaggi con Bacon, Pesto
- Black Shamrock Tavern – Sausage and Peppers, Meatball sandwiches, Porchetta sandwiches, Zeppoles
- Brick Fire Tavern – Meatballs with house focaccia, marinara (vegetarian option) with house focaccia
- Fatto a Mano Hawai‘i – Hybrid Neapolitan Pizza
- Il Gelato Hawai‘i – Gianduia Gelato, Italian Biscottino Gelato, Tahitian Vanilla Gelato, Lemon Sorbetto, Raspberry Sorbetto
- ‘Ili‘ili Cash & Carry – Sicilian pizza, Italian hoagie
- La Bettola – Penne bolognese, Bruschetta
- Little Sparrow – Cheese Suppli, Truffle Mushroom Suppli, Maine Lobster Suppli, Suppli served with a tomato bisque for dipping
- Makanai Coffee – an assortment of coffee drinks, mini charcuterie boards
- Mamma Mia Olay’s – Mama Olay’s Drunken Penne, Garlic Coconut Spaghetti, Calamari
- Mega-Load Burgers – Risotto crab cakes, Sicilian Arancini, Meatballs on ricotta toast, lasagna
- Onda Pasta & Provisions – Gnocchi with two different sauce options
- Pitch Sports Bar
- Pizza Mamo – Pizza by the slice
- Sage Creamery – exclusive flavors just for Festa Italiana, including Limoncello, Olive Oil, Pistachio
4:15 p.m. Hawai‘i Youth Symphony
5 p.m. Ballet Hawai‘i
5:45 p.m. Pierre Grill
6:45 p.m. Pierre Grill
8:15 p.m. Mango Season Band
HIFF Cinema in the Park:
4 p.m. Luca
6 p.m. Cinema Paradiso
7:45 p.m. Luca
- For the street festival, consider arriving early to beat the crowds.
- Wear a hat and apply sunscreen as it can still be sunny in the late afternoon.
- If you’re planning to drink at the VIP event (unlimited wine!), arrange for a designated driver or use a rideshare option.
Festa Italiana, VIP Experience at Velocity Honolulu on Friday, Sept. 15, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Street Festival on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 4 to 10 p.m. at Mother Waldron Park, festaitalianahawaii.com, @festaitaliana