Sunday, September 29

The Fish Festival Positano

The Sagra delle Pesce, or Fish Festival is held on the last Saturday in September every year on Fornillo beach. All the sunloungers and umbrellas are cleared away from the beach so that people can dance and sit and eat on the beach.

O'Pazzariello (a type of jester/announcer) parades through town on the day to announce the evenings festivities. Here he is skipping through the streets of Positano last year.
 I arrived at Fornillo in the late afternoon. It looks pretty empty but there was a lot going on behind the scenes!
 The menu. Each dish was prepared and served on a different part of the beach.  You have to buy a ticket for each plate of food, dessert or glass of wine and then go and walk around to find where they are sold.
Guess who was behind the cash desk?!  It was absolute bedlam. There were already people there waiting when we arrived at 6pm and we didn't stop selling tickets until almost midnight. Nonstop.
 But we got fed and watered, although we had to gulp it down rather fast and all ended up complaining of having bits of totani stuck between our teeth and no time to do anything about it!
 So while I was selling meal tickets I handed my camera over to Carlo to see what was going on elsewhere.
Here you can see how busy the beach was. Boats were shuttling people back and forth from the main beach all night long. I kept getting asked where they were supposed to sit to eat. I suggested they think of it as a giant picnic on the beach.
 One of the food stations from above. Look at that crowd waiting! A lot of work goes into the preparation of this festival and everyone helps out for free on the day.
 Alici waiting to be fritte.
 Faster, faster, have you seen the queues out there? Baby calamari being covered in flour, ready to be fried. (The fried mixed fish was the first dish to finish.)
 Multiple cauldrons and vats of oil...and fishing nets.
 Meanwhile back on the beach...
 Neapolitan music plays all night and the crowd dance away. Here is a video from a few years ago.
 At the end of the evening the tower at the end of the beach suddenly lit up with fireworks pouring off it. A really good firework display followed, which we actually watched for once instead of filming!
 And suddenly the crowds were gone from in front of the ticket desk and it was time to go home.
 I've got a Positano Fish Festival t shirt (size S) and a fridge magnet to give away. If you want to win either of them share this post (on facebook or twitter etc) and leave me a comment below!


  1. Clearly, I am just going to have to plan my next trip around this time. Such a great post - so evocative. Made my weekend - thank you ! Francesca

  2. Fritto favourite...what a super a super place. The italians really know how to celebrate ..fantastico!! X

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  4. We have been traveling to Positano for over twenty three years now and never heard of this festival.
    We must attend next year!

  5. i'm still wondering how i managed to miss while i lived in Positano... too good to miss!!

  6. Hmm, so who took that last photo? You're both in it!
    Sounds like a fun night, although I'm not sure I could stomach that much squid :D

  7. Grazie Mille!!
    For sharing the Fornillo Pesce Festival!!
    Love this beach! Chris from ScituateUSA
    Ciao ,
    Christine from Scituate,MA USA

  8. I would have really enjoyed being there!

  9. Hmm, maybe next year they should put you in charge to create a less chaotic system!

  10. buongiorno,
    My wife loved the fish festival post,colorful poster,great pic's.we look foward to seeing Positano this spring, although being of British background also, I expect to get the "fresh Mozzarella" body comment at the beach.

  11. Did anybody win??? Do i still have chances or did i discover you and your fabulous blog too late?
    Anyway, it is always such a delight to read you and take a glimpse in your life..

  12. My friends and I arrive on the day of the festival this year -- 2014. So glad to read this post, and the rest of your blog. We can't wait!

  13. Done. Enjoyed the festival. Wish we could go back NOW.


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