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Pesce Azzurro Festival Marzamemi-

July 11, 2016


Food Festivals abound throughout Sicily, especially in the Sumer months. When I learned that on the last weekend in June, 2016, the Pro Loco of the town of Marzamemi would hold the Second Sagra del Pesce Azzurro, the Pesce Azzurro Festival in Marzamemi, I planned to attend.  I was hoping not  to get stuck in a crowd, which is one experience I choose to avoid. Indeed, even though the event was taking place in Marzamemi,  located on the southern portion of the Eastern coast of Sicily,village which is usually crowded in July and August, on this occasion the village was not crowded.

I strolled through the village center, a tiny ancient seashore village  dating back to the Arab era in Sicily, and famous for its Tonnara, tuna fishery,  where the sandstone low houses have been turned into boutiques, restaurants and cafes.  I found the Sagra being held in a quiet, private corner, away form the center of the village. The Pro Loco of Marzamemi, a non profit which promotes events tied to the traditions of the land, was sponsoring the Sagra. As I was waiting for my turn to be served the scrumpcious two course meal, I was able to join the cooks and take photos of their talents at work.

The fish being served, Pesce Azzurro, is not a scientific term, but a commercial one which includes a number of fish that share some common characteristics. In this specific case, the fish utilized for the Pesce Azzurro Festival were anchovies and sardines.  The festival took place in a small section of the town.  As I asked one of the cooks for some details, I was told that both anchovies and sardines were being utilized.  The sardines and anchovies were cleaned and after being tossed in semola flour they were deep fried.

Clean freshly caught sardines and anchovies

1 Sarde - Sardines

Sardines and anchovies tossed in semola flour

2 sardines and anchovies coated by semola flour

Frying the fish

3:1:2Deep frying Sardines and Anchovies.jpgFried sardines and anchovies

5 close-up fried sardnines

Besides the fried sardines and anchovies there was a pasta dish.  The pasta dish, seen below, was Pasta alle Sarde, Pasta with Sardines.  The ingredients utilized for this dish were sardines, tomatoes, wild fennel and pine nuts.  Pasta with sardines is a popular dish in Sicily and although the original recipe is from Palermo, I have experienced different twists to the recipe in different locations around the island.  In this dish prepared in Marzamemi, more tomatoes were utilized than I had ever had before.

6 Pasta alle sarde Marzamemi :Pro loco

Pasta alle Sarde –  Pasta with Sardines

7 Pasta alle sarde Pasta with Sardines

Following are some images from Marzamemi.

Piazza Regina Margherita- Church and old fishermen houses turned into restaurants and cafes’

marzamemi sagra pesce azzurro night.jpg

Popular photo of one view of Piazza Regina Margherita

pza regina margherita restaurant.jpg

Along the coast heading to the village center

marzamemi quiet corner 2.jpg

Quiet spot along the coast next to Marzamemi village center

marzamemi quiet angle 1.jpg

In closing, a spontaneous soccer match played by local children and German visitors on the waterfront in Marzamemi

marzamemi soccer improv sicily germany.jpg






  1. Tradizioni antiche, che fai affiorare nelle tue foto che sanno di poesie, in cui il tempo si ferma e ci da quelle sensazioni immutate, statiche quasi eterne, in cui tu sapientemente hai colto l’attimo……..
    ” Carpe diam ” ….. regalandoci emozioni vere…


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