Diamante is a charming fishing village on the Tyrrhenian Sea known for its mural-lined streets. A visit any time of year is advisable, but if you plan your trip for its annual Peperoncino Festival you’re in for an especially spicy treat!
Peperoncini (literally “little peppers”) are the chili peppers that add a kick to many Calabrian dishes. You’ll know them better as chilli peppers.
History Of The Festival
The original festival started in 1992, and was going to be a one off. Genova celebrated the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering America. However, they didn’t celebrate the discovery of the chilli pepper. This upset Enzo Monaco, a resident of Diamante. He therefore organised a festival to celebrate it. No seminars or stuffy lectures. Just a pure celebration of the chilli pepper with stalls of lovely food. Even better, just like most festivals in Italy, there wasn’t any entry fee!
The festival now takes place every year and has grown and grown. Recently over 220,000 people from all over Italy and the world visited the four day festival! This year’s festival takes place between 6th and 10th October.
What To See!
Stall upon stall lines the Lungomare (sea front). Each of them sells their own new chilli based products. Also, some of the stalls sell their own fresh chilli based dishes. You can choose to wash these down with a local beer or wine!
There’s also a cooking tent, where local chefs create chilli based dishes.
Restaurants put peppers in pasta, pastries, and so much more. For breakfast, you can have a “cornetto al peperoncino.” This is a pastry filled with a creamy mix containing chillies. For dessert, you can have a tartufo piccante – a smooth, rich ice cream studded with bright red bits of chilli!
Activities in the festival normally finish around midnight. You can also take part in the chilli eating contest …. if you dare!
It’s also a good place to base yourself to visit other areas nearby along this fabulous coastline. A motorboat can take you to the caves on the island of Dino. It also stops in San Nicola Arcella at the mythical Arco Magno. Or if you are feeling brave visit the “Gate Of Blood!”