Posted by: passagetoitaly | March 8, 2010

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: Sagra della Bistecca

picture from

Get your knives and forks ready for the Sagra della Bistecca!! Perhaps even a bib if you’re a sloppy eater! As mentioned in the first post on my Cortona’s Off the Beaten Trail edition, the Cortonesi celebrate what is known as the Sagra della Bistecca.

What is a sagra you ask?

For those of you who don’t know, and aren’t familiar with traditional festivals in Italy, a sagra is a local festival, usually involving food, and many times includes historical sporting events, like jousting. During the Sagra della Bistecca, the Cortonesi celebrate their bistecca, or steak, which it is regionally famous for. The Di Sagra in Festa website describes it as such:

La sagra della bistecca di Cortona è l’appuntamento più importante della gastronomia cortonese e si tiene ogni anno presso i giardini del Parterre (giardini pubblici) il 14 15 e 16 Agosto 2009. In una gratella gigante di 14 metri vengono cucinate le bistecche alla fiorentina, rigorosamente di carne di razza chianina, cotte al sangue, come vuole l’antica tradizione toscana. Oltre ai contorni, pane e frutta il menu comprende dell’ottimo vino Chianti o del Cortona Doc, ottimi per accompagnare la nostra carne. Costo 25.00€

Alla “sagra della bistecca” non troverete solo bistecche ma anche stand gastronomici, con prodotti tipici toscani e cortonesi.

The Sagra della Bistecca of Cortona is the most important date of Cortonesi gastronomy and is held every year in the Gardens of Perterre (public gardens) from 14- 16 of August. On a 14 meter (that’s nearly 46 feet) giant grill the steaks alla fiorentine are cooked, strictly of meat of the Chiana race, cooked from medium rare, in the old traditional Tuscan manner. In addition to the main course is a menu of bread and fruit along with optimal Chianti wine or of Cortona DOC, or Denominazione di Origine Controllata (which is a law pertaining to bottled wines in Italy. This meaning wine deriving from Cortona.), to accompany our meat.

Cost: 25 euros

At the Sagra della Bistecca, you won’t only find just steak, but other gastronomical stands with typical Tuscan and Cortonesi products.

In my opinion, not a bad price for the pleasure of enjoying a nice steak, accompanied by a good wine, fruit, and bread!

For more information about the Sagra della Bistecca for this year, stay tuned to the Di Sagra in Festa website. This site is much more up-to-date, as the Cortona comune’s website has information about the festival dating from 2005.

In your town in Italy, or if you’ve visited Italy, have you been to a sagra?
Please share with us what you experienced by either leaving a comment below or writing to PassagetoItaly (AT) gmail (DOT) com.



  1. Linked to your story in my interview with Mark Schatzker, author of ‘Steak’.

    Here is the link

    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’

    • Wow!! Thank you very much!

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