By Kelsey Rexroat
Each September, the streets of New York’s Little Italy come alive with celebrations for the annual Feast of San Gennaro. Taking place Sept. 12-22 this year, the festival commemorate the patron saint of Naples with religious processions, parades, free concerts, and of course plenty of Italian delicacies -- even a cannoli-eating competition.
Here are some suggestions for getting into the festival spirit:
- Try a new food: The many food vendors lining the streets will make it hard to choose. Sample zeppole, fried dough balls with powdered sugar; torrone, a candy made from honey, sugar and eggs; and arancini, fried rice balls often stuffed with meat and mozzarella.
- Sit down to an Italian dinner: For something heartier, book a table at one of the Italian restaurants around the city, including several that are offering deals during the Feast. Pick a three-course meal of Southern Italian favorites at Destino (60% off); try pizza at Brooklyn’s Krescendo, which won last year's prestigious Caputo Cup in Naples (52% off); or add some celebrity flair to your festivities with dinner at Joanne Trattoria, owned by Lady Gaga’s parents (44% off).
- Attend the celebratory Mass: The festival’s main event is the High Mass held in Most Precious Blood Church. Afterward, a procession carries a statue of San Gennaro through the streets of Little Italy.
- Visit the Tenement Museum: This Lower East Side museum re-creates the lives of New York’s first immigrants, including the thousands of Italian immigrants who first settled in Little Italy and whose lasting influence is celebrated during the festival.
Craving the real thing? Book a flight to Italy, made affordable with Travelzoo deals for Italian hotels, Mediterranean cruises and escorted vacations.