Italian Parade in Clerkenwell

Expect a plethora of food stalls, floats, marching bands and costumes at the traditional Italian Parade in Clerkenwell. Peter Gray reports.

If you’d like a little taste of Italy without setting foot outside of the capital, then why not pay a visit to Clerkenwell this July?

For that’s when the area, which has been home to a thriving Italian immigrant community since the 19th century, plays host to the annual Procession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The festival has been taking place for over a hundred years and it has become one of the highlights of the summer in this part of Central London.

The event features music, costume, dance and the procession itself, but not surprisingly, for a country renowned for its cuisine, it is the food which dominates the celebrations.

A range of stalls on Warner Street offer a dazzling variety of Italian treats including arancini, prosciutto and cannoli. If you love Italian food, then this is the place to be.

The other top draw is the procession, naturally. Starting and finishing outside St Peter’s Italian Church on Clerkenwell Road, the procession winds its way around the streets of Clerkenwell with its assortment of floats, marching bands, angels and biblical figures entertaining the crowds.

The modern day event is the work of a man called Peter Buononcini. First participating in the event at the age of seven, Bertoncini was immediately bitten by the festival bug, so much so in fact that for the last forty years he has been running the event himself. An interior designer, Bertoncini often helps out in with the design of the individual floats as well as coordinating the event.

The festival is part of what is known in Italy as a sagra, a festival of veneration for a patron saint. The event focuses round St Peter’s church, which was built in 1863 the form of a Roman basilica. The church has been at the heart of community life in the area for over 100 years, in an area that was once known as Little Italy due to the high number of Italian immigrants who chose the area to settle. St Peter’s is the oldest Italian church in London and every Sunday the mass is given in Italian.

The date for the 2020 event has not been confirmed yet. Please check back regularly for updates on this year’s event.

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-London's Best Events-
What: religious festival
When: Summer
Where: Clerkenwell Road
Website: No Record