It’s fairly common knowledge that lovers of Cuban cigars are also lovers of a good party. There is a special conviviality that comes from cigar smoking; people from all walks of life bond over a love of fine Havana tobacco and aficionados previously unknown to one another will quickly become firm friends when meeting at an otherwise cigar-free gathering. That gatherings being cigar-free is much more commonplace than them being cigar-themed means that when tobacco celebrations are held they are important dates in the community calendar. Outside of the grand Habanos Festival in Cuba each February, one of the most popular and important is the Amigos de Partagas Festival, held in the small town of Matelica in central Italy.
Like the main gala in Havana, Amigos de Partagas has been victim to health restrictions in recent years, with the last full edition being in 2019. This year will see it return with a bang, back to full capacity and ready to welcome hundreds, if not thousands, of guests to the town. Like so many things over the past couple of years, this XVI edition of the festival represents a long-awaited return to normality for both the organisers and regular guests. It promises to be a wonderful occasion for all who attend.
Plenty of cigars will be enjoyed at this year's festival. All imagery courtesy of Amigos de Partagas.
Such is the reputation of this festival that in 2019 Habanos SA gave them the honour of hosting the world premiere of one of that year’s Limited Edition cigars. The Montecristo Supremos was presented to the world in Matelica, and greeted warmly by all who attended. When viewed in the context of the calibre of events usually held to reveal such exclusive smokes, as well as the fact that Habanos have themselves promoted this year’s festival across their social media channels, this gives an impressive measure of the esteem in which this festival is held.
The town of Matelica itself is a beautiful little village about an hour from Italy’s east coast. Like so many towns of this nature across Italy, it is packed with history and culture. The area has been occupied since Roman times, and today the roughly 10,000 locals play host to guests from around the world. Among the sights to see are a 12th-century church and the art collection at the Museo Piersanti, as well as the bars and restaurants one expects to find in this type of setting, and a wonderful central square.
The last festival in 2019 saw the square full of revellers.
During the festival that square will come alive with the energy and buzz of the global cigar community, playing host to dinners and events throughout the four-day duration. In the downtime between the seminars and parties you can expect to find it lined with smokers enjoying a glass of wine in the summer sun, reacquainting old friendships at the same time as forging new ones. The calendar for this year’s edition is pretty packed, so here are a few of our predicted highlights.
Fiesta Campesina – 30/06, 21:00 – The first evening party of the weekend, sure to be an occasion to remember as friends gather after a long enforced hiatus.
La Historia se Contara – 01 and 02/07, 15:30 – a fascinating look at the history of rolling techniques, and a chance to enhance your cigar knowledge.
Cena di Gala – 02/07, 20:30 – the crescendo of the festivities; a sumptuous Gala Dinner with plenty of wine and cigars!
Aficionados exchange fine cigars at the 2019 festival.
The Amigos de Partagas Festival is produced and run by the Cigar Club "Don Alejandro Robaina" of Matelica. This club was itself only founded in 2005 with the intention of promoting the history and gastronomy of the local area, together with a passion for smoking. Fewer than 20 years have passed since, but it has already established itself as the leading cigar club in Italy. To have achieved this, as well as having grown its festival to be second only to that of Havana itself, in such a short space of time is a remarkable achievement, and one of which the organisers are rightly proud. The club president was honoured by Habanos SA at the XX Festival in Havana in 2017 for his services to the promotion of Cuban cigars around the world, and club facilities are regularly used for education and entertainment by cigar businesses from across Europe. All this expertise and passion will make for a triumphant return this summer.
For more information on the XVI Encuentro Amigos de Partagas en Italia 2022, please visit their website. We hope to see you there this coming weekend!