“Is that a giant frying pan?” Wandering near the harbor of colorful Camogli Italy, a behemoth had apparently left his kitchen dishes lying about. While I have seen some enormous roadside statues in Canada, this was unique. My neck has been kinked while gazing upward at the likes of a monstrous Kielbasa sausage and egg. Probably a 10 meter long frying pan is just the thing for Goliath like breakfast preparations.

giant frying pan camogil italy

Still the pretty Italian Riviera town, tucked between better known seaport of Genoa and touristy Portofino, seemed an odd location for the steel pan weighing over 1500kg.

Why is there a giant frying pan in Camogli Italy?

Camogli italy harbor

First of all, should you find yourself in Camogli Italy on the second weekend of May, arrive hungry. Camogli’s giant frying pan will be center stage at the Sagre del Pesce Italian festival. Serving up more than three tons of fish on the harbor front, a massive frying pan has been an icon of the fish festival since 1952.

Camogli is an Italian Riviera town tucked between better known seaport of Genoa and touristy Portofino. In the late Middle Ages Camogli’s bay lay jammed full of tall ships; the city of a thousand white sails.

Camogli Italy is long known for its seafaring ways. Travel back in time to 1798 and you may bump into Napoleon on the shores of Camogli. Once estimated to be home to 500 ship captains, today tourism is the trade of choice.

camogli Italy beach

This quiet gem of hidden Italy began the fish festival in post World War II years. Hoping to promote a tourism image, the festival and it’s giant fish fry were born.

During the two day festival religious ceremonies honoring patron saints are interspersed in addition to modern day rituals. Fireworks on the beach follow a religious procession.

Two doves trigger a ‘fire’ of smoke bombs atop the church tower. Consequently the doves must get quite the fright!

History of Camogli Italy and it’s Giant Frying Pan

In the festival’s first year six small pans were utilized in the cooking. Working late into the night because of the huge crowd it became clear a much bigger frying pan would be needed in Camogli.

Fishing boats Camogli Italy

The idea of a giant fish frying pan was born. Maybe there were adult beverages involved in that brainstorming session?

According to local posters the pan set a world record for size yet I have not been able to validate the fact. A fish story perhaps?

The giant frying pan on display in Camogli is the third of four pans made of iron. Used from the 1970’s to 1985 it now acts as a billboard. An attention grabbing display for one of the most intriguing festivals in Italy.

In recent years a large stainless steel frying pan is set up in the harbor. While 1000 litres of oil fill the frying pan the cooking preparations begin. The frying pan sizzles up between 3000-5000 servings.

Fish festival Camogli Italy

Sadly our two visits to Camogli Italy did not coincide with the fish festival. Seems like a reason to return don’t you think?

What’s the most interesting festival you have heard of?