|Date of birth||15 March 1969|
|Place of birth||Cagliari, Italy|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Centre/Right back|
|Current club||Lumezzane (head coach)|
|1987–1988||→ Fersulcis (loan)||26||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 September 2007.
† Appearances (Goals).
Festa played with several notable teams, including Internazionale, AS Roma and Middlesbrough, being one of the first Italians to play in the Premier League. Festa arrived at Middlesbrough from Inter Milan in the midst of a relegation battle to add steel to the defence. Festa scored on an impressive winning debut against Sheffield Wednesday in January 1997. Festa had been an accomplished martial arts master, a junior Italian tennis champion and captain of the Army team when he did his national service. He had shrewd positional sense, was tough in the tackle, a dominating figure in the air and got forward on occasions to score the odd important goal. After scoring in the semi final against Chesterfield, a goal that could have been even more historic was ruled out when Festa's header in the 1997 FA Cup Final was deemed offside. That was one of three Wembley appearances he made in his first 18 months at the club. When many of Middlesbrough's players left following relegation, Festa stayed and helped win promotion back to the top flight. His performances earned him the Middlesbrough player of the year award in 1998. Festa was squeezed out by the arrivals of England internationals Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu but remained as a squad player. In his final season at Boro they again reached the FA Cup semi finals. This time they faced Arsenal. Festa came on as a substitute for the injured Ehiogu with the score poised at 0–0. However, he unfortunately scored an own goal which proved to be decisive, as Arsenal reached the final with a narrow 1–0 win. Other memorable moments for Festa include scoring a late equaliser in a 3–3 draw with Southampton despite his team being reduced to 9 men, and an equaliser against rivals Newcastle United. In 2002 Festa left for a short spell at Portsmouth, where he scored once against Bradford City and was part of the squad that won the Championship and gained promotion the Premier League.
In 2003 he returned to Sardinia, joining Cagliari and helping the rossoblu to win promotion to Serie A. In 2004 he joined then-Eccellenza side F.C. Nuorese Calcio, serving as team captain and leading the club to two consecutive promotions and an unsuccessful appearance in the Serie C2 campaign playoffs in his third season. He agreed to leave Nuorese by mutual consent on September 2007. He then signed for Tavolara of Serie D, coached by his former teammate Vittorio Pusceddu.
Teams and clubs
- 1986–1987: Cagliari (Serie B)
- 1987–1988: Fersulcis (Serie D)
- 1988–1993: Cagliari (Serie C1 88/89, Serie B 89/90, Serie A 90–93)
- 1993 – January 1994: Internazionale Milano F.C. (Serie A)
- January–June 1994: AS Roma (Serie A)
- June 1994 – January 1997: Inter (Serie A)
- January 1997–2002: Middlesbrough (FA Premier League 96/97, Football League Championship 1997/1998, FA Premier League 1998–2002)
- 2002–2003: Portsmouth (Football League Championship)
- 2003–2004: Cagliari (Serie B)
- 2004–2007: Nuorese (Eccellenza 04/05, Serie D 05/06, Serie C2 06/07, 07/08)
- October 2007–2008 Tavolara (Serie D 07/08)
On 14 April 2010 he was appointed as assistant to newly appointed head coach Giorgio Melis at his former club Cagliari. Later in the seasons 2010–11 and 2011–12 he has been the coach of Primavera in the same club.
- "Festa fiesta as Ravanelli sees red". The Independent. 19 January 1997. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Shaw, Phil (13 April 1997). "Hewitt keeps the Chesterfield dream alive". London: The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Arsenal break brave Boro". BBC. 14 April 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Festa trumps the card show". The Independent. 8 November 1998. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Festa has final word in Tyne-Tees drama". The Guardian. 3 May 2000. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Bradford 0–5 Portsmouth". BBC. 4 May 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- "UFFICIALE: Gianluca Festa, ex Inter, rescinde con la Nuorese" (in Italian). TuttoMercatoWeb. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
- "Gianluca Festa" (in Italian). Calciatori.com. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
- "Esonerato Allegri" (in Italian). Cagliari Calcio. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.