Ciao Italia, the first ever Italian festival held in Christchurch, will take place on Wednesday, 14 June from 6.00-9.30pm at The Colombo, 363 Colombo Street, Sydenham.
The Festival will be accompanied by an Italian theme running at The Colombo throughout June, and by the Cinema Italiano Film Festival, which opens on the same night.
The Ciao Italia Festival is being organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand, with the local support of Società Dante Alighieri of Christchurch, under the patronage of the Italian Embassy, Comites (Committee of Italians Overseas), and Plains FM Community Radio.
Entry is free and visitors can expect Italian food and wine (both imported and locally made) to taste, to take home, or to consume on the spot: from wild-pig prosciutto to edible (and flavoured) gold leaf, with all kinds of cheese, cold meats, pasta and espresso coffee.
There will be fashion, as well as home and art design. There will be demonstrations on how to make gnocchi, and how to tie a scarf (in 21 ways). The entertainment comprises classical music (Luca Manghi on the flute and David Kelly on the piano) and the Christchurch School of Music String Quartet. There will be Italian canzoni (Claudia Lues and the WEA Chorus), and the Dante Tarantella Dance Group.
Organiser Wilma Laryn from the Società Dante Alighieri of Christchurch says, “We will showcase the best of Italian products (from food to Italian cars and Vespa mopeds) alongside the people who make the long-standing relationship between Italy and New Zealand a warm and dynamic one.”
Visitors will be able to meet students from the Dante Society language school, hear about the plans of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand in our city, and learn more about the Italian programme of research conducted in collaboration with New Zealand in Antarctica.
“While this is the first time we have held an Italian festival in Christchurch, if it is successful it will not be the last,” Wilma Laryn said.