Italian Festival offers more than food!

These gelati-maids were kept extremely busy!

Today Westpac Stadium was filled with the smells and sounds of Italy – Wellingtonians had a home-grown opportunity to sample the tastes and learn a bit more about Italy at the Italian Festival.

The festival has been going for about four or five years and gets better each time. This year over 6,000 people visited – it was busy, buzzy and beautiful.

Several trained singers, accompanied by Julie Coulson playing on a baby grand, filled the air with the melodies of italian folk songs and arias; chefs from La Bella Italia entertained the crowd with a cooking demonstration; the festival was so popular that getting around was a challenge!

But everyone was in good humour. With a glass of wine in one hand, and a punnet of risotto in the other – there was no need to hurry anywhere.

For me, the highlight was talking to Tijana from Studio Carolina Izzo and learning about the highly specialist work of an art conservator. She showed us, from inside a padded briefcase, a 400-year old art work they are working on at the moment. It was fascinating! I am so full of admiration for the skill and patience needed. The results of such work must be so rewarding.

I’m not a great finisher of things.In many instances, I’ve been known to start with a hiss-and-a-roar and never quite make it to the finish line. I just don’t have the sort of patience needed for the painstaking work of art restoration.

And then of course, there’s the passion…

Tijana studied art restoration in Florence. She told us that at the beginning of her three year course there were 12 students – eight made it to the end. Only a few have found work.

I could have spent several hours listening to Tijana talk about the work of the Wellington-based studio, but did feel that we needed to move on and let other people in.

Hats off to the organisers of the event – it was great fun. The eight dollar entry fee was worth every cent!


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