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Festival brings in culture, cuisine from across Italy

Date Posted: 2012-05-25

Italy, the sprawling southern European nation shaped like a boot, is known—together with Greece—as being the bedrock of western civilization.

The customs, culture and of course cuisine of Italy is being offered up this weekend by the Seamen’s Club Naha, which has been coordinating its Italian Festival with the Italian Embassy in Tokyo and with an Italian chef who’s putting the ‘mama mia’ touches on everything flavorful. The Italian Festival is open to the entire Okinawa community Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. ~ 8:30 p.m.

Often nicknamed Il Bel Paese, The Beautiful Country, Italy is famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, its trendy fashions, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its many beautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains, the Alps and Apennines. The Seamen’s Club Italian Festival presentation includes a wealth of tourism travel information from the Italian Tourism Bureau and the Italian Embassy, and plenty of music and video to whet the appetite for a European vacation.

Experience Northwest Italy, home of the Italian Riviera, including Portofino and the Cinque Terre. The Alps, world class cities like the industrial capital of Italy (Turin), its largest port (Genoa), the main business hub of the country (Milan), share the region's visitors with beautiful landscapes like the Lake Como and Lake Maggiore area, and little know Renaissance treasures like Mantova.

Northeast Italy brings the canals of Venice to the gastronomic capital Bologna, from impressive mountains such as the Dolomites and first-class ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo to the delightful roofscapes of Parma and Verona these regions offer much to see and do.

Central Italy breathes history and art. Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world's best known landmarks, combined with a vibrant, big-city feel. Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, is Tuscany's top attraction, whereas the magnificent countryside and nearby cities like Siena, Pisa and Lucca have much to offer to those looking for the country's rich history and heritage. Umbria is dotted with many pictoresque cities such as Perugia, Orvieto, Gubbio and Assisi

Southern Italy has bustling Naples, the dramatic ruins of Pompeii, the romantic Amalfi Coast and Capri, laidback Apulia and stunning beaches of Calabria, as well as up-and-coming agritourism help making Italy's less visited region a great place to explore.

Sicily is the beautiful island famous for archaeology, seascape and some of the best cuisine the Italian kitchen has to offer.

Lastly, Sardinia is a large island some 250 kilometers west of the Italian coastline. Beautiful scenery, lovely seas and beaches: a major holiday destination for mainland Italians including ex-Prime Minister Berlusconi, who has a large villa there.

For the palate, it’s all about the food, and Italy’s got a little of everything. So does the Seamen’s Club. Authentic soups and salads, including Insulata di Riso e Scampi, Insulata di Fagiolini and Ribbollita Tuscany get things started. Main courses include Bollito with Salsa Verde and Chili Sauce, Agnello Brodettato, a lamb with egg and lemon sauce, Pollo con Basilica, a Chicken with Basil, Tagliatelle Alla Bollognese, Pasta Ragu, and Pasta al Salmone, a smoked salmon pasta from Tuscany, are being served.

The vegetables include Broccoli alla Romana, Melanzane al Forno, a baked eggplant, and Paete ali Aglio, garlic potatoes. And of course, dessert: Dolce al Rum and Arancini de riso.

The Italian Festival is 11:30 a.m. ~ 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $22.95 or ¥2,100 for adults, and $10.95 or ¥990 for Children under 12. Italian wines and beer are available at an extra charge. The Italian Festival is open to SOFA personnel and families, and to local nationals. Reservations are recommended, particularly for larger groups, at DSN 648-7493 or (098) 857-1753.

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