What's On: Festitalia


Where? Spencer Park – 42 Newberry St, Newmarket
When? Sunday, October 14, 11am until 6pm
Tickets: Available at the Festitalia website - $10 adults, $6 concessions, children under 12 are free!

Bellissimo! Brisbane’s one-day festival of all things Italian returns on Sunday, October 14 to colour the city red, white, and green with world-class entertainment and over 30 incredible flavour makers. The event is a celebration of local and national Italian artists, entertainers, dancers, singers and performers and will be hosted by James Liotta, the award-winning stage, screen and television performer. 

Under the patronage of the Italian Consulate in Brisbane, Festitalia is Queensland’s only official Italian Festival, promoting the richness of the Italian cultural heritage by passionately applauding the contributions made by the strong Italian community in Queensland and celebrating life, love and family.

Pizza, pasta, and coffee are on the menu of course, and Italian treats from calamari to cannoli, gnocchi to Nutella doughnuts, meatballs, granita…the list goes on! Visiting chefs include Sous Chef  Roberto D’anna (Ristorante Tartufo), Chef Andrea Ravezzani (Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar) and Chef-owner Rossano Tantulli (Pavariotti’s Italian Restaurant). You can show off your skills in the Cannoli and Gelato Eating Competitions or work off some of that good food by participating in Nonna’s slipper toss! 


Highlights of the 2018 Festitalia Italian Festival include:

·        The world famous Gruppo Storico Fivizzano Flag Throwers return to Brisbane by popular demand, once again making the journey direct from Fivizzano in Italy to Brisbane. Flag throwing dates back to medieval Italian guilds, when the banner or flag was considered a symbol of purity and was not allowed to touch the ground during performances. The performers dress in medieval costumes and are accompanied by drummers known as tamburini.

·        The Brisbane Tarantella Dancers will perform and teach the traditional southern Italian Tarantella dance.                      

·        Traditional Italian cooking demonstrations hosted by local Italian chefs, including:
o   Roberto D’anna from Ristorante Tartufo, who has been in Australia since 2014 after graduating from Milan’s prestigious Istituto Alberghiero Carlo Porta;
o   Andrea Ravezzani from Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar – a favourite of Italian-loving residents and visitors on the Sunshine Coast;
o   Youssef Ben-Touati – an international award-winning pizzaiolo and pizza acrobat (think Australian Ninja Warrior meets Masterchef!),
o   Rossano Tantulli from Pavarotti’s Italian – a third generation restaurateur from the Tuscan region of Italy, he brings with him the highest credentials from the Chef’s Federation of Italy and has won accolades and awards for his cooking throughout Italy and Europe, and
o   Alessandro Motta – from Casa Motta will be hand-making fresh buffalo mozzarella.

·        Australian songstress and ARIA award-winning vocal powerhouse Cosima de Vito, joined by Italian tenor and concert soloist Raffaele Pierno.  Other entertainers include Italian- Brisbane-based Diletta Luna, and the classically trained singer-songwriter Jason Ficheraan acoustic pop/rock artist who rose to fame representing Australia at the 17th Annual World Championships of Performing Arts.

·        Live kilns and talented glassblowers demonstrating throughout the day, celebrating the ancient art of glassblowing. The origins of glassmaking in Venice go back to the times of the Roman Empire.

·        The artistic swordsmanship of Prima Spada will be on display, celebrating the European masters of the 16th and 17th centuries and with thirty-minute lessons held throughout the day.

·        Acclaimed Pax Romana reenactors and exhibitions by Mare Nostrvm and Regio Esercito will allow Festitalia-goers to travel back to the Roman Empire.

·        Roaming Commedia dell’Arte characters, including wonderfully costumed Venetian ladies, will happily pose for photographs.

·        Fun activities for the bambini including a Palio Bimbi – a hobby horse race and Past’Arte where kids can create a doll’s dress on paper from pasta shapes.

·        The Talk Italian Tent, where you can brush up on your conversational Italian.

Festitalia is proudly supported by the Italian community and its valued sponsors Brisbane City Council, Bertocchi Smallgoods, Multicultural Affairs Queensland, Brisbane City Football Club, Treasury Casino, QPAC, Merlo Coffee, 13cabs Mantra on Edward, Merthyr Village New Farm, The Royal Hotel, Mapei Australia and Crown Family Jewellers.  Festitalia is also supported by the major Italian community-based institutions in Queensland, including; Com.it.es, Co.As.It. Community Services, Dante Alighieri Brisbane and the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qld).


Treasury Brisbane Accommodation Special
The Treasury Brisbane has unveiled a special accommodation package in partnership with Festitalia, including a Deluxe King Room and breakfast for two for $288. “As part of Treasury Brisbane’s long-standing city pride and our commitment to local spirit, we are thrilled to continue our support of the local Italian community through Festitalia, a real highlight on the Brisbane multicultural calendar,” said Treasury Brisbane Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Dodt.

To book, guests should quote the code FESTITALIA when making a reservation via phone (1800 506 889) or online.

Call for Volunteers! 
Experience Festitalia from behind the scenes by volunteering with Festitalia in areas from costume management, food competition coordination and chef masterclass support through to festival gate greeter, info booth and raffle ticket operator (aka Festival tour guide. “There are opportunities for volunteering in many ways, all of which involve an element of meeting our festival goers and helping to make their experience a memorable one. Volunteering at Festitalia is an important role and we encourage anyone interested to get in touch,” said festival manager Nella Alba-Calabrese.

Volunteers are offered induction and training sessions prior to the Festival along with a certificate of appreciation following the Festival.  For more information and to register your interest, contact Nella Alba-Calabrese at info@festitalia.com.au by Friday 28 September.