With the sound of music and language ringing in the ears and the distinct aroma of pizza filling the nostrils, Derry’s first Italian cultural festival took place earlier in the week.
Organised by students of the Northwest Academy English language school in conjunction with the Nerve Centre, the festival had a unique set of events for visitors to take part in.
You could try your hand at the language with a series of “speed lessons” on everything from eating out, the numbers in Italian, or even the colours. There was mandolin playing as well as an operatic recital.
To top it all off there was a screening of the whimsical short Centro Barca Okkupato about a local community centre in danger of closure and the lengths to which the users of the centre will go to keep the centre open. Thé iceing on the Italian cake was a screening of the classic Cinema Paradiso, the story of Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita and the influence that the local cinema and it’s projectionist Alfredo have on his life as Toto grows from an enthusiastic young boy, to a love sick teenager through to someone who himself has influence on cinema.
Given the amount of Italians who have made Derry their home down the years it is surprising that an Italian cultural night has not been organised before. The Northwest Academy of English, the Nerve Centre and everyone else involved are to be congratulated on a well thought-out program, let’s hope it is the first of many.