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June 13, 2019

National Day of Italy celebrated


June 13, 2019

Islamabad: To celebrate the National Day of Italy, Ambassador Stefano Pontecarvo and Lidia Ravera Pontecarvo hosted a reception at the Serena Hotel. As has been the case since the Pontecarvo’s arrived in Islamabad, it was a very different affair from the usual – Italian culture and promotional events are showcased in such a manner that it’s enjoyable for the guests. They get to learn something about the country, which whets their curiosity to visit Italy and experience what it has to offer tourists.

Apart from the diplomatic guests, the reception was very well attended by Pakistanis including political entities. A large screen in the hotel lobby flashed changing scenes of Italy’s streets and architectural landscapes across the wall where the entrance to the Sheeshmahal Hall is located, so it appeared as if guests were entering an Italian building. Inside two stages had been set up either side of the hall with screens as backdrops so all guests could see the proceedings at all times and also had men and women wearing venetian masks and showcasing mediaeval costumes. Instead of fashion creations by an Italian designer as in previous years, the central display this time were opulent and eye catching designs by internationally-renowned Pakistani designer Rizwan Beyg!

Addressing the gathering after the national anthems of both countries had been beautifully sung by Italian vocalist Martina Naso - who had come all the way from Italy and goes by the nom de plume, ‘Mystic Flame’ - and the cake cutting ceremony had taken place, Ambassador Pontecarvo gave a brief speech – he has learned long speeches are not listened to – introducing the guest of honor, Minister for Power and Petroleum Division, Omar Ayub Khan; Martina Naso; his wife Lidia, to whom the credit of organizing the event goes, with the help of the embassy personnel; saying a few explanatory words about the costumes; the exhibition of Venetian masks and jewelry by Maria Paola Ranfi, and concluded by thanking the sponsors and hotel management. His address was punctuated with humor and was listened to in silence. Dinner was served with Italian cuisine from different parts of Italy and some guests also were able to enjoy specialties prepared on the spot by an Italian chef.

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