• Time ticking down to the Climate Conference in Paris.......will we be there?

    Time ticking down to the Climate Conference in Paris.......will we be there?

  • Alberto and Corinna Zedde

    Alberto and Corinna Zedde

  • Maria Zanella and Colonel Antonio Coppola

    Maria Zanella and Colonel Antonio Coppola

  • Anna Wyatt, Margy Abbott and Svetlana and Pier Francesco Zazo

    Anna Wyatt, Margy Abbott and Svetlana and Pier Francesco Zazo

  • A fine operatic rendition of the Italian National Anthem

    A fine operatic rendition of the Italian National Anthem

  • Margy Abbott and Svetlana Sharapa Zazo

    Margy Abbott and Svetlana Sharapa Zazo

  • Ambassador of th United States of America John Berry and Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Nabil Al Saleh

    Ambassador of th United States of America John Berry and Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Nabil Al Saleh

  • Chunchai and Joe Giugni

    Chunchai and Joe Giugni

  • Nancie Lim, Don and Lucy Capezio and Roberto Andriolo

    Nancie Lim, Don and Lucy Capezio and Roberto Andriolo

  • Mark Engell and Warwick Couch

    Mark Engell and Warwick Couch

  • Paloma Lopez and David Fricker with Gian Marco and Lise Bessiere

    Paloma Lopez and David Fricker with Gian Marco and Lise Bessiere

  • Bilgen Tug with Colette and Greg Oakes

    Bilgen Tug with Colette and Greg Oakes

  • Veronique Canellas and Tony Hanrahan

    Veronique Canellas and Tony Hanrahan

  • Rose Farronato and Gabriella Genero

    Rose Farronato and Gabriella Genero

  • Corinna Zedde and Assunta Milenovic

    Corinna Zedde and Assunta Milenovic

  • Welcome from Ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo, his wife Zvetlana and embassy doplomats.

    Welcome from Ambassador Pier Francesco Zazo, his wife Zvetlana and embassy doplomats.

  • 'Bianca' the splendid white Lamborghini

    'Bianca' the splendid white Lamborghini

The National Day of the Republic of Italy is celebrated on 2 June in Rome with a grand military parade; in Canberra by contrast with a grand welcome stroll past a cavalcade of Italian cars to lust for and a warm welcome from the Ambassador of Italy Pier Francesco Zazo and his vivacious wife Svetlana Sharapa Zazo.

It is wise to be on time, firstly to say all the important hellos and whip around the reception rooms before the crowd separates you from the prosciutto and the cheese, and it’s an idea to find a spot for the passing platters of pizza. The bar easy to see across the magnificent courtyard of this residence designed by Enrico Taglietti, but impossible to get to, is a cautionary reminder of the need for restraint in these cocktail hours.

Ambassador Zazo spoke of our travels; that’s 800,000 of us last year off to experience the delights of a country where style is genetic and food, wine and family exist to ensure we live well and enjoy it. Where music is essential and the nightly passeggiata in the piazzas connects communities in a tradition our sprawling ‘burbs make impossible. Bells anywhere near your hotel to be avoided at all cost if you like to sleep.

At this celebration Margy Abbott was a guest of honour – I’m told one of her daughters has a handsome Italian gentleman courting her – and Anthony Albanese was ‘over there’, among the beautiful people. Greg Oakes acknowledged he was the owner of Bianca the white Lamborghini at the front door that I cheekily asked the minder to warm up for my departure and I would happily leave my unmentionable brand of chariot in exchange. Not to be.

My Italian experiences are happy memories, but online shopping keeps me in touch with their fabulous fashion, homewares and shoes. The food we’ve learnt how to cook, but I will be checking with the embassy chef for that pizza recipe. Delizioso.