Aldo Zilli the star guest at Peterborough Italian Festival

Make time in your diary for one of the biggest celebrations of Italian culture in the country.

The Peterborough Italian Festival is back this weekend (9 and 10 September 2017) and this year’s special guest will be celebrity chef and restaurateur Aldo Zilli.

Aldo, famed for his TV appearances and string of Zilli-themed restaurants, will share his culinary expertise with a question and answer session and book signing for Italian food lovers.

 The festival, now in its ninth year, takes place in Cathedral Square and is organised by Peterborough's Italian Community Association and supported by Peterborough City Council.

Aldo said: “I travel a lot with my work and I love supporting the Italian communities all over the world with celebrations of food, drink, dance and fashion.

“I jumped at the chance to be part of the Peterborough Italian Festival and I am very much looking forward to meeting the people of Peterborough and experiencing this wonderful carnival of Italian culture.”

Aldo will be there on the Sunday and his appearance adds to a bumper list of activities planned for the weekend.

The festival kicks off at midday on Saturday with a performance of Verdi's A Masked Ball by Peterborough Opera.

Italian Festival Market

There will then be music and dance from Laboratorio Orafolk, who are coming all the way from Deliceto in the province of Foggia, and entertaining theatre from Shakespeare in Italy with their performance Aliens Order.

 There will also be wine making, a Prosecco stall for lovers of the iconic fizz, Italian cakes from bakers such as La Rondini, pizza from a range of specialist vendors, Porchetta - an Italian hog roast, wood fire oven sales and festival merchandise including t-shirts, bunting and balloons.

As in previous years the Mediterranean extravaganza will also feature an Italian market, classic Italian cars and motorcycles, confectionery, ice-cream, pasta, football and boxing demonstrations, scooters and lots more.

Annette Joyce, the city council’s service director for city services, said: "Italy is one of the most cultural and historical countries in the world and it is tremendous to see it celebrated so well by Peterborough's Italian community for the benefit of the city.

"I am sure the appearance by Aldo Zilli will be anticipated by many and he will add an extra ray of Mediterranean sunshine to an already packed weekend of music, dance, food, drink and more."

The festival runs on Heritage Open Day weekend and there will be an exhibition celebrating Peterborough's London Brick heritage at St John the Baptist Church in Church Street on the Saturday. A large number of Peterborough's Italian community worked for the London Brick Company.

The festival runs from 12noon to 5pm on both days.

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