The Italian embassy in Doha opened the “Casa Italia” yesterday, marking its second year of participation at the Katara Traditional Dhow Festival, which is celebrating its 9th edition. Literally “Italian Home”, this unique space at the annual event showcases the best of ‘Italian Traditions at Sea’, ranging from authentic artisanal and food products to live performances, among others, by its musicians and chefs.
In a statement, the embassy said Casa Italia promotes and focuses on the city of Venice, its ancient history and traditions; and Sardinia, the renowned marvellous island in the heart of the Mediterranean with its meaningful sea culture. Sara Marrocu, the assessor for culture in Portoscuso — a fishermen village founded in 16th century based on fishing and coral miners — is bringing the traditional tools used for the tuna fishing from the local museum of fishery.
A photo exhibition, courtesy of Martino Motti, underlines the different phases of the tuna fishing in Sardinia related to the “Tonnara”, a traditional method to catch tunas. Ladies in original Sardinian costumes prepares handmade pasta and a Trio of musicians flying in from Cagliari are playing “Launeddas” – a typical wind instrument – to entertain visitors with folk music at the Katara esplanade. Meanwhile, Casa Italia also features the ‘The timeless beauty of Venice’ (courtesy of La Vela spa) photo exhibition, displaying the most beautiful spots of what was described as “a marvellous city.”
In front of Casa Italia are authentic Gondola vessels docked with stewards in gondolier attire to take pictures with the festival-goers.
Traditional Venetian artworks made of  handmade “vetro di Murano”, the authentic world-renowned Murano glass made by skilled glassblowers, are also showcased with their rich colours and gold and silver specks.
Casa Italia is decorated with artisanal handcrafted and painted plates from the Amalfi coast, the renowned Ceramics of Vietri with fish themes. According to the embassy, the plates on show are created by the skilled hands of Umberto D’Arienzo, a member of a family of artisans and decorators and is carrying on the second-generation family traditions.
The Municipal Councillor for Fishery of San Benedetto del Tronto, Mario Ballatore, presents a photo exhibition of this renowned sea holiday destination located in the Marche region and brings to Katara some typical fishing nets from his town.
Italian TV chef Massimo Malantrucco is also holding workshops at Casa Italia to explain the benefits of the healthy Mediterranean diet and Italian food products. He also performs live cooking shows to prepare traditional recipes. Several Italian restaurants in Doha and Italian food importing companies – Al Messilia Resort, IFG Lavazza, Carluccio’s, Colosseum, Bombo Crepes and Agrico – gives visitors the chance to experience  the most popular Italian recipes and street-food, and to celebrate the authentic Italian cuisine and taste.
Italian musician Gabriele Giuliano and his folk group perform live as they entertain the audience with traditional music from the South of Italy: pizzica, tarantella and tammuriata. Doha-based Italian saxophonist Ilenia Torsello also takes part in the live performances and delight the visitors with soft background music while they are enjoying the cultural display at Casa Italia.