Jo Skinrite

Casa Italia

August 2012, London painted red white and green. Yes, our nation has left an indelible mark on the London 2012 Olympic Games, thanks to our country’s organizational capacity that rivals even the great British event planning. “Casa Italia”, the headquarters of the Italian team, was located in “The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre”, opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1986. The Centre, close to the symbols of the City, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye Ferris Wheel, measures 6.000 square meters, has 6 floors and 29 different event rooms. These are the numbers and the size of the Italian headquarters on the occasion of the XXX edition of Summer Olympics, President Petrucci talks about it with pride, recalling the origins of the choice. «We have to say thanks to Mr Carraro, who invented “Casa Italia”        in 1984. As a forerunner it immediately became an example everybody has tried to copy since then. In London we had a prestigious location, which for the first time will also host the Paralympic Committee. A fantastic gathering point to host extraordinary companies, athletes and journalists». Without doubt, as the heads of the IOC President Rogge and Vice Bach state, it is the one sportsmen and women appreciated most. “Casa Italia” didn’t, however, only mean sport but also musical events of the highest level dedicated to athletes and institutions. Gianluca Pellerito and his quintet played a hugely successful concert on the 6th of August, while on the 9th it was Giovanni Allevi’s turn. Both concerts had enormous popular appeal and were a success with critics. Italian Jazz had a great opportunity to come into the limelight with Gianluca Pellerito and his quintet in one of the most important events in last past few years. It was certainly a dream team of world jazz that played in the “Churchill Auditorium” at “Casa Italia”. An extraordinary Quintet composed by the Band Leader, the eighteen-years old drummer Gianluca Pellerito, world star of the jazz, who played with musicians such as Jason Rebello, a famous pianist who has collaborated with Sting, Michael Rosen, an american saxophonist, one of the most virtuous in the world, Paul Stacey, a guitarist who played with the Oasis for many years,  Karl Rasheed Abel, one of the top bass players in London, from Berklee College of Music. A mix of funky music and latin Jazz was their sound, the show titled Jazz My Way offered the public about two hours of great jazz revisited through groove and the typical sound of Gianluca Pellerito Quintet. And then, the Italian national culinary culture team! The splendid restaurant – with a breathtaking view above the City – on the third floor of the “Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre”, was the workspace of some of the Italian top chefs such as Marta Pulini (“La Franceschetta”, Modena), Massimo Spigaroli (“L’antica Corte Pallavicina”, Polesine Parmense, 1 Michelin star), Massimo Bottura (“La Francescana”, Modena,          3 Michelin stars), Pier Luigi Di Diego (“Don Giovanni”, Ferrara,        1 Michelin star), Giovanna Guidetti (“La Fefa”, Finale Emilia) who were recruited for the occasion by “True Italian food and wine”,         that took care of the restoration of “Casa Italia”. The concept of Italian culinary culture, poetry and art guided athletes, journalists and institutions in a five-star gastronomic tour: it was really an all emotional showcase of Made in Italy in Olympic London.

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