The Italians love eating al fresco. They also adore opera, fine food and good wine, and even a cool beer. It's all part of la dolce vita, or so goes the myth peddled by Hollywood and the many disciples of Italian cooking, fashion and sport.
Anyone who has been fortunate enough to visit Italy will know that, somewhat depressingly, all of this would appear to be true. Despite economic woes, political sex scandals and corruption in the national game of calcio, Italy bears it all with generous scoops of gelati, washed down with litres of Barolo and the world's finest olive oil, none of which is spilled on the exquisite threads sported by dashing men and their breathtakingly attractive wives. Even the ruins (of which there are many) ooze suave sophistication. I've seen Doric columns better looking than Brad Pitt.
As a result of all this cool, us Brits can't get enough of all things Italian. Fashion, design and high culture all borrow heavily from a range of Italian touchstones. So far, our love of opera, one of Italy's greatest passions, remains limited to comparatively small audiences at select venues and festivals.
One popular Italian brand, Peroni Nastro Azzuro, are now doing their level best to make us fall yet deeper in love with the country with a series of outdoor opera performances, inspired by the Arena di Verona summer season of operas, and produced in partnership with musician and producer Kwes and innovative producers Go Opera.
The London performances conclude tomorrow (very British summer weather permitting), before heading off for two performances in each of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool (dates below). We have tickets available now, priced just £6.50. Details for dates in Glasgow are soon to be confirmed for 22nd 23rd August. Molto bene.