Bonjourno fans of italy

LICENTIOSUS, the Roman gladiator, will come from the highlands of Armidale to do battle at the Italian Festival in Lismore tomorrow.

He will be bringing with him his secret weapon - the scissor.

“It's basically a big pizza cutter,” Licentiosus, alter ego of Richard Robinson, said.

As part of the festival there will be a series of gladiatorial combats by members of the New England Medieval Arts Society who will be dressed in reproduction costumes and will fight for the honour of vestal virgins.

And although they will not be feeding any Christians to the lions, Mr Robinson said it would still be an exciting show.

Gladiators, he said, need to be fast and alert.

There will also be displays of reproduction armour from the gladiatorial period, which lasted from 300BC to 300AD.

The Italian Festival is now in its second year and is a celebration of the Italian presence in Northern NSW since the 1920s.

There will be a variety of Italian food stalls, market stalls, prizes and activities for children at the festival.

A highlight will be a soccer game between Italy and The Rest of the World.

The world team will be captained by Lismore City Council deputy mayor Isaac Smith.

The festival starts at 10am, with the official opening at 11.45am.

Guests will include the Member for Page Janelle Saffin, Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, the NSW Member for Lismore Thomas George, Richmond Valley mayor Col Sullivan, Kevin Oliveri and Americo Melchior.

June Henry and Paul McGowen will sing the Italian and Australian national anthems.

Last year's festival attracted 4000 people.

The festival will be held at the Italo-Australian Club in Barrow Lane, North Lismore.

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