International Women's Day

As part of International Women's Day, Bruna helped the Women's Institute to organise a Welsh-Italian day. The event was split into two very successful days after more than 270 tickets were sold in just over a month! Bruna was a guest presenter and gave a language taster session on the first day, while the President of the Amici Val Ceno Galles association, Romeo Basini, and Maria Peduzzi, a teacher from Cardiff, kindly agreed to stand in for Bruna on the second day. Welsh-Italian writer Anita Arcari was also a special guest on the second day. 

Prior to the event, Bruna met Sig. Giancarlo Zambelli of Boretto, Italy, who promotes local history and traditions of the Emilia Romagna region, from where many Italians migrated to South Wales at the turn of the 19th century. Sig. Giancarlo, with the help of Sig. Matteo Freddi, a local fruit and veg producer and exporter, was able to send hundreds of beautiful Borettane Onions for the two-day event. They were sold with a booklet of recipes with Borettane Onions, that is now available for you to enjoy!  
During the two-day event, the Welsh-Italian culture and ongoing connection was celebrated in its full through history, literature, memories, music and food, of course! Yummy nougat sweets and cakes were also offered to the lovely ladies to delight their palette, courtesy of Dolciaria Sorelle Rivoltini, a family run business producing nougat in Vescovato(Cremona, Italy), since 1940. (

Sales of the Borettane Onions raised £508 for Giancarlo's cineclub! 



A Report from the
Glamorgan Federation
Women's Institute Public Affairs


Due to huge demand, this event was run twice, on 8 March and 12 April 2014. Some speakers changed for the second date, but the content remained much the same and included:

A welcome of Italian Nougat
A selection of nougat had been bought for raffle prizes and the producer had sent over from Italy a generous range of samples for people to try – these were cut into squares to offer to members as they signed in, and proved very popular.


The music and culture of Italy
Also, as people arrived, accordion music played and pictures of Bardi were shown on the screen. A quiz about Italy was on the tables for members to test their knowledge of all things Italian.

Sarah Fisher, accompanied by David Seaman, gave us a recital of Italian music, ending with the much-loved “o mio babbino caro”. The quality of the singing was demonstrated by the absolute silence of the hall during the performance.

An introduction to the language
Our tutors Bruna and Maria helped us to realise how much Italian is in use in our everyday language, and taught us to recognise and translate many Italian words into English and vice versa. After learning numbers we were able to ask each other for telephone contacts – could be useful on holiday! This was a fun inter-active session.


The food of Italy – Sian Roberts
Sian talked to us first about the impact of geography (mountains, pasture, the sea) and the influences of different cultures on the food of different regions. She then took us on a journey through various regions where she had lived and worked, explaining the range of food to be found there. The journey was enlivened by personal tales of first studying and later working in Italy.


A Welsh – Italian author
Anita Arcari told us how she came to write her first novel – “The Hokey Pokey Man” based on her own research into her Italian roots. Her grandfather had been part of the migration of many Italians into Wales and her journey to find their original homestead inspired her to write.


A taste of Italian food.
At lunchtime members were given a plated selection of Italian foods followed by Panettone & Panforte all prepared by a team of volunteers led by Shena Sarjeant.

History of the Italian migration into Wales

This topic was central to the day. The presenters (Bruna Chezzi and Romeo Basini), spoke about the migration of Italians, especially from Bardi, into Wales. They established a network of cafés, ice cream parlours and fish and chip shops in Wales from the 1890s onwards. In the Rhondda Valley they became known as 'Bracchis' after an early café owner. During the Second World War, Welsh-Italians without British citizenship were declared enemy aliens and a number were interned. 53 Welsh Italians lost their lives in the sinking of the Arandora Star in 1940.

A celebration of influential Italian women

Glenys Care paid tribute to many of the Italian women through history who had been influential in Italian life, from a pioneer of women’s health in the 11th Century through mathematicians, artists, actresses, educationalists and politicians to present day fashion, cookery and sport icons.



Members took advantage of the opportunity to buy fresh Borettane onions flown in especially from Bruna’s home village in Italy.