Italian Design Day gives a taste of ancient Rome to Jeddawis

Italian CG with representatives of Italian brands during the press conference in Jeddah on Saturday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 12 March 2017

Italian Design Day gives a taste of ancient Rome to Jeddawis

JEDDAH: Italian furniture has a worldwide appeal that is perhaps one of the most popular and enduring designs among collectors and casual buyers. Italy’s furniture makers since the 15th century have been influenced by the architecture of ancient Rome and the result is timeless styling.
In collaboration with the Italian Business Group and Distretto Design, Italian Design Day comes to Saudi Arabia for the first time on Sunday to showcase Italian-made products under the umbrella of the Italian Consulate General and Jeddah’s Chamber of Commerce.
Italian Design Day is sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, La Triennale and Salone del Mobile di Milano.
The Italian ambassador in Riyadh will participate in workshops during the event.
The special guest of Italian Design Day is the dean of the Design Institute of Urbino, Professor Leonardo Romei, who will be the event’s ambassador of Italian Design.
Romei will address communication and design. He will give a theoretical approach to promote and encourage the collaboration among universities in terms of student exchange, according to Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini.
At least 11 Italian Interior Design brands will exhibit some of their most iconic pieces shipped from Italy to Saudi Arabia for the occasion.
“Our brands are already made in Italy, but we want to support and promote them in a country like Saudi Arabia,” Martini said. “It is not that easy to each a big audience.”
“We are putting together different businesses, different styles and ways of life,” said Bashar Jabban, president of Italian Business Group.
Italian high-quality products are aimed to attract Saudi buyers with sophisticated high aesthetic standards. The Saudi market is a significant market and one of the biggest markets in the Middle East, according to company representatives of B&B, Slamp and Italprogram Plus.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.