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Global Tyre Giant Backs Local Festival

Pirelli Tyres has become an official supporter of the Melbourne Italian Festival.

The Milan-based global tyre manufacturer has lent its support to the annual event which promotes all things Italian in Melbourne, and runs from 22 May to 8 June 2008.

"Pirelli is delighted to assist with this celebration of Italian-Australian culture," Pirelli Tyres Australia Managing Director Roberto Righi said.

Roberto Righi, Managing Director of Pirelli Tyres Australia

"Obviously, Pirelli is proudly Italian . and Australia is a key market for us, a market where there is much respect for Italian culture and products, and it is also a country where Italians feel very much at home.

"It's great to be able to contribute to this Festival and further these relationships."

A feature of the Festival this year is the Italian Connection Rally which, for the first time, links Australia's two most famous Little Italy precincts, Norton Street Leichardt in Sydney and Lygon Street, Carlton in Melbourne.

The Italian Connection Rally is a three-day adventure that starts on 25 May and will take competitors throughout country New South Wales and Victoria, before finishing at the Carlton Football Club on 25 May.

Inspired by Italy's famous Mille Miglia Rally, the event has attracted a field of 60 entrants, many predictably driving equally famous Italian marques such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Fiat.

The Melbourne Italian Festival year will open on the 22 May at the Great Hall, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) with the Australian premiere performance of the Chamber Musicians of La Fenice of Venice, one of Italy's premier Opera houses.

Also on the program is the World Premiere presentation of late great film director, Michelangelo Antonioni Retrospective at Cinema Nova from the 23-29 May, the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Italian Constitution at Federation Square on 1 June, and the official closing of the Festival at Piazza Italia in Lygon Street on the 7-8 June.

May 2008