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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Josie Butchart

London's poshest retailer will showcase the very best of Italian produce this month as it launches its first Made in Italy' festival, in association with the Italian Trade Commission and Instituto Marangoni, Italy's leading fashion school. Between 6 September and 30 October, Harrods in Knightsbridge will host a series of Italian-themed events throughout the store, including opera matinees on the balconies of the Egyptian stairs, a recreation of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel in the menswear department and a children's cookery school with chef Aldo Zilli. Customers will also be able to experience pizza-tossing demonstrations and buffalo mozzarella-making in the food hall. Harrods wine buyer Alistair Viner has sourced more than 70 new wines for the event from six Italian wine regions: Emilia-Romagna, Campania, Tuscany, Lombardy, Piedmont and Umbria. The wine department will hold a free tasting on every Saturday during the festival, focusing on a different region each week, as well as holding evening tasting events sponsored by consumer magazines Olive and BBC Good Food. Viner told Harpers: We have taken on new wines from existing Harrods' suppliers as well as wines from new producers for the promotion. In essence, the Italian listings will swell to around 150 lines. We see Italy as a growth area although it already accounts for around 14% of our wine sales. It's all about trying to generate interest for the consumer.' Viner confirmed that Harrods will hold more themed events, with the next possibly focusing on South Australia.