The gates will open at 10:00 am.

Spaghetti will be provided for free, but all attendants must bring a plate and cutlery!

Other activities throughout the course of the day include a Briscola competition, a piñata for the little ones and a lottery draw at 4:00 pm.

So let’s talk about spaghetti.

The latest news from Italy is that pasta doesn’t make you fat!

Indeed, the consumption of pasta has now been associated with a reduction in body mass index.

That is to say, spaghetti, farfalle and rigatoni have reigned supreme over gaining weight!

Indeed, pasta could actually be beneficial to obtaining a great figure, according to a study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology of Neuromed, the Mediterranean Neurological Institute in Pozzilli, which demonstrated how this fundamental element of the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced probability in obesity, both generally and specifically abdominal.

Various representatives from the scientific, business, sport and performance communities have also been consulted on their opinions of the food, and many maintain a daily rapport with pasta.

Testimonials include: Antonio Migliacci,: medical nutritionist and specialist in gastroenterology and President of the Italian Society of Nutritional Science; Francesco Divella, businessman from the Industrial Association of Desserts and Italian Pasta (AIDEPI); and Fabio Pigozzi, President of the International Federation of Sports Medicine, dean and Professor of Medicine at the University of Rome Foro Italico.

Other exceptional supporters of pasta include Rai presenter Caterina Balivo and fencing champion Aldo Montano.

Italy, with a production quantity standing at 3.2 million tonnes a year, is the leader in world pasta production, so much so that one plate of pasta out of four consumed in the world has Italian origins.

Following Italy is the United States (at 2 million tonnes), and Brazil (at 1 million tonnes).

The total production value of Italian pasta has reached 6.1 billion euros with an employment level of 30,000 workers in around 6000 companies.

In regards to exportation, Italy exports 50 per cent of its production quantity, with a value that in the last 10 years has doubled, reaching 1.8 billion euros in 2009.

In Italy the annual consumption level of pasta per capita is at around 28 kilograms (second place goes to Venezuela with 13 kilos), a value which is three times bigger than the US, Greece or France, five times bigger in respect to German and Spanish consumption and 16 times bigger than Japan, according to Coldiretti.

Also significant is the growth of pasta consumption in the US where, according to a study conducted by the National Pasta Association, 77 per cent of consumers put pasta on the menu at least once a week, while 33 per cent eat it at least three times a week.

So what?

Pasta wins again, and it shouldn’t make you gain weight, but should make you happier.

Choosing wholegrain pasta is the first step, because it allows us, without renouncing taste, to utilise carbohydrates at slow release.

We’re talking about those carbohydrates which maintain our sugar levels stable in the blood and which provide energy in a more constant manner, allowing the organism to absorb and use them slowly.

We have to be careful not to be tricked by the packet.

The packet should clearly say that the flour is wholegrain, or 100 per cent wholegrain to be absolutely sure that the pasta has been prepared exclusively with flours which have not undergone refinement.

Although some dieters might be tempted to eat a plain plate of pasta, it’s not a good idea, according to nutritionists.

It would be better to throw it in the pan with a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, which helps the body to combat fat deposits, and chilli, which increases metabolism.

To avoid abdominal swelling and spikes in glycaemia (the presence of glucose in the blood), we should drain the pasta while it is still al dente and rinse it under cold water.

Cooking pasta too long tends to raise the GI and to render starches in the pasta more digestible.

So now it’s time to turn to vegetables, great friends that they are of pasta.

Consuming raw vegetables before eating spaghetti or a beautiful plate of short pasta, whether a simple plate of crudités in extra virgin olive oil, or a portion of cooked vegetables, stir-fried or grilled (but not boiled), creates a type of parachute for the absorption of sugars, thereby blocking any climb in glycaemia.  

Finally, we must debunk a myth: it is not true that we must absolutely avoid pasta in the evening.

Pasta for dinner is a good thing, say nutritionists; it’s relaxing and helps one lost weight.

It favours synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, resulting in an increased absorption of tryptophan.

Tryptophan relaxes us and helps us sleep; if we relax, stress hormones are decreased, including cortisol, which is guilty of contributing to an increase in weight.

Besides which, diets which completely eliminate carbohydrates so as to drop kilos quickly have been discarded by some scientific studies.

Research by Brigham and the Women’s Hospital of Boston has recently rejected this nutritional regime, sustaining that to eat rice, spaghetti and bread in moderation is the best way toward a long and healthy life.

Researchers analysed a field of more than 15,400 people, calculating the risk of atherosclerosis.

Those who had followed a diet with a low quantity of carbohydrates, at less than 40 per cent of their total energy, alongside those who followed a diet with a too high amount of carbohydrates (over 70 per cent of their total energy) indicated an increase in mortality risk, while the lowest risk level was associated with a moderate consumption of carbohydrates, sitting between 50 per cent and 55 per cent of their energy intake levels.