Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Teessiders Set for an Anglo-Italian Job

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Teessiders Set for an Anglo-Italian Job

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Robson Senior Reporter

TEESSIDE is coming down with World Cup fever - but our Anglo-Italian households could well have divided loyalties.

With several Teesside families of Italian descent, the prospect of the big England v Italy clash is an enticing one.

And nowhere will the rivalry be more keenly felt than in the Middlesbrough household of long jump champion Chris Tomlinson.

Chris, 32, is the current British indoor and outdoor record holder and a world silver medallist.

A proud Brit, he'll be cheering England on - but it's not so straightforward for his actress wife Lucia Rovardi.

In 2008, the couple tied the knot in the Italian hilltop home of her grandad's family. They now have two children - sons Raphael, two, and Vincenzo, one. And Lucia, who was born in England but whose grandparents were from Arpino, near Rome, says she's fiercely proud of her Italian heritage.

She explained: "My brother got married in Italy only last week and all the family were over there.

"It's always been male dominated in my house, with three older brothers. One of my earliest memories as a kid is during Italia 90, with all these Italian men in the living room, shouting and screaming at the TV. I was a bit frightened to be honest!

"So I'm English but with a strong Italian influence. And I grew up with Italian football always on in the house.

"I keep winding Chris up about it. I've told him I'll be chanting "I-tal-ia, I-tal-ia' at him. I've even got Raphael a little Italy kit.

"I'd like to see England win the World Cup but of course, I have loyalties to Italy."

Middlesbrough Italian restaurant Eliano's is flying the countries of both flags, as founder Eliano Addis is from Sardinia and his wife Rosetta's parents were Italian, although she was born in Middlesbrough. And the brasserie, on Fairbridge Street, is getting into the England/ Italy spirit by offering a free bottle of Peroni with every meal ahead of the big game.

Rosetta said: "It's a 'no lose' situation as far as I'm concerned. Whoever wins it is OK by me, although I'd probably prefer a draw. …

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