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Chinese lanterns illuminate Italian theme park

Pub Date:24-02-09 10:53 Source:China Daily

A large collection of handmade Chinese lanterns lit up one of Italy's major theme parks in the city of Cassino this holiday season.

The International Lantern Festival "Lanternia" opened on Dec 8 at the Il Bosco delle Favole (Fairy Tale Forest) in central Italy.

Divided into six areas and featuring Christmas, fairy tales, animal and animation themes, this large-scale display covers some 110,000 square meters and 2.5 kilometers of pathways, all illuminated with giant Chinese lanterns.

The exhibition, which will run until March 10, received more than 2,000 visitors on Jan 28. This was also the opening day of Carnival, a traditional Italian holiday.

"The lanterns are popular with Italians," says Domenico Durante, director of the exhibition.

As of Jan 28, the lantern had attracted about 80,000 visitors, he adds, with 1,000 to 5,000 people entering the park each day.

The success of the exhibition is due to the exquisite handiwork of artisans in Zigong, Sichuan province, a city known for its lantern culture. A team of 15 people came to Cassino at the end of last year to work for a month, handicrafting hundreds of lanterns.

The lanterns are made of silk, an eco-friendly material that is lightweight, nonpolluting and resilient. They are illuminated with the latest low-power LEDs, reminiscent of candles or traditional light sources.

According to Durante, the distinctly Chinese lanterns are new and very attractive to Italians. Visitors came from the north and south of the country to see them.

Damiano Vincenzo drove over 50 minutes from Beneventoto to the park with his family.

"I really like these typical lanterns," he says.

His son Matias especially loves dragon lanterns, not only because of their wonderful colors but also because that "the dragon's head moves".

Another visitor, Matteo, went after reading about Chinese lanterns on the official website and says that the lanterns are "as beautiful as imagined".

The exhibition originated in a trip that Durante took to Zigong, where he was impressed by this traditional art and decided to bring it to his hometown.

"Next year, we might do more lanterns with Chinese characteristics and bring the exhibition to other Italian cities like Florence, or even all over the world," he says.

Editor:Qin Shuying

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