Kiwi pair repaying the kindness shown by Italian musician after travel mishap
After being helped out of a jam in Italy, two Kiwi women are reciprocating the help they received from an Italian musician by hosting him in New Zealand next month.
Waikanae artists Shirley Sutton and Dana Jackson were left distraught when their campervan was stolen halfway through a six-month trip around Italy, when a kind local man came to their aid.
Giuseppe Petrella, known as Pino, jumped in and offered the women a ride back to Alberobello, where they were staying, but not without a homemade Italian meal first.
Next month Pino, a celebrated guitarist in Italy, will touch down in New Zealand, and Sutton and Jackson have promised to return the warm hospitality he showed them several years earlier.
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"It was only in the third month that our campervan got stolen so we were in a bit of a predicament as to whether we would go back home or carry on," Jackson said.
The trio's friendship strengthened over the following months as the two artists worked from scratch preparing for an exhibition in Alberobello.
Almost every day Pino would drop by to show them the stunning scenery, history and culture of his country, Jackson said.
"It was the middle of summer so every night there was something on, from theatre to arts and crafts as well as pizza and dancing nights – we were absolutely stuffed.
"I fell asleep on a pizza one night – but when I look back now, it's like a jolly fairytale. It really was a beautiful time of our lives."
Last year Jackson and her husband organised a secret trip around Europe and went back to visit Pino and his family.
"He's such a lovely guy and I want to share him around as much as possible while he's here," Jackson said.
"I'm just so glad he's coming and we can host him and give him a wee taste of New Zealand, especially in winter."
Pino is set to touch down in Auckland on July 3 and visit Wellington six days later.
During his two-week visit, Pino will give two performances in the region with the first in Island Bay, the birthplace of Wellington's Italian community, on July 9, and at La Bella Italia in Petone on July 12.