A small but illustrious delegation left for our Rotary Twinning visit to Alba Italy in the week of September 12, to celebrate Alba’s 60th. Anniversary and meet up again with our sister clubs of Ovada (Italy), Beausoleil (France) and Karlshamn (Sweden). Malcolm, Sue, Vice-President Peter and Wendy leaving on Wednesday and staying in Turin overnight, while Keith, Gillian, Liz and President Mike left very early Thursday morning.
Both groups hired cars for the visit spending the Thursday September 15 amongst the narrow streets of the mediaeval town of Alba.
Our hotel was the Hotel del Castello di Santa Vittoria
d’Alba, perched on top of a hill with fantastic views over the beautiful
valleys, vineyards and hills of the Langhe Region.
That evening was the first event of the visit when all the visitors, from France and Sweden, as well as our own party, assembled in the hotel lounge prior to dinner for a welcome and introduction by our hosts. An opportunity to meet up with old acquaintances and introduce ourselves to new ones.
Circulating among us were the Italian President, Luca Zanvercelli, and the secretary Lorenzo Gallo, both of whom spoke very good English, and made us feel very welcome.
The programme for Friday was packed, and took us by coach to the castle of Grinzane Cavour. Our tour guide spoke very good English and provided a running commentary for most of the day, explaining who built what, and when. The castle contained a museum and a regional delicacies shop selling wines, hazelnut biscuits and nougat.
The forecast for the weather had not been encouraging but the cloud lifted, and the sun appeared in the afternoon to make it very pleasant. Following this visit we left for a Barolo winery for lunch venue, a tour of the winery and some education in the processes involved, and a tasting menu of food paired with the appropriate wine. The presidents exchanged gifts and President Mike also presented Luca with our club photo, which had been taken before the previous Monday’s lunch meeting, explaining that those of our club who could not make the trip had wanted to be remembered to their friends in Alba. Not to be outdone, President Mike's short speech in Italian went down very well to an audience largely consisting of French, Swedish and English diners who all seemed suitably impressed without having a clue what he was trying to say.
The programme ended with a walking tour of the hilltop village of La Morra, an old village of narrow lanes, old buildings and boasting a panoramic view of the surrounding area anda visit to the Wine Museum in Barolo – very unusual in concept.
Finally the day ended with small groups of mixed nationalities being hosted by Alba club members at local restaurants or in their homes. A convivial and entertaining evening was had by all.
Saturday saw us leave early by coach (again) for Turin, and a visit to the Caffé Fiorio, a coffee house where intellectuals used to meet. Our guide met us there and took us on foot tour of the Piazza di Castello, pointing out the major sights including a visit to the church where the Turin Shroud is usually stored, and to the Egyptian Museum where our guide gave us a most interesting tour.
Finally, we were taken to the Eataly Restaurant for lunch - a vast compound containing many different types of restaurants and food outlets of traditional Italian foods, before returning to the hotel in late afternoon.
That evening was the formal Gala Dinner, including a re-enactment of the inaugural meeting of the Alba Club which was performed by its Rotaract Club members, and also a speech from the very glamorous sequin covered District Governor, which sounded as inspiring as it looked. 140 Rotarians and guests celebrated this Twinning Reunion and the 60th Anniversary of Alba’s formation.
Sunday and a final meeting of presidents and farewells to friends, new and old with everyone looking forward to next year’s visit to UK.
There was the usual presidential tête à tête for a short while afterwards where everyone was anxious that next year should be as close to the same dates as possible as it fits nicely into the schedules. It was a positive end to a really enjoyable visit.
But it wasn’t over! Led by Alba Club Secretary Lorenzo, we drove to Asti for the “Palio di Asti”
– a re-enactment in mediaeval dress with groups from 21 local villages which dates back to 1275 AD and commemorates the rivalry and battles between the villages in olden times.
First, groups vied with each other in their prowess and synchronised Flag waving, including tossing them high in the air, then a parade of 1200 – yes over a thousand participants - all in in period costume, some walking, some riding horses, some on carts, some carrying, waving and tossing their flags. Finally the horse races as three sets of seven riders, one per group, competed in a bareback horse race round the principal square of Asti. The speed of the horses, the prowess of the riders, the spectacle, the drama! An event we will never forget.
When the excitement was over, we all stayed on for a further three days to enjoy Italy, albeit in different areas of the country.
more We have received an invitation from the Rotary Club of Karlshamn for the Double Triangular visit to take place September 8-11, 2022.
more We all appreciated the opportunity to “meet” with members from our sister clubs over Zoom after such a long break.
more President Peter and Member Patrick Rothon completed a ZOOM presentation on the Rotary Club of Billericay Soapbox Derby to Belmont Rotary Club near Melbourne, Australia.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here France reports on life under lockdown in France.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Italy reports on life under lockdown in Italy.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Sweden reports on life under lockdown in Sweden.
more Highspot of the Rotary Year, the annual twinning visit to one of our linked clubs in Mainland Europe is delayed but international web meetings planned.
more Rotary principles in action- International Fellowship and co-operation on charitable projects with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more It’s time again for the forthcoming double triangular reunion of Rotarians, so called because it brings together Members from six different Rotary Clubs in four countries.
more Rotary principles at work - International Fellowship with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more Double Triangular Reunion of British, French, Italian and Swedish Rotary clubs
more As part of the international fellowship with other Rotary Clubs, we send our newsletter to all our "twinned" clubs. In return, they send their latest news bulletins to us.
more International Rotary Fellowship at a "Double Triangular" Rotary Meeting - six clubs (Basildon, Billericay - UK; Alba, Ovada - Italy; Beausoleil - France) met in Sweden hosted by Karlshamn Rotary Club
more It's 2015 and time for our Fellowship trip to Karlshamn, Sweden.
more A major feature of the twinning visits between our clubs is the hosting of visiting club members and their wives by individual Beausoleil Club members at their homes.
more Following our hosting of the twinning visit in 2013, Billericay Rotary Club enjoyed a wonderful programme in France this year, hosted by the Rotary Club of Beausoleil, along with Basildon, Alba and Ovada (Italy), Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 18-21.
more Everybody enjoyed a wonderful programme of social and historical events when Billericay Rotary Club hosted a reciprocal visit from its twinning clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 12-15.
more 2012 sees the turn of the Rotary club of Alba to host its twinned clubs of Billericay, Basildon and Beausoleil (France) for a programm of events and fellowship.
more A great day visiting the Houses of Parliament with fellow Rotarians from Italy, Sweden and France, organised by Basildon Rotary Club.
back We have had international links with other Rotary Clubs in Europe since the mid 1960s. Starting with Beausoleil in 1965 these links have grown to encompass Italy (Alba), Sweden (Karlshamn) and Italy (Ovada Del Centenario) in more recent years.