The Italian Almanac


Italian News - July 29

Visitors to this Adriatic resort should not blame the local wine if they start to see double this weekend. That's because Riccione is playing host to hundreds of siblings who are gathering here for the 2005 European Twins Festival.

Twins from a range of nationalities and ages are taking part. The oldest pair on the guest list is Romulus and Remus. Unfortunately for history enthusiasts, the Romulus and Remus in question are not the feuding brothers who founded Rome in 753 BC. They are a pair of brothers from the town of Velletri, near Rome, whose parents were in an adventurous mood when naming their offspring 75 years ago. The youngest guests are two boy twins, born just a couple of months ago in Pesaro.

The four-day event mixes fun and games with scientific conferences on biogenetic, medical and psychological issues regarding twins. There are also opportunities for twins interested in a career in show business: auditions will take place for a new musical that is to be staged next season, Twins Go! The 'Twins Agency', which specializes in identical sibling models and actors, will be on the look-out for new talent too. In the evenings there will be a series of dance, music and cabaret performances starring twin acts.

On Saturday it is time for the flagship event, the Gemelli D'Italia (Twins of Italy) beauty prize. As well as the main award, prizes will also be given for the funniest, sexiest, most eccentric, most similar and most different twins. For sports fans there is a charity soccer match between the Italian twins national team and a selection of journalist players. The money raised will help pay for an operation to separate two Siamese twin babies from the southern province of Cosenza who are joined at the head.