DUISBURG: The Italy team found themselves in familiar surroundings when they arrived at their World Cup accommodation here yesterday.
Antonio Pelle, an Italian expatriate from the southern region of Calabria, jointly owns the four-star Landhaus Milser hotel and has gone to great lengths to ensure his illustrious guests don't feel homesick.
The facade has been decorated with hundreds of green, white and red flags, while inside terracotta tiles give the place a distinctly Mediterranean feel.
As everybody knows, Italians are very fussy about their food, but this won't be a problem at 'Da Vinci', the hotel restaurant where the squad will have their meals.
No schnitzel or sauerkraut here as Italian chefs serve up steaming hot plates of pasta, 'al dente', of course.
Marco, one of the restaurant's Italian waiters and an ardent Inter Milan fan, could hardy contain his excitement over the arrival of the stars.
“It will be fantastic to serve them, a wonderful experience and a real honour,” he said, gesticulating furiously in true Italian fashion.
“My dream is to see them win the trophy. For me, nothing is more important.”
Italy will train at the modest Meiderich sports ground, normally used by local club MSV Duisburg.
All media activity will take place at 'Casa Azzurri', which has been assembled inside MSV Duisburg's stadium on the outskirts of the city.
Here journalists can tuck into Mortadella ham panini (sandwiches) and guzzle a glass of red wine, before downing the obligatory espresso.
Italy arrived yesterday. – AFP