• Simon O'Donovan


“Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” – Bertrand Russell “Everything you see I owe to pasta.” – Sophia Loren

We used this CST activities page to celebrate Wales playing Italy in the 'Six Nations Rugby Union Championship', but you could also use it for:

- 'World Pasta Day' on 25th October, or

- 'Republic Day' in Italy is on 2nd June

After introductions and brief orientation, we asked members who had been to Italy, or who would like to? We went around the room and asked what people like about Italy or Italians? BASIC ITALIAN PHRASES

We asked members to guess at their meaning ... Si - YES Per favore - PLEASE Grazie - THANK YOU Prego - YOU'RE WELCOME Mi scusi - EXCUSE ME Mi dispiace - I'M SORRY Buon giorno - GOOD MORNING Buona sera - GOOD EVENING Buona notte - GOOD NIGHT La dolce vita - THE GOOD LIFE

Come sta?- HOW ARE YOU?

Buona giornata! - HAVE A NICE DAY!


Purtroppo so soltanto un po' di Italiano - I'M AFRAID I ONLY SPEAK A LITTLE ITALIAN

Parla Inglese? - DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?

IDIOMS ABOUT ITALY Complete these phrases ... Rome wasn’t built -IN A DAY When in Rome do as - THE ROMANS DO Three coins in - THE FOUNTAIN (Fontana De Trevi) Fiddle while Rome - BURNS Infamy, infamy. They’ve all got - IT IN FOR ME (‘Carry On Cleo’, 1964) All roads lead to - ROME All that glisters is not - GOLD ('Merchant Of Venice', William Shakespeare) It ain’t over till the fat - LADY SINGS (Opera) Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, - I CONQUERED) (‘Julius Caesar’, William Shakespeare) Parting is such sweet - SORROW (that I shall say good night till it be morrow) (‘Romeo And Juliet’, William Shakespeare) Romeo Romeo where - FOR ART THOU

Cross the - RUBICON (Which was a river that separated Italy and Cisalpine Gaul during the Great Roman Empire)

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To - THE FORUM (1966 movie title) What have the Romans ever done - FOR US (Monty Python's 1979 movie 'Life Of Brian' - You Tube clip here)

* Click on the above image for the photos to print off for the tables *

QUIZ QUESTIONS Describe the Italian flag (Il Tricolore)? GREEN WHITE AND RED VERTICAL STRIPES What is the capital of Italy? ROME Where would you find the headquarters of the Catholic Church? VATICAN CITY What is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region? FLORENCE

And the name of the cathedral there?

DUOMO Which 1999 film, set in 1930s Florence, started Dames Joan Plowright, Judy Dench and Maggie Smith? TEA WITH MUSSOLINI Where would you find the ‘Bridge Of Sighs’? VENICE Which 1971 film, set here, starring Dirk Bogarde, is about a sick composer in the early 1900s? DEATH IN VENICE There was also a 1973 thriller, based on a short story by Daphne DuMaurier, starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie set in Venice? DON’T LOOK NOW What are the tourist boats on the canals in Venice called? GONDOLA There was an ice cream advert featuring a Gondola. What was the ice cream? (Just one) CORNETTO (see if members can remember the tune and words of the advert) At what angle does 'The Leaning Tower Of Pisa’ lean? ABOUT 4 DEGREES (5.5 DEGREES PRIOR TO RESTORATION IN 2001. THUS THE TOP OF THE TOWER IS NOW DISPLACED 12FT 10INS FROM THE BASE) Which volcano destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD? VESUVIUS Who starred in the 1970s TV sitcom ‘Up Pompeii’? FRANKIE HOWARD

What was his catchphrase? TITTER YE NOT Who is the patron saint of ecologists, due to his boundless love of animals and nature? SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI What traditional hymn is known as 'A Prayer To Saint Francis Of Assisi'?


Compete this children's rhyme together?

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,

To see what he could see, see, see.

But all that he could see, see, see


Which 2000 film starring Russell Crowe had fight scenes set in the Colosseum in Rome? GLADIATOR What was his character's name in this film? MAXIMUS DECIMUS MERIDIUS

Which famous actor, who featured in this film, died during the making of it? It was his last film! OLIVER REED There was also a 1959 film, starring Charlton Heston, featuring a chariot race at The Circus in Rome? BEN-HUR What illness did his mother and sister have, which Jesus cured them of?

LEPROSY Who played the lead role in the 1970s TV drama ‘I Claudius’? DEREK JACOBI What was special about his character?

HIS STUTTER Who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel between 1508-12? (Depicts scenes from the book of Genesis.) MICHELANGELO

As a snub to the Pope, Michelangelo painted Adam (the first man) with what?


Part of this work (the touching fingers) featured in the opening titles in which TV arts programme hosted by Melvyn Bragg? THE SOUTH BANK SHOW Which Catholic religious relic would you find in Turin? THE SHROUD OF TURIN (Ask if any members believe it to be the genuine burial shroud of Jesus Christ?)

(The Shroud was discovered in 1357 (first record of it's existence), whereas photography wasn't invented until 1826. Thus the 'real' image of Christ, or the negative image in a photograph, would not have been seen for hundreds of years!) Where would you find the priceless statue 'La Pieta', sculpted by Michelangelo? IN ST PETER’S BASILICA

What about Michelangelo's sculpture 'David'?


Who is the current Pope and what is his given name and birth name? FRANCIS JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO Where is he from? BUENOS ARIES, ARGENTINA Previous Popes in our lifetime were ... Benedict XVI — April 19, 2005-Feb. 28, 2013 John Paul II — Oct. 16, 1978-April 2, 2005 John Paul I — Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 1978 Paul VI — June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978 John XXIII — Oct. 28, 1958-June 3, 1963 Pius XII — March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958. What smoke comes from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when a new Pope is elected? WHITE What was the 2009 film, starring Tom Hanks as Prof Robert Langdon, set in Rome? ANGELS AND DEMONS (Based on the Dan Brown book.) What is the Pope’s golden buggy type vehicle known as? POPEMOBILE What is the Vatican aeroplane known as? SHEPHERD ONE Which 1968 film, starring Anthony Quinn, is a thriller based on the election of a new Pope at the time of a looming nuclear war? SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN Who was the first Pope to kiss the ground of the country he was visiting? POPE JOHN PAUL 11 ON HIS FIRST PAPAL VISIT TO AMERICA (BOSTON 1979) Who was the first Pope to have an assassination attempt made on his life? JOHN PAUL 11 ON 13TH MAY 1981 IN ST PETER'S SQUARE Which group protects the Pope? SWISS GUARDS When did John Paul 11 visit the UK? MAY 1982 (Did any members see him?) Who was the first Pope to resign? BENEDICT XV1 IN 2013 Who was said to be the first Pope? SAINT PETER ("ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH" - MATHEW 16:18) What are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit called? THE HOLY TRINITY Name the four Gospels of the New Testament? MATHEW, MARK, LUKE & JOHN Why was the Mac Donald's Fillet Of Fish developed? FOR CATHOLICS WHO COULDN'T EAT MEAT ON FRIDAYS What are the Seven Deadly Sins? PRIDE, GREED, LUST, ENVY, GLUTTONY, WRATH & SLOTH

Thinking of greed .... Let's move on to some questions about Italian food! Ask members to name some pizza toppings, and say which is their favourite? MARGHERITA PEPPERONI HAWAIIAN MARINARA




PARMESAN CHEESE What are some Italian liqueurs? AMARETTO CAMPARI NEGRONI MARTINI (Do members remember the advert starring Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter where a glass of Martinin Bianco was spilt? "Getting your head down dear? Very wise!") LIMONCELLO SAMBUCA APEROL GRAPPA And beers? PERONI MORRETTI MORENA And wines? LAMBRUSCO PROSECCO CHIANTI ASTI SPUMANTE MOSCATO SOAVE Did you know? Italy is the largest wine-producing country in the world (4,796,900 tonnes per annum). Of course, there are numerous non alcoholic drinks and coffees to be had ...

What is a coffee make traditionally known as?


Think of some different types of coffee?








What is traditionally given and eaten as Italian Christmas cake? PANETTONE

What is a Tiramisu?

COFFEE FLAVOURED ITALIAN DESERT (USUALLY WITH A LIQUEUR SUCH AS TIA MARIA) What type of wheat is pasta traditionally made from? DURUM Names some different types of pasta? LASAGNE SPAGHETTI TAGLIATELLE MACARONI RIGATONI RAVIOLI PENNE LINGUINE CANNELLONI ALPHABETTI SPAGHETTI (The poem below is a clever way to list them all.) What is pesto sauce made from? GROUND BASIL, OLIVE OIL AND CRUSHED PINE NUTS Name some other sauces? CARBONARA BOLOGNESE MARINARA NEAPOLITAN ARRABBIATA Which Ragu sauce advertised with the slogan, “Just like Mama used to make!” DOLMIO Members may feel rather hungry at this point, so some pizza slices might go down well.

Perhaps washed down with a glass or two of (alcohol free) Prossecco.

MUSIC ROUND Spotify Playlist -

1. Robert De Niro’s Waiting - Bananarama

What language is Mr De Niro speaking in in this song? ITALIAN

How would you say ‘Thanks very much’ in Italian? GRAZI MILLE

2. On Days Like These - Matt Monro

What 1969 film, starring Michael Caine, did this song feature in? THE ITALIAN JOB What cars chased around Rome in this film? MINIS Ask members to do their best impression of Michael Caine ... YOU WERE ONLY SUPPOSED TO BLOW THE BLOODY DOORS OFF 3. The Godfather - Film Soundtrack Who starred as Vito Corleone in this 1972 film? MARLON BRANDO Which organised crime operation was this film based on? THE MAFIA 4. Nessun Dorma - The Three Tenors Which opera is this song from? PUCCINI’S TURANDOT Who were The Three Tenors? LUCIANO PAVAROTTI, PLACIDO DOMINGO & JOSE CARRERAS

What does 'Nessun Dorma' mean?

NONE SHALL SLEEP (This song came to wider public appreciation during the 'Italia 1990' (Fottball World Cup)

5. Cinema Paradiso - Josh Groban This 1988 film is about a boy discovering the joy and escapism of going to the cinema in his war torn Sicilian village. Go around the room and ask members what their favourite film ever is, and why? 6. That’s Amore - Dean Martin Who was the Roman goddess of love? VENUS Ask members to think of some symbols or acts of love and affection? CUPID, HEART, KISS, HUG, CWTCH, ROSES, CHOCOLATES, VALENTINES CARD, CHAMPAGNE, PROPOSE

Ask members to make a heart shape using their fingers and thumbs. (This is Gareth Bale's, Cardiff City football player, signature gesture. Apparently, he has trademarked it!) 7. How To Be Americano - Sophia Loren How old is she? 85 (And still looks amazing! See above quote.) Which 1999 thriller, starring Matt Damon and Jude Law, set in 1950s Southern Italy, features this song? THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY 8. Quando Quando Quando - Engelbert Humperdinck

(His real name is Arnold George Dorsey.)

Which two of his singles topped the charts in 1967? Please - RELEASE ME The last - WALTZ

He had rather large sideburns. Which of the men in the room has facial hair?

What is the November Prostate Cancer awareness month known as, where men grow facial hair to raise funds?

MOVEMBER 9. Que Sera Sera - Doris Day What does the Italian Que Sera Sera translate as? WHATEVER WILL BE WILL BE Which 1956 Hitchcock thriller featured this song? The man who - KNEW TOO MUCH

(Take the chance for a singalong.) 10. O Sole Mio - Mario Lanza Translates as? MY SUNSHINE What did this song advertise? CORNETTO ICE CREAM

What Italian named ice cream has different layers of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry?


What about the one with dried bits of fruit in it, e.g. papaya and glace cherries?


What are members' favourite ice creams? 11. Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day - Morcheeba Nearest guess. When was Rome founded. 753BC How does the phrase ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ continue? BUT THEY WERE LAYING BRICKS EVERY HOUR What were the names of the fabled twins, suckled by a she-wolf and a symbol for the City and people of Rome? ROMULUS AND REMUS 12. Romeo And Juliet - Dire Straits What were their family names? CAPULETS AND MONTAGUES Where was the Shakespeare play set? VERONA Who is the lead singer and guitarist? MARK KNOPFLER 12. Life Is A Minestrone - 10CC What is the cold Spanish grinded raw vegetable soup called? GAZPACHO

Go around the room and ask members what their favourite soup is? 13. Magic Roundabout - TV Theme Name the characters? FLORENCE, DOUGAL (DOG), DYLAN (RABBIT), BRIAN (SNAIL), ERMINTRUDE (COW) & ZEBEDEE (SPRING) 14. Shaddupa Your Face - Joe Dolce Who does the singer introduce himself as in the opening line of this song? GIUSEPPE The most famous lover in the world, a spy for the Inquisition and a fraudster was born in Venice in 1725. Who was he? GIACOMO CASANOVA The ‘Casanova Mask’, named after him, used in Masquerade balls emphasises that he liked to hide his identity. Hence ‘Shaddupa Your Face’. 15. Dolce Vita - Ryan Paris

What does 'La Docle Vita' translate as?


17. Save Your Love - Renee And Renato

What year was this Christmas Number One?


18. Choice of song (to do with hands) - Reach Out And Touch - Diana Ross - Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond - I Wanna Hold Your Hand - The Beatles

To accompany ... ‘The Vetruvian Man’ was drawn by which Renaissance artist and scholar? LEONARDO DA VINCI

Ask members to stand and hold hands whilst singing along with one of these songs ...

Maybe make it more energetic by kicking legs and lifting arms in rhythm to the music.


Make a group picture out of dried pasta, perhaps using an outline or template from the web.

Or, as we did, you could make bunting for the 'Six Nations Rugby Union Championship' and start a sweepstake.

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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