How to Plan an Italian Party Theme 
(“Benvenuti alla mia festa"*)

Italian party theme - a table of food (* Welcome to my party)

Choose an Italian party theme – and you’re choosing a night of great food, high energy and noise.

Italians love life, to talk, joke and laugh, usually over a big meal and wine (like in the photo here). They’re also very welcoming, as my own travels in Italy can attest, with many a party with complete strangers.

By throwing this Italian theme party, you’re offering your friends the chance to taste a bit of Italy.

Italian party theme invites

You can opt for an Italian flag invitation – but why not try these creative ideas:

The Face of Italy

You’ll need several blank postcards, glue, scissors. Make a list of famous Italians, e.g. Gianni Versace, Sophia Loren, Da Vinci. Find their faces on the web, print, cut out and glue to the card.

  • If you’re inviting 20 people and have the time, you could create 20 individual cards.
  • To save time, create only 4, in this case, and have your local print shop do copies.

Italian Icons

Create your own holiday postcard, as a collage of images from the web. Icons can include buildings (the Leaning Tower of Pisa) to people (Luciano Pavarotti). On the backs of your invites, use Italian in your invitation wording, like:

“Ciao a Tutti" — Hello everyone
“Benvenuti alla mia festa" — Welcome to my party
“Cosa ti piace fare festa?" — Do you love to party?

Alternatively, just send your invites in Italian wording, with your party details (in English) on the back.

Italian party theme decorations
  • Hang up a map of Italy. Pepper your walls with interesting country facts, like the ones listed here.
  • Pin the Italian flag to your ceiling.
  • Go overboard on the color scheme, with balloons, table ornaments and streamers in green, white and orange.

Also hang up banners filled with famous Italian sayings. Examples I love include:

“Amore è cieco" — Love is blind
“Parla bene, ma parla poco" — Speak well, but speak little
“Belle parole non pascon i gatti" — Fine words don’t feed cats

Place bowls of olives on the main table, for finger food and table color. Complete with a vase of cut flowers. Add classical music and opera in the background.

  • If you’re partying outside, reproduce everything above, with dining around a long wooden table.
  • Drape twinkling lights in the bushes, for when the dusk sets in.
Italian party theme heart and soul

The food!

Seriously, there’s so much to choose from. And with regional variations, the food on its own can provide endless Italian party themes.

To help you, check out this Italian recipe site.

Whatever you decide to go with, the food is traditionally served in the following order:

  • Antipasti (aka appetizers), plus Italian cheeses and cold cuts;
  • Primi piatti (first main), either soup, pasta or pasta dish like lasagna;
  • Secondi piatti (second main), usually a meat dish;
  • Then dessert, like fruit, pastries, tiramisu.

Keep bread, wine and water available and flowing throughout your meal.
Alternatively, if a sitdown meal ain’t your thing, buffet it. Organize your dishes so they follow the above order. Label each one, so people have an idea of what they’re enjoying.

Oh yeah – wine!

As endless in choice as the food.

Check out Winefolly for a comprehensive list of Italian wine, as well as how to go about choosing.

Italian party activities

Pepper your Italian theme party with a few games, to help everyone bond as well as digest from all the food.

Drop in a few icebreaker questions first, to warm people up.

Italian Charades

Before playing, come up with a list of famous Italians, from alive to dead, entertainment to politics. Cut the list into strips and jumble in a jar. Each player mimes the famous person for everyone to guess. They can also use “rhymes with" and “sounds like".

Know Your Italians?

This time, make picture cards of famous Italians, downloading their mugshots from the web. Look for photos that are not too recent.
Hang up your mugshots, each one with a number next to it. Guests write down their guesses during the party. The person with the most correct wins.

Learn the Language of Love… in Italian

Learn how to connect to Italian culture with a simple language lesson. Start out with the basics/greetings, then move onto a few Italian love phrases. Always fun to try and who knows where they’ll lead. Try these:

“Facciamo l’amore” — let’s make love
“Ti penso sempre” — I’m always thinking about you
“Sono dipendente dei tuoi baci” — I’m addicted to your kisses

Dance the Tarantella

Shake off the food and get everyone moving, by teaching them this folk dance:

Italian party favors

End your Italian theme party, with a few foodie favors, like:

  • Small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • A jar of colorful pasta
  • A bottle of Italian wine
  • A slice of Torta Claudia each (an Italian layer cake).

Godersi la festa!*
(* enjoy the party)

Image: kimberlykv

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