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Exiled Italian prince now sells pasta from a van in California

The grandson of Italy's last king has embarked on a new business venture, which sees him selling pasta from a food truck on the streets of California.

Exiled Italian prince now sells pasta from a van in California
Emanuele Filiberto in his new food truck. Photo: Prince of Venice Food Truck/Facebook

Emanuele Filiberto, 44, is the only male line heir to Italy's exiled king, Umberto II, who was booted out in 1946 when the country became a Republic.

Unlike other royals, Filiberto doesn't spend his time swanning around the royal courts of Europe and playing polo. Instead, he is trying to make and sell authentic Italian pasta to Americans.

While that might sound strange, Filiberto has a track-record of appearing in places where no blue-blooded soul would dare to tread.

From competing in Italy's 'Dancing with the Stars' to starring in adverts for electronic cigarettes he claims will help you get 'more sex' – the would-be heir to the Italian throne is viewed by many Italians as something of an embarrassment.

The cigarette advert can be seen below.

Filiberto decided to open the truck after a recent visit to the US during which he noticed the plethora of food trucks that can be found there.

“They were all so beautiful, so colourful,” he told Italian magazine, Chi. “But they were all selling Mexican or Asian food and nobody was selling Italian pasta.”

Sensing a gap in the market, he quickly acquired a food truck, hired a chef and headed back out to California.

Filiberto has named his truck 'The Prince of Venice' after his own title, which is not recognized by the Italian government.  But the truck shares more than the title, it is also painted in the royal blue colours of the House of Savoy, which Italy's national football and rugby teams famously sport.

As much of California has a Mediterranean climate, Filiberto is able to source the majority of his ingredients locally, but still imports extra virgin olive oil and flour from Italy.

The truck offers classic Italian pasta dishes to Californians on-the-go at modest prices. A seafood fettuccine will set you back $15, while the truffle linguine goes for $16 a pop.

“Dishes like this would cost more than $30 in a restaurant,” Filiberto said.

Despite his love of pasta and noble lineage, the ousted prince only set foot in Italy for the first time in 2002, when parliament repealed a law banning the descendants of the ousted Savoy king from entering the country.

He was actually born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland.

But he doesn't see himself returning any time soon, indeed he is hoping to transform himself from an Italian prince into America's pasta king.

“I want The Prince of Venice to become a quality brand and hope to add two new trucks by September,” he added. 

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FOOD & DRINK

Sagra: The best Italian food festivals to visit in October

If you're visiting Italy in autumn, don't miss the many local food and drinks fairs held around the country. Here are some to visit this October.

Sagra: The best Italian food festivals to visit in October

One of the best things about visiting Italy in the autumn is having the opportunity to attend a sagra, a type of harvest festival or fair centred around one particular food or drink item local to the town hosting it.

sagra has a fairly broad definition: it could last for several weeks or one day, and might consist of anything from a raucous celebration with music and dancing to a lone food stall with a few wooden benches. It will usually be hosted in a field or a piazza, and entry is free.

READ ALSO: Seven reasons autumn is the best time to visit Italy

What all sagre have in common is the focus on eating and drinking fresh local produce, and the assurance that you won’t leave unsated.

Now, the good news is that October is by far the month with the most sagre, with a wealth of events taking place throughout the country that are worth seeking out if you’re in the area. So, here are some of the best sagre happening across Italy this month.

Campania 

Sagra della Castagna (chestnut festival), 7th-16th October in Calvanico, Salerno.  

Festa della Mela Annurca (‘annurca‘ apple festival), 28th-29th October in Valle di Maddaloni, Caserta.

Sagra del Cinghiale (boar festival), every Friday of the month in Dugenta, Benevento.

Emilia Romagna

Sagra della Salamina da Sugo (salami festival), 5th-9th October in Poggio Renatico, Ferrara.

Sagra del Vino Romagnolo (Romagna’s wine festival), 6th-9th October in Cotignola, Ravenna.

Sagra del Tartufo (truffle festival), 7th-9th October in Bondeno, Ferrara.

Sagra dell’Anguilla (eel festival), first three weekends of the month in Comacchio, Ferrara.

Lazio

Sagra dell’Uva Cesanese del Piglio (‘Cesanese‘ grapes festival), 30th September-2nd October in Piglio, Frosinone.

Enorvinio (wine festival), 2nd October in Orvinio, Rieti.

Castelli di Cioccolato (chocolate castles festival), 7th-9th October, Marino, Rome.

Sagra delle Tacchie ai Funghi Porcini (‘tacchie‘ pasta and porcini mushroom festival), first two weekends of the month in Bellegra, Rome.

A street seller prepares roasted chestnuts in Rome.

Roasted chestnuts are a staple of Italy’s October ‘sagre’. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Lombardy

Castagnata a Caglio (chestnut festival), 2nd-9th October in Caglio, Como.

Festival della Mostarda (mustard festival), 15th October-30th November in Cremona.

Fasulin de l’Oc con le Cudeghe (beans and pork rind festival), 29th-31st October in Pizzighettone, Cremona.

Sicily

Sagra delle Pesche (peach festival), 1st-2nd October in Leonforte, Enna.

Festa della Nocciola (hazelnut festival), 5th-6th October in Novara di Sicilia, Messina.

Funghi Fest (Mushroom festival), 21st-23rd October in Castelbuono, Palermo.

Piedmont

Sagra della Castagna (chestnut festival), 2nd October in Mathi, Turin.

Sagra del Ciapinabò (Jerusalem artichoke festival), 8th-9th October in Carignano, Turin.

Cioccolato nel Monferrato (chocolate festival), 16th October in Altavilla Monferrato, Alessandria.

Chocolate fair in Milan, Italy.

A number of chocolate festivals take place up and down the boot in October. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Tuscany

Sagra del Fungo Amiatino (‘amiatino‘ mushroom festival), 7th-9th, 15th-16th October in Bagnolo, Grosseto.

Sagra delle Frugiate (roasted chestnuts festivals), 9th and 16th October in Pescia, Pistoia.

Boccaccesca (local food festival), 14th-16th October in Certaldo, Florence.

Sagra del Tordo (local food festival), 29th-30th October in Montalcino, Siena.

Puglia

Sagra del Calzone (calzone festival), 14th-16th October in Acquaviva delle Fonti, Bari.

Veneto

Festa del Baccalà (cod festival), 30th September-2nd October and 7th-9th October in Montegalda, Vicenza.

Festa delle Giuggiole (jujubes festival), 2nd and 9th October in Arquà Petrarca, Padua.

Mele a Mel (apple festival), 7th-9th October in Mel, Belluno.

Festa della Patata (potato festival), all Sundays of the month in Tonezza del Cimone, Vicenza.

Umbria

Primi d’Italia (national first courses festival), 29th September-2nd October in Foligno.

Sagra del Sedano Nero e della Salsiccia (black celery and sausage festival), 15th-16th October in Trevi, Perugia.

This list is not exhaustive. Did we miss out your favourite October sagra? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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