Casa Italia

RoundhouseENDED FEB 28, 2010: In 2006, Italy played home to the Winter Olympics. In a few weeks, the historic Roundhouse Community Centre will play home to the 2010 pavilion known as Casa Italia. The pavilion will be open to feature an expo of the best products Italy has to offer. You can expect to see some other fine Italian products on display. Casa Italia will be open daily to the public between Feb 8 - 28th from 11am until 6pm daily. The pavilion is only one block north of the LiveCity Yaletown. If you're looking for directions on how to get there, click here.

A Freddy display is there which sells official Olympic Uniforms and workout gear. Parmigiao Reggiano is represented to sample Italian cheeses and get promotional materials. Intesa Sanpaolo, a main sponsor of the pavilion, offers promotional gifts. So does Italy's Department of the Environment, LaGazzeta Dello Sport, Kinder Sport & UVA.

Most of the facility is reserved for VIP hospitality and not open to the general public.

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72 Comments

Sadly not Italian! No charm, no flavour, no hospitality....somewhat like a bad show room, but I was unclear on what they were selling. Strange!

Italy has a prime location right beside LiveCity Yaletown and then didn't do much with it. Italy is second to no one in art, culture, design - so where is it on display. The impression I was left with was that Italians aren't really interested in Vancouver 2010 - probably because after Torino they are "over" winter olympics

Can I purchase any of the merchandize sold at Casa italia online.

OK,no line ups, complimentary - not free wine and cheese, air hockey, relaxed.

Sochi House - land of grumpy people potentially 2 hour line up (people are regularly doing it), propaganda, attractive women, guys that look like Putin.

Open the VIP area??? Become one and you are good to go. Where is my free/ comp vodka and borcht from Russia with love.

Italian House was pretty lame. None of their culture was on display, just adds for their expensive as hell stuff that I can't afford. Asked a staffer about wine tasting since they had a huge wine bar area. He pointed to the rope accross the entrance and told me condescendingly they were obviously not open to the public and had no plans to be.

The art was ok, and no wait to get in. That was the only good part.

This place is a bit hit and miss. We were there Friday around 6:00pm and no cheese or wine samples.

Nicely laid out pavillion though and way more professional than most.

HEY GUYS!!
Read the description above all of your catty comments...

"You can expect to see some other fine Italian products on display. Casa Italia will be open daily to the public between Feb 8 - 28th from 11am until 6pm daily. "

So don't go expecting everything for free -- products are on display and YES, they close at 6pm. get over it.

"Most of the facility is reserved for VIP hospitality and not open to the general public."

So don't go and complain that the majority of the house is not open to the public!!

...and most of all CHILL OUT!

Hi,
you can come and help me anytime, to open 30 bottles in one hour, while talking to people and answering to all their questions politely, sorry if I failed with one cork, you can always come and show me how to do it!!!
Ciao from Italy

I really like the fact that Casa Italia has opened its doors to the public so we can at least see whats going on in there! I love being able to snoop around a bit and have an insiders look at what would otherwise be a closed venue. I think it is very generous of these people to let us be a part of their Vancouver experience.
To all of you guys complaining about not getting free food, drink and endless hours of operation -- give them a break!! How can you expect them to just give away everything for free?! The Olympics is not about greed! Be happy that they are willing to host you while you experience their culture!
They have done a great job turning the Roundhouse into a "club house" for the Italian Team; great staff who are obviously working hard...what a wonderful treat!

buttate da bere straccioni

Don't waste your time with this pavillion . Go to the Calabria pavillion on Homer street. That's what Italy is all about.

Discover Calabria is located one block SOUTH of Robson Street on Homer Street just before Smithe Street

Check out "Discover Calabria" venue at 851 Homer St. Authentic Italian with free expresso coffee and appetizers. Very cultural with Italian crafts and handmade jewelry for sale.

Opps! Sorry, Provincia di Calabria is one block SOUTH of the library on Homer.

I have nothing bad to say about Casa Italia because I didn't suffer lining up or any hassles. It was a easy trip. Even though it wasn't impressive and it's plain and simple, at least it's very organized unlike other stupid houses and venues.

I walked right in. No lines. Staffers were friendly.

There's a nice lady quickly handing out bite-size samples of Parmigiano Reggiano. Delicious cheese! She also graciously answered visitors' questions about the cheese. The waiting line is like what? 1 minute. It moved quickly. She is a very product representative.

There's a store selling Freddy clothing. Freddy sponsors Italian team clothes. Freddy is more expensive than Polo. I don't think it's worth it because Polo is prettier, anyway, that's just my preference.

There's TVs and seating for you to chill.

There's an area showcasing winter sports equipment from an Italian brand.

All the displays and products come with well designed brochures that are simple and clear. It's pretty self explanatory. So you know exactly what you are looking at. They do a good job getting their messages across.

PS:
By now, you should have realistic expectations for all the houses. The houses that are not organized by corporations are not going to entertain you or wow you. Honestly, those international houses and local provincial houses are quite plain, you are not going to be happy about lining up at all. If you can swing by without lining up, you can go inside and learn a thing or two. It's supposed to be pleasant not painful. But if you line up for a long time, of course you expect big fun and wow factor to justify your suffering and time. That's not going to happen. They are not corporations so they don't know how to put on a show. It's just the pattern we see. Only corporations can hire professionals to produce events. Government staffers are not professional event planners and they don't know how and where to find professionals.

As an alternative to this poor venue, try the little display by the Provincia di Calabria on Homer one block north of the Library, opposite side. No line ups, nice atmosphere, various displays at different times. a very pleasant interlude.

I went twice thinking I would give it a second chance. The first time was the second day then again on monday. Very boring with no food or drink in sight. The shoes look good but are really not comfortable. What a surprise that was. The clothing is ok. but don't buy the shoes they are cheap and do not breath.

was totally disappointed at casa italia. unlike another italian showroom called Discover Calabria up on Homer street.. that one was great! Free coffee, food and wine.. lots to see and friendly people.

no but you can play pocket pool

Another disapointing House. Not really much there. We walked in Saturday morning, no line-ups and were pretty well done in 10 minutes. They did have free samples of wine. A nice touch, but that was it.

I went today (Tuesday) at around noon. It was good and bad. There was Parmaggiano Reggianno from Emelia Romagna, and they gave me a lanyard.

There was also some ladies pouring three Italian red wines. They told me they were from Italy, red and dry. There was a Rosso de Montalicino from an unknown to me producer and they poured me a nice glass. It was really good. I was shocked. The DOCs on the other wines were new to me and I tried one and it was OK. I later saw one of the ladies trying to open a Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico which caught my interest but she had no skill and broke the corkscrew.

The people looking after the place all seemed like they had suffered through some dental work or a barium enema within the last few hours. Very miserable and lacked any kind of knowledge.

The grey wool jackete on the north wall were fantastic, but I wouldn't even try to buy one from these folks.

Shockingly disappointment!!!

parmigiano-reggiano is sold in any regular store in Vancouver -
why did not you hang a picture of Alberto Thombo??
he was more exciting than dry cheese...T.

They were giving out samples of Parmesan Cheese - sort of like Costco last week. There was a shelf of ski boots - sort of like Sportsmart. And, a Furniture Dept with "Do not sit on this" signs- sort of like The Brick... Hmmm... No wait: you can try out the furniture at The Brick.
Shockingly weird. Didn't get it.
Italy: we all know how fantastic your wine, food, cheese, clothes and people are - why not share the love??

Peccato che non c'era niente bello da fare - e il vino era solo per i VIP. Che schemo Italia.

After reading all of the revues, I hope someone is listening.
I have been to Italy many times and have never been dissapointed.
I hope they make some changes fast.
I live in Yaletown and want their Pavillion to be a great success.
Open up the VIP and start serving some wine and cheese and pasta please.

Casa Italia?---Non Credo! Grazie per niente.

Checked out Casa Italia on Saturday and there was nothing to see... a waste of time unless you want to purchase clothing.

When I went there, both the bar and restaurant were closed to the public so as others have said, no reason to go here unless your an Athlete or the Media.

Congratulations to Italy for taking a very high profile public location and then not actually offering anything to the public!!!! You could have located this somewhere off the beaten path and given this location to someone that would actually have had things for the public to do in their displays

It wasn't worth the 15 minutes we stood in line. There was absolutly nothing there when we got there. A total waste of time.

Free wine samples? Fantastic! The skates on display were interesting. They weren't giving out cheese when I was there. Not much else to see. Stop by if you're in the area and have 15 minutes to spare.

Totally agree, not worth going in. Total waste of time Big promo for a big nothing for the general public.

I went to Casa Italia twice.
The first time I was served wine, but they ran out of appetizers.
I was told to come back to try the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It was delicious! The Italian lady was pleasant. Everyone there was wearing Giorgio Armani. I felt like a VIP.

I like the white Italian leather furniture and big TV screen.

The Round House community centre never looked so polished. The Italian magic wand did its wonders and made this place stylish.

The (possibly) best parts of Casa Italia is only open to the media and athletes. For the public - a big nothing, unless you want to buy Italian Olympic apparel.

I don't know why this has been promoted as a place to go for entertainment, food and drink? There is none of that for regular people.

The venue is Not beautiful, there have been basically no changes to the regular Roundhouse, except for a few signs.

I agree - don't waste your time here.

Sounds like a big waste of time. With so much to do and see all over the Lower Mainland during the Olympics, I think I'll give this one a pass. I feel bad for all of you who've been disappointed and have had your time wasted!!

I was very dissapointed because Casa Italia was not open on Saturday as it should have been. I was there with a large group only to be told to come back on Sunday because they were still setting up..

Reading all these bad comments makes me feel very sad to be an Italian in Vancouver.

Hard to make Itlay boring but this place does. Will liven up when Italian athletes are competing.

Pass on this one. There is so much that is great to see and there is really nothing of note at this venue. If you are interested in how the Italians press olive oil you can surely google that. Other than that, some high priced wine and a lot of high priced sportswear. Don't waste your time.

Casa Italia was a dud. The staff were not friendly or inviting at all and didn't even bother to talk to us. Pass on this one for sure.

What a disappointment – Italy is such an wonderfully diverse country, culturally, artistically, amazing food. None of this was highlighted – only a display of ski jackets & vests –is that all there is?? I would pass on this exhibit.

I have to say that Casa Italia was an absolute disappointment. A country that offers so much incredible history, design, art, wine and of course amazing food has an absolute "dud" of a House. Were this a showcase for Italy I would pass. Italy is so much better than what they put together for 2010. The restaurant may have made up for the lacklustre "showcase" of Casa Italia, unfortunately it is not open for public access so no one will really know. Given the many amazing and exciting places to see and be in Vancouver 2010, pass this one, it is not worth the time.

We have found this particular site disappointing. The staff operating the venue were not very friendly. I was looking for a fresh piece of fruit to squeeze, that would of got someone's attention. (Considering one does not touch the fruit you are going to purchase in Italy) Food and wine is served between noon and one only. Don't bother wasting your time going here.

For anyone who knows and loves Italian culture this is a sad disappointment, at least in the part open to we plebs. Basically an overpriced clothes store with freebies I can only regard as peanuts for the monkeys. Not so much dolce vita as brutta figura.

After going on Saturday and was not open, I made the trip down there again yesterday and was very disappointed. But I did get my free fridge magnet, 3 free lanyards and a free cheese knife.

Just went on the Monday and today at lunch to Casa Italia. They've got a large room of friendly Italians and various kiosks for cheese, banking, food and chocolate, but mostly informational booths and not too much else. I did pick up a nice lanyard (neck tie) and a cheese cutter from the Parmigiano Reggiano booth tho.

They said that they would be circulating with more cheeses, wines and appetizers once the Olympics got into full swing. I'm sure it will be much more alive when Live City Yaletown opens next door. http://www.flickr.com/photos/59204382@N00/4341396163/

I made a special trip to Casa Italia this past Sunday and was told by the "security" at the front entrance that it was NOT open to the public. I hope that this will not be a normal greeting.

Tried on a pair of Silver 'Ziggy Stardust' esque official winter boots for $285. That was fun. A handful of booths set up but nobody manning them. A very empty and commercial feeling to this pavillion. It felt kind of like being at Ikea after hours.

Well maybe next week there will be more going on when the 'Olympics start'. Cheese and Chocolate apparently. Some stuff held up at the airport and some swag on the way? Depending on when the sponsors send their stuff.
Collected some swag, cheese knife, bag, cd and a note pad. Not too exciting at the moment but a stark white room with people standing around their sponsor booths, I did learn a bit more about Parmesan cheese (watched the video on how it's made).

We had fun seeing the train next door (free) and had a bite to eat at the cafe where we had fun people watching , went for a walk along the seawall and took the aqua bus to Granville Island.

Very disappointing. Don't waste your time going here. It is a very large, boxy room with high ceilings. One area selling Italian ski wear. A few flat screens advertising Italian companies. Some white leather chairs. That is about it. I approached a woman behind a counter and asked her if there would be other activities later in the week. Apparently there will be small amounts of food and wine at lunch time but "tasting" sizes only - you cannot buy food or drink here. I confirmed that they are only open until 6 PM. Honestly - not sure why they are bothering. It does not give you any indication of what a fabulous country Italy is. I am sure the Italian community will be very disappointed. Certainly is not indicative of typical Italian hospitality and "love of life".

Don't go expecting greatness! One room...unless you are a v.i.p. Casa Italia shows how cheese and prociuto is made, and gives the public a chance to buy overpriced italian olympic clothing. I'm sure the v.i.p. area is great...too bad they don't want everyone to see it.

We went downtown to check out the excitement today, Feb. 8 based on info I read on City Caucus blogs. Casa Italia is NOT open to the public and I was told by volunteers that it will not be open. Casa Italia is only for athletes and "dignitaries". City Caucus please update your info. The ONLY thing open down there is the retail store. So disappointing.

6:00 pm is too early to close! That means that anyone who has to work regular hours during the olympics cannot enjoy Italian House! What a shame - this just enforces the sentiment that the games & their activities are for the tourists, not the locals!!

Just went there (2PM Monday) and still nothing open but the display room showing some clothing. There was a big display of Italian wine with lots of people enjoying themselves but the girl at the door said it was closed to the public. She said they wouldn't have ANY food or beverages until "sometime next week, maybe". So don't waste your time with this place.

I visited Casa Italia Sunday, Feb. 7 and was most disappointed. There were some exhibits and a store where you can buy the Italian olympic winter wear..Nice clothing. I asked about food and drink and the hostess advised me that there would be some"free food sampling" during the Games but any other food and drink in the lounge was for their VIP's only.
Don't waste your time at this place unless you want to shop for a nice ski jacket.

Hi, I visited Casa Italia Sunday, Feb. 7 and was most disappointed. There were some exhibits and a store where you can buy the Italian olympic winter wear..Nice clothing. I asked about food and drink and the hostess advised me that there would be some"free food sampling" during the Games but any other food and drink in the lounge was for their VIP's only.
Don't waste your time at this place unless you want to shop for a nice ski jacket.

went on Sunday, Feb 7th and was told that most of the pavilion is not opened to the public. the part that was opened to the public was disappointing - some clothing on sale, a stand about italian agriculture and a vancouver condo development advertisement (don't get that one). i was disappointed that there wasn't any italian food or beverages to check out.

lol at these people who are so outraged by an understandable and regrettable mistake. Thats the Olympic spirit!!!

The family and I walked around downtown all day Saturday and had great fun spotting new things and scoping out what will be open for the Olympics.

suck it up buttercups!

Don't give up on Casa Italia yet everyone. They had some unavoidable delays getting trucks in to unload due to the security measures as I understood it. I have some friends that are setting up in that area and they say that the security is very tight and they were not able to get the trucks in to unload and the delay was not their fault. I will look forward to the house opening tomorrow and will attend during my lunch hour. Happy Olx!

I would not bother going to Casa Italia since there are some free products, but it is otherwise disorganized and the public cannot access very much of the pavilion at all. The public cannot go to the ristorante or the wine bar and there were no schedules. Disappointing.

@ mimi and laurie. The original information provided to us indicated the venue was open to the public on Saturday. As it turns out they are only opening tomorrow at noon. We apologize that this incorrect info was posted on our guide. We're awaiting reviews from our readers in the coming days to see if Casa Italia is considered a must visit! Thanks again for your feedback.

My family and I went to the advertised public opening for this pavillion, were turned away. Not open to the public. How disappointing, expected more from the Italians. Save your trip, there is nothing to see here.

Went down there today Feb 7 as it was advertised that it would be open to the public. Was turned away and told not open to the public. Very confusing as that is not what the information on this website says. Very disappointed because we were looking forward to celebrating our Italian heritage.

Da tutti l'Italiani da Vancouver Buona Fortuna a la Squadra Olimpica Invernali Italiana 2010

Like Karen, myself and partner made an effort to find the location as guided by the site for feb 6 noon opening. Dissappointed. Also dissappointed was the non interest the pavilion representative showed when we asked about it. Probably will pass on returing to this pavilion as there is so much to take in. First impressions mean a lot.

Karen, apparently they conducted a "soft" opening today, but the "official" opening is Monday at noon. That information got lost in translation apparently. We've tried to contact all of the venues on our list, and some have been very difficult to reach. We ask them all to keep us updated on their progress so we can share it. Sorry for any disappointment - we'll keep asking everyone else to let us know their schedules.

On the website for the free events, it was listed that you would be open on Sat Feb 6/10. Went down there today and was not open. There were a lot of people that were there too. It was very disappointing.

Will there be Pocket Coffee??

i agree 6pm is too early to close...

6PM is too early to close!

noon is too late. open earlier please.

Pretty Italian ladies ;)

Very cool! We are staying in Yaletown during the Olympics so I'll make sure we check this out. Love Italians!

I look forward to seeing the beautifull casa Italia open and everybody enjoy the real Italian taste.Forza Italia and Buona Fortuna to all the athletes!

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