the dynamic Ciro Orsini. PHOTO: FILE
One had heard of Ciro’s profound pursuit of spirituality at the party he hosted at Pomodoro in Lahore last weekend, where his current guru, Maulana Kazmi, whom he calls his spiritual father, sat serenely through the madness of heady drinks and pop music. His Muslim name, he informs me, is Nabeel — the noble and generous one — which he feels is rather fitting given his benevolent nature. I ask if he’s thinking of converting. “Who knows if I’ll convert? I do a lot of Musalmaan prayers and zikr. I just went around the country visiting all the Sufi shrines. as an enterprise as well — we support everything that is food for the heart and soul. at the end of the day we are all brothers and these labels aren’t important.”
How Ciro reached all the way to the subcontinent and Pakistan in particular, ignoring our more affluent neighbour, is another tale of spirituality. “Through vibration we get involved and meet people who touch us,” he says as he narrates an extensive tale of how Interior Minister Rehman Malik had also pushed him to come to Pakistan. He effusively talks of the country and the people, “I told my friends back home, you shouldn’t trust what you read. Come here and see for yourself how polished, refined and warm these people are. And their women — so beautiful!”
While for most part, Ciro’s association to Pakistan has been a case of ‘eat, pray and love’, it is children who are the closest to his heart. A sensitive individual and an active philanthropist, he has joined hands with the Care Foundation and has been working with orphans in Kashmir, with plans of opening the region’s largest orphanage. He also intends to host school parties at Pomodoro to give these children a lively and fun experience.
For Ciro, food is a means to bring people close together; provide humans with material as well as spiritual sustenance. His web of hospitality extends from London and Dubai to Beijing, Riga and Bucharest, and is centered around providing a good wholesome Italian meal with live entertainment — a recipe for success that many have replicated. all of Ciro’s Pomodoro outlets follow the same format and appear as a grand walk of fame with the walls speckled with Ciro’s personal photographs taken with patrons from various fields. If you’re a top name in sports, music or film, you’re probably on Ciro’s wall.
In Lahore, Pomodoro is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of main MM Alam road, situated instead in a residential area right behind the famed street, where it serves as an effective alternative to the absent club culture. He intends to have a performance every night of the week and hosting parties with his celebrity pals every few months.
With mouth watering authentic Italian pizzas floating in whilst a live band plays catchy tunes, Pomodoro offers an ideal environment for fun and friendship to grow, and that is precisely what Ciro prides himself on doing.
Published in the Express Tribune, April 20th, 2011.