Foreign film aficionados are in for a visual feast of the Mediterranean kind as this year's Italian Film Festival arrives in Tauranga.

The Cinema Italiano Festival arrives this weekend at Rialto Cinema as part of its tour through New Zealand.

Rialto Cinema Tauranga's Alex Sosa said the festival was usually quite popular. He felt this was because the city was a multi-cultural community "and people really look to experience international films such as the Italian films".

Sosa said an Italian teacher at a local high school had already snapped up plenty of tickets for herself and her students for when the festival officially opens tonight.


Sosa said they would be celebrating the opening with Italian wine, Italian food and other Italian treats such as coffee affogato.

"We will be trying to create a nice experience for attendees."

The festival will run for two weeks.

Festival director, New Zealand actor and playwright Paolo Rotondo said this year's film line-up will treat audiences to the countless manifestations, flavours, colours and expressions of love.

"Love in all its forms continues to dominate Italian cinema and is the theme we are celebrating. Italian culture has always been synonymous with romantic love, but in 2018 we see an evolved expression of this," he said.

"From the love of a father attempting to protect his son from the horrors of life in Life is Beautiful, to the complex love of conjoined twins in Indivisibili, to the love of a brutal and exquisite tradition of the ancient horse race of Palio, to the hilarious body swapping exploration of marital challenges in Moglie e Marito, love is at the centre of the Italian psyche."

The festival began in Christchurch and will travel through the country via Nelson, Tauranga, Hawke's Bay, Masterton, Auckland, Wanaka, Arrowtown, Whakatāne, Wellington before its final screenings at Waiheke Island, Cambridge, Papamoa and Matakana in early 2019.