Exiled Italian prince now sells pasta from a van in California

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Emanuele Filiberto in his new food truck. Photo: Prince of Venice Food Truck/Facebook
08:06 CEST+02:00
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.

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.

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love of pasta and noble lineage, the ousted prince only set foot in Italy for the first time in 2002, when parliament repealed a law banning the descendants of the ousted Savoy king from entering the country.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