EXCITEMENT is building about England's first visit to a major international tournament final since 1966.

With pubs and bars across the land expected to be full to capacity, albeit reduced due to allow for social distancing, it is a bumper time for the hospitality industry, after a hard, lockdown hit 16 months.

England's opponents at Wembley on Sunday evening need no introduction, with Italy having tasted wins at four World Cup Finals as well winning the European title back in 1968.

For the region's Italian restaurants, the final on Sunday represents something of a win/win situation, and although there are bound to be split loyalties with strong ties to both nations, there's nothing like having a boot in each camp.

The Guardian spoke to the owners of two our most popular Italian restaurants about their plans for the big game on Sunday.

Giuseppina, who runs the recently refurbished Turturici in Davenham, admitted the game is one she cannot really lose and how the restaurant would be showing the match after discussing it with customers who had already made bookings.

She said: "I'm British by birth but Italian by heritage so it's win win either way for me really.

"We've decided to screen the match now as it seems to be one of those once in a lifetime moments.

"It's not every day you get Italy and England in a final is it?

"I obviously don't want to upset any customers off who would maybe want to escape the football, but it's such a big occasion and I want to watch it myself that's for sure.

"I did consider maybe leaving it to the pubs, as it's obviously something they do best, but it's such an amazing one-off occasion."

Turturici is named after Giuseppina's Sicilian family, where generations grew up cooking and enjoying the fabulous cuisine and no matter what the result there is sure to be a great atmosphere.

If you want to book a table to enjoy the best of Italian food and drink while watching the game, you can do so by calling 01606 331155 or by e-mailing info@turturici.co.uk.

Over at Il Padrino in Middlewich, the English and Italian owners have decided against screening the game, leaving that to the town's pubs and bars instead.

Claire Halluni, who runs the popular eaterie with her husband Alberto agreed that it was a strange feeling being in a win/win situation.

She said: "We're on quite mutual grounds.

"It was great when Italy won, but the final will be a happy win either way.

"The same goes for my husband who is obviously Italian.

"We've had a lot of messages from customers asking Alberto who he'll be supporting.

"I'm looking forward to a really fun day on Sunday and the atmosphere no matter what is going to be incredible.

"I just wish both teams all the best.

"And here's hoping they give us all a bank holiday on Monday."

To book a table at Il Padrino you can telephone 01606 837 888 or e-mail ilpadrinomiddlewich@gmail.com.