SALISBURY'S Zizzi restaurant has re-opened more than eight months after the nerve agent attack in the city.

The Italian restaurant, on Castle Street, was closed in March after it emerged that Sergei and Yulia Skripal had dined there on the same day they were poisoned with Novichok.

A community event was held last night (Monday) to mark the reopening of the restaurant, which was had a complete refurbishment and been given a clean bill of health by scientists carrying out the nerve agent clean-up.

First responders, police and doctors involved in the initial nerve agent response were invited to a special launch, to be honoured by Zizzi.

For its opening today, Zizzi has adopted a "pay as you feel" policy, where diners can decide what their meals were worth, with proceeds going to the Salisbury Mayor's Appeal.

The restaurant has been redesigned with Salisbury in mind, including specially-commissioned artwork inspired by the local landscape and an installation of origami doves, which sprung up around the city in March to show solidarity after the nerve agent attack.

More than half of Zizzi's staff will be returning to Salisbury, having worked in other branches of the restaurant or been retained on full pay for the past eight months. They were also given the option to speak with a counsellor about the events in March, though none took this service up.

This includes manager Joe Pegg, who was just one month into the role when the restaurant closed.

"Everyone is excited as I am," he said. "It was always going to reopen, it was just a matter of when.

"The Salisbury community, they have gelled together like us Brits do, they're very very resilient."

Zizzi operations director Phil Boyd added: "We felt very supported as a business and it seemed only right to show our appreciation and thanks.

"We really enjoy trading in Salisbury and there's nothing that stood in our way of reopening.

"We enjoyed great times with our customers prior to March and it didn't even cross our mind that we wouldn't reopen."

Chairman of the Salisbury recovery group Alastair Cunningham said the reopening showed "a real commitment to Salisbury" by Zizzi.

"The restaurant looks fantastic and I recommend everyone should come along and see for themselves," he added.