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NIAF $$ At Work In L'Aquila

Posted on: 8/12/2011 2:51:53 PM under General 

NIAF joined forces with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Embassy and Italian American community groups to help the people of Abruzzo, Italy, in the aftermath of the devastating April 6, 2009 earthquake. The project directed aid to the University of L’Aquila and restored its role as an important academic, social and economic engine for the Abruzzo region. In the two years since the earthquake, one of the projects has been the completion of an earthquake-resistant modular multipurpose center.


Space Granny Orbits

Posted on: 8/9/2011 9:28:00 AM under General 

Gloria Coco, a 72-year-old Italian actress, will become the oldest woman in Europe to take part in a space flight.  Deemed as the “space granny,” Coco has completed three training courses and is preparing for the takeoff which will take place later this year at the NASA Space Center in Houston.


“As soon as I heard about this space flight, I called, I qualified and I told them that I was 70 years old.  They accepted me immediately,” said Coco.  The flight will focus on scientific research and “will test the reaction of her brain in various states of gravity,” said Carlo Viberti, president of Spaceland.  The first non-government space agency recognized by the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, Spaceland organized the entire project.  They hope the results will assist in research against Alzheimer’s disease.


Read more from ANSA.


Photo from ANSA


Help Our Vets-Get The Word Out About NIAF Veterans' Day

Posted on: 8/3/2011 11:45:01 AM under General 

NIAF invites all Italian American veterans of the Iraq Conflict or War in Afghanistan to participate in the 2011 NIAF Veterans' Day to be held on October 27 in Washington, DC.  All expenses will be paid for those selected.  The program will include a panel of successful business leaders who will speak about their experiences in difference business sectors and situations.  Veterans will be paired with mentors and provided the opportunity to develop a lasting relationship with some of the our community's finest leaders.   The day will be followed by a special military-themed black tie dinner at the National Archives and NIAF's 36th Annual Anniversary Awards Gala weekend.  Applications are due August 19th and the selection with be announced on September 2nd.  For more information, please visit www.niaf.org/vetsprogram.


Auguri To Champion Italian Swimmer Federica Pellegrini

Posted on: 8/1/2011 2:38:56 PM under General 

Twenty-two-year old Federica Pellegrini, champion Italian swimmer, won her second straight 400-meter world freestyle title and has set her sight on the London Olympics in 2012.

Even though she was in fifth place at the 200 meter mark, she ended pulling through and winning the race.


“I’m very happy to confirm myself as a world champion again,” said Pellegrini.


Read more from ANSA.



Smartphone Use Jumps In Italy

Posted on: 7/28/2011 2:43:12 PM under General 

Spending approximately two billion euros annually on smartphones and tablets, Italians use hi-tech accessories more than the rest of Europe according to new studies released from the Doxa Research Agency.


While 52 percent of Europeans surf the web with their phones, nearly 60% of Italians do so.  What do you think has pushed Italians to use their smartphones more?


Read the full article from ANSA.



A Touch of Italy in NYC

Posted on: 7/20/2011 11:21:14 AM under General 

Looking for something to do in Manhattan that’s free and outdoors? Why not check out Central Park’s Conservatory Garden? The Garden is actually a combination of three smaller gardens, each with its own theme. These three gardens draw their inspiration from Italy, France, and the United Kingdom.

In the Italian garden, there is a jet fountain with a wisteria pergola and an expansive sweeping rectangular lawn “per fare una passeggiata.”In the French garden, you’ll find a statue entitled Three Dancing Maidens. The flowers in this garden change with the change in seasons, from tulips in the summer to chrysanthemums in the fall. Last but not least, the English Garden is full of color and has a hidden area with a fish pond in the center, inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden.”

These are just a few of the details about each of these beautiful gardens. The Conservatory Garden offers free 90-minute tours, which leave from the Vanderbilt Gate ( 105th Street and Fifth Avenue) at 11 a.m. every Saturday through October 29. If you’d rather explore on your own, the garden is open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk.For more information, 212/310/6600 or www.centralparknyc.org

Learn more about the Conservatory Garden here.


Vino + Vespas

Posted on: 7/19/2011 11:36:15 AM under General 

Vino + Vespas, a combination that could only be found in one place: Italy. In the Collio wine district of northeastern Italy, the “Collio in Vespa” program allows tourists to travel by Vespa between wine tastings and vineyard tours.


Collio is a region known for crisp white wines and family-owned wineries. There is a great diversity in methods for producing different kinds of wine throughout the region, but they must all be successful. Of all of the Collio-designated wines produced in the region, 15 of them earned the highest “tre bicchieri” rating from Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine.


There is more to taste in Collio than just wine, though. While traveling from vineyard to vineyard, visitors to Collio can also stop off at various restaurants along the way. These restaurants specialize in the local cuisine, which has been influenced heavily by Slavic and Austro-Hungarian delicacies.


To read more about Collio and to get a firsthand account from one visitor to the region, read this article from the New York Times.



Naples To Send Trash Outside Of Region

Posted on: 7/15/2011 3:45:45 PM under General 

Because of the large amounts of waste that Naples has incurred, garbage will soon be moved to other regions in Italy.  According to the governor of Campania, Naples will ship rubbish to Sicily, Puglia, Marche, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.

But will this resolve this crisis?

Police escorts have recently begun accompanying garbage trucks because protestors have resorted to tipping over dumpsters, setting fire to the piles of waste and blocking traffic.  Since this is a reoccurring problem and the issue has not been resolved, many blame the situation on technical failures with the lack of investment in additional landfill sites.

Read the full article from ANSA.


Tomb-raiding Ring Intercepted

Posted on: 7/12/2011 4:47:52 PM under General 

Police intercepted a tomb-raiding ring that was scouring southern and central Italy for priceless treasures.  Officers seized 2,298 items including ancient coins, medal, fossils, ceramics and statues in Rome and Naples in addition to 21 towns.

Forty-seven people face charges for the stolen items.  Investigators stated that in some cases the tomb raiders used excavators to obtain the buried treasures even though this often led to damaging the delicate, ancient items.

Read the full article from ANSA.


Florentines Want Mona Lisa Back

Posted on: 7/5/2011 3:46:44 PM under General 

The National Committee for Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage and the city of Florence are promoting a campaign to bring back Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Florence in 2013. 


Organizers will secure 100,000 signatures in hopes that the Louvre will loan the masterpiece to Florence.  The Mona Lisa was found in Florence in 1913, two years after it had been stolen from the Paris museum.


“The Mona Lisa’s return to Florence in 2013, 100 years after her recovery, would have enormous cultural and historical value,” said Committee president Silvano Vinceti.


The Louvre states, though, that the painting is unable to be moved because of its fragility. 


Do you think the Florentines will be able to get the Mona Lisa back? 


ALFIO Is Back With A Brand New CD

Posted on: 6/29/2011 11:01:58 AM under General 

ALFIO, famed Italo-Australian singer and songwriter, is back with a brand new cd, tutta Italiana!  Following the success of his previous album Classic Rewinds, ALFIO now pays special homage to his Italian heritage and takes us on a sentimental journey through music and creates an album of Italian songs.


In tutta Italiana, ALFIO has included some of his own original songs including “Voce Pura” which he wrote in tribute to Luciano Pavarotti and "Il Nostro Sogno" a riveting song about world peace. ALFIO recently performed at the Chairman’s After Hours event following the NIAF’s 35th Anniversary Awards Gala in October. The Australian native now calls USA home and will be touring in support of his new album.  To check out his tour dates and song clips and to purchase the new cd, visit his website:  http://www.alfiomusic.com.


A Marriage of Tradition and Technology

Posted on: 6/27/2011 2:36:56 PM under General 

In Bologna, tradition meets technology. Computer scientists in Bologna have recently premiered their new game, Tortellino X-perience, a video game that teaches its players how to make tortellini.

The game, which uses a webcame and motion-sensing software, was demonstrated at last year’s World Expo in Shanghai. Its developer says that he drew inspiration from a Sony video game that instructed Buddhist monks in the art of performing a tea ceremony. Tortellino X-perience draws upon this idea, using a sfoglina (a professional Bolognese pasta maker) to teach players about all of the steps in the complicated process of tortellini-making.

Though the game is not commercially for sale, its developers are hoping that its technology will be used to create other interactive programs for video games in museums, schools, and exhibitions.

Read more here



Allergy App on Horizon!

Posted on: 6/21/2011 10:27:07 AM under General 

Italian scientists have developed a new way to help individuals with food allergies. The International Fund for Advanced Research in Allergy and Immunology (ONLUS) and Allergy Data Laboratories recently introduced their application for Smartphones in Rome. When implemented, this application will enable patients to read food labels and access a database containing information about the product’s ingredients and possible presence of allergens.


Currently, the database contains 15,000 products, or about 10 percent. According to Adriano Mari from Rome’s Centre of Molecular Allergology at the Institute for Hospitalization and Scientific Care (IDI-IRCSS), the system will be efficient if it covers 80 percent of products. At this developmental stage, the project is looking to companies for increased collaboration and transparency in working towards more “intelligent” labeling. Check out this article for more details.


The Significance of the Numeral "15"

Posted on: 6/14/2011 12:36:22 PM under General 

Luciano Buso, Italian painter and art restorer, claims that the Holy Shroud of Turin, an object believed to have been wrapped around Christ following his Crucifixion, was actually created by Italian artist Giotto in the 14th century. Carbon dating supports this assertion since it dates the object back to the 14th century.


Buso explains that the artist also left a message for his viewers in the work itself.  

"I have examined extremely clear photos of the Shroud and spotted a number of occurrences of the number 15, in the face (of Christ), the hands, and in one case even shaped to look like a long cross," Buso states. According to him, Giotto included these hidden 15’s in order to date the work to the year 1315. To read more about Buso’s research, click here.

(Photo: ANSA)



Plus-sized Models of Vogue Italia

Posted on: 6/7/2011 11:07:59 AM under General 

Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia editor, has recently started a campaign against pro-anorexia websites and blogs.  To help reaffirm her beliefs, she has placed three plus-sized models on the cover of the June 2011 Vogue Italia.  In addition, she also launched a “curvy” section on the vogue.it website.


“I did some research and found that here are countless pro-anorexia websites and blogs that not only support the disorder, but also urge young people to be competitive about their ‘body shape,’” says Sozzani.








Catholic Church Is Now Using New Media

Posted on: 6/1/2011 12:17:12 PM under General 

The Catholic Church is making a change in its way of communicating—social media is now being used to interact with young people.  Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, says the Church now has the ability to reach people than previously.


The Catholic Church has used YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and live streaming successfully for events.  In fact, live streaming has helped reach Catholics in countries with limited access to media. 


Have you checked out the Pope’s website yet?  Go to www.pope2you.net.  Read the full article for more details.


Photo: Jonathan Bainbridge 


Escaping The City Life For Roses

Posted on: 5/27/2011 11:34:59 AM under General 

A rare, small museum in Serramazzoni, Italy, is showcasing 750 different varieties of roses.  Created by designer Roberto Viti and his son Riccardo, the two were looking to escape city life and move to the country.


"We decided to buy a place for a change of life," RiccardoViti told ANSA.  "We already had a passion for garden and plants but this is a totally different thing. We left a garden of 500sq meters and created 43 hectares." With more than 500,000 visitors a year and 3,500 flowers on display, the Museo Giardino della Rosa Antica is open from the beginning of April until the end of October.  The museum also has cooking classes that showcases different recipes to use with rose, including chicken and ice cream.


Read more from ANSA.



Rare Cherry Phenomenon

Posted on: 5/25/2011 12:10:59 PM under General 

A rare phenomenon is occurring in Italy—cherries are maturing at the same time all along the peninsula.  Observers believe this is happening because of the climate change.  Usually Italy has a two month cherry season, but with the maturation process already happening, the harvest is expected to only last a month.  With temperatures being consistent, sometimes even warmer than the south, the quality of this year’s prices is not only good, but so are the prices. 


Earlier this month, cherries in Italy were mostly from Spain and were 15 to 20 euros a kilo.  Luckily with this harvest in Italy, prices have already plunged below last year’s highs.  Italians better enjoy the low prices, though, because once this harvest is over, costs will increase because the only domestic fruit available will be from the cooler areas in the mountain regions.


To read more about the harvest, check out ANSA's article.



Blue Flags Awarded In Italy

Posted on: 5/20/2011 11:49:27 AM under General 

According to the 2011 Blue Flab table, a certification for the services and environmental friendliness of coastal and lakeside resorts as well as the cleanliness of the water, the Italian peninsular has 233 top beaches.  With two more flags than last year, the beaches are throughout different regions-Liguria leads the list with 17 flags.  Created in 1987, the flags are awarded every year to 41 countries.

Check out the full list to see if any of these will be on one of your destinations this summer.  Buona vacanza!


Gelato University

Posted on: 5/13/2011 4:50:56 PM under General 

Who doesn’t love gelato?  For those of you who can’t get enough of it, have you ever thought of enrolling into a university dedicated to gelato?  Scholarships are being offered to foreigners who enroll in Carpigiani Gelato University’s Gelato Pioneers, a course that teaches aspiring chefs how to make gelato in addition to honing one’s business skills. 


The ten most talented students will be reimbursed at the end of the four-week course.  Founded in 2003, the university is a training division of the Carpigiani Group.


“In 2012 we will launch Gelato Pioneers for foreigners to bring the artisanal gelato culture abroad and develop a start-up model at a time when the recession has show you have to invest in yourself and your values,” said Andrea Cocchi, Carpigiani Group managing director.


Do you think you’d be one of the lucky students to be reimbursed for their hard work?  Read the full article from ANSA here.

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