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Looking Back on a Legacy Left to Us

Posted on: 4/2/2012 11:13:36 AM under Personal 
 

Reflections of an American of Italian Ancestry on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Republic

By NIAF President Joseph V. Del Raso, Esq.

On the morning of March 17th, 2011, a group of patriotic Americans started their day not celebrating the feast of St. Patrick, a holiday that many say is more robustly embraced in New York than Dublin, but on the Gianicolo overlooking the Eternal City. A small delegation of the board of directors of the National Italian American Foundation" Vincent Viola, joined by his sons John and Michael, Robert Carlucci, Gabriel Battista, Arthur Furia, and myself made the pilgrimage from America to celebrate the commencement of the yearlong celebration of the birth of the Republic of Italy. We were joined by our Italian board members Paolo Catalfamo and Francesco Nicotra, who together with On. Amato Berardi arranged for a day filled with great honor and pride for our ancestral homeland.

One might ask why we were so enthusiastic to participate in this "Italian celebration." The answer is simple -- we are very proud of our Italian heritage and recognized the importance of the Italian traditions that our ancestors, the first generation of immigrants, left as their legacy to us. The day was a whirlwind of one celebratory event after another. It started with our presentation to President Napolitano of a replica of the first "Tricolore" flown in New York to the parliamentary session and culminated with Muti conducting Nabucco.  As one of our delegation noted, "Wouldn't our grandfathers be proud?" Of course!

Nostalgia is respectful of the past, but helps us shape the future. For Italian-Americans- and for all Americans -- I believe there is more to the relationship between Italy and America in the 21st Century than a great affection for our ancestral homeland. It is about an alliance of two countries with common values and traditions that have shaped our philosophy on government, education, culture, and innovation. The American republic was founded on the forward-thinking philosophies of the "Age of Enlightenment," including the writings of the Italian philosophers Beccaria, Mazzei, and Filangieri. These great thinkers helped shape the vision of our founding fathers and the birth of one of the greatest republics the world has known.

At the time of America's birth, Italy was still divided into regional states rather than a unified national government. However, less than 100 years after our independence, Italy celebrated its own unification. One of the leaders of this movement, Garibaldi, was a respected military leader well-known in the United States (in fact, Garibaldi lived in New York for a time between his campaigns for Italian independence and unification).  Abraham Lincoln consulted with him and offered him a position as a major general, and is said to have even considered appointing him to command the Union Army when the Civil War was not going well for the North. The common and shared values of the new Italian republic and the United States of the 19th Century have developed into a great and enduring friendship. The interruption of this alliance during World War II has not weakened this partnership. In fact, the alliance in the post­ World War II era, beginning with Italy and the United States joining as founding members of NATO and continuing to today's  shared commitment to combatting global terrorism and ensuring economic security, has thrived. No one questions Italy's support of our strategic interests, and America's enduring support of Italy's security.  In business and culture, too, the bonds between Italy and the United States are strong, and continue to grow.

As we look to the continuing relationship of our respective countries during this century, we must recognize our common opportunities and challenges. The creative genius of Italy in research, design and innovation is a natural marriage with the American entrepreneurial  and pragmatic approach to the development and commercialization of products. America embraces Italian design and culture, and our love and respect for Italy transcends the culinary arts and couture. Collaborative research in the life sciences, automotive design and engineering, energy, and many other 21st Century initiatives will distinguish the American and Italian partnership. This partnership is critical to maintaining our collective competitive edge in the new "flat world."

Finally, the nostalgia of the contributions of Italian immigrants in America and their immeasurable influence on our great country is absolutely compatible with the enthusiasm that today's  Americans of Italian heritage bring to their current and future role in American leadership. Their talents are shaped by ethnic heritage and values that underpin a powerful identity with their ancestral homeland. Frank Sinatra, the most famous Italian American singer of the 20th Century, recorded "The Best Is Yet to Come," and the title of this song is a fitting description of the contemporary relationship between our great republics. Long live America and Viva Italia!



 
 

Anjelica Huston: Latest Updates

Posted on: 3/26/2012 10:48:50 AM under General 
 

Academy-award winning actress, critically acclaimed director and past NIAF honoree, Anjelica Huston recently spoke to The Wall Street Journal magazine about monumental moments in her life: the ‘70s fashion scene in New York City, Hollywood and moving forward after the death of her husband. Huston was honored for her work at the 23rd annual NIAF Gala in Washington, DC in 1998.

 

Huston’s started modeling at age 17 and her career skyrocketed soon after. She became a muse to designers such as Halston and Zandra Rhodes and was photographed by Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin and Bob Richardson.Still. Still, at age 60, she remains part of the limelight in Hollywood. She recently has collaborated with Wes Anderson on “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” After her death of her husband, Robert Graham, Huston has been writing a memoir, focusing on her childhood in Ireland, her youth in New York City, her two decades in Los Angeles with Nicholson and most importantly, her time with Graham.

 

Her most recent undertaking has been in New York City, shooting the new NBC series, “Smash.” Huston plays a producer coping with the end of a marriage and fighting to advance her art. On her new role, Huston declares, “I’m very happy to be in a show with singing and dancing…” For more information on her new role, visit http://www.nbc.com/smash/.

 

 

 

 

 



 
 

St. Joseph's Day: Understanding the Tradition

Posted on: 3/19/2012 9:29:31 AM under Personal 
 

St. Joseph’s Day is a widely celebrated holiday in New Orleans. The holiday can be traced back to the ancient Sicilians who prayed to St. Joseph when they were suffering from famine. In the following video, Errol Laborde explains that New Orleans had the largest Sicilian migration in the country and discusses more of the history of St. Joseph’s Day and some of the traditions associated with the holiday. Check it out! http://bit.ly/xEsCKs 

Errol Laborde is editor/associate publisher of New Orleans Magazine and editor/publisher of Louisiana Life magazine.

 



 
 

Made in Italy

Posted on: 3/12/2012 12:03:05 PM under Personal 
 

Jane August, handbag designer, believes in the importance of the “Made in Italy” label and has considered herself a designer since birth. Her collection, which she describes as vintage with a modern twist, is made in a family-owned factory outside Florence.

She explains, “I have always loved Italian craftsmanship and as a handbag designer, I have worked hard to champion the ‘Made in Italy’ label. I would settle for nothing less. Over the decades I have seen other brands move their work away from Italy, to China to cut costs and I have seen Tuscan towns transformed by the import of Chinese workers, but if I am putting my name on my luxury brand my choice is ‘Made in Italy.’ This is gold standard and today I work with a second generation handbag maker in Fucecchio, Italy. The factory is vintage, just how I like it. Even the needle he uses to make a luxury handbag today is a rarity to the 21st century!”

Check out her website! http://janeaugust.com/index.html



 
 

Palazzo Margherita: Francis Ford Coppola’s Finest Hotel

Posted on: 3/5/2012 9:45:50 AM under Personal 
 

You may have known Francis Ford Coppola as the director of “The Godfather,” but he also has his hands in luxury hotels. Coppola and French interior designer Jacques Grange have recently transformed a 19th-century palazzo in the Coppola family’s Italian hometown into a grand luxurious hotel. Coppola and Grange fused Moorish and Tunisian influences with Italian aesthetics to create Palazzo Margherita’s restrained, yet exquisitely comfortable interior.

 

Palazzo Margherita is located in the lively working town of Bernalda in southern Italy. It is situated in the town’s central square and has an inner courtyard, walled garden and a swimming pool. Palazzo Margherita is the fifth and most luxurious hotel owned by Coppola. Each of the bedrooms reflect members of Coppola’s close-knit family, giving the grand hotel a comforting family home appeal.

 

For more information on Palazzo Margherita and other hotels by Coppola, visit: http://www.coppolaresorts.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
 

Guest Blog: Sharing in La Polenta

Posted on: 3/2/2012 10:53:46 AM under Personal 
 

No doubt about it:  the sharing of savory foods is Italy's nonpareil social link.   While the breaking of bread together denotes communion or mutual sharing and fellowship in both Judaic and Christian tradition, in Italian tradition, the most communal food is certainly polenta - when spread out on a wooden board (lo spianatoio, literally “the spreader”) down the center of a long table, diners on both sides scooping up the polenta with big spoons. A meal of just polenta, la polentata - best savored with a robust red wine - reminds today’s Italians of those bygone days of la miseria (best translated as “rural poverty") when cornmeal cooked in boiling water - and maybe served with meat sauce (a treat) - filled the stomachs of many a farm family.

Italian gastronomical traditions mirror the history of Italy and polenta is no exception. Polenta is as old as Italy. The first ingredients were indigenous: ground barley, farro (spelt), beans, and peas and the Etruscans, Greeks and Saracens brought here their own versions of dishes made from these ground legumes and grains. The Romans called such dishes “puls”and later “pulentum”. “Pulentum” nourished Roman soldiers as they set out to conquer the known world. Cornmeal arrived from the New World on the ships of Cristoforo Colombo and took over rapidly as the star ingredient of polenta.

Caloric and filling, polenta is a winter dish. Nowadays, in vogue in gourmet restaurants (even in the States), it’s hard to imagine that poor farmers here once hoped they’d never see another spoonful of polenta! The best place to enjoy a true polentata is at Ristorante Da Giovannino in the Assisi countryside, where Giovannino's daughter-in-law, Serenella, takes turns stirring the huge pot of polenta with her mother Rosella. When ready, they spread the steamy polenta out on the spianatoio and sprinkle pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese) on top.  La miseria is long gone:  ladlefuls of a rich meat sauce loaded with local veal, ground pork, sausages, ribs, and mushrooms are spooned on top of the polenta. Parmigiano adds the finishing touch before Serenella’s son Fabio proudly carries the long spiantoio to hungry guests at the long dining room table. Spoons in hand, an enthusiastic student group is ready to share this cornmeal communion!

 

By Anne Robichaud, the only American authorized as an Umbrian Regional tour guide. Read about her Umbrian hilltown tours, cooking classes in her home and in the US and her "memoirs of rural life" on www.annesitaly.com. Enjoy the many stories on her blog http://annesitaly.com/blog/

 



 
 

Interviewing a Legend

Posted on: 2/27/2012 11:37:02 AM under Personal 
 

In 1965, Esquire magazine assigned Gay Talese the task of interviewing the legendary Frank Sinatra, who was approaching 50 years of age. Unfortunately Sinatra was unwilling to be interviewed. Talese, however, was determined and stayed in Los Angeles and spoke to Sinatra’s family and friends and observed the man himself.  The result was one of the greatest magazine stories ever published, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.”

This story is an example of what came to be known as New Journalism- a style of nonfiction writing using storytelling and conversational speech usually associated with fiction. NIAF honored Gay Talese for his literary contributions during its 23rd Anniversary Gala in 1998.

Read “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” in Esquire- http://bit.ly/15Ugo

 



 
 

A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale in Venice and Viareggio

Posted on: 2/21/2012 12:06:31 PM under Personal 
 

Anything goes at Carnevale!

 

With Ash Wednesday soon approaching, Italy is celebrating Carnevale, its final party before Lent begins. Also known as Mardi Gras, Carnevale is celebrated 40 days before Easter in numerous cities around the world. In Italy, Venice is most famous for Carnevale, but Viareggio, a coast town in Tuscany, has a unique tradition that is becoming extremely popular with tourists and locals.

 

In Venice, Carnevale is a huge winter festival that includes parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. People from all over the world line the streets with their maschere, or masks, to take part in the celebration that lasts throughout the evening. These masks are an essential part of Carnevale and they range from simple to elaborate, often with people dressing up in embellished costumes. It is a sight you do not want to miss! Venice's Carnival season starts about 2 weeks before the date of Carnevale. Events and entertainment are held nightly throughout Venice.

 

A few hours south of Venice in Tuscany, Viareggio holds a grand parade with giant, allegorical paper maché floats used in the parades on the Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday, and of course, Fat Tuesday. Like Venice, festivals, cultural events, concerts, and masked balls take place in Viareggio and nearby and restaurants have special carnevale menus. For more information, go to http://www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
 

Bologna, A Hidden Treasure for Tourists

Posted on: 2/13/2012 12:17:29 PM under Personal 
 

It may not be as popular as Florence or Venice, but Bologna is a city that should not be missed! Like most Italian cities, Bologna is a top spot for great food and some even claim that is Italy’s culinary capital!  Bologna offers every type of pork product imaginable, lasagna, tortellini and of course spaghetti Bolognese. Travel to nearby Modena to taste balsamic vinegar in its birthplace.

Food may be a priority when visiting Bologna, however the city also has one of the largest and best preserved historic centers among Italian cities with some great sights to check out. Stop by Piazza Nettuno to see the fountain of Neptune, visit the famous Lamborghini Museum, explore University Quarter, home to the oldest university in the Western world or simply walk around the city to see the beautiful terracotta-roofed architecture and porticos.

Read more about Bologna in the Huffington Post! http://huff.to/yJZiej



 
 

Italian Women Working to Rebuild Society

Posted on: 2/6/2012 11:16:36 AM under Personal 
 

Although Italy may be facing some tough economic times, lately Italian women have played key roles in rebuilding society. The Huffington Post reported on a few women who are proving that “women can make it in Italy too!”

Maria Amata Garito’s goal is to reduce illiteracy around the world. As the head of the Italian- International Telematic University (UniNettuno) which enables students to obtain bachelor and master degrees online learning in a variety of different languages, she has developed multiple education programs. She launched a program called “Let’s learn Arabic” in Morocco which lowered illiteracy from 44 to 10 percent, helped to reduce poverty/create employment opportunities in Iraq and developed a project in which 31 partners (universities, companies, etc.) belonging to 11 countries  are jointly connected in one network to link their knowledge. 

Lucia Castellano, a lawyer from Naples, works in the Italian penitentiary system and has been the director of Bollate prison in Milan. Her aim is to help prisoners rebuild their lives so inside the prison you will find elementary through high schools, a media office, gym, music hall and a riding stable.

Barbara Ensoli is the Director of the National Center Anti Aids at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome. In 2009 she was experimenting with an HIV vaccine called TAT and she believes the Italian government needs to invest more in research.

Read more about these influential women! http://huff.to/AiAjwL

 

Maria Amata Garito



 
 

Guest Blog: La Scarzuola

Posted on: 2/3/2012 10:51:44 AM under Personal 
 

A recent visit to La Scarzuola, in northern Umbria – where our region almost merges with Tuscany – plopped me right into a surreal world of Dali-Miro’-Escher-Fellini-like bizzarities. The name “Scarzuola” derives from a marsh plant of the area, “la scarza”, used by San Francesco di Assisi, legend tells us, to build himself a shelter here in the early 13th century. In 1218, San Francesco planted a rosebush and laurel bushes near his primitive hut and caused a spring to gush forth miraculously out of.a rock. The spring still has sacred connotations for the local populace. In the very early 1400's, a Franciscan monastery was built here – and in the apse of the monastery church, a fresco depicts the Saint in levitation. Until 1876, the monastery remained property of the Franciscans.

La Scarzuola today is a leap from the sacred to the profane (or is it a taking of the sacred to another level?). In 1956, Tomaso Buzzi (1900- 1981), visionary Milanese architect, acquired the monastery complex and soon after, launched his twenty-year project of transformation of the site into his own “Ideal City”, where a fusion between nature and culture could take place in a sort of “theatrical complex”. Buzzi first lovingly restored the monastery and then transformed the humble, innocent gardens of the friars into labyrinthine hedges meandering around rare flowers and statues. After his restoration of the “sacred city”, Buzzi moved on to his creation of the “profane city”, his “città Buzziana”, a sort of “autobiography in stone”. Just beyond the gardens, Buzzi’s città ideale rises out of a natural amphitheater of volcanic tufo rock, like a giant citadel, a sort of spectacular, monumental stage set where wonders and mysteries overlap and fuse with each other: at least seven theaters, an Acropolis, a honeycomb complex of buildings of every architectural style, empty inside but with countless chambers. Buzzi himself termed his project “classical, medieval, Renaissance, Mannerist and also, why not? ..decadent”.

A very personalized neo-Mannerism reigns supreme: stairs jutting out in all directions, deliberate disproportion of many details, and a few monsters, here and there. Fantasy and irrereverence merge in this grafting of the sacred city (monastery and friar’s garden) to the profane (the città Buzziana), both laden with allegories, symbols and secrets. Buildings and monuments bearing indeciphrable symbols and bizzare quotations are piled together, including circular ones imitating Arab astronomical observatories, zoomorphic structures, grottoes for meditation, pagan temples, a chrystal tower similar to a pinnacle on a Gothic cathedral. The Eye of Buddha, Tower of Babel, homage to Teatro della Scala in Milan, a towering Totem of Meditation, a massive nude Madre Dea (Iside), the Arch of Triumph, Theater of Waters, Temple of Vesta merge together, tumble over each other. Buzzi defined his extraordinary project as “an oasis of welcome, of study, of work, of music, silence, greatness and poverty, of social life, heremitic life, contemplation, solitude, fantasy, fables, myths, outside of time and space – so that each can find echoes of the past and visions of the future.”

Since 1981, Buzzi’s nephew, Marco Solari, is carrying on his uncle’s mission of “build and destroy”(!) Reminding me of Dante’s Virgil, Marco had my head spinning as he took me through this astounding surrealistic maze of monuments, embodying something of the evocative, geometric, astronomical, magical…and even miraculous. Contrasting elements working in a sort of bizarre, yet sublime harmony. San Francesco to Salvador Dali. All in one.

By Anne Robichaud, the only American authorized as an Umbrian Regional tour guide. Read about her Umbrian hilltown tours, cooking classes in her home and in the US and her "memoirs of rural life" on www.annesitaly.com.  Enjoy the many stories on her blog http://annesitaly.com/blog/



 
 

Writing about One’s Heritage and Food Experiences to Benefit Others

Posted on: 1/30/2012 9:42:13 AM under Personal 
 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published a story about Joe Lagnese, who at age 82 wrote his first book, “Cookin: Recollections and Recipes of Joe Lagnese.” His work, a memoir/cookbook, features the food Joe grew up eating including polenta, pasta, frittatas, roasted meats and leafy greens, as well as memories of his food experiences throughout his childhood.

The inspiration for his book came about when his daughter-in-law, Muriel, who had loved his Italian cooking, passed away from adult onset cystic fibrosis.  In her honor, the Lagnese family started a memorial fund, Muriel’s Breath of Life (http://www.murielsbreathoflife.org), which raises money for other victims of this disease and proceeds from the book go to that fund.

Read more in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette- http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11325/1190905-34-0.stm.



 
 

Parma, Famous For More Than Cheese!

Posted on: 1/23/2012 12:13:52 PM under Personal 
 

Parma, Famous For More Than Cheese!

Famous for prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma, Italy is a hot spot for good Italian cuisine, but food isn’t the only thing you will find when visiting this city. Correggio, one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance, was born in Parma and some of his masterpieces can be found there. When visiting Piazza Duomo you will find, The Assumption of the Virgin, a beautiful golden fresco that covers the cupola. In the nearby National Gallery hangs the Saint Jerome with the Madonna and Child, along with paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein, Brueghel and El Greco.

The Teatro Regio combines art and music in one of Italy’s greatest opera houses with a beautifully frescoed ceiling, gilt balconies and red velvet seating. While you are there, be sure to check out an opera by Verdi, Paganini or Toscanini. 

Read some travel tips about what to see and where to stay and eat! http://tgr.ph/vfiHBC



 
 

A Quest for an Interview with the Legendary Joe DiMaggio

Posted on: 1/17/2012 10:05:43 AM under Personal 
 

Athletes have always tried to keep their personal lives out of the public spotlight and Joe DiMaggio was no exception. When writer Gay Talese set out to profile Joe DiMaggio for Esquire in 1966 he quickly found out that the only way to track down the baseball great was to show up in San Francisco at his restaurant. Although DiMaggio was furious at first, Talese managed to interview him and the result was one of the greatest pieces of sports writing, “The Silent Season of a Hero.” This story depicted DiMaggio, now 15 years removed from his baseball days, as a sad and lonely man on a quest for peace and also helped Talese become one of the pioneers of a new form of journalism. Before Talese, there had been a contract between the athletes and men who wrote about them: The athletes’ private lives would never enter the field of view.

In 1989 and 1998 NIAF honored Joe DiMaggio and Gay Talese (respectively) during its 14th and 23rd Anniversary Awards Gala in the nation's capital. Read more about these legendary Italian American’s and the way “The Silent Season of a Hero” changed sports writing. http://es.pn/spsUOH

 

 



 
 

Pizza Anyone?

Posted on: 1/9/2012 9:35:23 AM under Personal 
 

Everyone loves a good pizza and whether you prefer a traditional Margherita pizza with thin crust, a Chicago-style deep dish with pepperoni, or the unusual kale, goat cheese and apple topped pizza, the Washington D.C. area has something for everyone! The Washington Post picked out the top 24 pizza spots in the metropolitan area.

If you are looking for a classic New York style pizza try 2 Amys in Cleveland Park, Vace Delicatessen in Bethesda, MD, the Italian Store in Arlington, VA. Looking for a more traditional Italian pizza? Check out Pacci’s Neopolitan Pizzeria in Silver Spring, MD or Pupatella in Arlington, VA. Both feature wood-fired thin crusts with fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella.

Many of the restaurants are even vegan friendly. Stop by Radius Pizza in the district or Fiorella Pizzeria e Caffe at the National Harbor in Maryland to try out their unusual creations made with soy cheese and veggies. Fiorella also offers pizza topped with fried zucchini and for the seafood lovers, another with blue crab. Comet Ping Pong also features a seafood pizza with fresh clams, garlic, melted onions, thyme and Parmesan.

Find out what other restaurants made the list! http://wapo.st/aoJgP5



 
 

Only In America

Posted on: 1/3/2012 11:39:48 AM under Personal 
 

Millions of immigrants have traveled to the United States in search of the new opportunities, but Emilia (Emily) Zecchino’s story is a true example of achieving the “American Dream.” Zecchino was born in the middle of a depression in Bari, Italy, in 1928. In search of work, her family moved first to Rome, then Trieste in Northern Italy, and finally to Ethiopia when it became an Italian colony in 1937. In 1941, her dad was taken as a prisoner of war and spent five years in a concentration camp in Kenya while the rest of the family was sent back to Italy on the famous International Red Cross-sponsored "Navi Bianche"—a trip of 40 days that began in Mogadishou, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and finally ended in Naples, Italy, while the war was raging in the Atlantic.

During the American occupation of Italy, Zecchino met her husband and came to the United States in 1947. She helped her husband run a grocery store in New York for 20 years, but at the age of 55, and with an investment of only $1,000, Emily opened “Holiday Caterers.” The company slowly evolved into a wholesale frozen food enterprise and was renamed “Holiday Foods.” After building a U.S.D.A. plant, she started to manufacture an upscale line of hors d’oeuvres, canapés, and center of the plate specialties, that she sold to several hotel chains, famous country clubs, and cruise lines through renowned distributors around the United States and the company grew to over 200 employees! 

Read more about Zecchino’s inspiring story in her book, “Only in America.” http://bit.ly/uJ0jar

 



 
 

On 100th Birthday Italian Immigrant Returns to Ellis Island to Recall American Journey

Posted on: 12/28/2011 9:51:44 AM under Personal 
 

Between 1876 to 1924, over four and a half million Italians migrated to the United States, many of them arriving in Ellis Island. Filomena Bianco boarded a ship headed for America in March of 1931 and started a journey she later described as the longest 10 days of her life. This past November, Bianco returned to Ellis Island for the first time since her arrival in America to share her experiences with a museum archivist. "When we saw the statue, the men, they looked scared," recounted Bianco about her first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

Bianco's family settled in the heavily Italian neighborhood ( Montclair, N.J.).  She went to work making cigar boxes and ammunition at war plants. At 35 cents an hour, it was hard to make ends meet and her family didn't have gas or electricity. Her daughter, who joined her in the interview, said the children hardly noticed the struggles.  Even when it was really bad, she always kept us happy and clean and neat. No matter what , we were sent  to school with clean clothes and polished shoes. Read more about Bianco's amazing story which spans the Great Depression, a World War and 14 presidents! http://bit.ly/sdo6fc



 
 

Hidden Art Gems of Italy

Posted on: 12/19/2011 10:11:31 AM under Personal 
 

There are masterpieces abound in Rome, Milan and Florence that we are all familiar with including: the Birth of Venus in the  Uffizi Gallery, the David(s), the Coliseum, Giotto’s bell tower and the Last Supper, just to name a few. However, there are also many hidden art treasures all across Italy from Venice to Reggio Calabria waiting to be found.

Can’t make it to Athens? Just stop by Paestum, just south of Salerno, grab some fresh mozzarella and head over to the three marveling Greek temples by the Tyrrhenian Sea. The oldest of the three temples dates back to the sixth century B.C.

In or around Venice for vacation? After taking in the breathless views of the canals and the 15th century façade of Scuola Grande di San Marco, head over to Padua – only 30 miles from Venice. There you can take in Giotto’s 1305 fresco cycle in the Scrovegni Chapel. Reflecting the story of Mary and Jesus, the fresco is the world’s first frame-by-frame study in emotion and action.

Check out www.travelandleisure.com for more information on hidden gems in Mantua, Ferrara, Ravenna, Siena, Benevento and Reggio Calabria!

 

 



 
 

Gucci Museo: Celebrating 90 Years of the Brand

Posted on: 12/12/2011 10:33:45 AM under Personal 
 

Only in Florence could Renaissance art be paired with the iconic fashion brand, Gucci, in the historic Piazza Signoria. A mix of past collections, Gucci Museo showcases its famous history in three floors. The permanent exhibition begins on the ground floor, where the Travel collection features trunks and suitcases designed in earlier years.

Moving on to the first floor, visitors will view the Contemporary Art Space, featuring video and film installations from “movie art.” Currently, Bill Viola’s Amore e Morte will be showcased until January 28, 2012 with two video installations of Fire Woman and Tristan’s Ascension. On that same floor, Gucci displays a number of themes and collections including Flora World, Evening, Handbags and Precious. Flora World features its famous floral print while Evening shows off Gucci’s renowned evening gowns. Finally, Precious showcases unique valuables and clutches from past collections.

Rising up to the second and last floor, the motifs of Logomania, Sport and Lifestyle fill the rooms. Logomania illustrates the infamous double G monogram that has transcended Italian and worldwide fashion markets. The Sport and Lifestyle collections feature items from the sport and leisure world of Gucci.

The Gucci Museo is open year-round and admission is 6 Euros with 50 percent of  the proceeds of each ticket benefitting a fund to preserve the art treasures in the historic city of Florence. Visit the Museo’s website at http://www.gucci.com/us/worldofgucci/mosaic/think_forever/gucci_museo.

 



 
 

Festa del Ceppo - The Italian Yule Log Tradition

Posted on: 12/5/2011 10:19:55 AM under Personal 
 

With less than a month until Christmas the Italian regions of Tuscany and Piedmont are busy preparing for “Festa del Ceppo” also known as “Festival of the Log” that takes place on Christmas Eve.  Several traditions surround the festival. Sometimes the "ceppo" is a wooden structure mounted in the shape of a pyramid and is commonly decorated with shiny paper or frills and greenery. Its shelves contain nuts, fruits and little presents. Another tradition symbolizes the place where Mary warmed her newborn baby Jesus. On Christmas Eve families gather together to place a large log in the fireplace as they sing, and play games. In some areas, children come and hit the log with sticks to create sparks. They sing the “Ave Maria del Ceppo” and receive sweets and gifts. To learn more about the traditions of the Festa Del Ceppo visit http://technorati.com/lifestyle/family/article/festa-del-ceppo-the-italian yule/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+trarticles+(All+articles+at+Technorati)  

 

 

 



 
 
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