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Italy’s Famed Singer Antonello Venditti Honored at Largest Gala in Nation’s Capital


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

**Jimmy Kimmel and Carla Gugino Join Venditti at Gala **

(WASHINGTON, D.C.—October 5, 2009) Antonello Venditti, renowned Italian singer and songwriter, will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 34th Anniversary Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Venditti will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music on October 24, 2009 at the Hilton Washington. The black-tie event begins with a 7 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony. Venditti also will give an exclusive performance on Friday, October 23 in the hotel’s International Ballroom.

Antonello Venditti

The NIAF gala is one of the premier annual events in the nation’s capital, attracting more than 3,000 guests from the United States and Italy. In keeping with our tradition of hosting the president, President Barack Obama has been invited to attend.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” will serve as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

Honorees joining Venditti include Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and Public Television cooking show host; Massimo F. d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages; Carla Gugino, actor from the film “The Watchmen” and in the HBO series “Entourage;” and Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Since the 1970s, Venditti’s words and melodies have inspired listeners and lead a call for social change. Beloved all over the world for his ballads, Venditti has spoken out against corruption and drug use and has embraced historical and social themes. This year he celebrates 40 years in the music business with ten million copies sold throughout his career.

Born in Rome, Venditti turned to music at an early age — at age 17 he composed his first song “Sora Rosa.” He then began to frequent Rome’s “Folkstudio,” where he met other artists who were also interested in social and political problems. He released his first album “Theorius Campus,” with Francesco De Gregori, and the song “Roma Capoccia” which gave him his first big break in the music field- a huge success. He went on to release other albums containing important songs such as “Le Cose della Vita,” “Campo de’ Fiori,” “Lilli,” and his first big hit albums “Sotto il Segno dei Pesci” and “Buona Domenica.”

During the 1980s, Venditti established himself in the Italian music scene with his well-known works “Grazie Roma”, a hymn to his city and soccer team, and with the albums “In Questo Mondo di Ladri” and “Benvenuti in Paradiso.” These albums brought extraordinary results in terms of sales. In June 2001, Venditti gathered more than a million people for his unforgettable concert at Circus Maximum, organized to celebrate the victory of Rome’s third football championship. The latest hits are included in his two studio albums “Che Fantastica Storia è La Vita” and the last “Dalla Pelle al Cuore.”

During NIAF’s convention weekend, the Foundation will host Piazza d’Italia, a two-day exhibition of Italy’s Best, and a Celebrity Auction and Luncheon. Friday evening’s “Antonello Venditti Live!” a screening of the documentary “Pane Amaro” by a NIAF grant recipient and a seminar on the culture of food and wine are also part of the convention.

LM Wines will be the official wine sponsor of the gala dinner. Tickets to Saturday’s gala begin at $400 per person. Proceeds will benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202/387-0600 or, or register online at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent.