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Articles by: Tommaso Cartia

  • Gourmet

    The Pizza Diet di Chef Pasquale Cozzolino

    L’idea di poter dimagrire mangiando, e ancor di più di poter dimagrire mangiando il proprio piatto preferito potrebbe sembrare solo un sogno. In realtà tutto dipende da cosa si mangia ed in particolare dal come si mangia e in che orario della giornata. Che la dieta Mediterranea sia una dei migliori regimi alimentari in assoluto è risaputo, ma non è detto che tutti, soprattutto fuori dall’Italia, sappiano come cucinarla, come dosarla, come trarne il massimo dei benefici per il nostro organismo. A volte quello che manca è la vera conoscenza della tradizione della cucina mediterranea sia nella selezione degli ingredienti che nelle modalità di preparazione.

    Il sogno di un maestro pizzaiolo

    Chef Pasquale Cozzolino questa tradizione la conosce, con questa tradizione c’è cresciuto. La sua passione per la pizza nasce proprio nella patria della pizza, Napoli, quando da piccolo attendeva con ansia il giorno in cui la mamma lo avrebbe portato a mangiare il suo piatto preferito: “Quando ero piccolino mia mamma mi portava a mangiare la pizza una volta alla settimana”, ci ha raccontato, “io mi incantavo a guardare i pizzaioli che facevano la pizza. Volevo mangiare la pizza tutti i giorni, anche se non ci era concesso. Ho sempre sognato di fare il pizzaiolo per poter mangiare una pizza al giorno!”

    E questo sogno Pasquale lo ha realizzato. È oggi un pizzaiolo affermato, Executive Chef di uno dei ristoranti italiani più in voga a New York, Ribalta, ed ha anche coronato il suo sogno di mangiare una pizza al giorno grazie alla sua speciale dieta. L’idea è nata da un concreto bisogno di perdere peso: “La dieta della pizza per me è iniziata come un’esigenza personale. Avevo messo su un po’ di chili e dovevo perderli.Per me che mangio spesso e ho sempre attorno a me del cibo essendo uno chef, le solite diete mi facevano sentire in una specie di gabbia. Mi sono quindi consultato con un mio amico, il Dott. Giuseppe Moscarella che è un biologo e nutrizionista di Napoli, consulente e dietologo anche per squadre di calcio. Mi raccontò di come funziona il corpo umano, e di come sfruttare i momenti cosiddetti di super burn per acquisire più calorie in quei momenti della giornata che però l’organismo brucia in fretta. E poi mi chiese quale fosse il mio piatto preferito. Così la pizza è stata inclusa come l’happy item della mia dieta”.

    Cozzolino è riuscito così a perdere 100 pounds (50 Kg), in nove mesi, e dopo aver rilasciato un’intervista al New York Post sulla sua esperienza, la notizia della dieta della pizza ha iniziato a rimbalzare tra i media americani e adesso tutti ne stanno parlando. Nel 2016 è stata la terza dieta più ricercata online. La crescente popolarità della dieta e l’attenzione mediatica che si è concentrata sullo chef napoletano ha attirato l’attenzione della casa editrice americana Penguin Random House che gli ha commissionato la scrittura del libro “The Pizza Diet - How I Lost 100 Pounds and You Can Too!”, che è diventato un grande successo.

    Ma cosa rende questa dieta diversa dalle altre e qual’è la pizza che si può mangiare ogni giorno e mantenersi in forma?

    The Pizza Diet

    La dieta prevede di consumare i prodotti più calorici e lunghi da digerire come i carboidrati complessi nella prima parte della giornata. Appena svegli il nostro organismo non brucia niente perchè è ancora nella fase sleep, ma poi inizia ad accendersi come un motore e va velocissimo. La colazione della Pizza Diet è quindi molto abbondante ma preparata solo con prodotti di eccellente qualità. Cereali, frutta, latte di mandorla, volendo anche un uovo.

    A pranzo verso le dodici arriva il momento della pizza accompagnata da un’insalata. A questo punto si è già assunto il 70% del fabbisogno calorico giornaliero. A cena si mangiano solo proteine preferibilmente magre con un’insalata o verdura. L’ultimo pasto va consumato verso le 6pm.

    Qual’è però la pizza che si può mangiare? E come la si deve preparare?

    Pizza rigorosamente napoletana

    La pizza è quella classica napoletana preparata con un impasto di 220 grammi di farina, acqua, sale e lievito, pomodoro e un po’ di mozzarella e basilico, senza aggiunta di grassi e senza zuccheri. La tipica Margherita. Se cucinata correttamente, questa pizza è un pasto completo e molto nutritivo, 570 calorie. Il segreto per rendere questa pizza leggera è il non eccedere con i condimenti e con con l’olio. Gli ingredienti vanno bilanciati. Inoltre la particolarità della pizza di Cozzolino è che idrata di più rispetto alla norma. “La pizza napoletana di solito idrata dal 60% al 70%, la mia arriva all’80%, quindi c’è molta più acqua. I tempi di fermentazione sono poi lunghissimi e questo permette al glutine di essere più digeribile.”

    Non è quindi pensabile di poter mangiare ogni giorno una qualunque pizza, specie quelle preparate nei fast food americani che sono insane ed ipercaloriche. “In America spesso la pizza è considerata junk food”, ci ha detto lo chef, “il messaggio per l’americano non è ‘mangiati una pizza qualunque’, ma mangiati questa pizza preparata secondo i criteri della dieta mediterranea.”

    La pizza tradizionale napoletana è quasi un pezzo artigianale e deve mantenere le sue caratteristiche specifiche. Oggi la pizza sta diventando sempre più spesso materia di chef, ed il rischio è che l’eccessiva sperimentazione faccia perdere il gusto originario della pizza. “Esagerando con i condimenti, si perde il senso della pizza”, afferma lo chef, “diventa poi quasi un piatto che regge tutto quello che c’è sopra. La parte importante della pizza è invece l’impasto. La mia ricerca da chef sulla pizza si concentra sull’elaborazione di lievitazioni sempre più buone, qui sta la modernità di un piatto che deve mantenersi tradizionale.”

    Dietro alla dieta della pizza c’è un concetto biosofico, in bilico tra la filosofia e la biologia. Una volta dimagriti è infatti importante che  questa dieta diventi un vero e proprio regime alimentare, perchè non si perde peso facendo una dieta, o perlomeno non a lungo termine, e perdere peso non è l’obiettivo ma l’effetto. L’obiettivo è cambiare le proprie abitudini ed abbracciare uno stile di vita più sano per il proprio organismo.

    Inoltre la pizza per Pasquale non è solo un buon cibo ma anche un simbolo di convivialità: “La pizza è il cibo degli dei. La sua forma, il cerchio, rappresenta la fratellanza, l’abbraccio. È un cibo che simbolizza la socialità.”

    La missione del libro

    Il libro dello chef non è solo un cookbook classico con delle ricette e con la dieta consigliata. C’è proprio dietro tutta la filosofia del modo in cui si deve mangiare, da come comprare i prodotti al supermercato a come leggere gli ingredienti dietro le etichette. Inoltre il libro racconta la storia di Pasquale Cozzolino dai suoi esordi a tredici anni quando preparò la sua prima pizza insieme a Gaetano Esposito, storico maestro pizzaiolo discendente di Raffaele Esposito uno degli inventori della pizza, alla sua avventura newyorchese che gli ha regalato non solo una carriera di successo ma anche una famiglia- Pasquale è sposato con una donna americana dalla quale ha avuto due figli.

    La missione del suo libro è anche fortemente educativa: “Sono cresciuto con l’idea del mangiar bene, me l’ha trasmessa mia mamma. La mia missione, avendo anche due bambini americani e vedendo quello che mangiano, è di educare la gente a mangiare bene, andando in televisione o nelle scuole a fare food culture. Ho già fatto una cosa al Borough of Manhattan Community College, un panel con 50 studenti, per parlare di alimentazione. Ricevo centinaia di mail al giorno di gente che segue la dieta e mi chiede consigli.”

  • Life & People

    Chef Pasquale Cozzolino's Pizza Diet

    It might seem like a dream to be able to lose weight by eating, especially by eating your favorite meal. In reality, it all depends on what you eat, how you eat, and at what time of the day. It’s known that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best regimens, but not everybody, especially outside of Italy, knows how to cook it, portion it, and how to draw the maximum benefit from it. Sometimes what’s really missing is true knowledge of Mediterranean cuisine, both in selecting the ingredients and in preparing them.

    A Maestro Pizzaiolo's Dream

    Chef Pasquale Cozzolino grew up with these traditions, and he knows them well. His passion for pizza was born in Naples, the homeland of pizza. When he was little, he would anxiously wait for the day when his mother would bring him to eat his favorite meal: “When I was little, my mother brought me to eat pizza once a week,” he told us. “I was fascinated watching the pizza makers actually make the pizza. I wanted to eat it every day even though I wasn’t allowed. I always dreamed of being a pizza maker, so I could eat a pizza every day!”

    Pasquale made his dream come to fruition. Today, he’s an accomplished pizza maker and the Executive Chef of one of the most vogue Italian restaurants in New York, Ribalta. He also achieved his dream of eating a pizza every day thanks to his special diet. The idea was born from a need to lose weight: “The pizza diet began from a personal need,” the chef told us. “I put on some weight, and I needed to lose it. I am the kind of person who eats often, and I always have food around me since I’m a chef. The usual diets made me feel as if I were in some type of cage. So I consulted a friend, Doctor Giuseppe Moscarella, who is a biologist and nutritionist from Naples. He’s also a consultant and dietitian for soccer teams. He told me about how the human body works and how to benefit from the so called “super burn” moments. You intake a large number of calories during those parts of the day, but the body burns them quickly. Then he asked me what my favorite dish is. This is how pizza was included as the ‘happy item’ in my diet.”

    The Pizza Diet

    As a result, Cozzolino was able to lose 100 pounds (50 Kg) in nine months, and after an interview with the New York Post about his experience, the news of the pizza diet began to spread throughout the American media, and now everybody is talking about it. In 2016 it was the third-most-researched diet online. The diet’s growing popularity and the media’s attention to the Neapolitan chef attracted the American publishing house Penguin Random House, which commissioned him to write the book The Pizza Diet–How I Lost 100 Pounds and You Can Too! It became a great success.

    But what makes this diet different from the others, and what type of pizza can you eat every day in order to stay in shape?

    During the first part of the day, the diet allows for the consumption of products with a higher calorie count and products that take a bit of time to digest, such as complex carbohydrates. As soon as you wake up, your body doesn’t burn anything because it’s still in the sleep phase, but then it starts, like a motor, and it goes very fast. The pizza diet’s breakfast is very generous but should only prepared with products of an excellent quality. Cereal, fruit, almond milk, and possibly an egg.

    Lunch is around 12pm, and that’s when it’s time for pizza along with a salad. At that point, 70% of the daily caloric requirement is consumed. At dinner, only protein, particularly lean protein, is consumed, preferably with a salad or greens. The last meal is eaten around 6pm.

    However, what type of pizza can you eat, and how should it be prepared?

    Traditional Neapolitan Pizza

    The pizza of choice is classic Neapolitan pizza prepared with 220 grams of dough (made from flour, water, salt, and yeast), tomatoes, and a bit of mozzarella and basil, without adding fats and sugar. It’s the typical Margherita pizza and, if cooked correctly, it’s a complete nutritious meal of 570 calories. The secret to making this pizza light is to not overdo it with condiments and oil. The ingredients need to be balanced. Cozzolino’s pizzas are more hydrated than most pizzas. “Neapolitan pizzas are usually hydrated from 60% to 70%. Mine is 80%, so there’s a lot more water. The fermentation times are therefore very long, and this allows the gluten to be more digestible.”

    Therefore, it’s not possible to be able to eat any type of pizza every day, especially those prepared in American fast food restaurants that are unhealthy and high in calories. “Pizza is often considered junk food in America,” the chef said. “The message for Americans is not to ‘eat whatever pizza you want,’ but rather to eat this pizza, which is prepared according to the criteria of the Mediterranean diet.”

    Traditional Neapolitan pizza is almost an artisanal piece, and it needs to maintain its specific characteristics. Today, pizza is increasingly becoming a subject for chefs. The risk is that excessive experimenting will lead to a loss in the pizza’s original taste. “If you overdo it with condiments, you lose the sense of the pizza,” the chef affirmed. “It then becomes almost like a dish that supports what’s on it. Instead, the important thing with pizza is the dough. My research on pizza as a chef is focused on always finding new processes of leavening. This is what makes a pizza dish modern. However, it’s a dish that needs to stay true to itself.”

    Behind the pizza diet is a concept that stems from biosophy, which is in between philosophy and biology. Once you lose weight, it’s important that this diet becomes a true dietary regimen because you don’t lose weight by being on a diet, or at least not in the long term, and losing weight is not the objective but the effect. The objective is changing your attitude and embracing a more healthy lifestyle for your body.

    Furthermore, pizza for Pasquale is not only good food, but it’s also a symbol of conviviality: “Pizza is the food of the gods. Its shape–the circle–represents brothership, the embrace. It’s a food that symbolizes sociability.”

    The Book’s Mission

    The chef’s book isn’t just a classic cookbook with some recipes and the recommended diet. It actually contains the whole philosophy regarding the way in which one should eat, from how to buy products in the supermarket to how to understand the ingredients on the labels. Furthermore, the book tells the story of Pasquale Cozzolino. It recounts his debut at thirteen years old when he prepared his first pizza together with famous pizza maker Gaetano Esposito. Esposito is a descendant of Raffaele Esposito, one of the inventors of pizza. It also tells of Cozzolino’s New York adventure, which gave him not only a successful career but also a family. Pasquale married an American woman, and they have two children together.

    The mission of the book is geared strongly toward education: “I grew up with the idea of eating well. My mother passed it down to me. My mission, having two American kids and seeing what they eat, is to educate people to eat well, by going on TV or to schools to talk about food culture. I already did something at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. It was a panel with 50 students in order to talk about nutrition. I receive hundreds of emails a day from people that follow the diet and ask for my advice.”

     

  • Tourism

    Specialties to Taste When in Calabria

    La Sardella

    Also known as mustica, sardella is a kind of poor-man’s caviar. The locally produced red sauce is made with young anchovies, sardines or baby sardines (“sardelle”), powdered hot peppers, salt, and other herbs, like wild fennel seed. Another highly sought after version of the dish is rose-marina red mullet, which turns pink after being fished and tastes sweeter than anchovies. Baby anchovies are mostly fished during the months of March and April, and Sardella can be found throughout Calabria and in Sicily.  Sardella can be rolled into patties or used as a pasta sauce or simply eaten fresh with a little olive oil, lemon and bread. Originally from the province of Crotone, the Ionian Alto Cosentino and the Lower Ionian, the product is laid claim to by other cities, too, like Cruculi, nicknamed the Land of Sardella. Since 1970, every other Sunday in August a feast of Sardella is held in the town’s historic center.  

     

    Il Bergamotto

    This famous age-old citrus fruit is part of coastal Reggio Calabria’s botanical patrimony. It is put to all sorts of use, from perfumes and cosmetics to farming. The round-shaped fruit looks a lot like an orange yet has a lemon yellow color. It is part of the citrus family, but unlike other citrus fruit, bergamot is rarely eaten (though it is edible). The rind is the prized part of the fruit. It is used to extract an essential oil whose fragrance has tantalized perfume-manufacturers all over the world. The juice reduces cholesterol and is used as an antidepressant in aromatherapy.  Beside being an ingredient in Earl Grey tea, for culinary purposes, bergamot is mainly used to make sweets. For example, in Calabria they stuff panettone with bergamot or pistachio cream, candied raisins and chocolate chips. The citrus also aromatizes white and dark chocolate almond Torrone. The rind can be grated to flavor sauces, pasta dishes and crumbles. It is delicious when paired with white sauces and seafood.  

     

    ‘Nduja

    Affectionally known as “Duja,” this famous creamy salami combines the fattiest parts of the pig—lard, fat, and pancetta—with hot Calabrese pepper and salt. The mix is then stuffed and smoked. Its weird name comes from the Latin verb “inducere,” meaning “to lead in” or “encase.” This salami has unique nutritional and therapeutic properties thanks to the hot pepper. ‘Nduja originally comes from the city of Spilinga, on the Tyrrhenian side, but it is a culinary symbol of all Calabria. Every August 8 the feast of ‘nduja attracts millions of tourists. 

    A variation on the Ionian Coast called ‘nduglia or pizzenti is made by stuffing the small intestine of the pig with the lungs, heart and muscular part of the animal. As with ‘nduja, hot red pepper is added to the mix. ‘Nduja and pizzenti are served in a variety of ways: spread on toast, added to ragout, or tossed into a tomato and garlic pasta sauce. They can also be found on pizzas, paired with cheese or in frittatas.   

     

    Cirò D.O.C.

    The hills around Cirò Marina are entirely covered with vines and olive trees. This is the home of Cirò DOC, one of the products credited with spreading Calabria’s fame around the world and the first wine in the region to have obtained DOC status, in 1969. The wine descends from the famous Greek-origin wine Krimisa, once considered of such high quality that it became the official wine of the Olympics and was awarded to the Games’ winners.  Cirò is a single varietal wine made with 95% Gaglioppo and a smattering of grapes from the Greco Bianco and Trebbiano Toscano family. Gaglioppo is distinguished for being full-bodied and intensely dark in color.  The red and rose wines go particularly well with grilled red meat, pastas with rich sauces, and salami. The white varietal makes a perfect pre-dinner drink and should be served at roughly 50 degrees. It is also excellent paired with fish, light pasta dishes and crudité.  

     

    Greco di Bianco

    In the Aspromonte region, especially the comune of Bianco and Casignana on the Riviera dei Gelsomini, they practice an ancient viticulture tradition of sun-drying handpicked grapes on trellises before vinification to produce Greco di Bianco, a rare wine believed to be one of the oldest in Italy and nicknamed the “Nectar of the Gods.” The yellow wine has a powerful bouquet with scents of orange blossom, citrus, figs and honey, and dried grape. It has a sweet, soft, warm flavor. It can be considered a passito with high natural alcohol content blended with good acidity. It should be tasted 5-8 years after its vintage at a temperature of 45-50 degrees. It goes well with rich desserts and fruit pies as well as with cheese, pate, and goose liver. Greco di Bianco obtained DOC status in 1980. It is also a so-called meditative wine that can be savored in place of dessert like an ammazzacaffè.
    The Dark Heart of Calabria: Licorice Liqueur

    Licorice is one of the first fruits of Calabria and Southern Italy in general. The herbal plant grows wild throughout the muddy region along the Ionian Coast. It is here that the plant reaches optimal levels of glycerol, a neutral and crystalline substance that can be extracted. Since antiquity, licorice has been renowned for its beneficial properties and was particularly important in ancient Egypt, Assyria and China. It was used to make Greek and Asian medicine for treating coughs and digestive problems. The liqueur made from licorice is, in fact, a perfect postprandial digestif. It is served cold. Pure powdered Calabrese licorice is the fundamental ingredient for this bittersweet, slightly spicy superb liqueur that, though widely sold in Italy and the world, is also very easy to make from home. There are tons of Calabrese labels, but we’ll just recommend two that produce “pure” single-variety liqueurs: Calabro Liquori, which produces an excellent licorice liqueur, among others, and Amarelli, a famous producer of high-quality liqueurs based in Rossano Calabro.

  • Art & Culture

    Open Roads 2017: the Present of Italian Cinema

    Organized by Istituto Luce-Cinnecittà in collaboration with Film Society of Lincoln Center, Open Roads has become a tradition through the years and an important occasion for both key players in Italian cinema and for anyone who is passionate about Italian film. It’s a unique chance for Italian cinema to meet the cosmopolitan American public. The selection this year presents a range of themes, of genres, and of styles that describe an Italy that feels a strong need to communicate its artistic individuality, and, at the same time, welcome diversity and the prospect of an ever-globalizing social reality. When looking at the Open Roads’ program, it’s evident how much Italian cinema maintained its unique and unmistakable characteristics, which shaped modern cinema.

    Contemporary Neorealism

    The neorealism avant-garde is still alive, a 2017 neorealism. It’s evident in Edoardo De Angelis’ film that opened the festival, Indivisible. The film won 6 David di Donatello and is now a candidate for three 2017 Golden Globes including best film. The movie already made itself known among both international critics and the public alike at the 73rd Venice Film Festival and at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film presents us with the hard and intense truth of the suburbs of Naples, with the story of two Siamese twins (the stunning debut of Angela and Marianna Fontana), who are gifted with musical talent, but then transformed into a traveling freakshow. Neorealism is painted with symbolic, evocative images that transcend into a magical realism that transforms the two twins into an icon of hope for the public that seeks and venerates them. The imagery clashes with the human condition of the two girls whose internal journey is the search for their own individuality, a desire for normality and for youth, which is negated by their family who wants to use them for gain.

    We talked with Edoardo De Angelis about the dichotomy between realism and symbolism: “From an esthetic point of view, in the eternal debate between realism and magical representation, I try to portray a form of truth. It’s a method that begins with a deep investigation of reality but that doesn’t always accept the representational limits of realism. Sometimes, in order to tell a truth, the image needs to be reformed and made symbolic, it needs to become poetry.”

    In Indivisible, archaic symbols and contemporary representations coexist in the attempt to grasp the true nature of a situation that is never only contemporary. “If you follow contemporaneity, you risk showing the world in a way that immediately gets old,” De Angelis told us, “the moment in which I’m telling you something that’s extremely contemporary, as in a newspaper, that page will be old the day after. The copresence of old, modern, and futuristic elements is functional. If you’re able to include the past with the present and the future in a single frame, you offer a more honest form to a true representation. Life is nestled in the precarious balance between present and future.”

    In this search between realism and imagination, the musical comment from Enzo Avitabile, another key player in the story, also has a hand. “We decided to work with Enzo Avitabile on two fundamental elements. Percussion, which represents the terrestrial element, and the horns, which represent a more transcendental aspect. The screenplay followed the score, and the score followed the screenplay.”

    Regarding his trip to the United States, De Angelis was excited to have the occasion to present the film here at its New York premiere: “One of my desires is definitely to see my films distributed in the States. I believe this audience, particularly the one in this historic moment, can be very sensitive to the idea of freakshows."

    At the heart of neorealist traditions, Claudio Giovannesi’s new film Fiore also stands out. It won over the both audiences and critics, and received various nominations–both at the David di Donatello and Nastri d’Argento awards. It’s a bittersweet story of girl held in a youth prison as she finds love with another inmate, who is played by Valerio Mastandrea who delivers a stunning interpretation. The Roman suburb is the main character, a suburb that, in its inescapable hardness, discovers its poetry.

    The Novel-esque and the Genre Films

    From a neorealist rediscovery to a more fictionalized narrative structure, perhaps more classic in the literal sense of the word. The Confessions by Sicilian director Roberto Andò begins with a realistic scenario: a G8 summit in a luxury hotel, organized by economic ministers involved in approving secret financial legislation. The absolutely plausible events are tinged with hints of mystery when a monk (Toni Servillo), who received a special invite to the meeting, hears an important confession from one of the G8 members, who revealed a destabilizing secret shortly before killing himself. The monk invades in as a silent figure, a sentinel in the dark of the ministers’ consciences, one who guides them to face their demons and to consider their ethics. The protagonists are literally “naked,” undressed from their institutions to remain nude in front of their inhumanity.

    “The monk is a unique figure, who is not aligned with the church’s central power. He’s a eclectic figure,” Andò explains. “Monks take a real vow of poverty and give up material possessions. The film puts together the two opposing worlds in a realistic state because it often happens that outside people are invited to these meetings. The monk is the one who makes these ministers feel uneasy. He has their backs against the wall but not in a preachy way. He simply is how he is, with his silence that becomes key to reading the film.”

    The Sicilian director has a strong literary background. He’s strong in fiction writing, but also strong in reporting, giving his stories a journalistic spin. This journalistic style was influenced by some important models like Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia and director Francesco Rosi. Andò takes advantage of the novel-esque style to examine reality.

    “Films are born from a narrative aspect. At times this aspect disappears in films that are not remembered for the plot but rather for an esthetic that is perhaps more important. Instead, in this film, there’s a story. The story has a particular structure because it’s set in one place, this hotel, which also becomes a character. Italy definitely has a strong neorealist heritage, but aside from this, there was always a fictional line that doesn’t want to exclude reality but that goes inside reality and adds the element of the hypothetical. This creates the novel.”

    The film will be released in the United States in July, and it carries a strong message that acts as a mirror for many of the recent political and economic transformations facing the world and America in particular. It’s an important point of reflection for the American public.

    With a strong narrative structure and use of a genre from undertones of horror combined with absurd implications are Marco Bellocchio’s Sweet Dreams and Andrea De Sica’s debut with Children Of The Night. The latter is an educational journey that shows a sentimental coming of age story. It is as classic in its intents as it is transgressive in its tone and execution.

    Italian-style Comedy and Documentary

    There is also space for Italian-style comedy reinterpreted with originality and tragicomedy by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, known also by his stage name Pif. He returns to speak about the mafia after the great success of La mafia Uccide Solo D'Estate. At War with Love deals with an important chapter in Italian history–the Second World War and the landing of the Allies in Sicily. The film examines the collaboration between the Americans and the Sicilian mafia. The subject is lightened by a love story–the motivating factor. There are some important reference models, from Alberto Sordi in Finchè C’è Guerra C’è Speranza to Benigni’s La Vita é Bella. The liveliness between irreverent irony and dreamy disenchantment are convincing in this second director’s test for the Sicilian television host who, more than ever, is commandeering his own personal style. The Italian documentary genre is represented at Open Roads by Deliver us/Libera nos by Federica Di Giacomo, a controversial treatise on the phenomenon of exorcist priests, which focuses more on the social aspect of the cases and on the “business” of the exorcist priests, rather than on the folkloristic sensationalization of the practice.

    Among comedy, grotesque, and experimental cinema, Ears/Orecchie by Alessandro Aronadio also stands out. It’s not by chance that in 2016 it wowed audiences in Venice, and it’s continuing its surprising success. Here, cinema is the apex of an expressive form. It’s the expressive potential of the movie vehicle that constructs a photogenic narration. The use of black and white and of a visible format that broadens with the passing of time tell the story of a tired and bored philosophy teacher, who suddenly wakes up with a goal–to decipher a message that talks about the death of his friend Luigi, a friend whose existence he doesn’t really know. Between nonsense and surreal games, the protagonists journey, interpreted with Daniele Parisi’s great prowess, is, in reality, an internal journey to discover his true self.

    Stay tuned for i-Italy's upcoming video interview with Pif on his movie At War with Love. The interview will air this Sunday, May 11th on NYC Life Channel 25 (HD ch 525)

     

  • Angela e Marianna Fontana in "Indivisibili"
    Arte e Cultura

    Open Roads 2017: tra passato e futuro, il presente del cinema italiano

    Organizzato da Istituto Luce - Cinecittà in collaborazione con Film Society of Lincoln Center, Open Roads è diventato nel corso degli anni una tradizione ed un appuntamento importante per i protagonisti del nostro cinema e per tutti gli appassionati di cinema italiano d’oltralpe. Un’occasione unica di scambio per registi ed attori iche hanno confronto l’opportunità di confrontarsi con il pubblico cosmopolita americano. La selezione di quest’anno presenta un ventaglio di tematiche, di generi e di stili che ci raccontano di un’Italia che sente forte il bisogno di comunicare la propria individualità artistica e nel contempo accogliere la diversità e le suggestioni di una realtà sociale sempre più globalizzata. Dando uno sguardo complessivo al programma di Open Roads, si evince quanto il cinema italiano mantenga ancora forte quel carattere unico ed inconfondibile che ha fatto scuola e che ha fatto la storia del cinema moderno.

    Neorealismo contemporaneo

    E così è ancora viva l’avanguardia del neorealismo, un neorealismo del 2017, nel film che ha aperto il festival, Indivisibili di Edoardo De Angelis. La pluripremiata pellicola che ha vinto 6 David di Donatello ed è ora candidata a tre Globi d’Oro 2017 incluso miglior film, ha avuto già modo di farsi notare dalla critica e dal pubblico estero alla 73ª Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia e al Toronto International Film Festival. Il film ci presenta la verità dura ed intensa di uno spaccato di vita reale ambientato nei sobborghi napoletani, dove si anima la storia di due gemelle siamesi (il folgorante debutto di Angela e Marianna Fontana), dotate di un grande talento canoro e trasformate dalla loro famiglia in un folkloristico e lucrativo fenomeno da baraccone itinerante. Il neorealismo si tinge di immagini simboliche ed evocative che trascendono in un realismo magico che trasforma le due gemelle in un’icona di speranza per il pubblico che le richiede e le venera. L’immaginario però si scontra con la condizione umana di queste due ragazze che percorrono il loro viaggio interiore alla ricerca della loro specifica individualità, una voglia di normalità, di gioventù negata dalle forzature della famiglia che le vuole mercificare.

    Proprio della dicotomia tra realismo e simbolismo abbiamo parlato con Edoardo De Angelis: “Dal punto di vista estetico nella diatriba eterna tra il realismo e la rappresentazione magica, io cerco di rappresentare una forma di verità. È una modalità che parte da un’indagine della realtà molto approfondita ma che non sempre accetta il limite della rappresentazione del realismo. A volte per raccontare una verità l’immagine richiede di essere riformata e simbolizzata, deve diventare poesia.”

    In Indivisibili, simboli arcaici e rappresentazioni contemporanee coesistono nel tentativo di afferrare la natura vera di una situazione reale che non è mai solo contemporanea. “Se si insegue la contemporaneità si rischia di rappresentare un mondo in una maniera che invecchia immediatamente”, ci dice De Angelis, “nel momento in cui sto raccontando qualcosa di estremamente contemporaneo come potrebbe essere la pagina di un giornale con una data, il giorno dopo quella pagina sarà vecchia. La compresenza di elementi arcaici, moderni e anche futuristici è funzionale, se si riesce ad inglobare il tempo del passato con il presente ed il futuro in un unico fotogramma si è reso un servizio più onesto ad una forma di rappresentazione vera. Nell’equilibrio precario tra presente e futuro si annida la vita.”

    In questa ricerca tra realismo ed immaginazione interviene anche il commento musicale del film ad opera di Enzo Avitabile, altro grande protagonista della storia. “Con Enzo Avitabile abbiamo abbiamo deciso di lavorare su due elementi fondamentali. Le percussioni che dovevano rappresentare l’elemento terreno, materiale e i fiati che dovevano rappresentare un aspetto più trascendentale. La sceneggiatura ha inseguito la partitura e la partitura ha seguito la sceneggiatura.”

    Parlando di questa trasferta statunitense, De Angelis si dimostra entusiasta di avere l’occasione di presentare il film qui alla sua premiere newyorchese: “Un mio desiderio è sicuramente quello di vedere i miei film distribuiti negli States. Questo pubblico in particolare in questo momento storico penso possa essere molto sensibile alla questione dei fenomeni da baraccone…”

    Nel solco della tradizione neorealista spicca anche Fiore, il nuovo film di Claudio Giovannesi che ha conquistato pubblico e critica e collezionato diverse candidature sia al David di Donatello che ai Nastri d’Argento. Un agrodolce racconto di formazione di una ragazza detenuta in un carcere giovanile che scopre l’amore per un altro carcerato, interpretato da un Valerio Mastandrea in stato di grazia. Qui è la periferia romana protagonista, una periferia che nella sua ineluttabile durezza scopre la sua poesia.

    Il romanzesco ed il film di genere

    Dal ritrovato neorealismo ad una struttura narrativa più romanzata, forse più classica nel senso letterario del termine. Le confessioni del regista siciliano Roberto Andò, parte da uno scenario realistico: una riunione del G8 organizzata in un lussuoso hotel da alcuni ministri dell’economia impegnati nell’approvazione di una manovra segreta. La vicenda assolutamente verosimile si tinge dei toni del giallo romanzesco quando un monaco (Toni Servillo), invitato speciale della riunione, raccoglie l’importante confessione di uno dei membri del G8 che potrebbe aver rivelato un segreto destabilizzante poco prima di suicidarsi. Il monaco irrompe come una figura silenziosa, una sentinella nel buio della coscienza dei ministri, una guida che li conduce a confrontarsi con i loro demoni e a fare i conti con la propria etica. I protagonisti sono messi letteralmente a “nudo”, svestiti delle loro istituzionalità per rimanere spogli di fronte alla loro dis-umanità.

    “Il monaco è una figura particolare, non allineata al potere centrale della chiesa, è una figura eclettica.” Spiega Andò. “I monaci fanno un voto reale di povertà e di rinuncia ai beni materiali. Il film mette insieme due mondi opposti in una condizione realistica, perchè capita spesso in questi meeting che vengano invitate delle personalità esterne. Il monaco è un personaggio di rottura che mette questi ministri a disagio, li mette con le spalle al muro ma non in modo predicatorio. Semplicemente essendo com’è e soprattutto con il suo silenzio che diventa una chiave di lettura del film.”

    Il regista siciliano forte di una formazione letteraria importante, di una scrittura “romantica” ma anche di forte denuncia, giornalistica in un certo senso, cresciuta nel confronto con modelli importanti come Leonardo Sciascia ed il regista Francesco Rosi; si avvale del registro romanzesco per indagare la realtà.

    “I film nascono da un aspetto narrativo. A volte questo aspetto scompare in alcuni film che non si ricordano per la trama ma per un’estetica magari più importante. In questo film invece c’è un racconto. La storia ha una struttura particolare perchè è tutta ambientata in un solo luogo, questo hotel che diventa anche un personaggio. C’è sicuramente una forte eredità neorealista in Italia, ma accanto a questa c’è sempre stata anche una linea più romanzesca che non vuole escludere la realtà ma fa entrare dentro la realtà anche l’elemento dell’ipotetico, del possibile. Questo crea il romanzo.”

    Il film che esce a Luglio negli Stati Uniti è forte di un messaggio e di una provocazione attualissima che si fa specchio di molte delle recenti trasformazioni economico-politiche che stanno attraversando il mondo ed in particolare l’America. Un importante spunto di riflessione per il pubblico americano.

    Forti di un impianto e di una struttura narrativa romanzata sono anche il nuovo poetico film del maestro Marco Bellocchio Fai bei sogni e il debutto di Andrea De Sica con Children of the night/I figli della notte - un viaggio di formazione, l’educazione sentimentale di una gioventù tanto classica negli intenti quanto trasgressiva nel tono e nell’esecuzione.

    La Commedia all’Italiana, documentario e cinema sperimentale

    Spazio anche per la commedia all’italiana riletta con originalità ed un registro tragicomico da Pierfrancesco Diliberto in arte Pif, che torna a parlare di mafia dopo il grande successo de La mafia uccide solo d’estate. In guerra per amore affronta un capitolo importante della storia italiana: la seconda guerra mondiale e lo sbarco degli alleati in Sicilia indagando la collaborazione che avvenne tra gli americani e la mafia siciliana. Il tutto alleggerito da una storia d’amore, motore dell’azione. Importanti i modelli di riferimento, da Alberto Sordi in Finchè c’è guerra c’è speranza a La vita è bella di Benigni. La verve in bilico tra irriverente ironia e sognante disincanto convincono in questa seconda prova da regista per il conduttore televisivo siciliano che si appropria sempre di più di una sua personalissima cifra stilistica. Il genere del documentario italiano è rappresentato qui ad Open Roads da Deliver us/Libera nos di Federica Di Giacomo, un controverso trattato sul fenomeno dei padri esorcisti che più che sulla sensazionalizzazione folkloristica della pratica si concentra sull’aspetto sociale della problematica e sul “business” dei preti.

    Tra grottesco, ironia e cinema sperimentale colpisce anche Ears/Orecchie di Alessandro Aronadio che non a caso ha soggiogato la platea a Venezia 2016 e sta adesso continuando la sua sorprendente ascesa. Qui il cinema è al suo apice come forma espressiva, sono proprio le potenzialità espressive del mezzo che costruiscono la narrazione del tutto fotogenica. La scelta del bianco e nero e di un formato visivo che si allarga con il passare del tempo, raccontano la storia di un insegnante di filosofia stanco ed annoiato di sè che si risveglia improvvisamente con uno scopo, decifrare un messaggio che parla della morte di un suo amico Luigi, amico di cui lui in realtà non conosce affatto l’esistenza. Tra nonsenses e giochi surreali il viaggio del protagonista, interpretato con grande maestria da Daniele Parisi, è un viaggio del tutto interiore, alla scoperta del suo vero io.

    In uscita prossimamente su i-italy un'intervista più approfondita a Pif che sarà anche protagonista della nostra prossima puntata, in onda questa domenica all'1pm su NYC Life Channel 25 (HD ch 525). Stay tuned!

     

     

  • Facts & Stories

    The Debate. “Let’s Wake Up Italics”

    An interesting presentation of Piero Bassetti’s book Let’s Wake Up, Italics! Manifesto for a Glocal Future took place on June 8th at the Consulate General of Italy on Park Avenue. Bassetti was presented and saluted by the Consul General Francesco Genuardi.

    Panelists included some bright examples of what the author calls "Italici," such as Fred Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, who curated the preface of Bassetti’s book and Jhumpa Lahiri. The American author from Indian origins, Pulitzer prize winner, fell in love with the Italian language, a love that brought her to write her first book in Italian, In Other Words - In Altre Parole, deeply immersing herself in Italian culture. She also was nominated Cavaliere OMRI of the Italian Republic with a celebration held at the Consulate on June 2th - Festa della Repubblica Italiana. Also in attendance were Professor Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute and editor of the book, and Rodrigo Rodriquez, moderator of the event, Chairman of the Material Connexion Italian and partner with Bassetti in the promotion of the Schola Italica, a school recently opened in Monza, Italia.

    Piero Bassetti took the stage giving the audience a riveting introductory speech on his book and his thesis on the idea of Italici, a thesis that he has been trying to spread around the world for 20 years. The presentation was supported by some dynamic slides, because as Bassetti says, the internet and the virtual world are fundamental and have to be taken into great consideration if we want to talk about identity, national belonging and globalization today. What is an Italico and how does he differ from an Italian? That’s the main question of the essay. Italici do encapsulate the concept of being Italian but in a wider cosmopolitan sense. Italici are not just Italians living in Italy but also the ones living in America, Australia, Canton Ticino, San Marino. Being an Italic doesn’t necessarily mean being born in Italy, but carrying within and embodying the Italian culture. In this sense, the Italic community is spread worldwide and can be counted in 250 millions.

    So Pope Bergoglio for example can be considered an Italic, along with mayor Bill De Blasio, the Formula 1 pilot Daniel Ricciardo. Central in the book is not just the theory but also the practical actualizations of it. That’s why the Wake Up exclamation in the title is important—Italics have to wake up to recognize themselves as such. Bassetti thinks of this in political terms as well, hoping that a new concept of an intellectual elite returns to be part of our politics in a stronger way, bringing back the focus on Education. As Bassetti said during the presentation:

    “Waking up is hard but it is the first step, the second step would be to reinforce and rebuild a political approach that will goes beyond the geographical point of view. The term Italici refers to a global democracy where the glocal surpasses both the local and the global.”

    This new intellectual elite is developed by Bassetti and Rodriquez in concrete terms with the Schola Italica project. The Schola Italica mission is to create a movement, a network and a new International Italic ruling class, based on a thorough knowledge of the culture and identity Made by Italics. The Schola will start as a school, with a Master program scheduled to open in 2018, with the final goal of becoming an association. Bassetti’s Globus and Locus Foundation is one of the sublects that will sponsor the school.

    Jhumpa Lahiri, who said that in Bassetti’s book she recognized herself and her Italian identity, had some insightful thoughts on the subject. She talked about the great fortune that has been granted to her to be a real citizen of the world; she holds four different passports, which makes her freely mobile in the glocal world, not restrained by political borders. But she is an exception, and a lot is still to be done in order to turn Bassetti’s thinking into reality, to gain every Italic the opportunity to truly receive the rights that consolidate their Italian identity and citizenship. That’s a crucial aspect that still needs to be resolved if we want to really think of a global world in political terms too.

    This latter poit was caught by Fred Gardaphe and Anthony Tamburri. Gardaphe, praising Bassetti's wide global vision, focused on the importance of the concept of Italici as an invitation "to move away from the myths created by monolithic national identities and toward the glocal interactions that enable us to make the world great together" (for more on Fred Gardaphe's thoughts on the subject click here). Anthony Tamburri focused on "the very sense of ecumenical universality" that sets Bassetti’s notion of Italicity "apart from most other concepts of identity that we have seen in the past." Bassetti, in other words, brings "Italian” identity to the fore with an originality and open-mindedness "that has often been lacking in the past." Tamburri aptly concluded that this book, by trying to bridge the identity gap between "Italians" and "Italici," also tends to overcome the political boundaries between States.

    For more info about the book:

    Piero Bassetti: Let's Wake Up italics! Manifesto for a Glocal Future

    Bordighera Press (1 April 2017)

  • Dining in & out

    Eataly Boston: Building a Surf and Turf Market

    At times, great ideas hide from the most simple of intuitions. This is the case of Eataly, the Italian marketplace devised by Oscar Farinetti in 2002. Eataly was founded with the idea of combining the best Italian products in a space where it’s possible not only to buy them, but also to taste them, and to learn more about some of the great Italian culinary traditions. Today, the Eataly concept has become a winning brand, a leader in the Made in Italy food sector with more than 30 stores across the world. The Eataly phenomenon truly seems unstoppable, and its success in the USA confirms it. 

    The CEO of Eataly USA, Nicola Farinetti, son of Oscar, was able to expand the store’s presence from New York’s Flatiron and World Trade Center locations to Chicago, and finally, to Boston, where it opened in November 2016. This was achieved thanks to the help of some exceptional partners including restaurant owners, businessmen, and TV personalities such as Lidia and Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Adam and Alex Saper. Eataly USA aligns itself with a very specific philosophy that is inspired by both the Italian way of cooking and the secret of the Mediterranean diet: use of only the freshest seasonal and local products. Therefore, the American store presents products imported both from Italy and local, seasonal American products.

     

    Eataly in “The Pru”

    The Boston store is situated in a location that is, in itself, already a symbol of the city and a historic area for Bostonians–the Prudential Tower. Located in the historic Back Bay neighborhood, “The Pru” was built in 1964 and is one of the most prestigious examples of 20th century urban design in the United States. Eataly picked it as its headquarters among the revitalization of the Back Bay area, a place that is in the heart of the residents and that looks to make them feel united. This goes hand in hand with Eataly’s philosophy, which is to create a place where people can meet not only to buy products but also to feel part of an interactive community where culture and education is just as important as the consumption of food. This is why when you stroll past the market stands and the store’s various restaurants, you find signs that tell the story of each of the foods. Many products are prepared fresh on the spot, and you even have the chance to see the work of the butcher and the baker, just as you would in the Italian bottegas. For example, the mozzarella, in all of its variations from stracciatella to burrata, is prepared by hand in front of the customers.

     

    Il Pesce

    Every Eataly store is dedicated to a specific theme that has either to do with culture or with Italian food. Eataly Rome is an homage to beauty, Eataly Smeraldo in Milan to music, Eataly Istanbul to history. For Eataly Boston, the theme of the sea and its treasures was chosen, with fish as the star. This choice was made with two reasons in mind. The first was following the theme of sticking together as evidenced by the seas of the world, which unite both the continents and their inhabitants. The second was as an homage to Italian culinary traditions in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the cuisine of Boston and New England in general is heavily based on fish, which is caught fresh off the coasts of Maine and Rhode Island.

    You can try some of this cuisine in the restaurant Il Pesce, which is run by renowned chef Barbara Lynch, who is originally from Boston. Lynch is considered one of the most important cooks in the world. After her first experiences in the food industry, Barbara took a long trip to Italy where she had close contact with the local cuisine and was able to learn its secrets.

    Nominated by Food & Wine Magazine as one of America’s best chefs in 1996, Lynch then founded the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, which manages some of Boston’s important food establishments. Her great experience guarantees a fresh and authentic menu that extends from raw fish with oysters from Maine or clams from Cape Cod to exquisite first courses like spaghetti alla chitarra, house made spaghetti with local squid and spicy tomato, or second courses like the grilled shrimp.

     

    La Cucina: A Rotating-Concept Corner

    In addition to the established restaurant La Pizza & La Pasta, which offers the crowning jewels of Italian cuisine, inside Eataly Boston’s “La Piazza” you’ll find La Cucina, a pop-up restaurant that was envisioned as a corner of Italy where, on a rotating basis, every two months, different regional cuisine would be offered. Since February, La Cucina opened its doors to the region of Emilia Romagna. Along “Via Emilia,” the public will have the chance to taste all of the Emilian delicacies starting from the classic products like Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and dishes from famous chef Michael Schlow, who had the chance to travel to Emilia Romagna and to learn the typical cuisine.

    Mario Batali expressed words of great enthusiasm both for the concept and for the new chef: “La Cucina is perhaps the most exciting part of Eataly Boston. It’s a venue dedicated to highlighting specific ingredients and regions of the Italian peninsula. Of all of the countless Bostonians for whom I have great affection, Michael Schlow is at the top of the list. Schlow’s approach to Italian cooking with Boston ingredients epitomizes how we hope people will use the Eataly marketplace.”

    Terra and the Barrel Room

    The big news this year was the April 4th opening of the restaurant, found on the third floor—Terra. From the treasures of the sea to the strong flavors of the Earth, the new restaurant awakens the primordial senses with food cooked on a wood-burning Italian grill.

    For Terra’s Chef de Cuisine, Dan Bazzinotti, the restaurant’s atmosphere is truly a unique sensory experience that envelops diners with the intense scent of the roasted meat, greens, and fish together with inebriating flavors and scents of the canteen overlooking the restaurant. This space presents a rich wine cellar and an absolute novelty–the Barrel Room–where you can taste artisanal beers directly from the barrel, which allows you to try them during the various stages of their aging.

    “With Terra we go back to the roots, everything is simple but traditional,” Bazzinotti tells us. “We don’t grill with charcoal that usually overpowers the taste of the food, but with the wood-burning grill, the wood is taken from the local oaks, which guarantees that everything is cooked, cleaned, and fresh with that smoky sensorial flavor and aroma. We grill vegetables, whole fish, and we showcase all of the meat that animals have to offer, even unusual tasty cuts.”

    The idea for the Barrel Room was born from Nicola Farinetti’s great passion for beer in partnership with the breweries Dogfish Head in Milton, Birrificio Baladin from Piedmont, and Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge. The room is composed of floor-to-ceiling rows of 15 repurposed oak wine barrels that treat the wood-aged draft beer. Sabrina Mazza—Restaurants and Beverages Development at Eataly—showed her enthusiasm in our recent interview with her: “The concept behind Terra was to create a unique space away from other restaurants. You have the 15 wine barrels, created with an interesting style of construction, where the temperature changes. You can experience the aging of the beer and have a sip of it; every day the taste of the same beer will be different. Behind the Barrel there’s the cellar with more than 300 labels Italian wines. We have many partners in Italy from Piedmont to Tuscany and Lombardy.” ww

  • The Lamborghinis in front of the Consulate General of Italy, Park Avenue
    Facts & Stories

    Happy Festa della Repubblica, New York!

    Articolo in italiano >>>

    The Consulate General of Italy in New York is separated from the Italian Cultural Institute by only a small terrace. This terrace, rather than dividing the two Park Avenue buildings, actually connects them. The Italian Trade Commission is also nearby, only two blocks away on the corner of Madison Avenue. Knowing this, one could imagine the dynamics of the long day of celebrations, organized by Italian institutions, that took place on June 2nd.

    It all began in the morning at the Italian Cultural Institute with an event entitled “An Authentic Italian Food and Wine Experience,” dedicated to tasting the best Italian products from various Italian companies. The impeccable host Trade Commissioner & Executive Director for the USA, Maurizio Forte, took this opportunity to emphasize the insurmountable quality of our agribusiness and the richness of the Italian territory.

    Between one tasting and another, those in attendance were shown the quality work that Italian companies are carrying out in the United States in order to promote and distribute only the highest-quality products. All of this is done despite difficulties, some of which are thanks to American legislation’s protectionist measures.The language of Dante even had a special part that day. New Jersey’s Montclair State University and the high school Italian course that provides students with college credit were recognized. Additionally, professor Teresa Fiore told us that the synergy created between Italian companies and American universities is of great value. This collaboration makes internships that bring American students closer to Italy possible.

    The Italian Republic’s 71st birthday saw the Italian colors represented by more than just the traditional flag above the Consulate’s large antique door. Three beautiful Lamborghinis–one green, one white, and one red–sat roped-off on a carpet outside the entrance to the Consulate.

    Meetings that day covered various topics but were all equally important. The celebrations began by awarding the onorificenze (honors) of the President of the Italian Republic to both Italian and Americans who distinguished themselves. This year’s awardees included Giulio Picolli, Ferminio Berardo, Olga Imbarrato, Ralph Contini, Bartolo Valastro,  Giuseppina Azzolini, Andrea Bayer, Vivien Greene,  Antonio Bernardo, Jason De Sena Trennert, Maria Teresa Cometto,  Raffaele La Gamba, Paola Antonelli, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Frank Bisignano.

    The Consulate was dressed for the celebration and embellished with Italian art. At the well-lit entrance, guests would immediately notice a reproduction of a statue of Al-lāt from 50 B.C.–the work of famous Greek sculptor Phidias. This was all thanks to the Institute of Digital Archeology. There were also some pieces of art that had been recovered by the Carabinieri and other local authorities. Naturally, contemporary art was also present and included works from Beatrice Pediconi, Giorgia Lupi, Paolo Trollo, and Luca Pignatelli.

    Consul General Francesco Genuardi chose June 2nd to inaugurate the newly-furnished waiting room. The inauguration took place with the classic cutting of the tricolor ribbon. “It’s the way in which we want people who come to the Consulate to wait–although hopefully as little as possible. People will find themselves surrounded by the best contemporary Italian furnishings, thanks to leading companies that wanted to offer them.”

    But the Consul General, together with the diplomats who collaborate with him, Isabella Periotto, Chiara Saulle, and Roberto Frangione, were also particularly proud of something else: the presence of the Ambassador in Washington Armando Varricchio.

    In a certain sense, he was the day’s true guest of honor–despite the presence of various personalities in art, cinema, and culture. This is perhaps because, for many years, the Italian diplomat with the most important role in the United States, did not come to the Festa della Repubblica in New York. Therefore, there was much anticipation in the packed Consulate.

    Aside from Director Giorgio Van Straten of the Italian Cultural Institute, Italian diplomats from the United Nations were also present: Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi and his deputy Inigo Lambertini; senator Renato Turano, elected as the Italian representative abroad; and Silvana Mangione, the Deputy Secretary general General Council of Italians Abroad.

    Two representatives for American authorities were also present: for Andrew Cuomo, New York State Governor, Maria T. Vullo, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services; for Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Victor Calise (Office for People with Disabilities).

    Among the many guests, several of whom are notable in the Italian community, there were representatives from the most influential associations, personalities from the art world, and even directors and actors from Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, the Italian cinema festival at New York’s Lincoln Center.

    The two actresses who interpreted siamese twins in the film Indivisible, Angela and Marianna Fontana, sang the national anthem for the public, accompanied by students from the Scuola d’Italia.

    The important show European Art at the Time of the Treaties of Rome–Informel, Abstraction, Zero, around 1957 has traveled from the Italian Trade Agency, to the Consulate, and finally to the Italian Cultural Institute, where it is currently being hosted.

    It’s exactly in this setting that Italian jazz was the star with the Nicola Corso Orchestra. His notes reminded everyone how important Italy is in the music industry, even when it comes to jazz. In the history of Italian-American jazz, there are some unforgettable names, and the present continues to grace us with Italian musicians of that same high caliber.

    The evening proceeded until late and was livened up with refreshments from Gianfranco Sorrentino’s Italian restaurant Il Gattopardo. Between a seafood risotto, a babà, and a glass of prosecco, Italian New York celebrated its most important institutional festivity.

    Another moment of great symbolic significance was the giving of the two important onorificenze awards at the end of the day. These went to Jumpha Lahiri, an American author of Belgali descent who writes in Italian, and to Frank Bisignano, the managing director of president of First Data, who is of Calabrese descent.

    Although they’re not Italian, both honorees have a special sentiment that links them to our country, and they’re making a significant contribution to spreading Italianness across the world. In the eyes and in the words of Jumpha Lahiri, this sentiment is the excitement and the pride to be part of an Italian community, which embraced her when she discovered our language. In the words of Frank Bisignano, it was an immense pride for his heritage and the strength of what he was able to create, thanks to his work in the world of technology, despite the fact that he came from a family of twelve siblings in unstable conditions. Another Italian-American story with great symbolic value.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Buona Festa della Repubblica, New York!

    English version >>>

    Il Consolato Generale d'Italia a New York è separato dall'Istituto Italiano di cultura solo da un terrazzo, che collega i due palazzetti su Park Avenue. Se aggiungiamo che l'edificio dell'Istituto del Commercio con l'Estero (ICE) è vicinissimo, solo a due isolati ad angolo con Madison Avenue, riusciamo a far immaginare a chi legge la dinamica di una giornata di lunga festa organizzata il 2 giugno dalle istutizioni del Sistema Italia. 

    Quest'anno tutto è cominciato la mattina presso l'ICE con un evento intitolato “An Authentic Italian Food and Wine Experience” dedicato alla degustazione dei migliori prodotti italiani di diverse aziende italiane. Padrone di casa impeccabile il Trade Commissioner & Executive Director for the USA, Maurizio Forte, che ha colto anche questa volta l'occasione per porre l'accento sulla qualità insuperabile del nostro agro-alimentare e della richezza del territorio italiano.  

    Chi era presente, tra un assaggio ed un altro, ha avuto la dimostrazione della qualità del lavoro che portano avanti le aziende italianie negli Stati Uniti per promuovere e distribuire i prodotti di milgior qualità. Questo nonostante le difficoltà dovute anche ad una legislazione americana che annuncia manovre protezionistiche.

    Anche la lingua di Dante ha avuto la sua parte. Si è parlato infatti anche della Montclair State University in NJ ed del corso di italiano per gli studenti  delle scuole superiori che fornisce crediti universitari. In aggiunta, ci ha detto la professoressa Teresa Fiore, ha un grande valore anche la sinergia che si crea tra aziende italiane e università statunitensi per rendere possibili tirocinii che avvicinino i giovani americani all'Italia.

    Questo 71esimo compleanno della Repubblica Italiana ha visto il tricolore rappresentato non solo dalla consueta bandiera sopra l'antico portone del Consolato, ma anche da tre imponenti auto Lamborghini - una verde, una bianca, una rossa - transennate e poste su dei tappeti davanti all'ingresso. 

    Diversi e tutti significativi sono stati gli appuntamenti nel corso della giornata. La festa è cominciata anche con la consegna da parte delle onoreficenze del Presidente della Repubblica a cittadini italiani e americani che si sono distinti. Questi i nomi quest'anno: Giulio Picolli, Ferminio Berardo, Olga Imbarrato, Ralph Contini,Bartolo Valastro,  Giuseppina Azzolini, Andrea Bayer, Vivien Greene,  Antonio Bernardo, Jason De Sena Trennert, Maria Teresa Cometto,  Raffaele La Gamba, Paola Antonelli, Jhumpa Lahiri, Frank Bisignano    

    Si entra in un Consolato vestito a festa ed impreziosito da tanta arte italiana. All'ingresso, ben illuminata, colpisce subito una riproduzione di una statua di Al-lāt  del famoso scultore greco Phdias del 50 B.C. Questo grazie grazie all'Institute of Digital Archeology,  poi anche alcuni pezzi d’arte recuperati dai Carabinieri e dalle autorità locali. Non mancava naturalmente l'arte contemporanea con opere di Beatrice Pediconi, Giorgia Lupi, Paolo Trollo e Luca Pignatelli. 

    Il Console Generale Francesco Genuardi ha poi scelto proprio il 2 giugno per  inauguare con il classico taglio del nastro tricolore, la sala di attesa ed i suo nuovo arredamento. “E' il modo in cui vogliamo far aspettare – e speriamo il meno possibile – chi viene in Consolato. Si troverà così circondato dal miglior arredamento contemporaneo italiano, grazie ad aziende di punta che lo hanno voluto offrire.”

    Ma il Console Generale,  insieme ai diplomatici che collaborarono con lui, Isabella Periotto, Chiara Saulle, e Roberto Frangione,  era particolarmente orgoglioso anche di un altro fatto: la presenza dell'Ambasciatore a Washigton Armando Varricchio.

    E, in un certo senso, è stato lui il  vero ospite d'onore della giornata. Questo nonostante la presenza di diverse personalità dell'arte, del cinema, della cultura. Sarà forse perchè, da diversi anni, non capitava che il diplomatico italiano, con il ruolo  più importante negli Stati Uniti, venisse alla Festa della Repubblica a New York. Grande attesa quindi in un Consolato gremito e nonostante il ritardo sui tempi previsti.  

    Tra le autorità italiane istituzionali a festeggiare c'erano, oltre al Direttore Giorgio Van Straten, che ha fatto gli onori di casa all''Istituto di Cultura, anche i dipolomatici italiani delle Nazioni Unite: l’ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi e il suo vice Inigo Lambertini,  il senatore Renato Turano, eletto come rappresentante degli italiani all'estero, Silvana Mangione, il Vice Segretario Generale della Commissione Continentale per i Paesi Anglofoni ExtraEuropei. 

    Due i rappresentanti per le autorità americane.  Per il Governatore di New York Andrew Cuomo era presente Maria T Vullo, (Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services). Per il  sindaco di New York, Bill Di Blasio, ha assisto ai festeggiamenti il Commissioner Victor Calise (Office for People with Disabilities).

    Tra i tantissimi ospiti,  molti notabili della comunità italiana, rappresentanti della più importanti associazioni, personalità del mondo dell'arte,  anche i registi e gli attori di Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, la rassegna del nuovo cinema italiano al Lincoln Center di New York.

    Le due attrici Angela e Marianna Fontana ,che hanno interpretato le gemelle siamesi nel film "Indivisibili"di  Edoardo De Angelisi, hanno anche cantato per il pubblico presente, l'inno nazionale insieme agli studenti della Scuola d'Italia.  

    Dall' ICE, al Consolato, e infinie all”Istituto che ospita, in questi giorni, anche un'importante mostra intitolata: “European Art at the Time of the Treaties of Rome – Informel, Abstraction, Zero, around 1957”. 

    Ed è in questa cornice che il jazz italiano è stato il protagonista con l'orchestra Nicola Corso. Le sue note hanno fatto ricordare quanto l'Italia sia importante musicalmente, anche quando si tratta di Jazz. Nella storia del Jazz italo-americano ci sono infatti nomi indimenticabili ed il presente regala sempre di più musicisti italiani di conclamato valore.

    La serata è andata avanti fino a tardi, allietata anche dal rinfesco organizzato dello storico ristorante italiano "Il Gattopardo" di Gianfranco Sorrentino. Tra un risotto ai frutti di mare, un babaà ed un bicchiere di prosecco, la New York italiana ha onorato la sua festa istituzionale più importante.. 

    Un altro momento di grande valenza simbolica è stato quello della consegna di due importanti onoreficenze al termine della giornata.  A Jumpha Lahiri,  autrice americana, premio Pulitzer, di origini bengalesi che scrive anche in lingua italiana e a Frank Bisignano di origine calabrese, amministratore delegato e persidente di First Data.

    Entrambi, non italiani, ma con un sentimento speciale che li lega al nostro Paese e che stanno dando un apporto significativo all'italianità nel mondo. Negli occhi e nelle parole di Jumpha Lahiri l'emozione e l'orgoglio di far parte di una comunità italiana che l'ha abbracciata partendo dalla scoperta della nostra lingua. Nelle parole di Frank Bisignano tanto orgoglio legato alle sue origini e alla forza di quello che è riusciuto a realizzare, grazie al suo lavoro nel mondo della tecnologia. Questo nonostante venisse da una famiglia con dodici fratelli in condizioni del tutto precarie. Un'altra storia italo-americana speciale di grande valore simbolico.

     

     

     

  • The Mobile Care Clinic and one of the women who got her screening
    Facts & Stories

    A Mobile Care Clinic in NYC to Help Fight Breast Cancer

    The American-Italian Cancer Foundation was founded in 1980 by Italian oncologist and politician Umberto Veronesi and Alessandro di Montezemolo. Together with some of the best Italian and American researchers and corporate leaders, the Foundation operates with the mission to support cancer research, education, and control.

    Throughout the years, prominent individuals in science and business joined the foundation to give their hearts and souls to the community battling the global threat of cancer. Notable names include Italian industrialist and politician Umberto Agnelli, Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology of Medicine Renato Dulbecco, and US Senator Claiborne Pell, among others. The Foundation began sponsoring postdoctoral fellows from Italy with approximately 20-25 fellows coming to the U.S. each year to conduct cancer research. The fellows are scattered throughout the country, with some of them here in New York’s major cancer centers.

    The Mobile Care Clinic

    The mobile care clinic is one of the brightest examples of how much the Foundation cares not only about improving research from a scientific and academic point of view, but also about being a part of the community. A necessity to some individuals, the clinic works to shorten the distance between patients and quality medical care, which is often complicated by bureaucracy.

    We had the chance to go witness the beautiful work that the “Mobile, No-Cost Breast Cancer Screening” does for the community of New York when it stopped in front of The Ryan Women and Children’s Center, on April 21st, for a special screening program sponsored by Colavita USA. We talked with Ruth L. Vega–Director of Cancer Screening, Outreach, and Education for AICF–who explained the event, the significant support of the Italian sponsors, and the importance of cancer awareness.

    “We operate this mobile care clinic. Here, we do mammograms, clinical breast exams, and education on self-breast awareness,” said Ruth, explaining to us the work that they do.

    “Our focus is really on making breast cancer [screening] available to medically underserved women, women with no insurance, who have low income, women of color. We provide the women with this service at no cost. If they don’t have insurance, they don’t have to pay anything. If they do have insurance, we take their information, but they don’t have to pay either. We also do it in conjunction with a community based organization that knows the women of this community and can help us to let them know that this service is available to them.”

    “We go to a different location every day, Wednesday through Sunday," continues Ruth, "so we’re able to see women who can come during the week and also on the weekend. So if they have a job or they care for kids, they can do it on the weekend. We cover all of New York’s five boroughs.”

    Women can easily make an appointment just as they would with any other medical facility. They have their mammograms, and the results are sent via mail. If the radiologist sees that something is suspicious, the women are contacted by the organization and helped to find diagnostic testing and treatment.

    The Importance of Awareness and Communication

    Of course, breast cancer awareness is the key to prevention. The way in which awareness is spread can make all the difference–especially in a city like New York, which is so diverse. We asked Ruth about how the Foundation reaches out to women.

    “Breast cancer awareness, overall, has been raised in New York. What we try to do is work with community based organizations that know the women and that could get our message to them. So if they speak a language other than English and Spanish, which we have capacity for, then we usually partner with the community based organization that can get the message out in their language. Women are from different places in the world, so there are some cultural divides, and these organizations help us to get the message out.”

    Communication is also important for dispelling misconceptions and clarifying uncertainties. For example, some women don’t know how often they’re supposed to get a mammogram. AICF follows guidelines from the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Susan G. Komen organization, and it looks to spread their messages and recommendations to the women served.

    So how often and from what age should women start getting tested for breast cancer?

    “Usually at 40 years and older, you start doing it once a year,” says Ruth. “Not before, unless you have a family history. When a woman is younger, different tests are usually recommended for her, not a mammogram.”

    We followed Ruth inside the mobile van and had the chance to meet some of the women who were tested that day. We spoke with one of them, a Latin woman who communicated with us in Spanish, which Ruth kindly translated.

    “Last year, I had come to the clinic [The Ryan Center] because my kids get seen here, and I saw the van. I wanted to get a mammogram, but I was always fearful–fear of the unknown. I was always afraid to do it at the hospital because I found it to be a very cold environment. But I knew I had to go, so today I came, and I got it done.”

    Another woman who had taken the test the year before said to us, “I like that it’s right here. When you make an appointment with a hospital, you have to wait a long time to be seen. Here, since they already know me from last year, they called me saying that I’m due, and I could come here.”

    The Sponsor: Colavita USA

    Every year the mobile clinic and the screening program is supported by some great sponsors. This year Colavita USA–the Italian food company that produces and imports authentic Italian products like oil, vinegar, pasta and sauces–embraced the mobile clinic’s cause and covered the daily expenses.

    “As you can imagine, bringing out medical personnel, the equipment, the travel, that’s all at a cost,” explains Vega. “Colavita USA graciously said they were going to sponsor today. And in addition to that, they gave out gifts to the women. They gave them some oil and vinegar and some pasta. They love it! It’s wonderful to have them as our partners.”

    Thanks to Colavita USA, 37 women received no-cost mammograms and clinical breast exams on April 21st. On the subject of food, genuine Italian products are a fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered one of the healthiest eating regimens. Again, trying to dispel preconceived notions, we asked Vega about the relationship between cancer and nutrition.

    “A good healthy diet, low in cholesterol with lots of vegetables, is always the best diet for your health in general. But specific to cancers, it has been found that women who have much leaner diets actually do better. Asian women who have lots of fish in their diet or the Mediterranean diet–those kinds of diets reduce the rates of cancer that we see.”

    For more info and to schedule your Breast Cancer Screening today call 1-877-628-9090 or check the AICF website here >>

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