Articles by: Maria Klein

  • Art & Culture

    Experience Italian Opera in Central Park

    Starting at 7pm on July 1st, Central Park will host a concert honoring the famous Italian composers, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Gioachino Rossini and their ‘Opere Italiane.’ 


    Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) is known as one of the greatest operatic composers of all time. The tragic loss of both his wife and two children within the span of a couple of years sparked his love for the arts. Among one of Verdi’s most popular and notorious works, La Traviata, will be performed during the concert in Central Park. 


    Who many claim falls right under Verdi’s brilliance is Giacomo Puccini, an Italian opera composer who lived from 1858 to 1924. Some of his most renowned works La Bohème and Tosca will be played at the concert. 


    The child prodigy, Gioachino Rossini, started his career as an opera composer at an early age in life. He wrote as many as 39 operas before retiring in his thirties. Rossini was known especially for his amusing comical operas, such as L’Italiana in Algeri which will be performed on Monday.    


    “People of all ages and cultures who are not familiar with this art will immediately fall in love with it!” Says, Alvise Casellati, the President and Music Director of Central Park Summer Concerts. 


    Alvise Casellati, an Italian conductor, has been in charge of the annual outdoor concert ‘Opera Italiana is in the Air’ since 2017. His goal is to make opera accessible to all people, especially the youth, through this event. 


    Before taking on this position as conductor, Casellati was formerly the director of the Ensemble Opera Studio (EOS), a project that picked young singers from around the world to perform as singers in the Teatro Carlo Felice opera house in Genoa. He also works with other important Italian theaters, such as Teatro La Fenice, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Verdi and Teatro Petruzzelli.


    Drawing from his experience and driven by passion, Casellati put together 90 minutes of Italian Opera for the July 1st concert. He expects a big crowd to come and experience the beauty of these beloved Italian classics in a family-friendly, open environment. 


  • Facts & Stories

    Italy Will Host The 2026 Winter Olympics

    On June 24th, 2019 it was announced that Italy has outmatched their Swedish opponents in the battle to determine who will host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. 


    On Monday, the 82 members of the International Olympic Committee gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland to listen to the proposals of both countries.


    The results of their votes were 47 in favor of the joint offer of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo while 32 voted for the runner up, Stockholm.   


    Italy, therefore, will return to host the Winter Games for the third time, twenty years after Turin in 2006 and seventy years after they were held in Cortina in 1956. 


    “A place with great experience, tradition and passion has won, that has always supported Olympic events with great devotion,” says the current President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach. 


    The games will not only be held in Milan and Cortina, but also in the Italian winter sport resorts of Bormio and Livigno. Starting now, work will be done to ensure they will be under optimal conditions for the races. 


    To host the Winter Olympics the country will have to build new installations, fix those already existing, make new recreational structures, and establish olympic villages and media centers. According to the calculations of the Sapienza University of Rome these projects will require around 346 million euros worth of investments into Italy. 


    In this sense, it will not just be a special sports moment for the country, but also can provide a great economic opportunity. The committee is ready to get to work and confident that, with the help of investments to come, it will successfully provide a grand welcoming to athletes and spectators from all nations.


    “Long live the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2026,” commented Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, “which created at least 20,000 new job positions, a lot of investments and 5 billion euros worth of value added to Italy.” 

    Italians appear to be overall excited at the prospect of hosting the games: the public consent was of 80% as opposed to the 55% received in Sweden.


    The Winter Olympics will hopefully bring jobs and money flowing into Italy during these years leading up to the games and even more so during the actual event when tourists from all over will travel to Milan, Cortina and the various Alpine where events will be hosted.


    At least that’s what Italy’s Olympic Committee and all its supporters believe. They see this as an opportunity to unite the country and strengthen its economy and are determined to take full advantage of it.


  • Facts & Stories

    Two New Earth-Like Planets Discovered


    The red dwarf star Teegarden found in 2003 has recently attracted a lot of attention with two new potential planets discovered orbiting around it. The planets, located 12 light years away, are so far the closest to us that could potentially hold life.


    The international team behind this research and discovery is lead by the German University of Göttingen, and the Spanish network Carmenes. It also includes the Italian "planet hunter" Luigi Mancini.


    “The goal of the project Carmenes is to find inhabitable earth-like planets around small stars close to the Sun,” explains Mancini.


    This is exactly what the team is doing in researching the two yet to be declared planets, Teegarden B and C, that orbit their host the Teegarden star.


    What is intriguing about these two spheres is that they both have a nearly identical mass to Earth and are in orbits that could allow liquid water to flow.


    According to scientist assessments, the Teegarden star is at least eight billion years old. To put this into perspective, this is practically twice the age of our Sun. This infers that the planets orbiting around it have had much time to evolve and grow life.


    These intriguing findings and the proximity of our systems create the perfect opportunity for astronomers eager to test out next-generation telescopes in the hopes of finding signs of life in worlds beyond Earth.


    “The objective for the future is to directly observe these two planets with next-generation telescopes,” says Luigi Mancini, “like the E-ELT (European-Extremly Large Telescope) and the American TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope).”


    This new technology and research will give insight that can further our understanding of these planets and their Earth-like atmosphere, possibly holding signs of life.  


  • Art & Culture

    Contemporary Art Enters The ‘Home of the Italians’

    In the Palazzo del Quirinale, Italy’s President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella’s plan is being put into action. His desire is to turn this space into the Home of the Italians of yesterday and today, by introducing contemporary artworks into the Official Seat of the Republic.


    “The idea of President Mattarella is to fill the artistic gaps with art works, decor and objects of italian design made from post-WWII to the present,” says General Secretary Ugo Zampetti.


    This project named “Contemporary Quirinale” is bringing, for now, 68 modern pieces to the palazzo, 36 of which are artworks created by well-known Italian artists and 32 objects made from Italian designers and companies.


    These paintings, lamps, tables, coaches, statues and other art pieces will be dispersed all within the perimeters of the ‘Home of the Italians.’ The courtyards, halls, gardens, and even the President’s office itself will be brought to life by Italian creativity.


    Among some of the artists that will be represented are De Chirico, Burri, Boetti, Guttuso, Melotti, Fontana, Manzù, Pomodoro and many others.


    The contemporary experts of design Magistretti, Ponti, Scarpa, Rossi, Citterio, Aulenti e Castiglioni also contribute their works to redecorate the palazzo.


    The project, greatly requested by President Mattarella, livens and enriches the aesthetic allure of the palazzo. The contemporary works are not replacing the artistic masterpieces of the past, but instead coincide and accompany them.


    The balance of the beauty of the past and present fuses together to give homage to the creativity and productivity of Italy’s past and more importantly its present.  


    “It is not a matter of a permanent exhibition,” says the General Secretary, Ugo Zampetti “but of the contemporary that enters the Palazzo and revives it.”

    Precisely because the palazzo is the ‘Home of the Italians’ the president of the Republic believes it must also be an echo of everyday life habits, mannerisms, and beliefs found within contemporary art.


    Italy is not just a reflection of its past but is always changing, this project acknowledges and underlines the importance of the present.


    The best part of all of this, is that the whole process is free of cost. The artworks and objects were donated by Italian artists and patrons that desire above all the recognition of contemporary Italian creativity.


  • Art & Culture

    Fare Cinema 2019 Italian Film Festival in Los Angeles

    The second edition of a special event dedicated to Italian film industry professionals is coming to Los Angeles. Fare Cinema has put together an initiative to educate the global public on Italian talent in filmmaking.


    “As part of the initiative, over 100 Italian cinema ambassadors will travel the globe to talk about the professions of filmmaking,” says the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.


    Franco Eco, a composer, theater director, artistic director and music producer, will be giving masterclasses in Los Angeles on the link between the musical language and the technical and expressive experience of the cinematographic art.


    The inspiration for this lecture comes from Walter Benijamin essay’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Stemming from this theme, the lesson will later outline a potential route the evolution of cinema and film music will take through the new media.


    From the experiences of accomplished professionals, the audience has the opportunity to learn about the work of Italians who have made an indispensable contribution to the art and industry of film, in Italy and abroad.

    This free admission event aims to stimulate the interests of an international public and increases the chance for recognition of Italian TV and films abroad.


    This initiative represents what Fare Cinema likes to call an “integrated approach, or rather, the bringing together of all the tools used to create a culture that values all elements of Italian excellence around the world.” Cinema is the knot that ties together every aspect of Italian identity. It combines art, culture, poetry and values in one.


    Created by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, ANICA and Luce Cinecittà. In LA this event is presented under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles.


  • Art & Culture

    Pitti Uomo: Italian Fashion and Sustainability

    Research allows for new technological experimentation, giving contemporary fashion brands accessibility to creative and alternative materials. Many of the brands featured in this year’s Pitti Uomo turn to recycling among other practices to participate in the eco-oriented fashion trend.


    Orange Fiber produced the first sustainable fabric made from citrus trees. The company, a Pitti Uomo brand name, states that “Salvatore Ferragamo is the first fashion house to make use exclusively of Orange Fiber Fabrics. This much-anticipated collaboration is born of a shared passion for creative innovation, sustainable design, and our beloved heritage of Italian excellence.”


    Even the traditional Marinella Ties jumped onto the going green ship with a new limited edition Orange Fiber collection.


    The Cividini fashion outlet, among others, also looks to contribute to sustainability. Through returning to the use of handmade and artisan processes, such as tie-dye, they work towards a clean and unpolluted environment.


    Blauer USA just came out with their new beachwear line in which 10 models of boy bathing suits were made from recycled plastic water bottles.


    Pitti Uomo and the brands that follow its lead have found that sustainable products do not by any means ignore style. Instead, they offer “futuristic details like heat-welded seams, iridescent fabrics, and laser cuts.”


    American fashion outlets such as Rag & Bone, DÔEN, Eileen Fisher, and Mara Hoffman all push to incorporate this going green attitude within their products, and more importantly in big-name American brands.


    “She paints in circular brushstrokes, recycling and giving new life to old textiles and discarded garments,” reads a comment on Eileen Fisher’s fashion production. “The result? Luxurious and sustainable womenswear.”


    “It’s no surprise then, that in 2017, Rag & Bone partnered with Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green to launch a denim recycling program,” is stated in The Good Trade website.  


    These smaller American outlets look to involve big name companies within their country to take on eco-sustainability in their fashion lines. For example, American Eagle states “starting in 2018 we made the move to use shopping bags with a higher percentage of recycled content.”

    Although this is a positive move, many American fashion outlets are lacking in incorporating going green within their actual clothing lines.


    The focus on innovation, technology, and sustainability within design has sparked great interest in Italian fashion outlets. The importance now is that this same desire for sustainability in fashion is shared globally.

  • Facts & Stories

    An 'Italian Sabbatical’ in Grottole

    The Mayor of Grottole Francesco De Giacomo called the project a "one-of-a-kind opportunity," for his town of only 300 residents. Airbnb together with Wonder Grottole have been hard at work in attempting to save the village.

    This southern italian town is suffering greatly from depopulation. Today there have been counted more than 600 empty homes within the village. Many inhabitants have left and continue to do so putting the place in great risk of becoming a ghost town.

    Unfortunately this problem is not just affecting Grottole, research conducted by Legambiente, Italy’s institution that tracks the state of the national environment, shows that over half of the country’s smallest villages are in danger of disappearing within the decades to come. 2.430 places, today home to 3 million Italians, destined to vanish, because no one will be living in them anymore.

    Grottole, however, is not going to sit back and watch this happen, with the aid of Airbnb and Wonder Grottole the town is setting into action a new project going by the name of, the “Italian Sabbatical.”

    To participate you only need to be at least 18-years-old and willing to live in Grottole for three months, from June to August 2019. The chosen candidates will enjoy an all-expenses-paid stay in the village, where they will become part of the fabric of the community and, therefore, be responsible for helping revitalise the town.

    "Our dream is to repopulate the historic centre of Grottole," said Silvio Donadio, a founder of Wonder Grottole. "Within 10 years we'd like to see the village full of people from different cultures, perfectly integrated with the local community."

    News of the Italian Sabbatical project travelled the world, and over 280,000 people applied to be selected for the project. Locals have already prepared homes to host the five volunteers who were chosen, and the volunteers will have a full schedule of activities involving the entire village.

    "Even if I had had 100,000 euros to invest in marketing, I never could have gotten the same results in terms of visibility," De Giacomo said. "I hope the trend of depopulation, which is afflicting many small Italian villages, can be slowed. And I hope the can-do spirit I see today among the people in my community also stays," he said. Enza, an inhabitant of Grottole says "I've always lived here, and I'll never leave."

    The project offers to the volunteers the opportunity of learning about craftsmanship, agriculture, language, culture, and food from people who grew up mastering these professions.

    Rocco Filomeno, a local beekeeper, said: "People who arrive here from big cities will find an ancient village surrounded by woods and meadows. We'll encourage them to leave behind their old lives and to connect with our way of life.”

    Through the “Italian Sabbatical,” Grottole is hoping to provide their guests with an opportunity of a lifetime. They will be able to engage in a lifestyle that functions on a slower, less stressful pace while learning life skills at the same time. The ambition of the project is to revitalize the beautiful village of Grottole and everything it has to offer.


  • Facts & Stories

    Accidents Sparks Venice Ship Controversy

    In the past years, cruise industry officials assured the public that guiding tugboats and technology would provide for a safe docking onto the busy Giudecca Canal. Yet, the recent collision proves that this is not necessarily the case.

    "The MSC ship had an engine failure, which was immediately reported by the captain," said Davide Calderan, the head of one of the tugboats accompanying the cruise ship, according to AFP and Italian media. The tugboats tried to guide the cruise liner in safely, which holds more than 2,600 people, but were not strong enough to do so successfully.

    The local port authority for Venice told CNN its priority on Sunday was managing the accident, but that from tomorrow on its goal is to "finally create a solution to the traffic of large ships in Venice."

    "What happened in the port of Venice is confirmation of what we have been saying for some time," Italy's environment minister Sergio Costa tweeted. "Cruise ships must not sail down the Giudecca. We have been working on moving them for months now and are nearing a solution."

    Jane Da Mosto, an environmental scientist who heads We Are Here Venice, which looks to ban cruise ships says, "It worries me because it's something that could've happened so many other times, and could happen again today."

    This accident has re-sparked the debate over these large vessels. Local Venetians are saying "enough is enough," and that the accident was a "wake-up call." Members of "No grandi navi (No big ships)" movement have begun to protest in front of the large MSC Opera cruise ship, which crashed earlier that morning, into the fragile city.

    However, the big ships, which sail through the lagoon and the Giudecca Canal upon docking are also a key factor for a large portion of tourism in the city, as they bring close to two million visitors a year.

    Following Sunday's accident, Italy's transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, said the government is "close" to a solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism.

    A plan to divert large cruise ships away from St Mark’s basin and the Giudecca canal and towards the Vittorio Emanuele canal was drawn up by local authorities four years ago. “And in that time there has been no response (from the national government),” said Paola Mar, Venice tourism chief. “Our message is clear enough, now.”

    “Today’s accident at the port of Venice shows that the large vessels should no longer pass through the Giudecca,” Danilo Toninelli tweeted. “After so many years of inertia, we are finally close to a definitive solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism.”

    In addition to the big ships crowding waterways, and blocking views, they also create waves that risk damage to the city's buildings and infrastructure. Environmentalists have long claimed that waves caused by the cruise ships have eroded the underwater supports of buildings and polluted the waters.    

    The government, as mentioned earlier, is close to finding a solution. It is unclear, however, whether the solution would mean cruise ships of all sizes being banned from the canal or not.

    Overall the startling accident on Sunday has re-kindled the topic of how to address cruise ships in Venice, hopefully this time to draw a permanent solution.


  • Art & Culture

    Leonardo Da Vinci 2.0

    Milan's “Leonardo da Vinci 3D” exhibit is virtually bringing back the past for all to enjoy this summer. In this show, which will be held in the suggestive Cattedrale della Fabbrica del Vapore, the life and artworks of Leonardo can be experienced on a personal level unlike ever before.

    Through the use of technology the show breaks through traditional borders, bringing to the visitors images, lights, sounds and colors that recall the life and great works of Da Vinci.

    The exhibit is a jump from the past to the present, that allows for the public to get to know the great master “in person”. A life size hologram of Leonardo himself recounts his story and inspiration behind his works.

    Tradition and technological innovation work hand in hand to reveal to the viewer the true vastity and complexity of the world the well-known figure of Leonardo gravitated around.

    Technology creates the bridge that allows us to connect to this past world. The show not only narrates the life of Leonardo but also his universe.

    The exhibit links us to Da Vinci’s room of inventions, the mirror room dedicated to the flying machine, to the final immersive room of his artwork.

    This so-called “impossible exhibition” is a digital gallery, that for the first time, brings together, in a natural scale, all of the most famous Leonardo paintings. Viewers can experience Leonardo’s art, from the Mona Lisa to the Virgin of the Rocks, on a personal level.

    Viewing art through this digital lense gives people the opportunity to experience first hand the creative expression of the great artist, down to the very last detail. The exhibit in this sense creates a truly immersive experience.

    With the help of VR (virtual reality) and Oculus (glasses that permit virtual reality vision) the public can virtually submerge themselves into what they find fascinating.

    This virtual jump into the color, poses and details of the artists paintings on a natural scale is an experience that is not to be missed, drawing many from around the world to Milan this summer.     


  • Facts & Stories

    Game of Thrones Museum Opens in Ancient Roman City of Split

    The television series Game of Thrones might be over but fans can now experience the majestic and fantastical lure of the show first-hand within a new museum located in Split, Croatia, where many of the show’s iconic scenes were shot.    

    Dubrovnik was the main filming location in Croatia for King’s Landing, the capital of the seven kingdoms in the show. Moreover, the ancient palace of Diocletian in Split is home to the unforgettable scenes in which Daenerys trains her dragons.

    The majestic palace of Diocletian was originally built by the ancient Romans in the years 293-305 CE. With its various columns, archways, doors and interwoven paths the palace is an invitation to lose oneself to imagination.

    The directors of the TV show recognized the beauty of the ancient roman landscape to portray the perfect fantasy world. The still intact magnificent Roman architecture is fundamental to creating an imaginative and mystical atmosphere. The remains of the palace lend themselves to a beauty beyond our world.        

    In the museum “Everything is just like in the series. The exhibits are exact replicas of scenes, symbols and characters from GoT,” Luka Galic, the person behind the museum told the Croatia Times.

    The site is entirely dedicated to Game of Thrones. The 300 square meter space, is split up into five diversely themed rooms, each conceived by Luka Galic. Together with a crew of 40 artists and fans of GoT, he created rooms that faithfully reproduced elements, costumes, swords and even characters from the show.

    The beloved Jon Snow, Tyrion, Aryya, and even Daenerys with one of her dragons are on display giving fans the ultimate experience of immersion in the alternate universe of the GoT.

    The museum takes the visitors on a real life journey through the show. Providing first hand experience to sites and scenes that fans have watched and loved throughout the years. The institution has become a new and not to be missed attraction for Game of Thrones fans.

    The museum further presents photos that were taken on set and objects that were used during actual filming, demonstrating the ties that the country of Croatia has with the show.

    The Game of Thrones Museum is not the only attraction to the striking ancient Roman city of Split. The Diocletian palace at the heart of the city also hosts an annual Split Summer Festival. Musical, artistic and theatrical performances take place for a whole month long.

    Also this summer from July 12th to 14th, Ultra Europe brings to Croatia internationally famous artists such as David Guetta, Afrojack, and many others.

    The ancient Roman city, known for its beautiful coastline views and ruins, now also draws in Game of Thrones fans from around the world to their new museum. The age-old city invites the visitors to marvel over and lose themselves in the imaginative realm of the show.