Articles by: Giulia Madron

  • Facts & Stories

    Let’s Call Them Rules, Not Quotas!

    A few days after International Women’s Day, Casa Italiana Zerilli  Marimò hosted a round table dedicated to women and politics. The conversation, opened by the director of La Casa Stefano Albertini, included the participation of Valeria Fedeli, Vice President of the Senate of the Republic, Lucina Di Meco (Gender & Leadership Consultant), Angela Vitaliano (Il Fatto Quotidiano) and Maria Luisa Rossi-Hawkins (TGcom, Mediaset).

    The conversation occurred  right after the Italian Parliament's recent rejection of the three amendments in the new electoral reform aimed at guaranteeing the equality of gender within public positions.

    After a brief screening of a documentary that recalled 60 years of female presence inside Italian politics, Valeria Fedeli opened the debate commenting on what just happened in Italy.

    “It is not a problem of laws. Italy has advanced laws but not well applied,” said the senator. Moreover, she explained that she was quite surprised, not about the rejection of the first two amendments, but about the rejection of the third one, which stated that both genders cannot be under-represented by 40% on the electoral lists. “ I thought this one could have been seen as an element of modern culture since its premises are definitely non discriminatory,” affirmed Fedeli.

    According to the senator, there is a linguistic issue that contributes to this failure and “impedes to achieve our objectives.” “It’s wrong to talk about "Quote Rosa." It seems as something you need, because you know someone else holds the power,” said Fedeli. “I prefer to talk about rules. We need to set rules on the electoral laws.”

    “I think there is a generational problem,” added Lucina di Meco. “Before, one thought that merit was everything. It’s not like that anymore. In Italy there is no meritocracy.”

    Another big issue that was addressed during the conversation was the responsibility of the media in creating wrong models that are discriminatory especially for women. “We have many women who are very prepared and smart. But TV, for instance, gives more space to men, giving to women a secondary importance,” said senator Fedeli.

    “It’s a socio-cultural problem that is reflected in the education system. The same educational contents are wrong, they don’t reclaim the historical role and importance of many women. We have to change the learning models, introducing, for example, sex education courses, which I like to call sentimental education, in order to hihglight to  young people the existence of a relationship between men and women based on mutual respect for one another,” affirmed Fedeli.

    At the end of the debate, together with Stefano Albertini, all the speakers went to pay homage to the victims of the fire that occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on March 25th, 1911, that caused more that 140 deaths, of which 123 were women.

  • Facts & Stories

    Spatial Sicilian Cannolo!

    Americans have their flag implanted on the moon, Italians have a cannolo. Antonella Barbera, Paolo Capasso and Fabio Leone, three amateur scientists from Enna (Sicily), launched a model cannolo, symbol of the Italian island, to space and into the atmosphere.

    “Sicilian Space Program,” this was how they called the project, is the funniest scientific experiment that worked out perfectly, and at a cost of mere 350 euros.

    “Sicily has always been a place of negative connotations, mafia and unemployment. We wanted to lift up Sicily in our own way,” said filmmaker Fabio Leone, who recorded the project with Antonella Barbera.

    Thanks to a balloon filled with helium, a sicilian cannolo with ricotta cheese, topped with a glazed cherry (made by Laura Caccamo) was sent to the outer space. Not a real one, of course, but just a model of it. A real one couldn’t have survived such journey.

    The piece had to weigh under 2 kilos to qualify for the easiest official permits required to fly to high altitude.

    Moreover, the body of the craft was made out of an insulated ice-cream box, which protected the camera batteries from temperatures that dropped below -50 degrees Celsius.

    The cream-stuffed pastry roll was assembled on the “Cannolo Transporter,” a home-made spacecraft fabricated with recycled materials and equipped also with two cameras and a GPS tracker.

    The balloon, launched at the peak of the Rocca di Cerere nature park, rose almost 30,000 meters. Then, because of the lack of atmospheric pressure, it burst and glided on the hills near the village of Bompietro and was later recovered by the team who followed the GPS signal.

    The whole mission was filmed by the two cameras, which captured the most incredible moments of this typical sicilian pastry making its majestic entry into the infinity of the universe!

  • Life & People

    Finding the Mother Lode. Documenting Italian Historical Success

    Finding the Mother Lode is "a thoroughly woven narrative of the Italian experience in the Golden State … the perfect companion piece to Pane Amaro, which together form a one-two punch of the history of Italians on both coasts of the United States." Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean, John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (Queens College, CUNY).

    Finding the Mother Lode: Italian Immigrants in California,  the new documentary produced by Gianfranco Norelli and Suma Kurien on the history of Italian immigrants in California, was presented at the Calandra Italian American Institute of New York. Many people attended the screening of this wonderful film which explores the success of many Italians who moved to California during the XX century.

    With this documentary, Norelli and Kurien reveal a different side of immigration, showing how the hopes and the dreams of many Italians reached their fulfillment in the US.

    The Italian immigration experience in the West Coast, as we can see from the documentary, was very different from the one on the East Coast, and it resulted with easier achieved economic and social success. Italians first moved to California starting as gold rushers, but then begun to develop industries, putting into practice the skills they already had in farming, fishing, commerce and making wine. Italians have demonstrated to be essential contributors in the creation and maintenance of California’s identity. The vineyards, the olive and cyprus trees, which distinguish the West Coast landscapes, were first planted by Italian immigrants. The Italian success spread also in many other fields such as banking for instance. Indeed, what we know as Bank of America, initially was created as Bank of Italy by Amadeo Pietro Giannini.

    Finding the Mother Lode tells several stories set in seven Italian American communities throughout the Golden State, weaving together oral histories from community members and contextualizing historical analysis by scholars to tell a thorough and engaging narrative of migration, transformation, assimilation and self-identification.

    After the viewing, Dr. Joseph Sciorra led a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers, who gave the audience some insights into their research and on the origins of their documentary.

    “The experience of Italians in California was shaped by the skills that they had. Therefore, their integration was faster,” said Norelli.

    “We were very curious about why Italians were so successful in California. It was not the story that we knew. So we started researching and found that there was a wonderful match between the skills that they had and what they found in California,’ added Kurien, “and they arrived when possibilities were endless. There was space for Italian immigrants.”

  • Life & People

    Eat, Make Jokes and Dress Up...It's Carnival!


    Carnival is usually celebrated in countries of catholic tradition during the period right before Lent.

    Its etymology comes probably from the latin “carnem levare,” which means “removing the meat,” indicating the observance of the catholic rule of abstaining oneself from eating meat during the 6 weeks before Easter. Traditionally, over 40 consecutive days, people were not allowed to consume rich foods – meat, dairy or sweets- nor alcoholic beverages.

    Their consumption before Lent became over the years an annual celebration know, indeed, as the Carnival feast, in which every sort of queerness is permitted like, for instance, wear eccentric costumes, make funny jokes, eat, drink and just have a good time

    In Italy we have always had a huge carnival tradition. We might not have the razzle-dazzle of Rio De Janeiro but trust me, we are as good as Brazilians when it comes to celebrate this festivity.

    Every region of the Peninsula has its own way to celebrate this event and its own typical foods that go with the cheerful and happy spirit of such feast.

    However, when you talk about Carnival in Italy,you immediately think about the Venice Carnival, in the Veneto region, whose origins go back a little after the year 1000 a.C.

    Known for being one of the most antiques in the world, the Carnival of Venice goes down in history for its amazing masks and costumes, used traditionally by the nobility of the “Serenissima (as it was called the Republic of Venice)” who wanted to offer to the Venetians moments of entertainment and excessive party leveling off, through elegant masks, any kind of class inequality.

    Original Venetian masks are made by hand by artisans whose techniques were transmitted from generation to generation and they are made using refined materials such as leather, porcelain and blown glass (a typical technique of this city.)

    During a period of 10 days, through the “calli” of this beautiful city, you are continuously projected into a sort of theatrical representation of happiness and playfulness. Everyone is dressed up to celebrate the charm of a world made of balls, jokes of every kind, romantic and mysterious encounters and exclusive parties. Very typical of the Venetian Carnival is the “flight of the angel” in the famous San Marco Square, an event that every year attracts thousands of people from all over the globe.

    Another Carnival feast is worth mentioning is the Viareggio Carnival, in Tuscany, one of the most appreciated Italian celebrations and more than 100 years old. This feast is renowned all over the world for its spectacular float parades, handmade by local artisans who dedicate months and months trying to build the most extraordinary one among the many colored and extravagant floats you can see “marching” in the streets during this period.

    A historical turning point for the Carnival of Viareggio occurred in 1921 with the introduction of papier-mache which, much lighter and cheaper, replaced other heavy materials in the construction of the floats. This innovative material has permitted the building of colossal structures, with more daring designs and movements.

    Besides the carnival traditions we can find traveling through the Peninsula (and that would need a much longer article if I had to mention them all) there is more genuine, popular and childish to celebrate Carnival.

    It consists in simpler games and jokes that people use to do outdoors like, for example, suds battles or throw confetti and streamers in the streets. All these are the perfect occasion for children and adults to have fun and enjoy the joyful atmosphere of this kind of popular tradition.

    But do not forget to eat since it’s the last chance, before Lent, to have every kind of delicacies: “frittelle,” “frappe” or “crostoli” or “chiacchere” and castagnole  (as they have different names depending on the region). And don’t worry if you are not able to start a diet after eating all these gluttonies, if you follow the tradition, you will have to, no matter what!

  • Facts & Stories

    Renzi’s Government, Here is the List of the Ministers.

    Matteo Renzi has made his decision. The last few days have been very busy for the new Prime Minister, who, under the supervision of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, formed Italy’s fourth government also with last-minute changes.

    After the three hour wait for Napolitano’s official approval, at 7:30pm Renzi announced the names of the new executive.Many of the names are still unknown even to the Italian public. On February 22nd 2014, at 11:30 am, the new Ministers will take the oath at the Quirinale and on February 24th there will be the vote of confidence at the Senate.

    Here is the list of ministers of Renzi’s new government:

    Internal Affairs: Angelino Alfano

    Economy and Finances: Pier Carlo Padoan

    Justice: Andrea Orlando

    Defense: Roberta Pinotti

    Work and Social Welfare: Giuliano Poletti

    Economic Development: Federica Guidi

    Foreign Affairs: Federica Mogherini

    Transportations and Infrastructures: Maurizio Lupi

    Health: Beatrice Lorenzin

    Education: Stefania Giannini

    Agriculture: Maurizio Martina

    Environment: Gian Luca Galletti

    Culture and Tourism: Dario Franceschini

    Ministers without portfolio

    Reforms and Parliament relations: Maria Elena Boschi

    Public Administration and Simplification: Marianna Madia

    Regional Affairs: Maria Carmela Lanzetta

    Premiership’s Undersecretary: Graziano Delrio

  • Facts & Stories

    If George Clooney Says It….

    We all know there has always been a bit of rivalry between Italians and the French. We fought over Tunisia, we fought over Nice and Corsica. And most of the time Italians lost to the French, who then went back home with many of our beautiful treasures.

    Revenge began in 2006 when Italy won the FIFA World Cup during the final match against the “baguette eaters.”

    Now we hope to win another fight and bring Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa back home. Italians always thought that the painting belonged to their country, but never said it officially. However, an American did. And guess who? The famous Hollywood star and Italy lover George Clooney, who also owns a villa near Lake Como where he spends most of his leisure time.

    During a press conference in Rome to present his new movie “The Monuments Men,” the 52-year old actor and director suggested that France should return to Italy the famous Italian masterpiece, currently part of the permanent collection at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

    The Mona Lisa, acquired by France’s King Francis I around the first half of the XVI century, is considered one of the most important and wonderful paintings in the world.

    Has Clooney been inspired by his own film? After all, “The Monuments Men” is based on a true story about a band of artists, curators and architects hired by the US during the wining period of the war to recover cultural treasures stolen by the Nazis. Apparently, Clooney demonstrates a certain hidden revolutionary spirit after filming “The Monuments Men.” Indeed, a few days before the Mona Lisa comment, he and his co-star Matt Demon caused a scandal in London by stating that England should return the famous Elgin Marbles currently displayed at the British Museum, to Greece.

    “Someone urgently needs to restore George Clooney’s marbles,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson to the Daily Telegraph in response to Clooney's comments.“He should stuff the Hollywood script and stick to history,” he continued.

    Well, at least Clooney said what everyone, except maybe for the French, think! Let’s bring back the Mona Lisa to Italy, and the Elgin Marbles to Greece, and then, dear George, WHAT'S NEXT?

  • Facts & Stories

    Giorno del Ricordo: Memories of a Tragic Past

    Every Year, in collaboration with the Associazione Giuliani nel Mondo of New Jersey, the Italian Consulate of New York celebrates the “Giorno della Memoria” to remember one of the most painful events in the Italian history of the XX century. The tragedy of the victims of the “foibe” and the Giuliano-Dalmata exodus which occurred during the second postwar period has remained unmentioned for many years.

    The conference started with the customary greetings from the Consul General Natalia Quintavalle, who highlighted the importance of remembering such dramatic episode of our history and gave a special welcome to the Giuliano-Dalmata community who was attending the event.

    After her speech, Quintavalle gave the floor to Eligio Clapcich, President of the Associazione Giuliani nel Mondo of New Jersey. Clapcich opened the ceremony with a message from Dario Locchi, President of the main Association in Trieste, who wanted to shed light on the importance of the “enormous moral, political and social value” of the law established in 2004 by the Italian Government in memory of the 20 thousands innocent victims who were thrown into the “foibe” by Yugoslavian dictator Tito and his followers.
    This was a profound message which Clapcich, who was also an exile back in 1946, read with great emotion.

    “The events of the ‘foibe’ and the Giuliano-Dalmata exodus were considered insignificant pages of our history or not deserving being written. Now, the celebration of the ‘Giorno del Ricordo’ has opened a window and finally it is something we talk about in our schools,” added Clapcich.

    Later, the audience and the guests who were attending the event traveled back in time, watching some images projected in the room and listening to excerpts from the play “Magazzino 18” by Italian singer and composer Simone Cristicchi, who decided to give voice to such an anguishing page of the Italian history through the memories contained within the objects that belonged to the victims or were left by the exiles, found indeed inside the “Magazzino 18,” located in the old harbor of the city of Trieste.

    The event ended with an honorable participation of Piero Fassino, Mayor of Turin, who was in New York to receive a special recognition for his activities aimed at the promotion of Italy abroad. Fassino, who has been very active during his political career with regards to the "foibe" tragedy, decided to use the occasion to remember also the many wars and massacres that are still happening around the world, stressing the importance of the Institutions making an effort to eliminate such dramatic events from our future.

  • Events: Reports

    Valeria Golino Debuts in New York with “Honey”

    Successful debut as a movie director for Valeria Golino, who will arrive in New York  on March 7th, for the premiere of her feature film “Honey (Miele)” at the Elinor Bulim Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center.

    Based on Mario Covachic’s novel, A Nome Tuo, “Honey” tells the story of Irene, a 30 year old woman who decided, under the pseudonym Honey, to help terminally-ill people die with dignity by giving them a drug she gets during her trips to Mexico. One day, she supplies the fatal substance to a “new client,” a 60 year old healthy woman who just thought she had lived enough and wanted to die. Such encounter will call into question all of Irene’s beliefs, whom, from that point on, will become involved in an intense and moving relationship that will change her life forever.

    Valeria Golino’s “Honey” brings to the surface the delicate debate on Euthanasia, a practice that in Italy is considered illegal. However, during several interviews, Director Golino explained that her intention wasn’t to question whether assisted suicide is right or wrong. Instead, she wanted to recount the drama and the pain that people go through when they ask others to help them die.
    A 96 minutes of film during which the spectators will ask themselves how to face death. 
    In other words, Golino invites us to be aware of the existence of many tragic situations that are considered social taboos that we often ignore or want to avoid.

    Valeria Golino's debut feature stars Jasmine Trinca (The Son's Room, The Best of Youth) as well as an Italian stage actor Carlo Cecchi. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard where it received a special mention from the Ecumenical Jury. It also screened at the Venice Film Festival. It is the 2nd film in the Cinema Made In Italy Series (following Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty”), a program that provides marketing and distribution support to 5 Italian films in the US created by the Instituto Luce-Cinecittà, the Italian Trade Commission and Emerging Pictures.

  • Facts & Stories

    Pizza Lovers in the Military Have Their Miracle! May be...

    Pizza is one of the most requested items among soldiers. So, listen up! If you are in the US military, finally you will get what you have asked for.   It’s called the “everlasting pizza” and was created as a gift for American soldiers who always wished to have pizza, their favorite meal, in their rations.

    A group of scientists at a US military laboratory in Massachussets spent almost two years doing research and recently came up with a recipe for  a pizza that can be kept on the shelf for three years (and still be good!!!!) without the need for refrigeration or freezing.

    "You can basically take the pizza, leave it packaged on the counter, for three years and it would still be edible," said the creator of this project Michelle Richardson.

    Scientists have been experimenting for many years in the kitchen trying to develop this kind of recipe. However, they encountered many obstacles such as the moisture of the tomato sauce, cheese and other ingredients, which converted the dough into a soggy substance. And let’s face it, who ever wants to eat soggy pizza?

    So, researchers started to use ingredients known as humectants: sugar, salt and syrups. These ingredients hydrate the product, but prevent the water from getting into the dough, avoiding the formation of mildew and other bacteria. Moreover, they added iron filings to the package in order to absorb the air that remains inside of it.

    Not many people were able to try out this incredible experiment. However, those who did, said that the pizza tasted pretty good and was very similar to the original pizza taste, even though the crust was not very crispy... This is something that surely will be improved in the next few years!

    For now, lets be happy with this prototype of “everlasting pizza”... at least it has pepperoni!!!

  • Events: Reports

    Italian Melodies around New York

    Alberto Pizzo will soon seduce New York with his music. On March 4, 2014, this young Italian talented pianist from Naples is releasing his second album On The Way. The latest work of the musician features 14 tracks, from classical repertoires to personal arrangements, where he projects the audience into the dreams of the youth who looks at the world with curiosity and imagination. In the Cilento coast he “admires the nature in its perfect fusion between sea and hillside”.


    In Paris, he “identifies with Woody Allen” and imagines being back “in the Belle Epoque encountering Claude Debussy”. In New York, he comes across Michael Douglas who invites him to play at his parties, captivated by the music of old scores by Morricone, Bixio, and Goblin, by the tango notes of Piazzolla. The album and the melodies of the pieces retraces Pizzo’s life experiences and features him in collaboration with two famous international artists who will join him on stage during the tour: guitarist and music producer Fabrizio Sotti and percussionist Mino Cinelu.

    On The Way, distributed by Egea Music licensed by Bixio Cemsa, is the result of a fortunate encounter. Indeed, Pizzo and Sotti met in November 2012 in Santo Domingo during the Cabarete Jazz Festival. They immediately decided to work together.

    “Starting from a very strong classical foundation, Pizzo’s music takes your imagination and ears on a very refreshing musical journey. Working with Alberto has been a true pleasure. His amazing piano technique combined with great arrangements and meaningful compositions make him a very unique artist I took out this phrase. Alberto’s album has an unbelievable line up; lots of ethnicities and cultures are united under a very Mediterranean umbrella!,” said Fabrizio Sotti.

    The album was realized in collaboration with renowned international stars such as Toquinho, David Knopfler (founder, Dire Straits), Martin Ditcham (drummer, Rolling Stones), Harry Bogdanovs (guitarist, Elton John) and Renzo Arbore. Ten tracks were recorded at Bunker Studios in New York, three at Trafalgar Studio in Rome, and one at Guildford Studio in London. Grammy winner John Fishback mixed the album in New Orleans.

    Alberto Pizzo’s tour will consist of five concerts beginning on March 4th at Klavierhaus Recital Hall (NY) where the Neapolitan pianist will play pieces from Debussy to Albeniz and from Joplin to Morricone. On March 9th, the artist heads to Fifth Avenue, at Measure Lounge, and will play Hollywood scores and traditional tunes from his town. On March 12th, Sotti and Cinelu will join Pizzo at Metropolitan Room featuring both tracks from the new album and from his own repertoire. The exhibition will be repeated on March 13th at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair (New Jersey).

    For more information:;;


    - 4 marzo; 6:00-7:30 pm.  Exhibition and Media day open to public.  Free
    Piano solo featuring classical music, tracks from “On The Way”, improvisation
    Klavierhaus Recital Hall
    211 West 58th Street New York; Tel.: 212-245-4535

    - March 9th; show 8:00-11:00 pm
    Piano solo featuring classical music, tracks from “On The Way”, improvisation
    Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel, 400 5th Ave, New York
    (212) 695-4005

    - March 12th; show 9:30 pm
    Alberto Pizzo in trio with Fabrizio Sotti and Mino Cinelu
    Featuring the album “On The Way”, some tracks from his own repertoire
    Metropolitan Room
    34 West 22nd Street, NY; (212) 206-0440

    - March 13th; show 7:00-10:30 pm
    Featuring the album “On The Way”, some tracks from his own repertoire
    Trumpets Jazz Club & Restaurant
    6 Depot Square, Montclaire, NJ; (973) 744-2600