header i-Italy

Focus

Op-Eds

Italy Cradle of Culture, but do Italians Care? Yes

A new ISTAT report shocked many here for its showing that one out of every five Italians never, ever reads a newspaper or a book, or attends a cultural event of any kind. On the other hand, it means that four out of five Italians do participate in the nation's vibrant cultural life, beginning with museums.

Venice Prefect: Migration, the Problem of Problems

For Venetian Prefect Carlo Boffi, "Migration is the problem of problems for Italy and the EU -- an extremely complex problem of Biblical dimensions." Nevertheless it is heartening to see that kind hearts can still prevail.

Addio Lella Vignelli. Legendary Designer

“Lella Vignelli, a Designer With a Spare, Elegant Style, Dies at 82” wrote The New York Times a couple of days ago. The digital magazine Quartz summarizes in a few words the story of the famous couple, Lella and Massimo Vignelli, and their difficult battle against the flow: “A legendary husband-and-wife design team fought to get her equal credit for 40 years.” To remember Lella, we decided to re-publish our article about Designed by: Lella Vignelli—a book of love that her husband Massimo edited in 2013, just few weeks before passing away. The book is a compendium of Lella’s contributions to design. Born out of a conversation with Massimo, our longtime friend, the article was entitled “The Realist and the Dreamer,” where “The Realist” was Lella—not his muse, but his wife and life-long professional partner. Massimo wanted the book to be an inspiration to all women, and circulated it free on the Internet. “For years,” Massimo wrote in his introduction, “the collaboration between female architects and designers and their partners has been under-appreciated …” And, he maintained, Lella had always been the hard rock behind his dreams: “consistent throughout her career; unfailingly intelligent; rigorous, not arbitrary; timeless, not trendy.”

2016: The Italian Year That Was

For better and sometimes for worse, 2016 had its memorable moments. Given the importance of the arts in Italy, among the events of the year listed below are also major art exhibitions and performances of grand opera.

In Santa's Backpack, Clues to The Year Ahead for Italy

Peek into Santa's personal Italian backpack, and you will find not only a few year-ender gifts, but also a calender sketching out events for the year ahead. The most serious: national general elections.

The Reasons for Change

There is nothing wrong, of course, in following the Fathers’ prescriptions in favor of a republican (as opposed to democratic) form of government. But in this case the electors should not be constrained by their pledge when they meet. They should behave as free agents, independent thinkers, and deliberative representatives, not as mere delegates of their parties or even of their voters.Interestingly, in these very days a petition that has collected 5 million signatures is being circulated to this effect on the Internet.

Italo-Trumpism in NYC

Why did so many Italian Americans vote for Trump and how might they be rewarded for their fealty to him?

Renzi Loses His Bet. But Now What?

Within hours of losing the constitutional referendum Dec. 4, Matteo Renzi submitted his resignation as Premier, one of the few in Italian postwar history whose government lasted over 1,000 days. The huge turnout and the massive 60% vote against the referendum caught pundits by surprise.

From Roman Pothole to Poisonous Politics

When Beppe Grillo, Movimento Cinque Stelle leader, took a tumble into one of the myriad Roman potholes, the sarcastic chortles of his opponents echoed all over Italy. Why? Because the mayor, who is expected to fix up Rome and its streets, is from his party.

Day of Reckoning Approaches for Premier Renzi and for Italy

Just weeks after celebrating his 1,000 days in office, a postwar feat matched by only four previous postwar governments, Premier Matteo Renzi faces a tough constitutional reform referendum Dec. 4. The risk is that the vote will be read as for or against Renzi himself.

Post-Election Italo-Trumpism: Part One

The day after the Presidential election I was in England to deliver the keynote address at the University of Central Lancashire’s “Fieldwork Photography Symposium.” I had already voted for Hillary Clinton on the Working Families Party line by absentee ballot from Brooklyn. My opening remarks were “Yesterday there was a battle in the U.S.A. between the Anti-Christ and the Whore of Babylon, and the Anti-Christ won.” Given that many in the audience had mistakenly voted for Brexit and were now suffering the consequences of populism, I knew they’d understand the metaphor.

President Mattarella Honors 40 Outstanding Italians

President Sergio Mattarella presented awards to 40 outstanding Italian citizens for their unique contributions to their country. Recipients, ranging in age from 18 to 90, came from all walks of life: teaching, medicine, music, police, sports.

Trump's Victory As Seen by the Italian Media: A "Nightmare Come True" or "The Revenge of the People"?

Donald Trump’s electoral victory created much clamor in Italy as elsewhere. Two subjects seem to be particularly relevant to the Italian public opinion as reflected by the country’s major media outlets: the populist revolt against the establishment and the disconnection of pundits and opinion makers from the true feelings of “the ordinary people.” A cursory look at these first reactions shows both the differences and some striking similarities between the US and Italian political debates.

The Day After

A heartfelt comment by the Founder and Chair Emerita of the National Organization of Italian American Women. "For me the most disturbing characteristic of this campaign was Trump’s attitude toward women. He seems to see them as objects, not as individuals in their own right...less intelligent, inferior creatures subject to the convenience and entertainment of men like him. He ran against one of the smartest most knowledgeable women in this country, a woman arguably better trained and prepared for the job than any man ever to place his hand on that iconic bible. It’s sad to see that sexism is still very much alive."

Rome's Romantic non-Catholic Cemetery celebrates Third Centennial

The green and quiet Cimitero Acattolico, which lies next to the ancient Cestia Pyramid, is is beloved of tourists who visit the tombs of the poets Keats and Shelley, and who bask in its romantic atmosphere. This year it celebrates its third centennial.

After Quake Devastation, Vows to Reconstruct

The devastation of Central Italy's second round of earthquakes is being matched by vows to reconstruct. Even though seismologists fear that more may be on the way, the government is vowing to rebuild.

On the Tourist Front, Milan Outshines Rome

For the third year in a row Milan is attracting more visitors than does Rome, despite the Vatican's proclaiming this as a Jubilee Year. Only in part thanks to the Expo effect, among tourists today Milan ranks as the 14th most popular city in the world.

Mariuccia Zerilli Marimò. Her Absence from this Home Will be her More Intense Presence

Remembering Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò, Casa Italiana Founder, one year later (1926-2015). Following are the words of Casa Italiana Director Stefano Albertini, pronounced on the occasion of the Memorial Tribute to Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò, on November 13, 2015

Saving a Unique Heritage: Not only Museums

In Italy's historic cities, traditional shopkeepers and craftsmen are struggling to preserve the nation's heritage from the invasion of "trash stores" hustling fast food, alcohol and souvenir trinkets. Florence set the example. Now Rome hopes to follow suit.

From Fountains to Ancient Walls, Roman Monuments at Risk

From its famous Baroque fountains to its ancient walls, Roman monuments are in urgent need of attention. "Otherwise we actually risk losing them," says heritage superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce.