Articles by: F. G.

  • Events: Reports

    Italy’s National Day in Newark: Farewell to Consul General Andrea Barbaria

    Newark celebrated Italy’s National Day one day in advance, last June 1, in the exclusive location of the Newark Club.

    The notables of the Italian and Italian-American community of New Jersey attended the event, together with Consul General of Portugal in Newark Maria Amelia Paiva, Newark City Clerk Robert Marasco, representative of the General Council of Italians Abroad Augusto Sorriso and President of the New Jersey Com.It.Es. Paolo Ribaudo. Guest of Honor of the event was Consul General of Italy in New York Natalia Quintavalle. Italian-American soccer player and New Jersey native Giuseppe Rossi was also present, representing the world of sports.

    This year’s celebration of the Feast of the Republic in Newark constituted the occasion for the Italian and Italian-American community in New Jersey to wish farewell to Consul General of Italy in Newark Andrea Barbaria. After four years of service in Newark, Barbaria has been assigned to the Mission of Italy in Tehran, Iran, a position that Consul Quintavalle defined in her speech as “a very difficult and prestigious one.”

    In his farewell speech, Consul Barbaria chronicled the evolution of the Italian Consulate in Newark, upgraded from an administrative office to a fully fledged Consulate in 2008, when Barbaria was appointed.

    “At the time we set many objective for this office, such as maintaining continuity with the work done by my predecessors and developing deeper relations with the local authorities, and especially the City of Newark,” Barbaria stated.

    Among the many important objectives accomplished by Consul Barbaria during his mandate were the strengthening of the connections between the entrepreneurial reality in Italy and New Jersey, as well as the widening of cultural relationships with the academic institutions of the Garden State, such as Rutgers University, Montclair State University and Princeton University, an activity that will play a very strategic role in 2013, proclaimed “The Year of Italian Culture in the United States.”

    Both Barbaria and Quintavalle mentioned in their speeches how important the cooperation of the Italian and Italian-American community of New Jersey will be as this very important opportunity to promote Italian culture and heritage in the United States approaches.

    Another very important result achieved by Consul Barbaria, in partnership with Consul Quintavalle, is the development of a special partnership among the two Consulates of Newark and New York. “Thanks to Consul Quintavalle’s continuate support, the two banks of the Hudson River have never been so close,” Barbaria commented.

    Elaborating on his experience in Newark, Barbaria said: “Our goal was to create a young Consulate, ‘un Consolato giovane,’ that could assist our vast community both in everyday office tasks, but also building the grounds for new relationships in a versatile reality such as the Garden State,” a reality the complexity of which was also noted by Consul Quintavalle in her remarks. 

    “During my visits to New Jersey, when Consul Barbaria would accompany me everywhere, I observed how complex and multifaceted the Garden State is, from its academic institutions with their dynamic departments of Italian, to the presence of important Italian enterprises in New Jersey, such as Ferrero and Colavita,” Quintavalle said.

    “Judging from the ever growing number of fellow citizens in this jurisdiction and from the support the entire community has demonstrated throughout these four years, I think we can be pretty satisfied with our job,” Barbaria concluded, before saying a very emotional “arrivederci” to New Jersey.

  • Facts & Stories

    Help Emilia From Abroad: How to Donate to the Victims of the Quake

    The earthquakes that shook Emilia on May 20 and May 29 are extremely tragic, like the tremor that killed nearly 300 people in Abruzzo only four years ago. 

    Those killed by the quake total 24, with over 15,000 people who find themselves homeless in the wake of the seism. The economic activities of the region have been severely damaged as well: agricultural losses in the Bologna, Modena and Mantova areas and in the Po River Valley are estimated at $254 million. 

    Immediately after the first quake, many Italian civilians contacted the authorities to offer their help as volunteers in the rescue activities, but there are ways to contribute even for those who are not able to participate in person. 

    Monetary donations are welcome through various channels.  Until June 26, it is possible to donate €2 by texting from mobile phones or calling from land phones the special SOS number +39 45500. The proceeds will go towards a special fund by Italian Civil Protection National Service, thanks to a collaboration between the Emilia-Romagna Region and the ICPNS. 

    It is also possible to send a bank transfer to “Unicredit Banca Spa, Agenzia Bologna Indipendenza, Bologna.” 

    The IBAN code for this bank branch is IT – 42 - I - 02008 - 02450 – 000003010203, and the reason for payment line must be filled in as follows: “Contributo per il terremoto 2012 in Emilia-Romagna.”

    It is strictly forbidden to use the Regional Civil Protection Toll Free line, +39 800 333 911, for other inquiries than help requests.

    The line is not to be used to arrange the shipping of food aids or other goods, which needs to be done through accredited volunteer associations such as Croce Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Cross) and Caritas. 

    On Croce Rossa Italiana’s website it is also be possible to donate money (use this link:, as well as on Caritas Reggiana’s website – you can donate via credit card at this link:

    Among the donors, Pope Benedict XVI gave €100,000 and the Dalai Lama €50,000. 

    As the 2nd of June Parade approaches, which will cost approximately €3 million this year, the volunteer association Emergency invites to sign a petition to the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano to cancel the event,  and donate the money to the rescue operations.

    In 1976, Defense Minister Arnaldo Forlani decided to cancel the parade after the Friuli region was shook by a severe quake.

    The Emergency campaign is a trending topic on Twitter and on the Italian social networks with the hashtag #sipuòfare (#wecandoit). You can email the President of the Republic through these two links: [email protected] and

  • Tourism

    Abruzzo: Where Nature is a Never Ending Emotion

    On April 27, ENIT hosted a presentation on the Abruzzo region, a chance for the attending American tourism agents and tour operators to learn more about it.

    Located in central Italy, along the Adriatic coast, Abruzzo stretches from the sea to the Apennines. Its territory features 80 miles of sandy coastline and wild and mountainous inlands, and makes it the perfect touristic destination all year round. 

    Abruzzo is also a particularly accessible destination: the Aeroporto d’Abruzzo located in Pescara, makes it very easy to fly to the region, and for those who’d prefer traveling from Rome, the most western border of Abruzzo is just a 50 mile drive.

    Abruzzo is known as the “European Green Region” because of its three National Parks: Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga National Park, Majella National Park and Abruzzo National Park. The parks occupy most of Abruzzo’s territory and they offer thrilling itineraries for active trips, adventure tours and nature tourism. 

    Eugenio Magnani, Director at ENIT New York, discussed the beauties and peculiarity of Abruzzo with a native from the region, ENIT’s Vice-President and Councillor for Tourism of Abruzzo Mauro Di Dalmazio. Di Dalmazio saluted the guests by listing few reasons to choose Abruzzo: “Its untouched beauty, the warm-heartedness and authenticity of its inhabitants, and the unique opportunity Abruzzo offers to enjoy tranquility and find yourself again.”

    The spirituality of Abruzzo was further explored by ENIT’s Francesco Bardazzi with a presentation on the region’s numerous medieval hermitages in the mountains, a must visit for avid hikers.

    During his visit to the United States, Di Dalmazio was also in Chicago, presenting the Pescara
    festival which will take place next Summer in Pescara. The line-up for this year’s edition of the festival includes world famous artists such as Chick Korea and Stefano Bollani, whom will be the opening act of the festival on July 5, Enrico Rava and the Wayne Shorter Quartet, whom will perform on July 15, and Paolo Conte, closing the 2012 edition of Pescara Jazz on August 3. 

    A millenary culture, a breathtaking nature and the inborn sense of genuine hospitality of the region’s inhabitants are equally as enticing as the possibility Abruzzo offers to accomplish different activities in the span of one day: “Everything is so close-by and reachable that you can go to the beach in the morning, go have lunch in a villa on the hills and visit a natural park in the afternoon,” Di Dalmazio stated.

    “There are so many beautiful places, few of them are unforgettable. Abruzzo is one of those, it is a never ending emotion,” he added.  

  • Events: Reports

    NOIAW to Honor Founder and Chairwoman Aileen Riotto Sirey at Annual Gala Luncheon

    The National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW) will hold its Annual Gala Luncheon next Saturday, May 5, at The Metropolitan Club in Manhattan.

    NOIAW is the premier non-profit organization for women of Italian ancestry and its mission is to preserve Italian heritage, language and culture by promoting and supporting the educational and professional advancement of Italian-American women.

    This year, the organization will honor Aileen Riotto Sirey, Founder and Chairwoman of NOIAW, for her 32 years of service and for her important contribution to the Italian-American community.

    Sirey was elected the first President of NOIAW in 1980, when the organization began with a small group of women including Geraldine Ferraro, Matilda Raffa Cuomo and Roseanne Colletti.

    Sirey maintained her position as President for 7 years. For the following 25 years she served as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the organization, which in that time span has grown into an international network with more than 1,000 members and affiliates in Australia, Argentina and Italy.
    Sirey will be introduced at the Luncheon by Matilda Cuomo and Lidia Bastianich, by the Honorable Angela Mazzarelli and by Consul General of Italy to New York Natalia Quintavalle. Upon her retirement in May, Dr. Sirey will be given the title of Founder and Chair Emerita and will continue to work on special projects. “It’s time,” said Sirey. “We have a phenomenal board, and we have expanded nationally at an amazing rate. Betty Santangelo will be my successor and she is an excellent choice.”
    An outstanding Italian American woman leader, Aileen Riotto Sirey is a role model to others and has demonstrated extraordinary achievements. She is a recipient of numerous awards and honors and is Cavalieri and Commendatore in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy. Dr. Sirey had served on the board of the National Italian American Foundation for ten years, and became its first woman Vice President and Vice Chair. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Council of Presidents of Italian American Organizations.
    “As we celebrate our milestones as an organization,” said Matilda Raffa Cuomo, “We are particularly proud and honored to recognize Aileen Riotto Sirey for her inspirational accomplishments in her field, positive contributions to her community and our nation, and her commitment to generations of Italian American women.”
    Previous winners of the NOIAW award include Lidia Bastianich, Maria Garibaldi, Baronessa Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò, Connie Morella, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Susanna Agnelli and Lina Wertmüller. 
    Tickets for the luncheon are available online by contacting [email protected], or at the NOIAW office located at 25 West 43rd Street, Room 1005. For more information about NOIAW and the luncheon, you may also call the office at 212-642-2003.

  • Events: Reports

    We Campania: There Is More to Naples Off the Beaten Track

    Everybody knows Naples. The city is famous for its culture and traditions, for its stunning beauty, for its luscious foods such as pizza and mozzarella, for its music and for its dialect, which is more of a language and a very important key to understanding it fully. 

    But Campania, where Naples is located, is much more than just Naples, and representatives from the Region came to New York to shed a light on the most beautiful hidden gems for American tourists who wish to go off the beaten track.

    On April 18, ENIT hosted an event to present the “We Campania” project, an outreach to American tourism agents and tour operators that had the chance to meet with authorities, hotel owners and representatives from the tourism sector of Campania.

    “We Campania” is also a publication and a website, presenting the small historical boroughs of the region to the operators whose customers are looking forward to new and exciting ways of discovering Italy.  
    In a very convivial and informal set-up, a recurrent feature of the most recent events at ENIT since the appointment of Eugenio Magnani as Director, American representatives of the tourism sector could sit at a table with the Italian guests and network, while nibbling on Italian delicacies and sipping on fine wines. 

    Alfredo Aurilio, President of the Provincial Tourism Board of Caserta, was present at the event and explained the philosophy behind “We Campania” to i-Italy: “Our goal is to promote destinations such as Caserta, Salerno, the Baia Domizia coast and the Cilento area. These areas are exceptional and they have a quality-price ratio that is hard to find anywhere else in Italy.” 

    Talking about the reciprocal admiration between Americans and people from Campania, Aurilio mentioned the very recent America’s Cup, which reached its conclusion in Naples: “It was a great success, a great celebration of Naples and Campania as a whole that Americans honored us with.” 

    More on the topic, Aurilio told i-Italy about the special connection between Naples and New York, both located on the 41st parallel: “The greatest similarity I found so far is the people’s open-mindedness. We hope to welcome more and more American tourists to Campania, not just to Naples. It’s very exciting to be here and to talk about our region, which will be even easier to reach from June 1st, when Meridiana Eurofly will launch a new direct flight route from New York to Naples.”

    Amilcare Troiano, President of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano, was also present at the event. He gave a speech about the peculiarities of the park, the largest protected area in Italy, which was first designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve Site, then in 1998 was inscripted in the organization’s list of World Heritage Sites, together with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula.

    Anne Masters, President at Travel Italy Now, told i-Italy how useful she deemed such a meeting occasion: “I have talked to some wonderful hotel owners,” she commented. 

    The event was a very special chance to get acquainted with new touristic destinations to propose to customers who want to travel to Campania but have already visited the most well known areas of the country: “Everybody wants to go to Italy. People who have been there before are interested in seeing places that are more authentic than say the Amalfi Coast, now so crowded and touristy. I believe places like Salerno, Paestum and the Cilento National Park are marvelous, less expensive and more real.”

  • Life & People

    Ferragamo Celebrates the Re-Opening of Its Fifth Avenue Flagship

    In the very long list of deities of the Italian fashion pantheon, Salvatore Ferragamo is surely on top.

    Founded in Florence in 1928, the Maison was originally Salvatore’s shoe-making atelier. Born in 1898 in the surroundings of Naples, Salvatore made his first pair of shoes when he was nine years old, and spent several years in the United States before opening his studio in Florence.

    Over the years the company evolved into a worldwide success, now counting over 550 stores, and Ferragamo’s sense of style contributed to reshaping the contemporary definitions of class and elegance, with original designs and continuous experimentation with materials and models.

    Salvatore Ferragamo’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York was just reopened on April 6, after a complete renovation.

    With an exhibition area extending to two levels, the store offers the complete range of the maison’s collections. Women’s wear is located on the ground floor, where shoes, accessories, handbags, silk goods and ready-to-wear creations are on display. The ground floor also  hosts a dedicated fine jewelry corner, a space specifically conceived to showcase the jewelry collection launched by Salvatore Ferragamo last fall, together with exotic leathers: the combined display of leather goods and jewels promises to glorify the preciousness of both kinds of products.

    Men’s collections and accessories, including fragrances, silk and shoes, are hosted on the second floor, featuring an area for custom made formalwear.

    The New York store is now Salvatore Ferragamo’s  largest mono-brand store in the world, with an area of approximately 20,000 square feet. The store’s interior, characterized by dark oak and walnut wooden flooring, Alcantara and cream shaded jute and stone, infuses a sense of chic elegance to the shopping experience. The Maison also had an eye for ecology: sustainable LED technology was used to light the store.

    “The store on 5th Avenue is a very important showcase for our brand, both for the American market as well as international customers, because it is located in a strategic position within one of the most important cities in the world,” declared Michele Norsa, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo. “The refit of the boutique is also part of a growth plan which, in addition to the opening of new mono-brand stores, calls for the renovation and expansion of retail space within existing stores to improve performance even further.”

    The inaugural party for the renovated Fifth Avenue flagship store was held yesterday night. Many VIP guests joined the “Summer Holiday” themed night, which featured a DJ set by Solange Knowles.

    The night was the occasion to present Salvatore Ferragamo’s colorful Spring/Summer Collection, defined by the fashion house’s Creative Director Massimiliano Giornetti as “The playful and glowing side of a woman that throws herself without reservation into the joys of Summer.” An exclusive preview of the Travel Luggage Collection, set to launch in the Summer, was also offered to the guests.

    The event was also an occasion to support the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Pediatric Family Housing Endowment: for every picture taken at the party and shared by the guests through Sunday April 15, Ferragamo donated 20 dollars to MSKCC.

  • Facts & Stories

    Italy’s Frustration and Disheartenment Quantified by Eurispes’ Latest Study

    According to the Italy Report 2012 published by Eurispes (European Institute of Political, Economic, and Social Studies), almost 60% of young Italians are ready to move abroad to start a new life.

    59.8% of the interviewees between the ages 18 and 34 and 57,1% of those aged 25 to 34 wouldn’t hesitate to leave Italy. The percentage of Italians willing to relocate abroad is lower among the interviewees aged 35 to 44, 45.2% of which would leave the country. The figure drops to 35% for the 45-64 age group, and it’s the lowest among the interviewees over 65 years of age, only 20.5% of which would still move abroad.

    When Italians are asked to elaborate on the reasons why they would leave their homeland, 22.9% mentions the availability of better employment opportunities in other countries, 14.1% refers to better opportunities in general and 11.8% believe the cost of life would be lower abroad.

    63.2% of Italians are often or always discouraged about the country’s overall situation. 57.7% feel helpless and believe that their actions have little or no power to reverse the critical condition of their nation. One third of the interviewees declare they never feel optimistic or serene when judging Italy’s present state.

    Most of the interviewees are not willing to personally engage in attempts of ameliorating the situation, 59.6% of them in fact feel “not” or “scarcely” motivated to do so, 30% feel quite motivated and only 8.3% of them are “very” motivated. Even so, 53.1% of the interviewees believe that sacrifices must be done to overcome the present moment of crisis -- 41.3% are quite convinced of their future effectiveness, and 11.8% are strongly convinced about it – but the percentage of skeptical Italians is still 45%.

    The majority of Italians don’t feel represented by any political party, and among those who feel this way, 73.2% also feel constantly discouraged about the future.

    The feelings of discontent and disheartenment are particularly diffused among young Italians, 75% of the interviewees between the ages of 25 and 34 in fact state that they “always” or “most of the time” feel discouraged about their future in Italy. 58.9% of the Italians aged 18 to 24 share this feeling, and 60.7% of them feel  “always” or “most of the time” impotent about the situation.

    Surprisingly, the most optimistic interviewees are the ones residing in Southern and Insular Italy, where the percentages of people feeling “always” or “oftentimes” positive about the current state of Italy and its future are consistently high.

  • Facts & Stories

    Claudio Bisogniero, the New Italian Ambassador to the United States

    Born in Rome on July 2 1954, Bisogniero is a graduate in Political Science. His career in the Italian Foreign Service started in May 1978. After being posted to the Embassy of Italy in Beijing as First Secretary for Economic and Commercial Affairs in 1981, he was then appointed Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Italy to NATO in Brussels, from 1984 to 1989.

    In 1989, he returned to Rome to be the Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic, with primary responsibilities for the support of the international activity of the Italian President and with a focus on bilateral and multilateral cooperation issues. 

    Bisogniero is already familiar with the Washington diplomacy, as he was appointed First Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the Italian Embassy to the United States in 1992.

    The Ambassador has also worked at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in New York from 1996 to 1999, and served as a member of the Italian delegation to the UN Security Council in 1996, and to the 50th, 51st, 52nd and 53rd UN General Assemblies.

    From 2002 to 2005 he was appointed Deputy Political Director General for Multilateral Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he dealt with NATO, UN, G8, OSCE, disarmament, human rights and anti-terrorism related issues.

    From 2005 to 2007 he served as Director General for the Americas at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, until in October 2007 he was appointed NATO Deputy Secretary General.

    Since 2008 Bisogniero is a member of the Fondazione Italia USA.

    Married to Laura Denise Noce Benigni Olivieri, he is the father of a daughter and a son.

    He will take office in Washington in February 2012.

  • Events: Reports

    Enrico Rava's Tribe Tour: Bringing Italian Jazz Back to NYC

    Jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava is by far one of Italy’s contemporary national glories.

    It’s not just because of his signature style -- which combines traditional atmospheres with a twist of fresh wryness, a pinch of burnished sensations and an intensely solid lyrical sound -- but especially because, in his 40 years of career, he helped a new generation of Italian jazz talents developing their own sound, while they infused Rava’s music with new flavors and charms.

    Rava’s talent scouting skills birthed musical phenomena such as pianist Stefano Bollani, trombonist Gianluca Petrella and guitarist Roberto Cecchetto, just to mention a few. His latest finds are two extremely young performers: pianist Giovanni Guidi, born in 1985, and even younger bassist Gabriele Evangelista, born in 1988.

    The two artists, under Rava’s leadership, together with jazz veterans Gianluca Petrella and Fabrizio Sferra, released “Tribe,” the quintet’s first album.

    Rava’s new record is an intergenerational work, full of fresh improvisations and multifaceted expressions. Everything is well harmonized with Rava’s main influences, Miles Davis and Chet Baker, and those free avant-garde musicians who influenced him so much at the beginning of his own career.

    As Rava puts it: “I simply love playing with young musicians. As I continue to develop, I need to be surprised. When I notice the gifts of a young musician, I immediately involve him in my groups.”

    “Tribe” will soon be performed in the US, where the Rava Tribe Tour will start on February 2nd from San Francisco, and move to Portland, OR on the 18th, to New York City from the 21st to the 25th, and end in Buffalo on the 26th.

    Rava’s return to the Big Apple is more of a homecoming than anything else. It was in the mid-Sixties New York City that Rava came in touch with artists Roswell Rudd, Marion Brown, Rashied Ali, Cecil Taylor, Charlie Haden and Marvin Peterson. Rava lived in New York City for eight years, in which he worked and played with the greatest artists on the jazz scene, while directing quartets, touring the world and receiving prestigious awards.

    In 2004 Rava performed in the temple of contemporary jazz, the Blue Note, and in 2009 he dedicated to New York City an entire record, titled “New York Days” recorded with an all star quintet: Mike Turner, Stefano Bollani, Larry Grenadier and Paul Motian.

    Rava’s declaration of love to New York will perpetuate this year at the Birdland Club.
    We recommend you don’t miss it.

  • Facts & Stories

    “Giorno della Memoria” (Remembrance Day). A “Call for Musicians”

    Every year on January 27, something very emotional happens on Park Avenue, right outside of the Italian Consulate and the Italian Cultural Institute: the Italian, Italian-American and Jewish communities commemorate the innocent victims of the Holocaust through an all day-long open-air reading of their names.

    January 27 has been designated “Giorno della Memoria” (Remembrance Day) by the European Union in year 2000. The date has a strong symbolic meaning: on January 27, 1945, in fact, the Soviet Army freed Auschwitz from the Nazis. In 2005, the United Nations ratified this anniversary with a resolution, further stressing the importance of this date for all the people of the world.

    The annual ceremony taking place on Park Avenue attracts not only the members of the Italian, Italian-American and Jewish communities in New York, but extends to a more general audience of passersby an invitation to remember and to meditate -- on the atrocities of the Shoah, on the foolishness of racism and on the need for integration, peace and cooperation to avoid discriminations, hatred and fear.

    The event is public, open, and welcomes everybody’s participation, coherently with the intention of spreading a message of peace and tolerance. The attending guests alternate their presence at the podium and read the names of the 8900 Italian deportees out loud, and anybody can join in and stop to read and listen.

    For this year’s commemoration -- which will take place on Park Avenue and 69th street from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm -- the Consulate General of Italy has once again joined forces with Primo Levi Center, the Italian Cultural Institute, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, John D. Calandra Institute at CUNY, Italian Academy at Columbia University, Scuola d’Italia “Guglielmo Marconi”, and Rai Corporation, and will enrich the traditional ceremony with a new and suggestive feature: the invitation to the public is not just the one to read, but to play music as a counterpoint to the ongoing reading.

    A “Call for Musicians”, in fact, has been extended by the event organizers to all the instrumentalists who wish to contribute with their talent in creating the right atmosphere, providing an engaging and meditative soundscape for this important commemoration.

    Musicians, solo or ensembles alike, are free to perform whatever inspires them, to improvise, or to play specific compositions, in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion. What is asked of them is to determine the length of their participation, and to contact Alessandro Cassin (646-216-6955, [email protected]) indicating their instrument and preferred time of performance.

    For more information, please visit