Articles by: Natasha Lardera

  • Life & People

    Daniele Luchetti on Our Life

    As his wife is about to give birth, Claudio (Elio Germano) is standing by the vending machine located in the hospital’s waiting area. Through her gasps of pain, Elena (Isabella Ragonese) asks about her two other children, Samuel and Christian, “Are they in bed yet?” “Yes.” Claudio lies. They all are excited about the arrival of baby Vasco, named after the couple’s favorite singer, Vasco Rossi, yet something is not right. After waiting for hours, the initial energy is gone, the kids are half asleep and Claudio is uncertain on what to do.

    He is approached by two nurses, they introduce themselves but their names are not important. “Is the baby born?” Claudio asks. “Let nurse Unknown take them to get some ice cream.” As they walk away Claudio is given the news.

    A family of four boys, one adult, two children, and a baby is at the center of La Nostra Vita (Our Life) Daniele Luchetti’s film that has opened the 21st edition of N.I.C.E., one of Italy's most prominent film festivals for Italian films made by young directors at their first or second experience, at the Anthology Film Archives in New York.

    Our Life (2010) is a drama that portrays personal hardship and social conflicts.

    Claudio is a young construction worker of the Roman suburbs and after Elena’s death he is not ready to make it on his own and tries to avoid the pain and loss by trying to provide his kids and himself with the goods they never had. He gets in trouble and when he realizes he can’t get out by himself he is forced to call out on the people he trusts: his shy brother (Raoul Bova), his protective sister (Stefania Montorsi) and the drug dealer in his neighborhood (Luca Zingaretti).

    “I am a devoted follower of realism,” director Daniele Luchetti, in New York to introduce the film, explained to us, “Zavattini used to say ‘follow your characters just like a spy,’ and that’s what I did. I wanted my story to be as real as possible. I did my research... I figured out how much money a family like Claudio’s would make and so what apartment they could afford, in what area of the city... what clothes they would wear, anything to make this film as real as possible.”

    The same was done with the actors and Luchetti explained how “We basically had no rehearsals, as I wanted to capture the actors’ first reactions to the events. I shot this film like a documentary, where I lead the actors in the direction I wanted them to go but then I just let them go, set them free.” This is done effectively through extreme close ups that center of Germano’s face, for example, in the toughest scenes of the film... when the nurses deliver the news and when, at the funeral, Claudio sings his and Elena’s favorite Vasco song.

    “I was not happy with the scene where Claudio is informed of Elena’s passing. So I approached some real nurses and asked them how they deliver the sad news in real life. I then asked them to do the same with Elio. He is a very sensitive actor and the reaction you see on film was his first and only reaction. I wanted that authenticity.”

    Everything in the film speaks of authenticity. The idea of this story first occurred to the filmmaker after having shot a documentary in the projects of Ostia. “I wanted to set a story in that environment, and it took me two years to find this one.”

    Indeed, differently from Luchetti’s previous films, Our Life, does not focus on politics or ideology but on reality. “After the fall of the Berlin Wall there was a depoliticization of Italians. Conflicts and ideologies were substituted by money and the quest for wealth. Claudio tries to suffocate his pain, and even his guilt, with money.”

    Money is at the heart of society, a society where prostitutes and drug dealers are good people, where racism does not exist because Luchetti believes “In the goodness of people and their ability to redeem themselves.” And Claudio, does redeem himself.

    For other N.I.C.E. screenings:

  • Events: Reports

    20 Outstanding Players, 10 Projects, 5 Avant-Garde Venues

    From Italy to New York to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Apulian record label Auand Records with unique and spectacular shows.

    Starting tonight to November 5th, some of the most celebrated and creative musicians on the international scene will meet in the world's jazz capital for “AUAND meets NYC,” which features a series of ten concerts in five of the city's most avant-garde venues.

    Constantly future-oriented, Auand Records has been producing 88 artists in 29 records since the late 2001, when a young and unknown Gianluca Petrella published his debut album, “X-Ray,” showing off his trombone, which is now renowned all over the world. Marco Valente's label now counts on the talents of Italian exuberant and groundbreaking artists such as Francesco Bearzatti and Francesco Diodati, but also on several international musicians such as Ohad Talmor and Tim Berne.

    “There are several reasons why we decided to celebrate the anniversary in NYC,” Marco Valente tells i-italy, “first, one of Auand's main goals is crossing the Italian scene with the NY based scene. Second, I realized that it was easier to get all the musicians together in NY.”

    What makes these five days so special is not just the mastery of the stars that represent the first 10 years of Auand: the event provides a chance to meet and exchange ideas (and music) with local avant-garde musicians for possible collaborations and new creative projects.

    “NY is full of jazz, of course,” Valente continues, “years ago Italian jazz had a sense of reverential awe but now the gap has been filled and we have a lot of young artists playing high level creative music.”

    “AUAND meets NYC” will give music lovers the opportunity to listen and get more familiar with guitarist Francesco Diodati's group Neko (Francesco Bigoni on tenor sax, Francesco Ponticelli on double bass and Ermanno Baron on drums) featuring a special guest: trumpet player Shane Endsley – who is also participating in Ohad Talmor's project NewsReel; with drum player Bobby Previte and his new project Plutino, also featuring Diodati, in an evening that will also welcome Gabrio Baldacci and Tim Berne. In addition to these new projects established groups will also perform, among them we find Bearzatti's Sax Pistols (a trio that features Danilo Gallo on bass and Dan Weiss on drums) and Giancarlo Tossani's Synapser. Saxophonist Ohad Talmor leads NewsReel a group that features Shane Endsley (trumpet), Miles Okazaki (guitar), Jacob Sacks (piano), Matt Pavolka (double bass) and Dan Weiss (drums)... their show will be a kind of round the world fight led by Talmor. Other two groups feature Gaetano Partipilo, Miles Okazaki and Dan Weiss (trio) and Walter Beltrami with Bearzatti, Gallo and Black (quartet).

    Among these original projects, only one will have them all mixed up in a powerful and unique gig: A10A10 (Auand 10th Anniversary 10tet), on November 4th at Douglass Street Music Collective, is an all-star big band made up of the best Auand musicians plus trombone guru Ray Anderson as a special guest.

    “Auand Meets NYC” has spotted five nu-jazz cradles (Smalls, Zebulon, Barbès, Douglass Street Music Collective and Seeds) to host these brilliant and original Italian musicians.

    “All artists involved in the festival recorded for Auand in the past. The locations were contacted months ago thinking about the right target for our music. They are venues where this kind of music has been played for years,” Marco Valente continues. “The musicians involved in the festival have their own sound. I mean they don't try to sound American like many jazz musicians do. Also they don't even try to play 'mandolino' style. So they have got their own way of making music.”

    “AUAND meets NYC” challenges the world's most demanding audiences and acts as incubator for the development of new projects with an international flair.

    Complete Program

    Tue, November 1st @ Smalls, 183 W. 10th St. (at 7th St.,Manhattan, NY)

    (212) 252-5091 - - Admission: 20$

    Subway: 1,9 to Christopher Street, A,C,E,F to West 4th Street

    7:30pm - FRANCESCO DIODATI NEKO (F.DIODATI guitar, F.BIGONI tenor sax, F.PONTICELLI doublebass, E.BARON drums) + SHANE ENDSLEY trumpet

    9:00pm - SAX PISTOLS (F.BEARZATTI tenor sax & clarinet, D.GALLO bass, D.WEISS drums)

    10:30pm - OHAD TALMOR NEWSREEL (S.ENDSLEY trumpet, O.TALMOR tenor sax, J.SACKS piano, M.PAVOLKA double bass, D.WEISS drums)

    Wed November 2nd @ Zebulon  (258 Wythe Avenue Brooklyn, NY)

    (718) 218-6934 - - Suggested donation

    Subway: L to Bedford

    9:00pm - BOBBY PREVITE PLUTINO (J.SINTON baritone sax, F.DIODATI guitar, B.PREVITE drums)

    10:00pm - GABRIO BALDACCI guitar & TIM BERNE alto sax

    Thur, November 3rd @ Barbes  (376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY)

    (347) 422-0248 - - Suggested donation

    Subway: F to 7th Ave

    10:00pm - GIANCARLO TOSSANI SYNAPSER (O.TALMOR sax tenore, G.TOSSANI piano, D.GALLO double bass, E.BARON drums)

    11:00pm - GAETANO PARTIPILO alto sax, MILES OKAZAKI guitar, DAN WEISS drums

    Fri, November 4th @ Douglass St. Music Collective (295 Douglass St. b/w 3rd and 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY) - Suggested donation

    Subway: D, N, R to Atlantic Av or to Union St. 10 mins walk from subway station

    8:00pm - A10A10 (S.ENDSLEY trumpet, G.PARTIPILO alto sax, O.TALMOR tenor sax, F.BEARZATTI tenor sax & clarinet, G.TOSSANI fender rhodes,F.DIODATI guitar, G.BALDACCI guitar, F.PONTICELLI bass, D.WEISS drums) + RAY ANDERSON trombone

    Sat, November 5th @ Seeds (617 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY)

    (718) 399 6141 – - Suggested donation

    Subway: 2,3 to Bergen. B,Q to 7th Ave

    8:30pm - WALTER BELTRAMI (F.BEARZATTI tenor sax & clarinet, W. BELTRAMI guitar , D.GALLO bass, J.BLACK drums)

    10:00pm - Party&Jam Session

  • Dining in & out: Articles & Reviews

    Endlessly Fighting Against Italian Sounding Products

    For years now Italian food producers and the Italian Government are fighting against Italian sounding products as their damage done to the Italian alimentary export is really consistent.

    The web site explains that “these are counterfeit Italian food products sold with almost-Italian names like “Rosecco” (UK), “Parmesao” (Brazil), and “Mozzarella Company” (USA). These names, rather than reflecting a general food category, mask a lower-quality food which catches the coattails of an Italian brand’s collective reputation.”

    Yet, news just came out that the Italian Government is actually financing fake “Made in Italy” products. The scandal was raised by Coldiretti (Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti, Italy’s major institution that supports local agriculture) at the Forum dell'Alimentazione in Cernobbio (international food trade show held in the province of Como). On trial are the international sales of bresaola (air dried, salted and aged beef) made in Uruguay, but also of finocchiona (a Tuscan salami made with fennel) and culatello (one of the most prestigious Italian cured meats that is made from the back leg of the pig and then only the rear part of the leg, freed from the bone and skin. It is really the heart of the Prosciutto) made in the USA and sold in New York by Salumeria Rosi, owned by Gruppo Parmacotto. The company has just settled on an agreement with Simest (Società Italiana per le Imprese all'Estero, Italian company in support of businesses abroad under the control of the Ministry of Economic Development) for 11 millions.

    Basically they are producing a product with an Italian name but production is 100% foreign. But Simest replies that the Parmacotto project follows the law. “It is not politically acceptable for tthe Government to sponsor, directly or indirectly, the production or distribution of food products that compete with authentic products in a treacherous way,” the president of Coldiretti, Sergio Marini, who is also asking for the resignation of the President and the whole board of directors of Simest,  said and then added “a demonstration with the participation of consumers and businessmen who believe in the one and only Made in Italy label will follow soon.”

    The accusations are rejected by Simest, that in a release explains that Parmacotto is “an excellent company,” that has presented “a valuable project that follows lawful rules.” In addition, Simest “supports all the aspects of Made in Italy, including agro-industry” and its mission “is exclusively finalized to reinforcing the presence of Italian businesses abroad.”
    Therefore “the social test is addressed to an economic evaluation of the project in compliance with the regulations, also regarding the interdiction of financing in the hypothesis of relocation."

    Parmacotto’s president, Marco Rosi replied right away: "We ask Mr Marini to get familiar with the laws in the United States about imports from Italy” that does not allow imports of cured meats. “His controversy is totally sterile and against companies, just like Parmacotto, that export the Made in Italy label in the world.” The ex minister of Agriculture and Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno fully supports Coldiretti and declares: "I am first in line to protest against this shame,” while the consumer groups Adusbef and Federconsumatori are ready to protest too.

    "This is a real scandal, something to be ashamed of,” the president of Adusbef and senator of Idv, Elio Lannutti said "we are ready to fight.”

  • Life & People

    Inaugurating the Academic Year 2011-2012

    La Scuola d’Italia Gugliemlo Marconi is the only school in North America that provides a classical, bilingual education rooted in the Italian and European traditions. It was founded in 1977 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet the academic needs of Italians living in the New York City area. Then, thanks to an ever increasing interest from American families, La Scuola has grown into a unique bilingual educational institution, from the Preschool level through Liceo (high school), reflecting the best features of the Italian and American systems.

    i-italy was at the inauguration of the new school year where representatives of the education world and cheerful students of all ages have sat through an interesting presentation of what’s ahead.

    Prof. Anna Fiore, headmistress, said that this year’s goals are the same as every other year but she will never tire to repeat them. First and foremost it is necessary to always enhance and improve the quality of the education La Scuola provides and to continue being a strong and proud community.

    “More needs to be accomplished: we need to better our technology system in both buildings, enrich and develop the bilingual and bicultural component of our educational offering in all 4 divisions. This has been possible through a project, for example, with the University for Foreigners in Perugia, where Liceo students study intensive Italian for four weeks and selected teachers study Italian language and culture and the didactics and methodology of bilingual education. Other goals are creating a scholarship fund for the Middle school and Liceo students, promoting the financial welfare of La Scuola and contributing academic and cultural projects for students and for La Scuola Families and Friends. An example of the fulfilling of the latter goal is a workshop in collaboration with IACE and the Consulate General of Italy about the Risorgimento for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

    The big announcement of the day was that Italian Olympic gold medalist Igor Cassina has been appointed to La Scuola’s faculty. He will teach physical education for grades 1-5 and athletics and volleyball for grades 6-12. Cassina began his career as a gymnast at age five and landed his first Italian title in 1994. He is the first Italian gymnast to win the Olympic gold medal in the men’s horizontal bar (2004 Summer Olympics in Athens). In 2002, the International Gymnastics federation named the maneuver “Cassina” (giant Kovacs with 1/1 turn) after him.  Cassina will walk with La Scuola’s students during the Columbus Day Parade on October 10th.

    The newly appointed Consul General in New York, Natalia Quintavalle confirmed the Scuola’s fame is well known. The community is well aware of the high quality of the education offered at La Scuola and its name is admired all over the city. “I mostly encourage the presence of Cassina as it shows the school also gives great importance to physical education, something that is not done in Italy. It is very important for the overall development of our children.”

    Riccardo Viale, director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York said that “the humanistic teachings of the Scuola allow students to adapt to these ever-changing times. They are able to compete with the rest of the world and to change jobs in case theirs disappears with time.” An example, people who are now working in the publishing field are looking at other options as the area is in continuous development and books are on their way to extinction. With the proper background, skills and education someone who loses his/her job can easily find something else in a different field.

    Stephen Madsen Esq. , La Scuola’s chairman, said that La Scuola is successful mainly because so many people care about its success and they collaborate as one with a common goal. “Congratulations to all the parents for choosing this place for the education of their children. This is a great choice but also an unusual choice.” La Scuola is indeed committed to providing a thorough multicultural education to foster international understanding and openness in order to become citizens of the world. The challenging bilingual curriculum, deeply rooted in the European tradition, offers an intense academic program that encompasses both the Italian and the American cultures and is open to scientific and technological innovations.

    Sheree Sebastiani, parent, teacher and president of the PA (Parent Association), was the last speaker of the day. She explained how the Scuola is the extension of one’s family. Children spend so much time at school and it becomes a second home. The PA is involved in many initiatives, including successful fundraising events and the development of new projects.

    One of the exciting projects of the new year was the presentation of the multi media show The Horde: stories, songs and images of Italian emigration by Gian Antonio Stella. The presentation featured the fascinating story of Italian emigration starting from the post-Unification era until the 1970s. These cultural events teach children important historical facts in a different way, which is extremely enjoyable for kids and adults alike.

  • Art & Culture

    Terraferma, the Italian Candidate for Best Foreign Language Film

    Terraferma (Mainland) by Roman director Emanuele Crialese is the film Italy has chosen to send to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science as the Italian representative in the Academy Awards run. Crialese won his spot over other important Italian directors: Nanni Moretti with his Habemus Papam, Alice Rohrwacher with Corpo celeste, Massimiliano Bruno with Nessuno mi può giudicare, Mario Martone with Noi credevamo, Emidio Greco with Notizie dagli scavi, Giuseppe Gagliardi with Tatanka and Michele Placido with Vallanzasca.

    On January 24th we will know if the film has been selected by the Academy to compete in the foreign film section. The director is known to the American public for his previous work, specifically the films Nuovomondo, Respiro and Once we were strangers.

    In 2003, Pinocchio by Roberto Benigni was selected to represent Italy at the world’s biggest film award ceremony although many believe that Respiro should have been the country’s choice. That year another great film was snubbed: L'ora di religione by Marco Bellocchio.

    The committee responsible for the selection at A.N.I.C.A. (Archivio Informatico del Cinema Italiano, Computerized Archive of Italian Cinema) was formed by Nicola Borrelli (president), Marco Bellocchio (film director), Martha Capello (president of AGPC, Associazione Giovani Produttori Cinematografici, Association of young film directors), Francesca Cima (producer), Tilde Corsi (producer), Paola Corvino (president UNEFA, Union of Film and Audiovisual Exporters), Valerio De Paolis (distributor), Luca Guadagnino (film dirctor) and Niccolò Vivarelli (journalist).

    “I am extremely happy and honored. I cannot say I was expecting it, but I must say that I was hoping for it,” Crialese said, with hints of emotion in his voice, to the press. “There was no real competition among us directors. We are a team in situations like this. They all are great directors and I do not feel I am competing against them but I am competing with them.”

    The film, produced by Cattleya and Rai Cinema in collaboration with Sensi Cinema - Regione Sicilia, has, according to the director himself who has studied in the United States, many different themes that can really interest an American audience. “Americans are very sensitive in regards to all stories focused on human relations and social conflict. They feel close to stories about evolution.”  

    The law of the sea says that anyone in need of help must be saved while the law of the authorities has different rules. The sea, filled with fish in the past, is now filled with men looking for help or even worse, it is filled with corpses. At the bottom of the sea fish swim among shoes, documents, toys and the apparently insignificant objects that were dear to an emigrant who has lost his/her life in those waters. And then there is an island: although too small to even appear on a map it becomes the center of a world where tanned tourists dance on the boats and the immigrants look like beached whales.

    This island of the Mediterranean, Linosa but it could be Lampedusa or any other final destination, is the backdrop of Crialese’s story… the touching reflection of the Italy of today which is welcoming with its heart but wary of a possible African invasion and social changes.

    Terraferma is a choral film but at its core there is the conflict between two women both wishing to have a future somewhere else and to improve their lives. Sara (Timnit T., is a real life immigrant Crialese met through Laura Boldrini, representative at the UN) comes from Ethiopia. It takes her two years to come to Europe and in these two years she even is arrested in Lybia and raped. And there is Giulietta (Donatella Finocchiaro) a young widow, who is tired of the island and of fishing boats. When they bring Sara to her she reacts badly.  And there is Filippo (Filippo Pucillo), her young son, who is confused about what to do with his life. On one side there is tradition represented by his grandfather (Mimmo Cuticchio) who is a fisherman, and on the other there is modernity, represented by his tacky uncle Nino (Giuseppe Fiorello) who invites tourists to enjoy the sun and forget about everything else. The community of the local fishermen and the sea itself are other important characters in the story.

    In his fourth film, Crialese abandons the dreamlike atmosphere of his previous films for a story suspended between reality and myth that rework what is happening to our Terraferma.

  • Life & People

    9/11 Remembered by an Italian American Firefighter

     On his father's side, his family is from Fornace, a comune (municipality) in Trentino Alto-Adige, on his mother's they are from Sicily, but he does not remember the name of the town. He is proud of hiw origins but he speaks no Italian. Richard Roccabruna, has been a firefighter with the FDNY for 12 years and he has many stories to tell. We are interested in one story.
    On September 11, 2001 he was only 31 years old and had been working for the FDNY for only one year.
    “The morning of September 11 I was done with work. I had worked 24 hours straight. As any other day I drove back home to Greenville, NY. I needed some peace and quiet so I kept both the radio and the cell phone off. An hour and a half later, when I finally got home I had 20 messages. I had no idea what had happened but realized it must have been serious. I turned the TV on and took it all in. There was a mandatory citywide recall for firefighters to go back to the city. So I had to drive back. I waited for hours to be dispatched, so I did not actually get to Ground Zero before the end of the afternoon. There were too many people there, and they had to get things organized.”
    “There were areas where we were not allowed. They used the cameras that were set up on buildings to look for movement or other. If they caught anything we would go digging. I ended up staying there for days, I could not really tell when one day started and one ended... it felt like one extremely long one... I would take small breaks of one or two hours at the most. In a week we went from 'Search and Rescue,' to 'Recovery,' basically we went from looking for survivors to digging out dead bodies.”
    “I didn't really watch TV or how the news were covering the events. I had no time to do that. The little I saw was pretty close to what we were experiencing firsthand. One thing I noticed is that on TV they showed pieces of furniture and even recognizable objects. I did not see anything, big or that was still recognizable, all I saw was rubble, everything had been crushed to dust.”
    “I can't recall anything vividly, every day is branded into the next one. I remember people coming to me to thank me for my help or to offer donations or help of some sort... water, food, words of encouragement. What impressed me the most was driving down the West Side Highway. It was crowded with people lined up to show their support with signs of support, clapping and cheering.”
    “I remember that for days afterward I was always nervous when I had to drive over bridges. I would always look up at the sky for planes as I heard there were threats of attacks to the bridges. I never had problems sleeping or anything like it, everybody deals with things their own way. I had a one year old son, and my wife was eight months pregnant. I focused on my family and taking care of my children. I did not want to get upset but just take care of them.”
    “You get numb after dozens and dozens of funerals. The funerals started right away, I disconnected myself and tried to keep going. You got to do what you got to do.”
    “The celebrations of the first anniversary were held at Madison Square Garden. It was organized by the City and it was open to all firefighters. Every year after that we organized something ourselves, and this year it is not going to be any different. First we all meet for breakfast at the firehouse, then we go to a Memorial Mass at St. Francis of Assisi church on 31st street. The first couple of years some of the family members of the coworkers we lost that day were participating but there is nobody left now. One family moved to Florida right after, another firefighter was single and at the time his mother was already elderly, some of the older guys with the department have retired, nobody really comes along anymore.”
    In response to a controversial report posted by the New York Daily News on August 13th that stated that “First responders will not be invited to this year’s 9/11 ceremony at Ground Zero. That’s the word from city officials who say there isn’t enough room for the tens of thousands of firefighters, police and other rescue workers. According to the Daily News report, security issues and making sure that all of the victims’ families will be able to participate in the 10th anniversary of 9/11 contributed to first responders not being invited to the ceremony,” Richard has to say, “We were not told not to go but we also did not receive an invitation, so we just will do our usual thing. Nothing really changes for us.”

  • Life & People

    Simply Put: I Love Italian Shoes

    The Italian Footwear Manufacturers' Association, ANCI, hosted, in collaboration with the Italian Trade Commission of New York, the summer edition of “I Love Italian Shoes,” during the summer FFANY (Fashion Footwear Association of New York) trade show. The Spring/Summer 2012 collections were introduced in a special Italian footwear showcase at the Flatotel so that manufacturers and exhibitors could connect with importers and retailers to more efficiently buy and sell and develop business relationships.

    “We are proud to represent some of Italy's finest shoemakers and craftsmen at FFANY. Italian attention to quality and detail is a rarity in the global economy,” Diego Rossetti, US vice president of ANCI said, “the brand variety presented here fulfills the needs of the American footwear market.”
    ANCI presented 15 of its nearly 1.000 associated companies. They were: Calpierre, Calzoleria Rivolta dal 1883, Capezzani, Eddy Daniele by Vitulli, Fratelli Vanni, Gardenia, Gienna Mielani, Manas, Marino Fabiani, Marino Orlandi, Massimo Santini, Mitica Venezia, Mugnai, Roberto Guerrini and Valentino Orlandi.
    “The selected brands include men's and women's lines, coming in medium-to-high price ranges,” Trade Commissioner and Executive Director of the ITC for the United States Aniello Musella said, “Italian shoes signify tradition and style, symbolizing excellence on the international stage. Italy produces brand name shoes and lesser known names, but quality is excellent for both. Many lesser known manufacturers offer the service of private label for renown international houses all over the world. A first name that comes to mind is Manolo Blahnik.”

    Trade Commissioner Musella continued to explain that the Italian footwear industry, which has been a fundamentally important sector in the country's economy for over 100 years is respected and that can be seen by the numbers, indeed there is an import in the US of 1 million dollars a year.
    Italian shoes are the expression of tradition and style, symbolizing excellence on the international stage. Italian footwear manufacturers are known for their creativity, technological innovation, and expert craftsmanship. In recent years, the Italian footwear sector has experienced significant growth, which has added value to the traditional Italian leather craftsmanship. Italian shoes have been elevated in importance from a simple consumer good, to a symbol of style and elegance.
    “Footwear production is the result of both tangible and intangible components and factors that all come together in a business project. Originality and creativity are mixed together with technical standards; organization; strategy; scientific, medical and ecological expertise and applications; management; marketing and more,” Fabio Aromatici, general manager of ANCI said.
    “Italian footwear is not a prerogative for a mere few, but rather is everyone's right. Originality, creativity and quality are therefore elements to be found in all price ranges within the spending power of each consumer. The aim to achieve excellence is not hindered by creativity, nor by the need to respect human and environmental well-being. Consumers hold a central and fundamental role for Italian footwear manufacturers because they receive and at the same time provide each other with a stimulus,” Vito Artioli, chairman of ANCI added.
    ANCI works to ensure that the characteristics of the “Made in Italy” trademark will signify “excellence.” ANCI was founded in 1945, and it is an alliance of approximately 1000 footwear manufacturers who are responsible for approximately 70% of the overall Italian footwear production. The purpose of ANCI is to promote projects of economic, technical and scientific relevance to the shoe industry and to represent it at all institutional levels. ANCI believes that FFANY is an ideal way to launch the brands into the American market.
    “We have a showroom in NY and we are here to increase our presence on the American market,” one of the exhibitors, Emiliano Baccarini of Manas explained, “We have three lines: Manas Lea Foscati, for the elegant and sophisticated woman, Manas Design looks for to functionality and and comfort, while Manas Uomo is a diverse collection for both the informal and the professional man. Manas transformed itself from a small artisan workshop to a global player in the footwear industry. Attention to quality, creativity and ethical business practices are some of Manas' distinctive features, all of which have made a significant contribution to its expansion and success. Part of the company's mission is to constantly innovate, thus offering customers products that are representative of the tradition of the 'Made in Italy' label.”
    And it is the combination of quality, originality, creativity and innovation what makes 'Made in Italy' footwear so loved around the world that is envied and copied but without ever achieving the high levels of qualitative and aesthetic maturity that set it apart from the rest.

  • Life & People

    Welcome to the Authentic Italian Table

    Guastavino's, one of NYC’s most spectacular urban spaces under the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan's Upper East Side, hosted the event Ospitalità Italiana, The Authentic Italian Table where 18 New York restaurants were awarded the “Ospitalità Italiana – Ristoranti italiani nel mondo” Seal of Quality and shared with guests their unique and diverse interpretations of regional Italian cuisine.

    This evening of fine dining was organized by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce and before dinner the restaurants received an Seal of Quality Award. This is a new certification promoted by Unioncamere in collaboration with FIPE, Federazione Italiana Pubblici Esercizi and ISNART, Italy's National Institute of Tourism, which officially recognizes Italian restaurants around the world that are committed to authenticity in Italian cuisine. “Restaurants receiving the Seal of Quality are ambassadors of Italian cuisine and culture, and as such, are called upon to actively safeguard Italy's culinary heritage against the growing phenomenon of 'Italian sounding' products and dishes,” the vice president of Unioncamere, Costantino Capone said, “Through the use of DOP and IGP products from Italy as well as through their commitment to providing diners with an authentic experience, these restaurants aim to preserve the integrity and authenticity of true Italian cuisine,” the president of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, Claudio Bozzo, added.

     The restaurants at the event were: Alfredo of Rome, Amarone Ristorante, Aroma Kitchen and Winebar, Azalea Ristorante, Cacio e Vino, Circo, Il Capriccio, Il Corso, Il Gattopardo, Il Poeta, Luna Piena, Pinoli, Salumeria Rosi, San Pietro, Tiella, Tramonti Ristorante e Pizzeria, Trattoria Cinque and Via Emilia. Other New York restaurants, such as SD26, Eataly New York, and Barolo, have earned the Seal of Quality but were not part of the event. Giancarlo Deidda, president of the Evaluation Committee explained that he was selected as judge because he himself is in the restaurant business and that “The objectives are to develop and promote the traditions of the Italian agricultural and food products and value the Italian gastronomic culture; promote the image of the Italian Restaurants abroad that guarantee the respect to standard quality of the Italian hospitality and create new opportunities and promotion.”
    The evaluation steps were: Identity - the restaurant must employ at least one person able to relate with the clients in Italian; the Look of the restaurant - the room must have one or more elements of distinctive Italian nature (pictures, photos,furnishings, Italian design or typical Italian features) and they have to be in good state. Plates, glasses, cutlery, and table setting should be, in part, of definite Italian origin as well; the Menu - the percentage of dishes and recipes of the Italian tradition should not be less than 50% of the total dishes offered in the menu. Plus the dishes included in the menu must be written in correct Italian language. The menu must also include a description of at least 5 recipes of the Italian tradition and a description of the ingredients of Italian origin that most characterizes each recipe, with indication of the geographic zone (Region, Italian zone) of origin; the wine list - the list of wines must include at least 20% of DOP (DOC,DOCG, IGT) wines and all wines must be identified with the Italian region of origin; the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil - in the room the client should have at his/her disposal, on a trolley, tray or other, Italian extra virgin DOP olive oil. For the cooking and dressings, the kitchen staff must use the Italian extra virgin DOP olive oil or registered in the list of Italian traditional products; the Staff - the Head Chef must be skilled for the preparation of dishes and recipes of the Italian cuisine by at least one of the following requisites: professional Italian cooking certificate, training in an Italian restaurant for a non less than 6 month period and not less than 3 years cooking experience; the Products - the restaurant must use DOP products and a list of all the oenogastronomic DOP products should be provided.
    The owner of Cacio e Vino, Giusto Priola explained that Daledda visited his restaurant to evaluate it and he appreciated that Daledda was chosen because he works in the restaurant business so “he knows and understands our issues. We are simply honored especially because New York is a city where there are over 30.000 restaurants. We represent Italy although it is a challenge sometimes as there is the need of authentic Italian products here in the US. It is still difficult at times to find real products and hopefully this will improve things.”

  • Life & People

    Fancy Food in DC. New Location, New Opportunities

    Every month of July, for three days, the Summer Fancy Food Show brings together a quite impressive number of producers, buyers, trade representatives, distributors, store owners, retailers, gift basket assemblers and the media, who share a common interest in gastronomic products from all over the world. Every month of July, up to 2011 the show has been held in New York. Not this time: the 57th annual Summer Fancy Food Show (July 10-12, 2011) calls Washington DC its new home.

    With 2,400 exhibitors and an estimate of 24,000 attendees for the 2011 edition, “the Summer Fancy Food Show is the biggest showcase on the American market,” Aniello Musella, ITC Trade Commissioner and Executive Director for the USA, has stated, “Many go trying to find the next best thing in the world of fancy food, but many others go to reinforce trade relationships that have already started.”

    The Show has grown significantly from its early years. The first edition had 40 vendors and 90per cent of them were from Europe. This year Italy the participating countries are a total of 80 and Italy is among them.

    As it has been for the past 30 years, Italy will have the show’s largest pavilion, located on the Lower Level of the Convention Center, Halls A, B, & C, booths 1040-1767, under the “Italia” banners. “The move from New York to Washington has not affected the presence of Italian producers at the show,” Musella continues, “so Italy will be still going strong. Personally, I hope the Show will return to New York. I moved here in July of 2005 so The Summer Fancy Food was my first official event.”

    The show's new home, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is a new state of the art facility but still, many in the business are particularly attached to the New York location, the Jacob Javits Center, mostly because New York is the gastronomic capital of the United States.

    According to NASFT this is a “unique opportunity to tap into the D.C. market that is rapidly becoming a food capital with thousands of restaurants and specialty food stores and to give brand exposure to international food connections in a city that is home to more than 150 embassies and international trade organizations.”

    In order to conquer Washington DC, the Italian Trade Commission has brought together a wide range of authentic Italian gustatory products, all distinguished by their unique “Made in Italy” designation. They include traditional favorites such as olive oil, prosciutto, pasta, vinegars, cheeses, coffee and wine, plus delicious and innovative chocolates and pastries, liqueurs, ready-to-eat meals, flavored salts, organic honey, jams, beer, juices, preserved vegetables, condiments, truffles, seafood, sauces, and dairy products.

    Signature workshops, market tours, tasting sessions, and seminars led by industry experts will take place throughout the three days of the show.

    The official opening of the Italian pavilion, will be celebrated with a nice glass of Prosecco and followed by pavilion tours and sampling of Italian food on July 10 at 10.45 am at the Information Center ITC Stand 1162-66 and 1063-67.

    Schedule of official events:

    Sunday, July 10, 10:45 AM

    Official opening of the Italian pavilion, celebrated with a nice glass of Prosecco and followed by pavilion tours, and sampling of Italian food. Location: Information Center ICE Stand 1162-66 and 1063-67.

    Monday, July 11, 2:00 PM
    Olive Oil Tasting and Workshop. Location: Washington Convention Center - Room # 203B. By invitation only.

    Monday, July 11, 5:30 PM
    “Kosher for Everyone” food workshop and reception. This special presentation focuses on the importance of the kosher certification for Italian food products in the U.S market. Location: Embassy of Italy, 3000 Whitehaven Ave., NW. By invitation only.

    (Bus or minivan transportation is provided from the Convention Center).

    Tuesday, July 12, 8:00 AM
    Breakfast Panel for the Media:“Fusion or…Confusion?”. Discussion on the evolution of Italian cuisine and the importance of authentic Italian ingredients for the new generation of American chefs and diners. Thought-provoking conversation led by award-winning food journalist Corby Kummer of The Atlantic with leading chefs on the Washington, DC scene – Mike Isabella of Graffiato and Luigi Diotaiuti of Al Tiramisu -- and author John Mariani (How Italian Food Conquered the World). Location: Darlington House, Library, 1610 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC (Dupont Circle, Connecticut Avenue and 20th Street NW). Transportation will be provided afterward to the Convention Center. By invitation only.

    The food and wine sector of the Italian Trade Commission in New York provides industry information, produces trade publications, ad organizes tastings, food demonstrations, events, seminars, press trips and trade show pavilions across the United States. For more information please visit, the official site dedicated to the foods and wines of Italy, or contact The Italian Trade Commission by telephone 212.980.1500; by fax 212.758.1050; or via email: [email protected]

  • Events: Reports

    Italian Neorealism in NY. Life Lessons at the Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center, in association with Cinecittà Luce, and the Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale, are presenting the most complete series on Italian Neorealism ever screened in New York, "Life Lessons: Italian Neorealism and the Birth of Modern Cinema", a month-long (last day is November 25th) 40-film series on the film movement from postwar Italy.  

    “Birthed from the ashes and rubble-strewn landscapes of 1940s Italy, Neorealist films were both unique stylistically and thematically. Shot on location, using available light, casting non-professional actors, these films were revolutionary also for their candid depictions of the working class. Not only would the movement elevate the artform from simple entertainment, but it opened a dialogue about the future of Italy as well as creating films of extraordinary power and humanity. 

    Although its roots arguably go back to Luchino Visconti's Ossessione (the first

    adaptation of James M. Cain's pulp novel The Postman (Always Rings Twice) or even to works of the thirties by Mario Camerini and Alessandro Blassetti, and even Jean Renoir (his film Toni was a direct precursor to Neorealism), it was really the worldwide success of Roberto Rossellini's Open City (Roma città aperta) that would make a lasting impact and influence. 

    Over the years, this

    extraordinarily rich, multi-faceted and even contentious movement has largely become reduced to a shorthand made up of a few key films-masterworks, but still just a small taste of the range and quality of work going on in Italy in the immediate postwar period and into the sixties.

    The Film Society together with Cinecittà Luce and the Fondazione Cineteca Nazionale in Rome offer this 40-film (re)assessment of this most crucial and influential of all great film movements; the great achievements of directors such as Alberto Lattuada (The Bandit, The Overcoat, Without Pity), Renato Castellani (Two Cents Worth of Hope, Under the Sun of Rome) Giuseppe De Santis (Bitter Rice, No Peace Under the Olive Trees, Rome Eleven O'Clock, Tragic Pursuit), among others can now be seen alongside the acknowledged masterworks of Rossellini (Open City, Paisan, Voyage to Italy) and De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, Miracle in Milan, Shoeshine, Umberto D.).

    Works by directors who "passed through" neorealism on their ways to create different kinds of cinema are featured (Pietro Germi - In the Name of the Law, The Way of Hope; Federico Fellini - I Vitelloni), along with a brief selection of works by the movement's most prominent heirs: Vittorio De Seta (Bandits of Orgosolo), Ermanno Olmi (Il Posto), Francesco Rosi (Salvatore Giuliano) and Pier Paolo Pasolini (Accattone).”  

    With these words the Film Society presents the series and to know a bit more we sat down with Richard Peña, Program Director at the Film Society and had a chance to what’s behind this special event. 

    This is the biggest collection of Italian Norealism films ever presented in NY, how did it come about? How did you select the films?

    At some point around 2000-2001, Antonio Monda, my former colleague Kent Jones, and I began talking about the limited image people had of Italian neorealism--how it had been reduced to a shorthand of 4 or 5 films, and how many masterworks of that movement were now forgotten. So we began drawing up dream lists of a "definitve" neorealist show, and here we are. I'd hardly claim it's definitive, but it's a great list and I'm very proud of it.

    How important is it to showcase the work of the lesser known filmmakers?

    Lesser known of course is not an aesthetic evaluation of their work. Many of the directors here who are largely unknow to US audiences were very important figures in their time. The great French critic André Bazin thought Renato Castellani's Two Cents Worth of Hope was one of the great masterpieces of neorealism, but who sees that film today? It's hoped that through this series audiences and students of film will see how broad a complex a movement noerealism was.



    Few other periods of film history are so deeply influenced by the political ideal and social history of their time, would it ever be possible to bring it back?

    To an extent it's never gone away, and there are certainly contemporary directors both in Italy (Gianni Amelio, Vincenzo Marra, etc.) and outside of Italy (the whole Iranian "new wave") who are the proud descendents of neorealism.  Films, meanwhile, will continue to be affected by social and political currents; what was different about NR perhaps was the desire of the filmmakers to be very much part through their films of a national dialog about the future of their country.

    Are there any films presented here that you feel closer to as a film expert and as a person?

    Obviously with 40+ films there are some which I personally like more than others, although I'm delighted to have every film that we have in the program. I love OSSESSIONE and OPEN CITY, of course, and have for years, but it was only in organizing this show that I rediscovered for myself MIRACLE IN MILAN, which I think is really a knockout. I think SUNDAY IN AUGUST, WITHOUT PITY and PATH OF HOPE are all major films that have been shamefully neglected.  I could go on, but....  

    As the Program Director of the Film Society of the Lincoln Centre, what is your mission? 
    The mission of the Film Society is to celebrate and promote film as art. We do that both by examining film broadly--with the greatest possible international scope--and in depth, offering series and retrospective that focus on the development of a national cinema, film artist, production company or even film genre. To wit, we're in the "film history business" hoping that what we show will have an impact on how both contemporary and classic film art is understood and appreciated.



    Italian Neorealism: The Program Guide
    October 30 - November 25, 2009

    See every film in the series for only $99 ($79 Members & Students/$89 Seniors). Purchase an All-Access Pass online or at the box office!

    During most of the month of November, the Film Society invites you to experience one of the most influential film movements of all time: Italian Neorealism. Whether these films are new to you, or you are a long-time connoisseur, there are plenty of discoveries to make during this unique series.

    Use this program guide to help make program selections.

    The Essentials >>
    Marquee Names >>
    Life During Wartime >>
    The Italian Roots of the Crime Film >>
    Comedies >>
    Connoisseur’s Picks >>

    To see how Italian Neorealism shaped generations of filmmakers, start your exploration here, with these landmark works:

    Open City
    Bicycle Thieves
    Umberto D.


    See the works that put these titanic talents, from both behind and in front of the camera, on the map.

    Pier Paolo Pasolini: ACCATTONE
    Frederico Fellini: I VITELLONI
    Michaelangelo Antonioni: IL GRIDO
    Ermanno Olmi: THE JOB
    Roberto Rossellini: OPEN CITY, PAISAN & VOYAGE IN ITALY
    Luchino Visconti: OSSESSIONE & LA TERRA TREMA


    Anna Magnani: THE BANDIT & OPEN CITY
    Vittorio Gassman and Silvia Mangano: BITTER RICE
    Alberto Sordi: I VITELLONI
    Ingrid Bergman: VOYAGE TO ITALY


    Born during the tumultuous aftermath of World War II, Neorealism celebrated everyday sorrows, triumphs and struggles. These selections give an excellent insight into that pivotal time:

    Attention! Bandits!
    A Day in the Life
    Days of Glory
    Open City


    The Italian Roots of the Crime Film
    Long before Francis Ford Coppola took us on a journey deep into the cultures and rituals of the Sicilian mafia, these films treated the Italian criminal underworld.

    The Bandit
    The City Stands Trial
    In the Name of the Law
    The Tragic Pursuit
    Salvatore Giuliano


    See the lighter side of the influential film movement with these delightful selections:

    Miracle in Milan
    Bread, Love and Dreams
    The Overcoat


    Go deeper into the genre with this rarely screened gems and influential picks.

    Heaven Over the Marshes
    The Sky is Red
    The Earth Cries Out
    Rome 11:00
    Women Without Names