Italian Sketches

ART + CULTURE

ART + CULTURE

Felice Ippolito

In the aftermath of the devastating 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union), many European countries restricted or banned nuclear energy plants. France, which did not, today produces almost 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy, making it the world'

ART + CULTURE

Elsa Schiaparelli

How many fashion designers can boast collaborators like writer and artist Jean Cocteau, surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and sculptor Alberto Giacometti? Clients like the Duchess of Windsor, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn? None, except Elsa Schiaparelli, affectionately known to all as ‘Schiap.' Between the late 1920s

ART + CULTURE

Cesare Lombroso

A century ago, on October 19, 1909 Cesare Lombroso, physician, psychiatrist and the founder of the Italian school of criminology or, as we know it today, criminal anthropology, died at age 74 of angina pectoris at his home in Turin.   In his trailblazing works, especially the five editions of

ART + CULTURE

Fausto Coppi

A game-shooting safari at Ouagadougou in Upper Volta (today Burkina Faso) proved fatal for Fausto Coppi, one of Italy's greatest and most idolized cyclists who, in the 1940s and 50s, was acclaimed by his fans as the Campionissimo or the Airone (Heron), like the bird. When he returned

ART + CULTURE

Giovanni Spadolini

The Italian political cartoonist Giorgio Forattini always depicted Giovanni Spadolini, the first non-Christian Democrat prime minister in the history of the Italian Republic, as an impish, corpulent cupid, gradually making him more and more naked as his political powers increased. But Spadolini was not just a politician. He was

ART + CULTURE

Guccio Gucci

Family, fame, feuding, passion, litigation and homicide. All the ingredients of a successful Hollywood soapie like are, instead, the backdrop to the story of one of Italy's best known luxury label clans: the Gucci family. The patriarch of this dynasty was Guccio Gucci. A native of Florence, Guccio was

ART + CULTURE

Franco Basaglia

Feigning madness in Milos Foreman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won Jack Nicholson an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1976.  Based on a novel of the same name written in 1962 by Ken Kesey, who had worked as an aide on the night

ART + CULTURE

Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa

On September 3, 1982, Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa and his 32-year-old bride of less than two months, Emanuela Setti Carraro, were gunned down with almost military precision by mob hitmen ...

ART + CULTURE

Domenico Modugno

To watch an original clip of modugno singing nel blu, dipinto di blu, go to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-dvi0ugelc.   At the beginning of January 1951, the first annual Festival della Canzone ...

ART + CULTURE

Arturo Toscanini

The twentieth century's great conductor, Arturo Toscanini, was born in Parma on March 25, 1867, the son of a music-loving tailor who spent much of his time fighting in Giuseppe Garibaldi's republican forces. Blessed with a prodigious memory-which would later enable him to remember the entire

ART + CULTURE

Giuseppe Borsalino

  What could men like Al Capone, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astair, Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra, Pope John XXIII and Robert Redford possibly have in ...

ART + CULTURE

Nilde Iotti

In its short history, the Republic of Italy has only once almost had a woman prime minister. That woman was Leonilde Iotti, or Nilde, as everyone called her, who, in ...

ART + CULTURE

Junio Valerio Borghese

Where do you go if your attempt to overthrow the legitimate government in Italy fails? To have a plate of spaghetti, where else? This is exactly what happened when the coup d'etat planned by Junio Valerio Borghese, the heroic World War II naval commander and post-war, right-wing

ART + CULTURE

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Italians and pasta are like a horse and carriage: they just naturally go together. The very idea of depriving Italians of their beloved pasta seems crazy, but Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the poet, novelist, critic and founder of Italy's Futurist movement, tried to do just that, although, as grocery stores

ART + CULTURE

Gianni Versace

In 1992, Gianni Versace, the eclectic Italian fashion designer, purchased Casa Casuarina in South Beach, Miami, for $2.9 million. Constructed in 1930 and modelled after a residence built in Santo Domingo in 1510 by the son of Christopher Columbus, restoration of the house became Versace's obsession. Five years

ART + CULTURE

Roberto Calvi

On June 17, 1982, with his pockets filled with building bricks, $15,000 in three different currencies and a false passport, Roberto Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding under Blackfriars Bridge ...

ART + CULTURE

Bruno Cavalieri Ducati

Hard work and ingeniousness may be one of the recipes for a long life. It certainly was for Bruno Cavalieri Ducati, the last of the three brothers who founded the famous motorcycle manufacturing company bearing their name. He died at 96 on May 14, 2001.   Adriano Ducati, Bruno's

ART + CULTURE

Enzo Tortora

Most people remember vividly where they were when some momentous event occurred, such as the day John Kennedy was assassinated or when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Like them, ...

ART + CULTURE

Indro Montanelli

Other Italians call them maledetti toscani (‘cursed Tuscans') for their quick intelligence, sharp tongues and biting wits. One Tuscan who fit this description perfectly was Indro Montanelli, probably the most influential Italian journalist of his time. A prolific writer, he also penned numerous books, including innovative histories such as

ART + CULTURE

Mario and Vittorio Cecchi Gori

The decade between 1945 and 1955 is described as the golden age of Italian cinema. Emerging from the stark and often desolate picture of post-World War II Italy depicted in the neorealist films, the commedia all'italiana or Italian-style comedy was born. The film producer and distributor who

ART + CULTURE

Achille Lauro

In October 1985, US fighter planes intercepted an Egypt airliner flying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro to freedom in Tunisia, forcing it to land in Sicily, where the terrorists were arrested by Italian police. This was the end of a two-day drama during which the

ART + CULTURE

Emilio Pucci

By July 1943, it was obvious that Italy was facing imminent defeat by the Allies in World War II. In an attempt to mitigate the inevitable devastation and destruction, the Fascist Grand Council passed a vote of no confidence against Mussolini, removing him from government. Mussolini's foreign minister and

ART + CULTURE

Bettino Craxi

It all began on February 17, 1992 with the arrest of a man called Mario Chiesa. Chiesa was not only the director of the Pio Albergo Trivulzio, Milan's largest old people's home, but he was also a member of the Italian Socialist Party. A prosecutor in Milan, Antonio

ART + CULTURE

Franca Viola

Important social changes that began taking place in Italy after World War II gained momentum with the economic boom of the 1960s. Rigid family relationships were modified as young people ...

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