Articles by: Giada Gramanzini

  • Italian saxophone player Ada Rovatti
    Art & Culture

    Yes, Women Can Play Too!

    Who said that only men can play the saxophone? Instrumentalist women who play jazz have always been in the minority compared to men and they have often been seen with astonishment and preconception. At least, in the collective imagination it was, until the appearance of Lisa Simpson on TV!

    Italia’s Got Talent? It sure does!

    Today, Italy can boast one of the most esteemed saxophonist, composer and arranger in the international music scene: Ada Rovatti. Class of 1976, born in Pavia but transplanted in New York, she had the chance to work with artists of the caliber of Herbie Hancock, Bob Mintzer, Anne Ducros, the Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Mike Stern, Will Lee, George Whitty and David Weckl.

    Dream Trio at the ICI in New York

    Together with Bill O’Connell (piano) and Daryl Johns (double bass), she performed on June 25 at the Italian Cultural Institute on Park Ave, playing masterpieces like Hank Mobley’s This I Dig of You, Randy Brecker’s last blues Dirty Dogs and beautiful arrangements of Stella by Starlight ​by Victor Young and Ned Washington and the very famous Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Moreover, she presented two impressive works from her repertory: Oh Corko Mio and Ghost Stories (she revealed to be fascinated by the paranormal). The event was produced for the Italian Cultural Institute by the Italian writer, jazz journalist, producer and Umbria Jazz US Representative Enzo Capua.

    First steps

    Her first approach to music dates back to her childhood. "My path was initially classical, as my grandmother used to give piano lessons. That was the first instrument I learnt to play when I was four," said Rovatti. "A few years later my brother, who played and still plays the guitar as a fan of Blues and R&B, decided to form a band with a woodwind section. At that time I was 16. He involved me in his project saying that if I had played the saxophone, I would have been very popular with the guys!" She defined her path “against the current,” because for her it started all for fun, but it turned soon into a real passion. The Blues Brothers were the first artists who inspired her. Then she discovered the Bible of saxophonists: from Coltrane to Sonny Rollins to Charlie Parker.

    Everything started with a scholarship

    In 1992, Rovatti was awarded a scholarship at UMBRIA Jazz with a "Special Recognition for Outstanding Musicianship” from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. From that moment, she studied with Joe Viola and George Garzone in Boston, performing throughout the US at venues from the East Coast to the West Coast, and worked in big bands with guest artists Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Bob Mintzer and Randy Brecker in Italy. "During my career," she continued, "I have always been supported by most people I met. Phil Woods, for example, is one of those who endorsed me." Later, she decided to move to Paris for a year. She toured nearly all Europe and Africa together with the last component of The Platters, then she came back to the States. 

    New York, New York

    She remembers her first experience in the United States as something she really needed for her personal growth. "The initial idea was to stay for a short time, but then I got a job contract with a women's orchestra." Therefore, after traveling around the world, Rovatti found in New York the ideal place where cultivate her talent as a composer and bandleader. "However, working in New York is definitely something every musician should try, even just for a few months. In general, I think that nowadays it is a good choice to move away from your own country in order to open your eyes and your mind."

    Strength is female

    "I've always been a very determined person, focused on my goals and very dedicated to my crafts. I would have many stories to tell about the things that happened to me," stated the musician, referring in particular to this era of ferment due to revolutionary movements like Me Too. "If someone makes nasty comments, I'll be sure to state what is ok and what's not but I won't let it bother me. The only thing I can do is study, be knowledgeable and professional, get on stage and do my job. I let my music speak."

  • The ribbon cutting
    Facts & Stories

    The Italian American Family Gathers at "Il Centro" in Brooklyn

    It took more than 20 years, but now Brooklyn finally has a brand new cultural center thanks to the perseverance and hard work of FIAO (Federation of Italian-American Organizations), a non-profit organization established in 1975. Born from the efforts of dozens of associations, FIAO has been providing services to the community since the very beginning with the aim of improving the quality of life of individuals and families, by focusing on the most needy people, such as immigrants, seniors and youth. The association offers social assistance, education and recreational programs.

    A reference point for a multi-cultural society

    Located at 8711 Cristoforo Colombo Blvd. (18th Ave) in Bensonhurst, Il Centro is the first Italian American Cultural Community Center built in New York City.

    The new headquarters intends to expand the FIAO’s services mentioned above representing a reference point for a multi-cultural society. Therefore, the recently inaugurated facility will offer more activities thanks to the opening of new classrooms and space for community use, an indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium and a Performing Arts auditorium.

    “The aim is to maintain our cultural heritage through the generations," said the Chairman of the Board G. Jack Spatola. "I believe that this center will give the opportunity to others who do not belong to our culture, to appreciate it even more. Because everyone likes and everyone wants to embrace our beautiful, rich, traditional culture. Il Centro was created for this reason, for our families, for our progeny. I hope that this project will be able to expand not only through future generations, but thanks to the entire population.”

    Besides, Spatola leads together with Principal Louise Verdemare-Alfano the Dual Language Program at P.S. 112, started in 2015. Now, Bensonhurst finally has its own first Italian DL classes at P.S. 768 and, as Spatola said, "It is an extraordinary achievement. What about the heritage? What about our kids? Through the language and through the culture we're becoming even prouder of who we are in order to embrace everyone else. We have it, and now DLP is spreading in Manhattan as well. So, congratulations!"


    The mission of Doctor Antonino Parisi

    This cultural project is rooted in Doctor Antonino Parisi’s mission: He was a surgeon coming from Sicily who, once arrived in Brooklyn, immediately bacame aware of how many poor people there were and how much it was right to help them.

    Supported by FIAO and by all those donors who believed in what he used to do for the community, Parisi laid the foundations of his dream more than 20 years ago. But, he unfortunately could not see its realization as he passed away in 2006. For this reason, Il Centro will also be known as the Doctor Parisi Center.


    The inauguration

    Il Centro hosted an inauguration ceremony on June 21, summoning not only ordinary people but also the legislators of the city and the state of New York and the top political personalities representing the New York Italian American Community. Among them, the former First Lady of New York Matilda Cuomo, the Consul Generaly of Italy Francesco Genuardi and the Deputy Secretary General at the General Council of Italians Abroad Silvana Mangione.

    Matilda Cuomo, widow of the former New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo, took the floor with a touching speech about the family addressing everyone in the room, especially young people: “I don’t care how old you get or how much you really succeed. There is one thing you will look back in the future asking yourself. For whom have I done the most important things in my life? La famiglia. The family unit is the only thing that matters. I am a teacher by profession and I often get into a lot of broken families and children who have troubles at home. So, I just remember the spirit of Italian people. If there is someone who believes in the spirit of the family, it’s the Italians!”


    Francesco Genuardi, Consul General of Italy, spoke as well, recognizing the importance of Il Centro as a landmark for the promotion of Italian language, culture, heritage, of the Italian way of educating and raising children. “It is a big pleasure and honor for me and the consular team to be here in such a special moment," said Genuardi. "It is a dream coming true. 

    It’s a proof that the FIAO team leaded by Chairman of the Board Jack Spatola, President Carlo Scissura and Brooklyn Director of External Affairs Joseph Rizzi, did what many federations and associations in the world have always dreamed; that is building an Italian home and landmark in the heart of a fantastic borough like Brooklyn. We all knew that Brooklyn was cool but now it is even cooler!”







    Il Centro is the first Italian American Cultural Community Center constructed in the City of New York. It is at 8703-8711 Cristoforo Colombo Blvd (18th Avenue), Brooklyn. 

    Il Centro is a cultural resources to Italian Americans as well as a model to all ethnic groups in how to preserve, celebrate and care one's own heritage in a multi-cultural society.




    Visit their website >>

    Visit their Facebook page >>

    Helping  "Il Centro"  >>

  • Dining in & out

    100% Real Italian Food

    A recognition of all those organizations that contribute to the promotion of the authentic Italian cuisine abroad: It is 100per100italian, the new international project by I Love Italian Food, a non-profit cultural association and network that promotes and defends the true Italian food and wine culture in the world. 

    Created in Italy in 2013 by a group of friends keen on Italian food, today the association represents a landmark for eno-gastronomic industry professionals, reaching in 2017 more than one billion digital contacts worldwide.

    ‘The made in Italy agribusiness is the black oil of Italy, one of our biggest wealth. It is the outcome of our several popular cultures, of the know how of our profes- sionals, of our geography and its many microclimates. This is why at I Love Italian Food we believe in the value of the real made in Italy, the authentic one made in our country, on and from our soil.’ declares Alessandro Schiatti, CEO and co-founder of I Love Italian Food.

    100per100italian will be launched in conjunction with Summer Fancy Food on the occasion of the Gala scheduled for June 30 in the exclusive setting of Scavolini Soho Gallery in New York. During the event, the awards 100per100 Italian will be given to some of the most important Italian companies in the city in the presence of 150 guests, including chefs, journalists, bloggers, media, institutions, who will have the chance to taste Italian excellences prepared by a chef delegation of the Associazione Italiana Chef New York

    The project has been realized in partnership with Parmareggio, Consorzio dell’Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP, Bellavista, Contadi Castaldi, Olitalia, Gustoso Sicilian Food Excellence, AICNY.


    I Love Italian Food is a network and a non-profit cultural Association that promotes and defends the real made in Italy agribusiness in the world.
    Created in Italy, in the hearth of the Food Valley in 2013 by a group of friends keen on Italian food, today I Love Italian Food is an international community that in 2017 reached more than one billion digital contacts worldwide. Click to see to their Facebook page >>


  • Stefania Puxeddu Clegg and Benedetta Scardovi-Mounier. Photo by Maria Grazia Facciolà
    Facts & Stories

    Dual Language Programs are Riding High in New York City

    On June 13, the Italian Cultural Institute of New York observed an extensive participation conducted by groups of people, especially moms, yearning to know more about the extraordinary initiative directed by In Italiano – Bilinguismo a New York. The successful event was organized in order to promote the bilingual program in NYC public schools and to inform the audience of how the Italian community, as well as many others, are acting to achieve this goal. 

    Italian institutions: One great team

    After the welcome speech by the Director of Italian Cultural Institute Giorgio Van Straten, the project was introduced by the President of IACE (Italian American Committee on Education) Berardo Paradiso and the Consul General Francesco Geruardi, who reminded that the Italian institutions are working with all their energies: “We are a team. We are deeply committed to promoting and spreading Italian language in New York City and in the Tri-state area”.

    Tiger parents 

    But the real protagonists of the evening were undoubtedly the two so-called Tiger moms and promoters of the Dual Language Program in NYC schools: Benedetta Scardovi-Mounier and Stefania Puxeddu Clegg. “I really believe that bilingual programs together with parent involvement can make a difference, helping school flourish and communities get more integrated,” said Benedetta. On the other hand, Stefania stated, “Italian should be one of the language options available to NY children,” adding that the Department of Education has an open policy to promote dual language learning but Italian has been excluded so far. These two incredibly strong women have been counting on Francesco Fadda, a “Tiger dad” who managed Public Relations and Communications for In Italiano - Bilinguismo a New York.

    NYC schools to the rescue!

    Then the panelists, moderated by the Director of IACE Ilaria Costa, alternately took the floor. Among them, Lucas Liu, member of the parent volunteer Community Education Council 3 (CEC3) and Chair of the CEC3 Multilingual Committee, who reiterated his support to multilingual, bilingual and dual language students, families and schools. Denise Gomez Desjardin, who is Principal of PS242, home of the future Italian DLP in Manhattan, was pleased and honored to announce that Young Diplomats Magnet Academy has been chosen by Chancellor Richard A. Carranza to welcome the Italian Dual Language Program. Desjardin also called a teacher and his student to illustrate their new didactic activities. Cynthia J. Felix, Director of Bilingual Programs, expressed her enthusiasm too about the whole project.

    Support from the French side

    With more than 25 years of experience, Fabrice Jaumont, named Godfather of Language immersion programs by the New York Times, helped French, Italian, Japanese, German and Russian communities to develop their bilingual programs in their local public schools. He has been a very important source for DLP strengthening. “Monolingualism is the illitteracy of the 21st century but the good news is that monolingualism can be cured and I think Dual Language Programs help do that – said Jaumont - I am so thrilled that my children are able to talk to their grandparents every Sunday on Skype and send them letters in good French. This is so important for families like ours. It’s a way to sustain our heritage and to understand other people’s cultures. They are definitely better at comprehending differences, respecting others and these are the best ways to raise our children.”

    The rewards

    PS 112 Lefferts Park’s Principal Louise Verdemare is one of the first champions of Italian dual language education. Her aim is to raise awareness of Italian culture and encourage diversity, while simultaneously providing instruction in both English and Italian. As she said, “I think that all the indicators that were mentioned this evening, such as having the opportunity to watch children have the ability to communicate in more than one language, the ability to appreciate diversity from a different perspective, the ability to go deeper into culture and bilingualism, are the great rewards of our campaign. The challenges exist in every school everyday for each and everyone of us. My program at this point is up to moving to 2nd grade next year. We thought about different ways to let language take roots and today we had a wonderful conversation with Annavaleria Guazzieri, Director Education Office of the Consulate General of Italy, about using Science and Social studies and Art to let students appreciate language in terms of presentation of curriculum and content.”

  • Facts & Stories

    “It Will Be Chaos”: Stories of Human Strength and Resilience

    Once again another boat, other migrants, other reports of people who lost their lives during the umpteenth journey of hope. Once again other children involved. It was not the first, but it was one of the most serious immigration tragedies of modern history in the Mediterranean Sea. And everyone remembers it. 

    The tragedy of Lampedusa

    On October 3, 2013 a boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa. The boat had sailed from Misrata, but many people on board were originally from Eritrea: 360 victims in search of a better and safer future, far from their country, which is today one of the most absurd dictatorships in the world, with a population forced to serve in the military. 

    It Will Be...a successful debut!

    In conjunction with World Refugee Day on June 20, the documentary film It Will Be Chaos, directed by New York based filmmakers Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo, is going to debut Monday, JUNE 18 (8:00–9:35 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO. In May 2018, it was premiered at the Seattle Film Festival and has been selected for the annual Filmmaker Summit at the Berkshire International Film Festival.

    The plot

    It Will Be Chaos narrates all the troubles refugees have to deal with while escaping terror and war at home and after reaching the shores of Europe. It is set between Italy and the Balkan corridor, focusing on two unforgettable stories of brave asylum seekers: On the one hand Aregai, an Eritrean man who survived that terrible shipwreck on October 3, 2013; on the other hand the Syrian refugee Wael Orfahli, who caught up with his family in Turkey two years later to start all together their journey to Germany. Simultaneously, the documentary faces the Italian political situation that had to cope with a massive influx of newcomers, besides the local inhabitants' worries about immigration issues.

    Today, Aregai lives in Sweden where he works as a cook in a refugee center. Every October 3, he returns to Lampedusa to honor fellow migrants who perished at sea. In Germany, the Orfahlis have also been granted asylum. Even though he misses Syria, Wael says: “We had a good life. Now it’s the kids’ turn.”

    Together in life and at work

    “Without HBO, this film would not have been as it is. And I have to say that our ambitious and initial vision were very difficult and challenging. HBO enhanced the whole project letting our inspiration and creativity fly”. With these words, New York based documentary filmmaker Lorena Luciano thanked the American television network at It Will be Chaos première last June 6 for supporting her and Filippo, her husband, from the very beginning.

    “I really want to thank all the wonderful team we worked with, especially for editing, post production and translation of the dialogues – said Piscopo - Even without the crew from Europe and Eritrea this documentary would not have been possible. But first of all, thanks to HBO for making this happen”.


    Monday, JUNE 18 (8:00–9:35 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO

  • Fatti e Storie

    Italian Dual Language Programs: unitevi alla rivoluzione bilingue a New York!

    In vista del nuovo anno scolastico, che avrà inizio con nuovi programmi PreK e K bilingue italiani nelle scuole pubbliche di New York, l’Istituto Italiano di Cultura aprirà le porte mercoledì 13 giugno, a partire dalle 17.30, a tutti i genitori e insegnanti desiderosi di aderire alla grande rivoluzione nata dall’idea di due mamme coraggiose. Con il loro Dual Language Program, in vigore dal prossimo settembre nella PS 242 di West Harlem, nella PS112 di Bensonhurste e nella PS 132 di Williamsburg, Stefania Puxeddu e Benedetta Scardovi-Mounie intendono dimostrare a tutti che la comunità italiana esiste e che vuole partecipare attivamente a quanto la società multiculturale di New York ha da offrire, grazie anche al sostegno del Consolato Generale d’Italia a New York e dallo IACE




    Giorgio Van Straten, Direttore dell'Istituto Italiano di Cultura (da confermare)

    Note introduttive

    Francesco Genuardi, Console Generale d'Italia

    Berardo Paradiso, Presidente IACE

    Annavaleria Guazzieri - Direttore dell'Ufficio Educazione, Consolato Generale d'Italia

    Milady Baez - Vice-Rettore del Department of English Language Learners and Student Support del NYCDOE (da confermare)


    Denise Gomez Desjardin - Preside della PS242, sede del futuro programma DL italiano a Manhattan

    Louise Verdemare - Preside della PS112 (DL italiano a Bensonhurst, Brooklyn)

    Dr. Lolis - Preside della PS84 (programmi bilingue spagnolo e francese)

    Lucas Liu - Presidente del Comitato Multilingue CEC3 - DOE

    Fabrice Jaumont - Direttore del programma per la Fondazione FACE, esperto di programmi DL

    Ilaria Costa - Direttore del Comitato Italo-Americano per l'Educazione (IACE) come moderatore



    5:30 - 5:45 - Neworking

    5:45 - 6:00 - Introduzione del Direttore dell'IIC Giorgio Van Straten, seguita dall'intervento del Console Generale Francesco Genuardi e da Berardo Paradiso

    6:00 - 6:30 - Presentazioni:

    Annavaleria Guazzieri

    Milady Baez

    6:30 - 7:00 Tavola rotonda con Lucas Liu, Fabrice Jaumont, il Preside Desjardin con Ilaria Costa (IACE) come moderatore

    Q & A

    7:00 - 7:15

    Un brindisi al programma DL italiano: "Brindiamo alla lingua italiana!"

    7:15 - 7:30

  • Stefania Puxeddu and Benedetta Scardovi-Mounie
    Facts & Stories

    Italian Dual Language Programs: Join the Bilingual Revolution in New York!

    In view of the new school year, which will begin with new Italian bilingual PreK and K programs in public schools in New York, the Italian Cultural Institute will open its doors on Wednesday, June 13th at 5.30pm, to all parents and teachers who want to join the great revolution born from the idea of two brave moms. 

    With their Dual Language Program, in force since next September at PS 242 in West Harlem, at PS112 di Bensonhurst and at PS 132 in Williamsburg, Stefania Puxeddu and Benedetta Scardovi-Mounie intend to show everyone that the Italian community exists and wants to participate actively in what the multicultural society New York has to offer, thanks also to the support of the Consulate General of Italy in New York and the Italian American Committee on Education (IACE). 




    Giorgio Van Straten, Director, Italian Cultural Institute (TBC)

    Introductory remarks

    Francesco Genuardi, Italian Consul General

    Berardo Paradiso, President of the Italian American Committee on Education 


    Annavaleria Guazzieri - Director Education Office, Consulate General of Italy

    Milady Baez - Deputy Chancellor of the Department of English Language Learners and Student Support at NYCDOE (TBC)


    Denise Gomez Desjardin - Principal of PS242, home of the future Italian DL program in Manhattan 

    Louise Verdemare - Principal of PS112 (Italian DL in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn) 

    Dr. Lolis - Principal of PS84 (Spanish and French Dual Language Programs) 

    Lucas Liu - CEC3 Multilingual Committee Chair - DOE

    Fabrice Jaumont - Program Director for FACE Foundation, DL program expert

    Ilaria Costa – Director of the Italian American Committee on Education (IACE) as Moderator



    5:30 - 5:45 - Networking

    5:45 - 6:00 -  Introduction by IIC Director Giorgio Van Straten followed by remarks from Consul General Francesco Genuardi and Berardo Paradiso

    6:00 - 6:30 - Presentations:

    Annavaleria Guazzieri

    Milady Baez

    6:30 - 7:00 Panel Discussion with Lucas Liu, Fabrice Jaumont, Principal Desjardin with Ilaria Costa (IACE) as Moderator


    7:00 - 7:15

    A toast to the Italian DL program: “Brindiamo alla lingua italiana!”

    7:15 - 7:30

  • Performance of the National Anthem by La Scuola d'Italia
    Life & People

    "Festa della Repubblica" in New York: Tributes, Concerts, Food and Much More

    Tuesday was a day of great surprises and emotions at the institutions of the 'Sistema Italia' in New York, where Republic Day was celebrated from the early hours in the morning with special events as well as special guests.

    Living an “Authentic Italian Experience” 

    An "Authentic Italian Experience" was lived by a considerable influx of people at the Italian Trade Agency, whose Deputy Trade Commissioner Romano Baruzzi expressed the importance of celebrating Italy’s national day. He then thanked all the companies which contributed to the successful event, such as: Agromonte, Parmigiano Reggiano, Cibo Italia, Acqua Lurisia and Cioccolato Venchi.

    The New Knights of the Order of the Star of Italy

    Among the ritual honors of Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy) given by Consul General Francesco Genuardi on behalf of the President Sergio Mattarella, there were two amazing women. The first was Maria Laurino, a third generation Italian-American journalist, essayist, and memoirist grown up in northern New Jersey, who published in 2014 The Italian Americans: A History, chronicling the Italian American experience from 1860 to the present day

    Just back from the success of Open Roads 2018 opening night, the famous public relations officer Sally Fischer was awarded too. The honor proposals are usually made by selecting the people who distinguish themselves in the various fields of human activities, including the economic, social, political and cultural importances.

    “Those who work in the world of art, culture and in the cinema industry play a special role and for this reason we proposed with deep conviction the name of Sally Fischer to the President of the Republic . . . I think you, Sally, are living a new complex challenging era where we all need bridges. You are a very special bridge between Italy and New York,” said Consul General Genuardi.

    And we extend our congratulations to Giorgio Spanu (chairman of Casa Italian Zerilli-Marimò and co-founder of the Olnick Spanu Collection),  Joseph Sciame, (president/Chair of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee), Angelo Vivolo (Chairman of the Board Columbus Citizens Foundation), Harvey Sachs (writer and music historian), Frank Desiderio (attorney and founding member of the GDKSK firm0,  for being the distinguished recipients of this year’s NY Onorificenze.

    The Consulate General dedicates a tree to Italo Calvino

    During the same day, in concomitance with the celebration of the 72 years of the Italian Republic, the Consulate General paid tribute to one of the greatest Italian journalists, short-story writers, and novelists of the 20th century, Italo Calvino, and the 61st anniversary of Calvino’s publication of  The Baron in the Trees. This masterpiece was published two years later, in 1959, in the United States where it immediately received a positive feedback and is still read, sold and discussed in universities. A beautiful tree was dedicated to the author on 690 Park Ave. with the unveiling of a plate showing one of his quotes.

    Giovanna Calvino was there to commemorate her father, wishing that the tree could mark the beginning or the continuation of a period in which Italian education in New York thrives. “Since my grandmother was a botanist and my grandfather was an agronomist, the most beautiful tributes for me are linked to gardens. The idea of this beautiful tree was by Francesco, ”Giovanna Calvino said. “My father's stories have always amused me. I hope this humor will be timeless and will continue to win over future generations.”

    Annavaleria Guazzieri, Director of the Education Office at the Consulate, intervened declaring the will of the institutions to relaunch the Italian literature in schools, starting precisely from Calvino, which represented so much to world culture. Guazzieri, then, introduced Professor Ghezzo from La Scuola d'Italia who, with the help of two very young students, read and talked about some passages taken from The Baron in the Trees.

    "With this novel Calvino wants us to understand what is the right distance between our ego and the world. In other words, living in a tree does not mean for Calvino living a life without responsibility, but simply looking at everything from a more detached perspective to understand how things really work. A metaphor, therefore, that can be associated with our condition as expats, who observe Italy with an ocean that separates us,” said Ghezzo.

    Representing the spirit of Rizzoli New York and the best of Italian culture, Director Livia Senic commented about Calvino and his masterpiece: "I remember it as a first reading experience. This book is a metaphor of independence and I think it tells a lot about all the people here today.”

    The end (in music) of a wonderful day

    At the end of the day, students from La Scuola d’Italia performed the National Anthem of Italy “Inno di Mameli” and the European Anthem “Inno alla gioia”. The performance was followed by Pasquale Grasso Trio’s concert at the Italian Cultural Institute. 

  • Art & Culture

    There's Nothing Like this Museum! Yes, because "Italians Made California”

    Established in 1978, the Museo Italo Americano of San Francisco is a non-profit institution. In its early years it was located in North Beach, above Caffé Malvina, and then in Casa Fugazi. In 1985, it moved to Fort Mason Center, in a 5,000 square feet facility inside a complex entirely dedicated to culture, which was donated by the US Government after the II World War. 

    The history of the institution

    “The founder – Managing Director Paola Bagnatori said - was a woman from Trento whose name was Giuliana Nardelli Haight. She came to this country to study Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at UCLA in Los Angeles. When she arrived in San Francisco, she realized that among different Italian American organizations, there was lack of one specifically devoted to art. She was very knowledgeable about contemporary art, so she decided to give birth to a museum. She did a really good job before I met her”. 

    As Bagnatori told us, there’s nothing like this in all the United States. Many organizations call themselves ‘museums’ or ‘cultural centers’, but they don’t always have art exhibits or a permanent collection, which are the main requirements according to the definition of ‘museum’ in the United States. “Our private collection, constisting of 700 pieces of art, is one of the distinguish characteristics of the Museo”. 

    The mission 

    Its mission is to showcase works by Italian and Italian American artists and to promote educational programs for the appreciation of Italian art and culture. “Very often we have requests for exhibitions by American artists about Italy, but unfortunately we cannot offer them our facility because of the idea at the basis of the institution”, Bagnatori stated.

    Main activities and supporting campaign

    Among the initiatives, the Museo Italo Americano offers Italian language classes based on a multimedia approach and conversation exercises, taught by native Italian instructors who are experienced in teaching Italian to English speakers. All the activities are currently supported by the Grants for the Arts, by several foundations and the generosity of Museo members, the Board of Directors and individual donors: “We’re celebrating the 40th anniversary this year and it is really a miracle that we are still here. I joined the Museo in ’79 and I started as a volunteer. Many people work as volunteers for us because they like what we do”, explaining that previously everything was free at the museum, but now they are charging a small fee. 

    Future projects

    About the future projects, Bagnatori confessed that the Museo would change its headquarters as soon as possible. In 2012 it received a very valuable buiding from a big donor, an Italian man from Rome. “We started a campaign of reconstruction to adapt it to our needs, so maybe will move to this building in three years – Bagnatori continued -  It’s a beautiful location, very close to the Golden Gate Bridge but a little bit remote from the City Center. There’s not as much traffic as we desire. Anyway we are going to organize a lot of events thaks to which we will create our own traffic”. The basement will be for storage and classes, the ground floor will be for art and the second floor will be dedicated to history dicumentaries about Italian immigrants in California because, according to her new mantra, “Italians made California”. 

  • First place in Men's category John Campagna
    Facts & Stories

    Italy Run by Ferrero: A Big One Italian Soul in Central Park

    11,000 people from Italy and United States arrived yesterday in Central Park to celebrate the Republic Day and their love of Italy. Between 67th and 72nd St., participants ran five-miles in honor of the formation of the Republic of Italy. Short-track speed-skating Olympic Champion Arianna Fontana was met with applause Sunday as she arrived as the Godmother of honor for the event. Excitement, enthusiasm and patriotic pride were definitely palpable in the air since the first light in the morning. 

    “I think there is no better way to celebrate Italy in New York," stated the Consul General of Italy Francesco Genuardi just before the start of the competion. He alternated on stage with Peter Ciaccia and Michael Capiraso, President and CEO of the New York Road Runners, to remind runners the goal of the event: to feel like a one big Italian soul. 

    “The project was born from a great vision and intuition a few years ago when, analyzing the panorama of the races usually organized in Central Park, I noticed that many countries around the world had their own running event, except our ‘bella Italia,’” said Aldo Uva, Ferrero Chief Open Innovation Officer. In previous years, the Consul General of Italy in New York Francesco Genuardi, met several Italian companies and asked for their help to give birth to the first Italian race in the green lung of the Big Apple. Ferrero immediately accepted the leadership of this initiative, as a spokesperson for a healthy lifestyle, able to balance a correct diet with physical activity. Because of this, the company embarked on an adventure thanks to the collaboration of partners such as Lavazza, Intesa San Paolo, Fiat and TechnoGym, and the support of the New York Road Runners, which saw a passionate participation by CEO Michael Capiraso and the Chairman George Hirsch; both in love with Italy. 

    Against all odds, the winners in both men’s and women’s categories were not Italian: John Campagna finished in 26:47, and Sasha Whittle posted a time of 29:45. After the award ceremony, the Ambassador of Italy in the US Armando Varricchio took the floor thanking everyone for the warm reception. “What a day here in Central Park! What an incredible way to celebrate our National day! As we all know, New York City speaks Italian, is Italian and since today runs in Italian. A great team contributed to this great success: first of all, you the runners!” said Varricchio. Together with the hard work of the main sponsors, his deep appreciation was expressed towards the City of New York and the NYPD for their fundamental cooperation and support. Moreover, he said said to be very grateful to their charity partner, the Italian American Cancer Foundation. “As representing Italy in the United States, I was pleased to be back here in New York. All our institutions have been working together under the help of the Consulate General and I want to thank Francesco Genuardi and the colleagues who have run this morning achieving a great result, the Deputy Consuls Isabella and Chiara . . . The purpose of this initiative is to promote what we stand for: love for the city, love for sport, lifestyle and all those things that make life so important and so Italian. Thank you for your participation and get ready because next year we’ll be celebrating here again the second edition of the Italy Run!”

    At the end of the ceremony, Varricchio, Uva and Capiraso were honored by the representative of CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee), U.S. Mico Licanstro, who expressed his thankfulness for the effort undertaken by the Italian Embassy, Ferrero and the NYRR.