Articles by: N. C.

  • The stolen mosaic from Caligula's vessel
    Art & Culture

    The US Returns Ancient Roman Mosaic Back to Italy

    An investigation effectuated by the special art unit of Italy’s Carabinieri police led to the discovery of an ornate mosaic floor tile that was once a part of the roman Emperor Caligula’s ship. In a combined effort with US authorities, this piece of history was rediscovered in New York City at an Italian collector’s apartment.  Originally, the mosaic was taken from the naval museum sometime before World War II, but now that it has been retrieved, the Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced that it will be sent back to the same museum, the Museo delle Navi.

    Caligula’s Ships

    Thousands of years ago, Caligula mandated the construction of three ceremonial ships that were sailed on the volcanic Lake Nemi.  These ships, all over 200 feet long, were lavishly designed and adorned in bronze and gold, as well as marble, like the piece found.  The magnificent attention to aesthetic detail is noted in the friezes of animals and the extensive use of color.  The marble slab itself contains green and red porphyry laid out in an elaborate design.  According to some historians, these beautiful ships were used for religious ceremonies.

    However, “following the emperor’s assassination, the ship sank and remained underwater for nearly 2,000 years, until it was excavated in the 1920s,” as explained by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.  From 1928 to 1932, fascist leader Benito Mussolini ordered for Lake Nemi to be drained, and they recovered two of the three ships.  Anything else found, along with pieces of the ships, were stored in the naval museum for all to see.

    Importance of the Mosaic

    The Museo delle Navi was used as a bomb shelter in the ‘40s during World War II, and consequently was subjected to an arson attack.  Even though the mosaic had been taken prior, many other precious antiquities were destroyed or severely damaged. Accordingly, the mosaic is very rare considering there are not many pieces left of the Emperor’s vessels.

    Although historical relics are often lost, they can be recovered as is the case of the roman mosaic.  Along with this piece, other artifacts like vases, coins, and various bronze objects were found in the New York City apartment and can now be studied further and learned from.

  • Art & Culture

    A Night of Music to Celebrate Arturo Toscanini at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

    Although Italian by birth, Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), made his mark in the United States and created a legacy. Toscanini was the Principal conductor at La Scala opera house in Milan, and then later became its Musical Director being capable also to bring the La Scala Orchestra to the United States on a concert tour. Frustrated with the politics of fascist Italy and the defamation that followed his defiance against Mussolini, Toscanini left Italy upon the outbreak of WWII for the US, where his success raised to new heights.  

    The Innovative and Outspoken Artist

    Toscanini’s level of brilliance resonated with American audiences, and soon he was a household name becoming one of the most well-known and praised musicians. Toscanini’s career led him to the Metropolitan Opera House, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and also the NBC Symphony where he took the role as the first artistic music director.

    Toscanini is known all over the world for his excellence, but he holds a particular importance in the United States. New York City became his second home where he shared his passion and musical innovation while also embodying the quintessential American ideal of freedom. He ardently spoke out against the totalitarianism affecting Italy and other parts of the world. It is clear that Toscanini is not only distinguished by his musical talents, but also by his strong moral values. It is for these reasons and more that Toscanini will be celebrated on the anniversary of his birth.  

    The Musical Tribute

    The renowned “Cameristi della Scala” that is performing in Toscanini’s honor was founded in 1982 and has since performed all over the world.  Composed of notable conductors and prestigious musicians, they are playing alongside the Italian tenor, Vittorio Grigolo, whose exceptional artistic ability has made him a notable figure in the operatic sphere.  To give a preview, some of the performances of the evening include, “Guglielmo Tell” by Gioachino Rossini, and “L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetano Donizetti. This same here the "Cameratisti" performed other homages to Toscanini with two performances in Washington DC and a concert held in New York at the Rizzoli bookshop on the occasion of the release of the book Toscanini - The Maestro: A Life in Pictures by Marco Capra with a foreword by Italian Conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti, and published by Rizzoli New York. The whole tour was sponsored by Salini Impregilo.

    A Sparkling Night

    Pietro Salini, CEO of Salini Impregilo and Chairman of Lane Construction Corporation, the event’s sponsors - invites his exclusive guests to a night of festivities starting at 4:30 pm at the Peter B. Lewis Theatre. Along with the performances, a video by  writer and music historian, Harvey Sachs, will be displayed. Afterwards a “one on one” with Italian Tenor Vittorio Grigolo.  This event will also host a Gala Dinner where special guests, such as Journalist and Director of Italian newspaper ‘Panorama’, Giorgio Mulè; the President of the Italian Region of Umbria, Catiuscia Marini, and the Director of the Frick Collection, Ian Wardropper, will speak. The night ends with the presentation of the Italian Excellence Awards. Salini Impregilo will be awarded - the group with more than 110 years of history,  today is one of the most important international construction groups.

    Salini Impregilo and Toscanini

    It’s not the first time that Salini Impregilo and Lane, its U.S. subsidiary, sponsors events related to the figure of Maestro Toscanini. On the occasion of the 150th  anniversary, the group organized important concerts both in Italy and in the US and it also presented the book Toscanini: The Maestro: A Life in Pictures. Pietro Salini explained what Salini Impregilo has in common with the great Conductor: “He was a champion of Italian excellence and an example of democracy, a man capable of generating well-being for those who admire his 'works.' These same values have inspired our work to build complex and major infrastructure around the world over the past century."



    Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arturo Toscanini
    Free Concert by “Cameristi della Scala” at the Peter Lewis Theatre at the Guggenheim. 
    November 2nd, 2017 - 4:30 pm

  • Facts & Stories

    Gucci Refuses Fur for 2018

    Animal activists rejoice as Gucci announces that it will no longer be using animal fur.  This commitment, which will be put in place for their 2018 Spring/Summer collection, “is a huge game-changer,” according to Kitty Block, the president of Humane Society International (HSI).

    Gucci’s CEO, Marco Bizzarri, wants to uphold the brand’s social responsibility to animals, and help end the unethical use of fur.  Gucci and Kering, the global luxury group that Gucci is under, understand the humanitarian benefits of this pledge, although there are other motives for making this decision.  The CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault, explains that real fur is “out of fashion,” and that Gucci is committed “to making sustainability an intrinsic part of our business”. 

    In the fashion industry, the mistreatment of animals for their fur has been an ongoing social issue.  Many animals are not only unnecessarily slaughtered for vanity, but they are also kept in unpleasant and abusive environments.  Gucci’s pledge to become fur-free has been recognized as a noble decision that many are grateful for.  Along with HSI, Italian animal protection groups like Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), and Ente Nazionale per la Protezione degli Animali (ENPA), commend Gucci’s efforts.

    As the commitment has yet to take place, there are still remaining Gucci fur items that are available for purchase. However, Kering promises that all of the money made off of these items will be donated charitably to various associations that sustain the protection of animals. The luxury fashion industry still largely uses animal fur, but Gucci’s initiatives will hopefully inspire others to end animal cruelty and promote more sustainable options.