Articles by: Federico Ghelli

  • Facts & Stories

    The Real Football: Chievo Verona Flies High

    It's a dreamy beginning of season, after a great victory against Pescara. Chievo Verona finds itself with the big guys and is now warming the hearts of all.

    The celebrations for these victories must not make Chievo lose concentration. Since the beginning of season, the yellow and blue showed to have the character to be a winner: cold and cynical whenever opportunities presented to them during the game.

    Cynicism, in fact, seems to be the word that best describes this beautiful team. Yet, in the analysis of the game against Pescara, we have to admit that it was a gradual process. In the first half, despite the several opportunity granted by the opponents, Chievo didn’t show the nerve to finalize and close the game early.

    The most important thing that this team is showing, though, is to be aware of its potential and learn from its mistakes. Whatever Coach Maran said during the halftime break allowed the eleven on the field to believe in their possibilities and become cold snipers during the second half.

    So, here's on the 31st minute of the second half: Pescara’s Memushaj loses the ball, Birsa takes advantage of the naivety of Pescara’s player and serves Meggiorini, who unforgiving dribbles Bizzarri and deposits the ball in for the 0-1. Nine minutes later, Chievo closed the match: Pescara loses another ball, lethal counter attack by Castro, who flies towards the goal and serves Inglese for the 2-0. Game over.

    With only seven games in the league, Chievo is already writing a beautiful story that we hope it can continue. After clinching a brilliant ninth place last season, this team is maturing the personality necessary to be up there with bigger teams, such as Juventus, Napoli and Roma.

    Chievo started its campaign with a marginal role after a disappointing transfer market, mostly characterized by Higuain’s transfer from Napoli to Juventus. The management’s decisions caused disappointment among the fans, teased by Balotelli’s suggestion and last-minute deals, such as Bergessio and Osvaldo.

    However, Chievo Verona managed to keep all the key players from last year’s campaign:  Meggiorini, Birsa, Inglese, Castro and Cacciatore, all courted from bigger and more emblazoned clubs. But the most important confirmation was not on the field but on the bench, since Rolando Maran remained despite the advances of major clubs.

    For that and for the current form of the team it’s safe to say that those fans are not disappointed anymore.

    The tumble against Napoli last week was predictable, but it was important for Chievo to stand back up and so it was. The season is still long, but this Chievo’s feature to learn from its mistakes and become increasingly cynical can only lead to great achievements.

    It’s now time for the big home game against AC Milan, a chance to prove to everyone that Chievo Verona deserves the spotlight.

  • Art & Culture

    "Inside Charlie Hebdo:" Manifest for the Freedom of Expression

    On Jan. 7, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. two Islamist extremist terrorists, killed 12 people at the offices of French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo. Among the victims were cartoonists Cabu, Wolinski, Tignous, Honoré, Charb, and the economist Bernard Maris.

    Inside Charlie Hebdo shows the process, which led to that sad epilogue. The documentary, flmed by Jerôme Lambert and Philippe Picard, takes place nine years earlier, in February 2006. It originally intended to depict the preparation leading up to the publication of the 712th edition of Charlie Hebdo, a special edition which sadly became history.

    After the tragic terrorist attack, Inside Charlie Hebdo became a manifest of the freedom of expression, as we witness how Cabu, Wolinski, Cavanna, and the entire editorial team upheld this right with the power of their pen and their sense of humor. The entire creative process develops with the motto of “have a good laugh but keep it fair,” as cartoonist Jean Cabut (Cabu) remarked during a meeting.

    That creative process led to the famous front page titled "Mohammed Overwhelmed by Fundamentalists,” showing the Prophet's caricature signed by Cabu, who sighs "It's hard being loved by jerks.” Months before Charlie Hebdo’s special edition, the Danish satirical magazine Jyllands-Posten published several cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, the principal figure of the religion of Islam. The newspaper announced that this was an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship. However, the issue led to protests all around the world from extremist groups.

    Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonist at that time considered how a major world event has been set off by a cartoon. After the screening, Véronique Brachet Cabut, widow of Cabu, added to that remark, considering the work of her husband and of other journalists as a defense to the freedom of expression.

    “They risked their lives to protect our freedom,” she says. “The documentary gives a sense of how they worked together as friends and teammates.”

    Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, says that journalist and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo simply did their job and had the right to do so. They’re a satirical publication and their only mistake was to publish something other news outlets would be too afraid to print.

    “There’s no question that the freedom of expression is under siege,” Simon says. “But that doesn’t mean we need to stop doing our jobs.”

  • Life & People

    The Real Football: Happy Birthday Capitano

    Sometimes it’s hard to realize when time goes by, especially when we feel young and we still make a difference in the things we do. Sometimes it can be draining being a captain, a number 10, in a city like Rome. 

    It’s something that only a man like you can do, who never gave up in the past 24 years. You went past injuries, gossip, and multimillionaires offers from clubs that would’ve allowed you to win way more that you did in your career. Despite everything you stayed in your city and played for the team you loved. And I grew up watching you, Francesco.

    I was like all the other kids that wanted to be “Totti,” copying your hairstyles or imitating your celebrations after scoring a goal when I played with some friends in the park. You made me fall in love with the best sport in the world, and with the most beautiful and craziest team in the world. We went through some great moments of joy together, and a good deal of suffering as well. Do you remember that June 17, back in 2001? You were the symbol of a club that was just about to win a national title after 18 years.

    I was there, with my hair dyed half red and half yellow, witnessing the feats of my hero. I had the luck to be born in your era, and one day I’ll talk about it to my son when he’ll ask “dad, who Francesco Totti was?” The answer will be easy: one of the best players who ever stepped on a soccer field, who at 40 years old still manages to change the sorts of a game.

    I remember last April, during Roma-Torino. We were down 2-1 with four minutes left in the game. The coach finally decided it was your time. Twenty seconds later you scored doing a split in the air, just like a 20-something-year-old, more flexible guy would do. Because who cares about the age when your name is Francesco Totti. Not happy with that, three minutes later you scored again, this time with a penalty shot in the way you do in times that matter: powerful, on the left corner.

    Just like in 2006. You were unlucky in that World Cup, playing with a bad leg. But you were still the greatest of them all. You managed to put your mark on that World Cup with that penalty against Australia. I will never forget those instants of terror when I thought “Gosh, what if he tries to do the ‘cucchiaio’ and misses?

    That same ‘cucchiaio’ you did six years earlier during the 2000 Euro Cup against van der Sar, the giant Dutch goalkeeper. That tournament didn’t end well but you were still the best.

    To fall in love with soccer while watching you play it’s too easy. Some people hate you, but I don’t quite understand why. Maybe they’re blind. Francesco, you don’t even realize what you gave to us all, or maybe you do but still think that it’s impossible for one person to mean so much for his fans. We’re the fans who grew with the legend of Totti: with the goals, the jokes, and the gladiator tatted on your arm.

    I will never stop thanking you for everything you gave me. Living in the U.S., the only thing I have to describe Roma is you, because you’re the only player they know. I don’t want to think about the day the stadium will cease to roar your name. I know it’s coming soon but being able to shout the name “Totti”  it’s an emotion I don’t think I’m ready  to give up yet.

    There aren’t many players like you anymore. Who knows how many more trophies you would have won if you went to Real Madrid or A.C. Milan? Instead, you decided to sacrifice your career for Roma. For that, I want to thank you. You gave me the chance to share with you this 24-year-long dream, and I had the luck to cheer, suffer, and celebrate for and with you. But most important, I was lucky enough to watch you play.

    Happy birthday Capitano.

  • Facts & Stories

    Olympic Games in Rome won’t Happen

    Virginia Raggi said no to the Rome Olympic Games in 2024.  

    On Wednesday, the mayor of Rome was supposed to meet with Giovanni Malagò, president of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), but decided to skip the official meeting. Later that day, Raggi officially presented the motion to cancel the nomination of the capital for hosting the Olympic Games.

    "It is irresponsible to say yes to the Olympics in Rome. We don’t want to cast more concrete in the city,” she said.

    Raggi reversed the June 2015 decision when the former mayor Ignazio Marino favored the idea of an Olympiad in Rome.

    Raggi’s obstructionism against the Olympic Games in Rome was one of the main points of her political campaign. She considered the Olympics as not sustainable from an economic point of view. To justify her "no," the mayor took as examples Hamburg, Madrid and Boston, who all withdrew their bids to host the 2024 Games earlier this year.

    "The Olympics would be only a bargain for manufacturers," Raggi said. “We are not against sport and we will do more than the Olympics would for sport in Rome."

    Malagò believes there could be other ways to move forward, such as by bringing the issue directly to the government. However, CONI won’t go against the mayor's decision.

    “We will align with the decision, which in any case we consider unjust and wrong,” he said.

    Prime Minister Matteo Renzi commented on the withdrawal as well. According to him, Rome has no more chances to host the Olympic Games in 2024. He argues that if Raggi decided to say no it was because the city council as well is on her side.

    “Taking ownership of the decision is up to her, Renzi said. “What saddens me is that she’s giving the country an idea that great events cannot happen because someone steals. As if her party is saying: we cannot change things."

  • Facts & Stories

    World Leaders Face Immigration Issues

    A panel of world leaders debated the regional matter of refuges and migrants movements last Wednesday, during a side event of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    The event named “Large movements of refugees and migrants: global challenges, regional responses, comprehensive strategy,” was hosted by representatives from Europe (Italy and Netherlands), the Middle East (Jordan and Lebanon), East Africa (Ethiopia), West Africa (Nigeria and the Sahel region (Niger). The aim was to examine current trends of migrants and refugees and promote cooperation among the countries involved in migration flows.

    Paolo Gentiloni, Italian minister of foreign affairs, opened the session. During his remarks he highlighted the work Italy is carryng out around the Mediterranean Sea for the safeguard of immigrants.

    “We [Italy] are working hard to save lives,” he said. “But when we hear the debate in Europe and then we see the numbers of immigrants that other countries such as Lebanon and Jordan welcome, frankly speaking, we cannot be proud of European civilization.”

    Gentiloni reminded the panel of the importance of finding a common strategy that takes into account the need of all countries.

    Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s deputy prime minister and minister of international affairs, agreed with Gentiloni, considering immigration a common responsibility. According to Judeh, the countries involved need to talk to each other to find a solution.

    “It’s imperative that the international community doesn’t wait for the immigration crisis to get worse to act. We have done our share, and we remain committed to do the right thing,” Judeh said.

    Along with Gentiloni, Italy was represented at the event by few high representatives, such as  Filippo Grandi, UN high commissioner for refugees, Federica Mogherini, European Union high representative for foreign affairs, and Emma Bonino, co-chair of the European Council of foreign relations.

    Grandi commended the Italian effort to rescue people. He supported the idea of a regional approach to face the immigration issue, especially in a region such as the Horn of Africa.

     “It’s important to strengthen asylum and protection to refugees and change the nature of support.”

    Mogherini, instead, spoke on the effort of the EU to create more awareness on migration and refugees movements. According to her, the EU started partnerships with few African countries that have immigration issues and with member states of the Union.

    “Two years ago immigration wasn’t the center of the policies of the UE and UN. It wasn’t the global priority, “Mogherini said. “Now, there’s a new global awareness, or an European awareness, at least.”

  • Facts & Stories

    UN: Renzi Discusses Migration Issues

    Last Monday, Matteo Renzi addressed 193 world leaders during the 71st UN General Assembly. He argued that saving the immigrants is a necessity, but Italy cannot fulfill this task by itself. He also invited his European colleagues to replicate Obama’s example, who suggested using the government intervention to boost the economy. 

    “We are all shareholders in the international system,” Obama said during in his last speech to the UN. On the other hand, he asked Europe to "do more” for refugees. Renzi said that Italy accepts Obama’s challenge. According to him, Italy will substantially increase its financial commitment for humanitarian purposes by 30 percent.

    “We will always be on the side of democracy, values ​​, ideals, and with who has the great dream of making politics a noble and concrete activity,” he said. “We take the total sense of a challenge that in our country we call humanity."

    Renzi thanked Obama for of the initiative he took on migrants, which involves an agreement among 50 countries to receive over 300 thousand refugees. According to Renzi, the a proposal will help other countries to understand the importance of the issue on immigrants.

    Renzi was accompanied on the diplomatic trip by Paolo Gentiloni, Italian minister of foreign affairs. Gentiloni said that to solve the problem of immigration all the countries need to invest in Africa. Gentiloni also recalled the importance of arriving at a common strategy that takes into account the needs of all countries .

    On the theme of immigration, the Italian Prime Minister used the example of Africa as well, considering an intervention there highly necessary. He also criticized the EU for remaining silent on the matter.

    “We either intervene all together in Africa, or it becomes clear that Europe is not able. In that case, we will do it alone," he said.

    Renzi’s comments come after the EU summit in Bratislava last week, which ended with the refusal by the Italian Prime Minister to participate in a briefing with journalists along with his German and French counterparts.

    “I cannot do a joint press conference with Merkel and Hollande if I disagree with their conclusions on economy and immigration,” he said. “Italy does not feel the same way as others."

    Italy has to face an alarming data regarding immigrants. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of refugees and immigrants arrived in Europe by sea since the beginning of the year has exceeded 300 thousand.

    The majority of arrivals were recorded in Italy and Greece.

    Gentiloni commended the Italian Coast Guard and Navy for the help they're bringing to the immigrants.

    "I'm here at the United Nations as a witness of the generosity of the Italian people to receive those who arrive on our shores," he said.

  • Facts & Stories

    NYC Italian Community Remembers 9/11

    A moment of silence, heads are bowed. The smiles of few minutes earlier turn into sorrow.  Some start praying; others drop a tear. Flowers decorate the two flaming towers incised in marble. Many came to commemorate what’s no longer here, and not everyone can fit in the small atrium of the Italian General Consulate of New York.

    Then, the soothing sound of a flute breaks the silence. “The lives lost will not be lost in vain,” the priest declares solemnly. It sounds redundant at first – how many times did we hear that? – but in a moment like this, those words feel sturdier than ever.

    Over one hundred eighty-six Italian Americans died on 9/11. Fifteen Septembers later we all still want to believe they aren’t gone in vain.

     “After 15 years there’s a stronger sense of unity within the Italian community,” Consul Francesco Genuardi says. “Because civilization is stronger than terrorism, freedom is stronger than fear.”

    A terrorist attack wounded the heart of New York and left a scar on those families. The pain never left them; you can see it in their weary eyes, the deafening mourns. Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the New York fire department, calls 9/11 an attack on a way of life, the life owned by people who love freedom.

    Those same people “will continue to have freedom, to live, to rebuild,” he says.

    He also says that friendship has grown strong between the fire department and Italy since 9/11. On that day, Italians were one of the first to ask “What can we do to help?” Because of that, he calls every employee of the consulate a “good friend.”

    So those souls weren’t really lost in vain.

    A father, a mother, a son, read the names of those whom, 15 years later, still mean something. One hundred and eighty-six names. One by one. Slowly. The more they read, the heavier the room gets. It’s been 15 years, but it doesn’t seem to mean much.

    “My son gave his life to help,” says Giulio Picolli, president of Associazione Italiana Ieri Oggi Domani. “He had the dream to share.”

    And while a singer (Elisa Bovi) rejoices the crowd by sharing an adaptation of the hymn Ave Maris Stella, a few words from the beginning of the event start resonating in my mind. Virgil said them first, but the occasion was perfect to bring them back to life.

    “No day should erase you from the memory of time.”

  • Facts & Stories

    Italy, France, and the Satirical Dispute

    France and Italy are like two brothers who bicker all the time over different things. First, it was over land control and military power. Then the conflict translated to kitchens, runways, and soccer fields. Now this.

    The French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, made the news again last week after publishing a cartoon portraying the aftermath of the earthquake in which nearly 300 people were killed.

    The cartoon, titled Earthquake Italian Style, depicted a bald man covered in blood named “Penne with tomato sauce,” a scratched woman titled “Penne au gratin,” and a stack of debris and dead bodies labeled “Lasagna.” Italians didn’t take this very well.  

    "How the fuck do you make a cartoon about the dead,” said Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of Amatrice. “I'm sure this unpleasant and embarrassing satire does not reflect the real French sentiment."

    Charlie Hebdo responded to the indignation with a second cartoon, published on its Facebook page. This time it showed a wounded man saying, “Italians, it’s not Charlie Hebdo who has built your homes, it’s the mafia!”  

    In return, Italian media and cartoonists published a few cartoons mocking the terroristic attacks that recently afflicted France. Italian newspaper, Il Tempo, put on its first page a cartoon, titled Tartare a la Parisienne, referring to the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s newsroom that left 12 dead on Jan. 7, 2015.  

    On social media many Italians voiced their discontent, calling the cartoon “disrespectful” and in “bad taste” and telling the author of the cartoon, Felix, to “be ashamed.” Others called it simply an expression of their freedom of speech.  

    The French embassy in Rome released a statement saying, “The drawing published by Charlie Hebdo definitely does not represent the position of France.” It continues to read, “These are caricatures by the press (and) the freely expressed views expressed are those of the journalists.”  

    Prime Minister Matteo Renzi didn’t release any official statement on the event. Pietro Grasso, President of the Senate, recognized the freedom of people to state their opinions.

    “I respect the freedom of satire and irony, but I am free to say that all this is disgusting,” he said.

  • Art & Culture

    New York City. Italian Architects and Designers Share Their ‘American Dream’

    Sept. 9, 2016, in a jam-packed room at the Italian General Consulate of New York, a panel composed of high-level professionals in the New York area shared their thoughts in becoming successful in New York. They also gave tips to young students on how to approach different situations, from visas applications to adapting to a different culture.

    Participants included architects Rossana Capurso, founder of Rossana Capurso Atelier LLC Manhattan, Francesco Breganze and Virginia Valentini, from the studio Spazio Primario, Matteo Milani, of the New York studio Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Stefano Giussani, designer partner and CEO ofLissoni Inc., moderated the conversation.

    Coming from a family of architects, Capurso had no other choice but to become one. She had the dream of studying abroad and then return to Italy, but the course of events favored her staying in the U.S.

    "I studied in London, Paris, and Berlin, but a trip here to New York made me fall in love with the city. I saw buildings that I was studying on books and that strengthened my passion for architecture," she said.

    Capurso encouraged the audience to try an experience abroad, since it helps getting a better understanding of the world and learning about different professional approaches. 

    "At the beginning here all my friends here were architects, but then I understood that to find more clients I had to change circle," she said. "Now, I have all lawyers as friends.”

    Valentini and Breganza studied in Milan for eight years. After noticing  a downfall of the design industry in Italy,  they decided move to New York to find inspiration for new ideas.

    "We arrived here with a simple tourist visa but it was during a time where the economy was running well and studios where looking for new talents, especially Europeans," Valentini said.

    Then, they both started an internship they we were offered jobs in two different studios within one year. Three years later, the decided to start their own business venture in the U.S. 

    "We applied for investor visas and that required a lot of physical and mental energies. We also had to quit our jobs and give up our health care. It was a gamble, but it paid off well," said Breganza.

    Giussani as well started in New York from scratch. He was working for a studio in Milan, but he then decided to expand and try to approach the American market. His first step was to retrieve information about the U.S., the differen laws and regulations that applied to the business he intended to start.

    "For us it was also important to find a way to translate the Italian method and style to make marketable to the American culture," Giussain said. "The business approach here is totally different, so we had to learn how to deal with customers in a totally different way. In the end, we always keep the quality of the Italian products, but we offer it in a way appealing for the market here."

    Milani's way into the United States, instead, was probably the easier than his colleagues. He arrived in New York in 2006, after participating in an international competition for the design of the Lombardy region building. At the time, he was working for a studio in Milan, which entered the competition in collaboration with a studio in New York. In 2004, his company won the competition and started the project. In the meantime, Milani finished his Ph.D. at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

    "Once we finished working at the project for the Lombardy region building, I was offered a job at the studio in New York," he said. "My hardest task was to convince my wife to move here.”

    "Meet the New Italians of New York” is a project promoted by the Italian General Consulate of New York, which follow the strategies outlined by the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC. According to the consulate website, the program has the purpose to attract the new generation of Italians and provide them with reference point in their journey of integration in the United States.

    In October, the initiative will focus on gastronomy, with an event titled “Meet the New Chefs of New York.”

  • Life & People

    The Young Italian Artist Behind the Latest Ice Age Movie

    The regular business trips Riccardo Renna’s father used to go on would later help him develop a curiosity for drawing and computers. Ricky, as he prefers to be called, was born in Santiago, Chile, but then spent the majority of his childhood between Rome and Washington. During those trips, Super Mario became his companion and favorite character to sketch.

    “There was something about shooting fireballs while sporting the manliest mustache of all time,” he says. 

    In 2015 his passion for animation turned into a profession when Renna joined the Blue Sky team for the production of Ice Age: Collision Course. Along with 600 other people, Renna brought characters like Manny, the stubborn mammoth and the acorn-obsessed, saber-toothed squirrel Scrat to life.  

    “It was like working with celebrities. Giving life to the characters that I knew for such a long time was simply amazing,” he says. Renna started his journey with animation in 2009 at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. After studying animation for four years, Renna earned a master's degree in computer animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2015. There, he produced a short film called “The Americano Returns," which pays homage to his Italian origins.  

    However the biggest opportunity of his life arrived in 2012, when he was hired as an intern for Blue Sky Studios. There, Renna met his mentor, Nick Bruno, and developed strong connections with renowned animators.  

    “I entered a world of artists who are great at what they do,” he says. “With time, I was also able to see their determination, which helped me fall in love with animation even more.”

    Now, Renna is working on the production of Ferdinand, a sensitive bull who prefers the soothing smell of flowers to the cruelty of bullfights. According to Renna, this new project will give him more freedom than Ice Age. “During the production of Ice Age we were working with established characters that didn’t allow for much change. Ferdinand, instead, is a new character so we can explore different options with him,” he says.  

    Renna has the goal to develop even more content and learn everything he can with Blue Sky. Living in New York gave him the chance to meet several important people and understand more about the movie production business.  

    “The animation world is extremely competitive,” he says. “Working next to some of the best animators is flattering and exciting. I hope to learn a lot from them and grow even more in the field that I love.”