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Articles by: Azzurra Giorgi

  • Life & People

    Italian Identity and Italian Americans in the Third Millennium

     What is an identity? Imagine being born surrounded by skyscrapers, lights and millions of people, but also imagine to belonging to an environment where everybody knows each other and everything goes off after 8 p.m. What if you felt part of these different realities? And if you are part of a long history of immigration?

    Thanks to ILICA (Italian Language Inter-Cultural Alliance) and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at John Jay College, Italian and Italian-American authors tried to answer these questions. The occasion was a symposium, focused on Italian identity in the third millennium. Introduced by Dr. Anthony Julian Tamburri, Professor and Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute of Queens College, the dialogue continued with Pino Aprile, author of last year's best-seller Terroni, Lorenzo del Boca, author of Polentoni, Fred Gardaphé, professor of English and Italian studies, Robert Viscusi, Director of the Wolfe Institute at Brooklyn College, Donna Chirico, Professor of Psychology at Yorke College and writer Louisa Ermellino.

    Different main topics have been dealt by these literates, professors, journalists, intellectuals, both Italians and Italian- Americans, such as the Italian heritage and culture and its perception abroad.

    For Anthony Julian Tamburri, one of the most interesting aspects of the discussion was the basic assumption in which the speakers talked about the identity: “the Italians tend to speak more in terms of geography, while the Italian-Americans much less within those terms. Perhaps the major differences in the history of immigration of both countries is behind that. We have a long history of immigration in this country forced both through slavery and through economics, and then by choice, which includes people of all races and all colors.

    This type of immigration did not exist in Italy until about thirty to forty years ago; until then, the only type of immigration in Italy was from south to the north. It was basically Italians to Italians, in spite of the fact that we have ‘terroni' and 'polentoni'. I think this is a historical difference that undergirds the difference between the insistence on geography on the one hand and the lack of reference to geography on the other hand.”

    And how can the identity be described when you live in a country like the United States, when you also belong to a small and much different country like Italy? “I think that those Americans of Italian descent who recognize this heritage are much more mosaic in their identity and in the way they think than perhaps the typical Italian might be. And the Italian who can come close to that is probably the Italian who moved from south to north, not from north to south: the southerner who goes to Milan or Turin can understand these Italian-Americans.”

    But if some Italians are stuck in geography, talking about identities, “there are some Americans who are stuck in nostalgia. Many Italian-Americans do not know contemporary Italy, they have no idea of the technological events, the fact that the space station couldn't exist without the contributions of Italian aerospace engineers. Many think of the Italy of their grandparents.”

    During the symposium, author Louis Ermellino touched a very interesting point, admitting that she strongly believed to be Italian before eventually going to Italy. How can Italian-Americans improve the knowledge of their Italian part? “First of all, they have to go to Italy. It’s intriguing that a certain percentage of Italian-Americans do not feel the need, the desire to go to Italy; they go everywhere but Italy. This aspect is very fascinating to me. Without wanting to criticize friends and relatives, if you don’t know the language then you have less access than you would  if you knew the language; and this is an important part. In this case 'Ergo cogito sum' becomes 'Loquor cogito sum', because in the end, we exist through language.”

    Italians in general look forward to America. But, is there anything that Americans should learn from Italians? “The way of life, even today. The idea that Italians always find time to relax, to get away from work. There is a sense of enjoying those free moments that I don't always see here in the United States. So whether it is walking in the centre of the town, whether going out to dinner with friends, it seems to happen more in Italy than it happens in here, probably also because the restaurants in Italy are not as expensive as they are in here. In the end, just by walking more among the multitude, you automatically communicate more with people even though you may not know them.”


  • Events: Reports

    Love Emilia Romagna and Get a Discount

    It's the homeland of Giuseppe Verdi, it's the place where Fellini was born and where Ferrari was founded. It's the country of tortellini, balsamic vinegar, Prosciutto di Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It's a cultural center, with its porches and antique universities, and attracts tourists from all over the world for its cities by the Adriatic sea.

    But in May, a 6.1 earthquake shocked it all. The quake itself caused seven victims and intensive destruction, but the aftershocks made things get even worse, raising the death toll to twenty-nine victims. Among those who survived, 15,000 residents remained homeless and forced to move into tents, where some still live. Massive destruction affected also 3,500 companies, creating heavy problems to one of the top manufacturing clusters in the world. 

    After a period of shock, the recovery started also with the help of the other regions and other italians, which felt concerned and close to the victims. Banks, newspapers, t.v. shows, churches and several other authorities launched some charity initiatives, such as the chance to purchase a large amount of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, remained damaged and unsaleable after the quake. 

    But the biggest, and probably most known of these initiatives, was a concert, called “Italia loves Emilia”,  that involved some of the most important singers in Italy, like Jovanotti, Renato Zero, Elisa, Ligabue and many others. 

    But New York doesn't stand and stare. In fact, the Parlor, an exclusive private club in the West Village, will host a fundraiser for Emilia Romagna. The event includes a wine and food tasting as well as a silent auction, with celebrity donations and luxury items including Bulgari, Ferragamo, Zanotti and personal items from Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and others. 

    “A night to rebuild Emilia Romagna” has also the support of Joan Allen and Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti, as well as revered chefs Anthony Bourdain, Michael White, Mark Ladner, Katherine Thompson, Gabe Thompson and Joe Campanale.

    These famous chefs have all a special connection with Emilia Romagna: Michael White worked there in local kitchens for years, Bourdain filmed an episode of his successful show “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” there, and Ladner has been influenced by its culinary tradition. 

    Here are the details of the night: 

    Food: Barrio, Don Antonio by Starita, Gradisca, L'Artusi, Osteria Morini, Osteria Il Paiolo; Agriform, Prosciutto Principe.

    Cocktails: Casa Lever, Don Antonio by Starita, Employees Only, and Macao Trading Co.

    Wines: Consorzio Vino Chianti, Damilano, Tenuta Pederzana,

     Valdora, Vignaal. 

    Live music: Ari Why


    And i-Italy readers get a discount!  In fact, entering the code NYE05, you will pay only $115 instead of $250. 

    More info >>>

    Tickets available >>>

  • Facts & Stories

    Mentoring USA Meets San Patrignano

    A mentor for success. A mentor to evaluate skills, ideas and to face fears. Based on these beliefs, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, wife of the former governor of the state of New York, started a project called “Mentoring” in 1987.

    Her mission was to drive children to gain success in their life, despite economical or social problems. So she decided to found the New York State Mentoring Program, whose goal was to create positive connections between designed mentors and children, ages seven to twenty one.

    “We have to control and supervise our children,” said Mrs. Cuomo, recalling her own personal experience with her grandson: “When I go visiting him, I always see him playing with his iPad or Mac, he doesn't even turn to say 'hello!' because he is too concentrated on what he is doing,” admitted her. “I'm grateful to Steve Jobs because he simplified our lives, but these kids are totally into these kind of technologies and relationships. We have to supervise them in order to let them know what real life and real relationships are” - she continued.
    During her speech, she pointed out the fundamental foci of her mission: home, school and community. “With the support of these institutions,” she said, “children and teenagers will be able to gain success in their lives.”
    The project, which became a non-profit in 1995, got the attention of some important figures, such as Barbara Bush, who described the program as a “model for the whole country,” and President Barack Obama, who designed the program as a tool for success for the young generations.
    But Mentoring also had success abroad. In fact, Mrs Cuomo found an allied in Letizia Moratti, former Minister of Public Education, who started a similar program in Italy, in San Patrignano, near Rimini. San Patrignano is a community whose goals are based on
    the recovery, and especially the prevention of addictions in teenagers, giving them the support they need.
    “San Patrignano” and “Mentoring USA/Italia” have now started an exchange program between communities and mentors, in order to connect two cultures and two countries.

  • Facts & Stories

    Vespucci and the Italian Heritage and Culture Month

    Five hundred years ago, an explorer was born. Financier, navigator and cartographer,
    Amerigo Vespucci was meant to be remembered forever. And this year, he becomes the theme of the National Italian Heritage and Culture Month.

    At CUNY’s Hunter College secluded Poses Park, the schedule of “From Amerigo to America” was presented, enhancing the importance of the Italian explorer and the Italian culture itself.

    “Vespucci, in fact, was the first to discover that America was a fourth continent, being able also to describe what he saw for the future generations,” - stated Laura Aghilarre, Deputy Consul General of Italy who opened the ceremony.
    Joseph Sciame, President and Chairman of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee, talked about the importance of this month “which started as a week and then it eventually expanded thanks to the will and help of other Italian institutions.” Sciame also highlighted the reason why we are still celebrating the Italian culture: the passing on of traditions from generation to generation. “Everyone should try to hand down the Italian tradition, a tradition made of family, values and heart,”  - admitted Sciame.
    Traditions were one of the main themes of the event: in fact, Joseph Di Trapani, National President of “Order Sons of Italy in America,” talked about the long tradition of Italians in America, and in New York, starting with his grandparents who moved from Southern Italy to Brooklyn. “They didn’t have anything but they were able to settle here and bring a lot of contributions to this country” - he stated.
    John Mustaro, President of the United Pugliesi Federation and Treasurer of the Committee, was honored for his ongoing commitment to the Italian heritage and culture that he continues to keep alive and proud. “Italians may have a bad reputation in the U.S, because of The Sopranos or Jersey Shore, but that is not what we are. We have to show our other side, we have to get together and spread goodness,” - he said.
    For his commitment, he received a Globe of the world, a symbolic gift representing North and South America.
    Giada Valenti sang the anthems of both Italy and the United States. The Italian singer feels  very proud of her Italian heritage. “I would wear the Italian flag if I could,” - she admitted.
    And the ceremony is just an anticipation of the Italian Heritage and Culture Month, which includes movie projections, exhibitions, lectures and many other events concerning the Italian culture.



  • Fatti e Storie

    Mannarino, Negrita, Subsonica e Boom Da Bash. Musica con la M maiuscola a NY

    A volte sembra di essere a casa. A volte ci si dimentica di essere in quella che viene definita “la capitale del mondo”. E così è stato quando Hit Week è arrivato a New York portando con sé tanta musica italiana dal vivo.

    Ad ospitare  “Unexpected sounds from Italy” (Suoni inaspettati dall'Italia) è stato l'Highline Ballroom di Chelsea, uno spazio che concilia l'industriale e il moderno e che ha visto esibirsi sul proprio palco artisti del calibro di Santana, Paul McCartney e Stevie Wonder.

    Ed HitWeek, arrivato alla sua quarta stagione, quest’anno ha portato artisti come Mannarino e band affermate Negrita e Subsonica non dimenticando di porre all’attenzione del pubblico americano anche un gruppo emergente come i Boom Da Bash.

    La serata è iniziata con Mannarino, alla sua prima esperienza ad Hit Week e anche a New York. Il cantautore romano, sulle scene da pochi anni ma con ottimi successi di critica e pubblico, ha proposto canzoni di entrambi i suoi album: “Bar della rabbia” e “Supersantos”.

    Lui, cresciuto nella periferia che lo ha ispirato, ha saputo conciliare drammi personali e sociali, come in “Svegliatevi italiani”e musiche travolgenti e genuine, conquistando tutti con la sua musica, un po' Capossela, un po' De Andre' e molto Mannarino. Il pubblico ne è rimasto estasiato, e anche chi non lo conosceva è stato molto colpito dal ritmo e dai contenuti delle sue canzoni.

    E' stato poi il turno dei Negrita, band on the road per eccellenza, che ha portato sul palco dell'Highline Ballroom i suoni dei loro innumerevoli viaggi, da Arezzo al Sud America. E il loro concerto è stato esso stesso un viaggio lungo i loro undici anni di carriera, partendo dalle più recenti hit, come “Un giorno di ordinaria magia”, andando a ritroso nel tempo con “Rotolando verso sud” e “Sale”, fino quasi all'inizio della loro carriera, quando si affermarono come band di primo piano con “Mama maè”. Un'ora di energia grazie anche a Pau, frontman del gruppo, che non ha mai smesso di incitare il pubblico, saltando e ballando per tutta la durata del concerto.

    E Hitweek ha saputo anche unire tutta la penisola italiana, passando da Roma ad Arezzo, fino alla Torino dei Subsonica. Un'ora di canzoni dance scelte appositamente per il pubblico di New York perché, come affermato proprio dal gruppo, “quando ti devi far conoscere all'estero

    devi suonare canzoni che catturino e facciano divertire”. Ecco allora che “Aurora sogna”, “Piombo” e “Nuova ossessione” arrivano per coinvolgere i circa cinquecento dell'Highline Ballroom. Un numero sicuramente esiguo per loro, abituati ad esibirsi nei più grandi stadi di Italia e fare il tutto esaurito. Ma i Subsonica hanno iniziato la loro carriera proprio nei club e in uno di questi sono tornati per HitWeek, a cui partecipano per il secondo anno consecutivo.

    A fine serata, poi, i ritmi reggae e del sud italiano invadono il palco con i Boom Da Bash, gruppo pugliese che riesce a fondere insieme rap, reggae e cuore. Cantano a cappella, improvvisano, e coinvolgono il pubblico rimasto, che si fa trascinare dal loro entusiasmo.

    Una serata che mette insieme tanti stili, scenari e artisti diversi che non si fermerà alla sola New York: Hit Week, infatti, porterà la sua musica per tutti gli Stati Uniti, da Miami a Los Angeles, e approderà per la prima volta in Canada, a Montreal.

    More photos on our facebook page:
    >> Mannarino
    >> Subsonica
    >> Negrita
    >> Boom Da Bash

  • Fatti e Storie

    Terminal 5 per un felice Jovanotti

    “Si vede che sono contento?”, esordisce così Lorenzo Jovanotti nel suo concerto al Terminal 5 di New York, dove oltre 3000 persone erano lì per lui. Una folla che forse non si era nemmeno  immaginato, considerando soprattutto che si era esibito nella grande mela solo nella scorsa primavera.

    A differenza delle due date precedenti, in cui aveva cantato al Bowey Ballroom di Manhattan ealla Music Hall di Williamsburg, questa volta Jovanotti ha scelto il Terminal 5. Un grande spazio industriale su tre piani sulle rive dell’Hudson che ben poco assomiglia ai locali di Bowery o di Williamsburg.

    E' stato un concerto in cui ha cercato di unire il vecchio e il nuovo, l’Italia e l’America. E ha iniziato proprio omaggiando New York, con una rivisitazione di “An open letter to NYC” dei Bestie Boys e di “Empire State of Mind” di Jay-Z e Alicia Keys.

    Il repertorio proposto ripercorre i suoi venticinque anni di carriera, caratterizzati da funk, rap e pop. E il pubblico, composto da italiani, italo-americani e diversi americani, ha potuto ripercorrere due decenni di musica, da “Penso positivo” a “Piove” fino alle hit più recenti, come “A te” e “Tutto l’amore che ho”.

    La serata si è conclusa infine con “L’ombelico del mondo”, il brano probabilmente più famoso del cantante toscano, emblema anche della città che ha ospitato il concerto: New York.

    Nel corso del concerto, accompagnato anche dal sassofonista Francesco Cafiso, ha omaggiato Domenico Modugno cantando “Uomo in frack”, mantenendo quindi viva la tradizione di riproporre un grande della musica italiana, così come era stato per Lucio Dalla a marzo.

    Lorenzo Cherubini, nonostante i suoi quarantasei anni, dimostra ancora la vitalità di vent’anni fa: salta, balla, canta, riuscendo ad infiammare il pubblico del Terminal 5. E alla fine del concerto, chiede che gli venga scattata una foto col pubblico: non si aspettava sarebbe stato così numeroso.

    Ma quella del 6 ottobre è stata solo una delle tappe che lo porterà in giro per gli States: da Orlando a Chicago, passando per Austin, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis e Denver. Un tour per suonare, per riflettere e per trovare stimoli; per questo, anche, Jovanotti si è trasferito a New York con moglie e figlia: per conoscere le diversità che l’America ha da offrire e per trarne ispirazione, più che per conquistarla.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Una scuola al passo con i tempi

    Al 406 East 67th Street la palestra della Scuola d’Italia si trasforma in un teatro per l'inaugurazione dell'anno scolastico 2012-13. Partecipano la preside Anna Fiore, il console

    generale d"Italia Natalia Quintavalle, il direttore dell'Istituto di Cultura Riccardo Viale, il chairman del Board della Scuola, Stephen Madsen ed il direttore scolastico Carlo Davoli.

    E quest’anno i consueti discorsi ufficiali e di buon augurio hanno avuto un denominatore
    comune: l’anno della cultura italiana indetto per il 2013. Comincia il  Console Quintavalle affermando che la scuola sarà un punto di riferimento per le iniziative in programma che la vedranno come parte integrante del Sistema Italia.

    In un’atmosfera privata e familiare, i ragazzi delle scuole elementari e medie della Guglielmo

    Marconi aprono l’anno scolastico leggendo poesie, cantando e suonando diversi strumenti, dal violino al pianoforte.


    La preside si rivolge agli allievi, ai docenti ed ai genitori definendoli “ambasciatori della linguae cultura italiana” e quindi portavoce nell’anno della cultura che si avvicina. Tra questi c'è anche Lorenzo Jovanotti.

    L’occasione per lui  non è di quelle canore: non ci sono riflettori, né fan urlanti che aspettano per ore l’inizio di un concerto. Per un giorno Lorenzo Cherubini lascia i panni di Jovanotti per prendere quelli da genitore di Teresa, e da tale parla parla a sua volta dell’importanza dell’insegnamento e della cultura italiana a New York.

    Nel suo discorso afferma l’importanza del ruolo dell’insegnante, così bistrattato in Italia ma essenziale per la crescita di ogni bambino, e di quanto sia fondamentale per i ragazzi mantenere una doppia cultura: americana e italiana. Perché le radici non si rinnegano, ma allo stesso tempo anche il nuovo deve essere accolto.

    Ecco dunque che gli viene in aiuto anche lo stemma della scuola, per metà con una bandiera italiana e per metà con quella a stelle e strisce.  Il cantante afferma: “per quanto si possano vedere solo le due metà delle bandiere, in realtà queste dovrebbero essere sovrapposte”. E' simbiosi di culture e cittadinanze, quindi, secondo Jovanotti, per gli studenti italo-americani della Marconi.

    “Avrete una marcia in più” dice il cantante ai ragazzi ponendo l’accento sulla  loro doppia identità culturale” europea e americana.

    Ed una bella notizia per la cultura italiana è che la Scuola d'Italia quest’anno ha anche più studenti e quindi piani di espansione per le medie e il liceo. E questo grazie all’articolazione di un esemplare insegnamento bilingue e biculturale in inglese e in italiano al passo con i tempi.

  • Facts & Stories

    The Serie A Is Starting: How Will It Be?

    It’s passionate, it’s absorbing and it’s starting. The next Serie A, the most important soccer Italian league, starts next week and it already seems very promising. Last year, Juventus F.C. won its twenty-eighth title, being undefeated the entire season. 

    After the betting scandal, which troubled the whole soccer system, with some coaches and players already convicted, every team is preparing to restart, hoping to offer an exciting and challenging championship. 

    Who is the favorite for this season? Probably, despite the scandal that involved both the coach and some players, F.C Juventus is still the preferred team for the final prize, since it has been one of the most active on the transfer market, with A.C Milan ready to fight to get the title back to Milan with a completely renewed team due to a lot of departures, starting with Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and some retirements. 

    F.C Inter, on its side, has to rescue the last non-brilliant year even if the expectations are not that high among the fans because of a low transfer market. 

    S.S.C Napoli and Udinese F.C. could take advantage of this situation, with the former having great ambitions and aiming to conquer a Champions League’s position this year, and the latter struggling between the Champions League’s competition and the wish to establish itself as a great team. In the same position there is SS Lazio, which conquered an Europa League’s placement, considered as a “second division” tournament in Europe, last year, and aspires to confirm itself, even if the transfer market was very low. 

    Halfway through the ranking, AS Roma, as well as F.C Inter, aim to return to higher positions, with a lot of new players and a new coach that is very well-liked by the fans, who have been waiting for him for months. 

    But curiosity is saved for the new teams, coming from Serie B, who have always given some troubles to the big teams in the past few years. U.C Sampdoria, which spent a year in the second league after nine years in the major division, wants its revenge on the field especially because its failure two years ago was totally unexpected.

    The other two teams from the second division have completely different backgrounds: Torino F.C. comes back to Serie A after a three years hiatus, with its long history of both great successes and huge failures, while Pescara returns to the major division after twenty years thanks to the coach, Zdenek Zeman, who has just moved to AS Roma. 

    The next season is challenging for some teams, such as ACF Fiorentina, U.S Palermo and Genoa ACFC which have been very active on the market to try to make fans forget about the last-year failure after years on the top, and some others, like Bologna FC, Parma FC and A.C Chievo Verona, which surprised last year, considering the expectations. 

    The fans are hoping for a breathtaking and intriguing season, starting on Saturday with the game between ACF Fiorentina and Udinese F.C that will open the season. And there is an entire nation waiting for it.