NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2018 No. 155

BOLLETTINO DICEMBRE 2018 Numero 155

CIAO A TUTTI & BUON NATALE
everyone

PICTURE OF THE MONTH

magi

ADORATION OF THE MAGI
ANDREA MANTEGNA
TRIPTYCH TEMPERA ON WOOD
1460-1464

This month’s picture brings together Christmas and the proposed SAIS outing to the Mantegna & Bellini exhibition National Gallery on 19th January (see previous flyer for details). Mantegna’s paintings are often rich in tiny intriguing, sometimes domestic detail. In case you are unsure, yes that is a Bactrian Camel. The triptych is usually housed in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence.

LESS INCLINED TO TOURISTS

Engineers have managed to straighten the tower of Pisa 18 inches (45cms) over the last 28 years. The world heritage structure has been closed to the public since 1990 when the cautious drilling and reinforcement work began. It is however unlikely that the tower, completed in 1319, will never be completely upright: if it were would so many tourists flock to see it?

‘NDRANGHETA CRACKDOWN

Hundreds of police from several European countries were recently involved in Operation Pollino, a coordinated swoop on ‘Ndrangheta operations. Over 90 people were arrested after raids on properties, gelateria and restaurants in which 30 tonnes of cocaine were seized. The ‘Ndrangheta originated in the Calabria and the 6000 members are all blood related. making the organisation extremely difficult to infiltrate by law enforcement agencies. Originally an organisation relying on kidnapping for ransom, it has evolved into the largest worldwide crime organisation with an estimated total revenue of $50billion, mostly from drug and people smuggling. The ‘Ndrangheta was responsible for the kidnapping and ransom of J.Paul Getty 3rd in 1973, the subject of the excellent 10 part BBC series Trust, still available on BBC Iplayer.

SONG OF THE MONTH

As it’s Christmas time we have chosen the traditional Christmas song “Tu scendi dalle stelle” sung by the literally great Luciano Pavarotti: go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzU9vVK51-Y take out your large white hankie and join in!

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Jhumpa Lahiri “IN OTHER WORDS” / “IN ALTRE PAROLE”. It is at heart a love story of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college.
“In other words” is an autobiographical work written in Italian and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice. (Available in Italian and in dual-language format)

RECIPE OF THE MONTH

Torta Paesana – see recipe corner on the SAIS website
This cake is an easy and popular way to use up stale bread and in Milan it is prepared traditionally on December 7th the feast of Saint Ambrose, the Patron Saint of Milan when the city celebrates with events, fairs and open air markets.

A curiosity: December 7th is also the opening day of the La Scala Opera House season; the choice of opera is the object of much scrutiny and comment by the Milanese. This year’s choice is Verdi’s “Attila” directed by Riccardo Chailly.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Friday 18th January – Monthly talk “Gianni Rodari Genius of Fantasy” by Leonardo Provvedi & Paola Visconti
Saturday 19th January – Trip to National Gallery Mantegna & Bellini exhibition.