NEWS AND COMMENTS
Italy’s Frecce Tricolori fighter jets conducted a nationwide tour ahead of the 74th anniversary of the nation’s proclamation as a republic on 2 June. The tour was designed as a symbolic embrace of all regions during the coronavirus emergency in a sign of “unity, solidarity and recovery.”
The recent FESTA DELLA REPUBBLICA is also the occasion to analyse the emblem of the Italian Republic, characterised by three elements: the star, the cog-wheel, and olive and oak branches.
The olive branch symbolises the nation’s will for peace, embracing both internal concord and international brotherhood.
The oak branch that rims the right-hand-side of the emblem embodies the strength and the dignity of the Italian people. Moreover, both plants are among the most typical of Italy’s forest species.
The steel cog-wheel symbolises work and represents the first article of the Constitutional Charter: “Italy is a Democratic Republic, founded on work”.
The star is one of the most ancient emblems of Italian iconography and it has always been associated with the personification of Italy, crowning its head with its bright light. This was how it was represented in the iconography of the Risorgimento and in the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy (the so-called “big star”). The star later characterised the first republican decoration during the reconstruction: the Star of Italian Solidarity, a decoration awarded to Italian military expatriates who made an outstanding contribution to the reconstruction of Italy after World War II.
An Italian woman has made dozens of stuffed olives while having brain surgery in Ancona. News agency ANSA reported the 60-year old managed to create 90 pieces of the regional dish OLIVE ALL’ ASCOLANA (pitted green olives wrapped around balls of seasoned meat, coated in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs to be fried) in an hour, during the operation to remove a brain tumour. Neurosurgeon Roberto Trigani said the surgery went “very well”. It’s common to get patients to perform tasks during brain surgery, as it allows their brain function to be checked while medics work. Earlier this year British patient, musician Dagmar Turner, played her violin while surgeons operated on her in London.
NICOLO’ GOVONI, THE ITALIAN VOLUNTEER, CANDIDATE FOR THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR
Nicolò Govoni is just 27 years-old and Sara Conti, member of the Grand and General Council (the San Marino parliament), has nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 on behalf of the Republic of San Marino. ”To meet a guy of 27 years who is dedicating his life to the support and protection of the rights of the child not only has deserved our attention, but our full support to the candidature for the Nobel Prize for Peace” said Sara Conti.
In 2018, Nicolo opened a school on the Greek island of Samos for refugee children, offering a variety of classes, daily meals, psycho-social and legal support. The educational programme provides not only classes of English, Greek, mathematics, art, history, geography, computer, theatre and music, but also European culture, women’s rights and emotional intelligence.
“Still I Rise”, the NGO he founded in 2018 along with others volunteers to provide supportive informal education to refugee children and orphan youth in Greece and India , is planning to open international schools also in Turkey, Kenya, Mexico and Italy. To read more about the inspiring and bold Nicolo’ Govoni’s story, see the links below:
UNESCO ITALY – The Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’
Added in 2017 to the Unesco “List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, the art of the pizzaiuolo is a culinary practice that originates in Naples, the capital of the Campania Region, where about 3,000 “Pizzaiuoli” now live and perform. There are three recognised roles
- The Master Pizzaiuolo
- The Pizzaiuolo
- The Baker
The Master Pizzaiuolo is responsible for the transmission of the art to the new generations of Pizzaiuoli.
Every year, the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli organizes courses focused on the history, instruments and techniques of the art in order to continue to ensure its viability. Knowledge and skills are primarily transmitted in the ‘bottega’, where young apprentices observe masters at work, learning all the key phases and elements of the craft.
Click on this link to watch a short video on the art of the pizzaiuolo
BOOK OF THE MONTH – THE THOUSAND LIGHTS HOTEL – Emylia Hall
The perfect summer read, set in idyllic Isola d’Elba. When Kit loses her mother in tragic circumstances, she feels drawn to finally connect with the father she has never met. That search brings her to the Thousand Lights Hotel, the perfect holiday escape perched upon a cliff on the island of Elba. Within this idyllic setting a devastating truth is brought to light: shaking the foundations upon which the hotel is built, and shattering the lives of the people within it. A heartbreaking story of loss, betrayal, and redemption, told with all the warmth and beauty of an Italian summer.
The book explores imagination and the imaginable through the descriptions of cities by the explorer, Marco Polo. The book is framed as a conversation between the elderly and busy emperor Kublai Khan, who constantly has merchants coming to describe the state of his expanding and vast empire, and Polo. The majority of the book consists of brief prose poems describing 55 fictitious cities that are narrated by Polo, many of which can be read as parables or meditations on culture, language, time, memory, death, or the general nature of human experience.
Short dialogues between Kublai and Polo are interspersed every five to ten cities discussing these topics. These interludes between the two characters are no less poetically constructed than the cities, and form a framing device that plays with the natural complexity of language and stories. In one key exchange in the middle of the book, Kublai prods Polo to tell him of the one city he has never mentioned directly—his hometown. Polo’s response: “Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.”
ART OF THE MONTH
Rome had been planning the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of the artist and architect Raphael, hosting an “unprecedented” exhibition in 2020. The much-anticipated exhibition in Rome had a most inauspicious inauguration however; its launch coincided with guidelines urging people to maintain a one-metre distance between each other due to the Coronavirus emergency and just 72 hours after opening, and after several years in the planning, the blockbuster exhibition was forced to close, its priceless paintings prisoners of a deadly but invisible enemy. The Vatican had planned to unveil Raphael’s final paintings discovered during the restoration of the frescoes in the Hall of Constantine in 2017. The allegories of Justice (seen here) and Friendship are believed to be the last work carried out by Raphael before his death aged 37.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Peperoni in agrodolce (Sweet and sour peppers)
This is a simple summer side dish from Sicily that is vibrant with colours and a zingy sweet and sour vinaigrette.
Find the recipe on the website recipe corner.
SONG OF THE MONTH
This month we want to remember the great Italian composer, pianist, double bass player and conductor Ezio Bosso , who died on 15 May 2020 at the age of 48 after a long struggle with a neurodegenerative syndrome. He composed film scores such as “Un amore” and “Io non ho paura”, and ballets which were performed by The Royal Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet , among others. As a pianist, he released a solo album, “ The 12th room ”, which entered the Italian charts. He also worked for La Scala in Milan and La Fenice in Venice and received commissions from the Vienna State Opera , New York City Ballet and Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. “Following a bird” is from his solo album published in 2015.
DATES WITH YOUR …SOFA: