Dustin Hoffman speaks Italian in this video where he tries his hand at reciting a poem by famous Italian poet, Giacomo Leopardi. The poem in question is described as Leopardi’s greatest work. Called “L’infinito”, it is about eternity and from the native Marche poet, works well as a tribute to the region.
The video above is a commercial to promote tourism in Italy’s beautiful Marche region, but it has been met with criticism from Italy’s intellectual elite due to Hoffman’s difficulties with the language. I actually think it works quite well, but perhaps not for an Italian public.
Imagine this in America and you’d have more than one Italo-American all of a sudden discovering their Italian roots and rushing back to the Marche. The region is Italy’s unsung beauty, and this commercial won’t do it any favours in keeping it a secret for the rest of us. I still give kudos to Hoffman for the effort, and think that of all American actors doing a publicity stunt, he is one of the few who would genuinely understand and appreciate the literary work at hand. See the poem in Italian after the jump, along with an English translation of “L’infinito”.
I have yet to read Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah, the best-selling Italian book which has become a famous film. The book examines the depth of the mafia control of Italy: Italian life, Italian families, and business in this country, in a vice-like grip that will perhaps never be shaken off.
Saviano is not about mythologising the mafia, a popular passtime, it seems, in Italo-America and other cultures who understand nothing of the seriousness of how a society can suffer under an organised crime regime such as this. In this interview, Saviano talks of what he hopes his obituary might say, getting inside the head and hearts of his readers and the stink of mafia money as the bosses attempt to make heros of themselves.
Roberto Saviano has been nominated for the European parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Saviano was nominated by Sonia Alfano, chair of Italy’s association of mafia victims. I wonder if the freedom of thought prize will help assuage the life of imprisonment, in hiding from the mafia, that Saviano now leads.
Source | Abbondanza
If you’re interesting in retracing your Italian background and origins in Italy, you should get in contact with Peter Farina. Voted by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce as young entrepreneur of the year, he discovered a love of Italy and his Italian roots when rummaging in the attic of his “nonna’s” house.
Since that discovery in 2006, Peter Farina has set up a business called ItalyMondo, and now spends about six months of the year in Italy. His business provides a kind of family tree and scrapbooking service, including creating your own family history book, with family tree, and photos of the hometown in Italy and a full history on the immigration of a family.
ItalyMondo also provides the possibility of tracing the family history of members who remained in Italy, and the opportunity to contact and meet the family. If you’re interested in finding out more, Peter Farina is on Twitter: @italymondo.
If Danny DeVito’s limoncello can convince even George Clooney, who has probably had plenty of the native version on his visits to his Lake Como villa, then we’re disposed to think well of this Italo-American adaptation of national Italian taste.
Limoncello is traditionally an after-dinner drink made of lemons, sugar and alcohol, served ice cold. At varying levels of sweetness or tartness, and creaminess, it is purported to have digestive properties after dinner. I often think though, that this tradition of an “amaro” after dinner “digestivo” is often an excuse for a little something alcoholic when the wine is already finished.
After all, watch DeVito in this video to see what can happen after seven limoncellos at dinner. It’s a long way from his lemonade stall as a kid, but he looks like he’s having fun.
Source | Il Corriere
We give you a very special insight today on the Italian-American relationship which has been an enduring and interesting one over the years. As in every country around the world, the US Election in Italy was followed with much coverage and office polls, with ties between the two countries coming to the surface.
A colleague of mine was invited to exclusive Milan club Le Banque for an event organised by the US Consulate in Milan. It was very much a hybrid event with a mix of Italo-Americans (I’m not sure whether Americo-Italians is the right term, but you get the idea), diplomats, American students in Italy, US businessmen and other American personalities in Italy that could only make for some interesting fun.
My colleague is a born and bred Milanese, and had this Italian insight on the US election party in Italy:
“For the American election day 2008 me and Giulio went to Le Banque, a club in the centre of Milan that usually is the meeting point of young rich people, wasp teens, and the city’s high society. Obviously, we’ve never been there before: we don’t fit in any of the aforementioned categories. The election day marathon was hosted by the American Consulate in Milan, so, lot of americans living in Italy came there: funny people, some of them, we can say “Bizarre”. Strange haitian ladies speaking a hilarious american-french idiom, Armani-dressed managers, diplomats, students at the Bocconi University or at the American School in Milan: and everyone was so simply enthusiastic, like they were seeing a sporting event, not an election night when, I’m not exaggerating, the history of the planet was on writing.”
For all the US Election party photos go to Polisblog.it, thanks to Gabriele.
I can safely say that I have never ever seen an Italian do that kiss thing with the fingers so popular with Italian migrants, and I can dispute the claim that “Italians are known for being great lovers”. And this film, like many of its kind, is likely to be a representation of Italo-Americans, not Italians.
Jason Todd Ipson’s “Everybody Wants to be Italian” looks like a fun film but don’t let it fool you into thinking that this is what modern Italy and Italians are like. We give you this funny trailer with actors Jay Jablonski, Cerina Vincent, John Kapelos, John Eros III, Marisa Petroro, Richard Libertini, Judith Scarpone, P.J Marino and Tammy Pescatelli.
The story plays on age-old stereotypes of conquering an Italian woman, who would probably never go out with anyone who wasn’t Italian himself. Maybe this is an attempt 2008’s version of “My big fat Greek wedding”, although perhaps a little less sophisticated.
See after the jump for the film’s poster, which really plays on the cultural theme. This will likely produce some cringe moments for native Italians on Italian shores, while their culture as it is in 2008, is continually misunderstood by migrants who’ve rarely been back. And as it’s something that annoys me about Italo-Australians from my country, just for the record, NOT everyone wants to be Italian.
After being accepted as not being an alcoholic bevarge, wine-flavoured gelato is now available in the US. But in Italy, at least in our office, there’s some horror as to what the rest of the world thinks of Italy. While the Italians enjoy both gelato and wine, sacred products of this country, they certainly would never presume to put the two together, creating wine icecream.
A quick survey of the office here revealed disbelief that one would attempt such a thing. The invention is not an Italian one, coming from New York’s Mercer’s Ice Cream, who have developed flavours such as raspberry chardonnay, cherry merlot and peach zinfandel.
It appears the Americans think they’re combining the best of all things Italian, though here the general reaction was “schifo”! (strong word generally meaning “yuk”). The other irony is that you can’t sell this to children - making for further policing of your kid’s taste. The world might love all things Italian, but sometimes we just get it so wrong.
Source | WineNews
Photo | Flickr