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Federico Fellini • Venice

Federico Fellini • Venice

Did you know?
Italy partnered with the Allies for a substantial part of World War II. Benito Mussolini forced Italy to join the Axis powers on 18 March 1940 for three years of World War II. On 25 July 1943 King Vittorio Emanuele III relieved Mussolini of the powers he held for 21 years.

Italy then joined with the United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia for a period of nearly two years beginning on 8 September 1943, and helped the Allies win World War II. The Italian Prince and later King Umberto II, nicknamed “Europe’s grandfather,” collaborated with the Allies. His wife Queen Maria José called Hitler a cretin and used Vatican channels in efforts to arrange a treaty with the United States prior to 1943. (King Umberto II pictured above).

Famous Italian
Federico Fellini, screenwriter, director, actor, producer of more than 70 films and winner of seven Academy Awards, was born on 20 January 1920 in the resort town of Rimini on the Adriatic. Fellini was fascinated by the circuses and vaudeville performers that his town attracted. An Italian humanist director, Fellini was among the most intensely autobiographical film directors the cinema has known. "If I were to make a film about the life of a soul," said Fellini, "it would end up being about me." Apart from making films, he also wrote scripts for radio shows and movies, mainly for Roberto Rossellini, and he wrote comic gags for well-known actors like Aldo Fabrizi. Fellini also produced several drawings, mostly pencil on paper, often humorous portraits. It’s with these works that young Fellini encountered cinema. His first success was in drawing advertising pictures for movies. Some of Fellini’s first writings were for Alleanza Cinematografica Italiana (ACI), a production company of Vittorio Mussolini, son of Benito Mussolini, who introduced him to Rossellini, husband of Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman. In 1944, when Fascism was over, he opened a shop in Rome where he sold his drawings. The store was named Il Negozio Della Faccia Divertente (The Funny Face Shop). In 1943, Fellini met and married actress Giulietta Masina (Born 22 February 1921, San Giorgio di Piano, Bologna; died 23 March 1994, Rome, pictured below), who appeared in several of his films and whom Fellini called the greatest influence on his work.

In 1948 Fellini acted in Roberto Rossellini's Il Miracolo. At the Academy Awards ceremony in March of 1993, Fellini received a special Oscar for lifetime achievement in filmmaking, which he dedicated to Masina in his acceptance speech. In August of that year, Fellini suffered a stroke and went into a coma following a heart attack in October. Fellini died in Rome on 31 October 1993. After his death at age 73, one day after Masina (who died of cancer less than five months later), tens of thousands of people packed the narrow streets of Fellini's hometown of Rimini, applauding as the director's casket was carried from the main piazza to the cinema where Fellini had watched his first films.

Fellini often wore a broad-rimmed felt Borsalino (known as the Rolls Royce of hats) that the company eventually named Fellini Borsalino. Borsalino was founded in Alessandria, Italy, in 1857 by Giuseppe Borsalino. Actors in Fellini’s films included Marcello Mastroianni, Alberto Sordi, Anita Ekberg, Claudia Cardinale, Anthony Quinn, Roberto Benigni, Anna Magnani, Donald Sutherland, and Pina Bausch. The Federico Fellini International Airport in Rimini is named in Fellini’s honor. (Picture above—Federico Fellini wears a Fellini Borsalino named after him).


New phrase
Chi ti vuole più bene della Mamma o é pazzo o ti inganna: Who says they love you more than your Mom is either crazy or is not telling the truth. The song “Mamma” is a tribute to all mothers and was made famous by singer Claudio Villa.

Place to visit
Venice. Venezia is the magical city of canals and capital of the region of Veneto . Lord Byron once remarked fondly about Venice: “The pleasant place of all festivity, The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy.” No other city in the world has the charm and fascination of Venice. It rivals Paris as the most romantic city on earth. The Venetian Republic was a major sea power and a staging area for the Crusades, as well as an important center of commerce, especially the spice trade and art in the Renaissance. Considerable plunder was brought back to Venice, including the Winged Lion of St. Mark, symbol of Venice. Napoleon I was seen as something of a liberator by the city's Jewish population. He removed the gates of the Ghetto and ended the restrictions on when and where Jews could live and travel in the city. Venice consists of an archipelago of more than 100 islands in a shallow lagoon . In the old center, the canals serve the function of roads and every form of transport is on water or on foot. In the 19th century a causeway to the mainland brought a railroad station to Venice and an automobile causeway and parking lot was added in the 20th century. Venice is Europe's largest carfree area , unique in Europe in remaining a sizable functioning city in the 21st century entirely without motorcars or trucks.

The classical Venetian gondola is used primarily for tourists, weddings, funerals, or other ceremonies. One of the most romantic experiences is riding in a gondola. Most Venetians now travel by motorized waterbuses called vaporetti which ply regular routes along the major canals and between the city's islands. Places to see: Saint Mark’s Square – Piazza San Marco. The lion of St. Mark – San Marco is the symbol of Venice and also appears in the center of the Sette Angeli logo.

The body of St. Mark the Evangelist, preacher of the Christian faith in Africa and the tutelary saint of Venice , was kept at St. Mark’s Basilica for 11 centuries until 1968 when it was returned to Egypt where the saint was martyred in 68 AD. The inspiring Romanesque -Byzantine monument was originally built in the 9th century and rebuilt in 1071. St. Mark is claimed as the first pope of Alexandria by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church . For centuries Murano has been home to the finest glass craftsmen in the world. Your hotel can call Nuova Venier at 041.736000 or 041.5274467 to arrange a complimentary boat to one of the island of Murano’s finest glassmakers located at Fondamenta Navagero, 54b, Murano 30141, Venezia. Owned by Salvatore Piccolo, Nuova Venier demonstrates the age-old glass blowing process and provides a tour of their spacious showroom for you to see world-famous Murano glass chandeliers, glasses, animal shapes and exquisite vases. Devote an hour or two to relax at Caffé Florian opened on 29 December 1720 by its founder Floriano Francesconi. It was one of Casanova’s favorite places to meet beautiful women in the shadows of Piazza San Marco. Lord Byron, Goethe, Marcel Proust, author and patriot Silvio Pellico, Rousseau, playwright Carlo Goldoni and Italian actress Eleonora Duse often frequented the venerable establishment. Their specialty drinks, gourmet food, elegant atmosphere and sublime 7 piece orchestra make for an unforgettable visit to St. Mark Square’s most popular caffé. In September thousands of boats challenge each other as part of a multicolored traditional festival “Regatta” gondolier and boat race that brings the lagoon to life and lights up Venezia. During this period the Grand Canal becomes an aquatic stage where a continuous procession of both historical and competition craft takes to the water. I fratelli – the brothers Igor and Rudi Vignotto (Pictured to the right) have won the Regatta eight times from 1995-2004.

Carnevale or Carnivale is a festival traces its roots back to the Roman Saturnalia. Carnevale is considered to begin with the feast of Epiphany on the 12th day of Christmas on 6 January and always ends on Shrove Tuesday-- "Fat Tuesday" -- also known in Italian as Martedi Grasso or in French as Mardi Gras -- the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Famous Venetians: Marco Polo, Titian, Veronica Franco, Giacomo Casanova, Antonio Vivaldi, Canaletto and Hugo Pratt. You can see Marco Polo’s home from a gondola. The Rialto Bridge is another popular site with its famous shops and outstanding restaurants.

Caffé Quadri Founded in 1638 in Piazza San Marco. It was 1775 when Giorgio Quadri, a Levantine from Corfu, took over and ran the cafe with his beautiful wife Naxina. Since then the Quadri has always been among the leading cafes in Venice. On turning back the pages in their guest book, we discover that Stendhal, the first great 19th-century French novelist, and author of “The Charterhouse of Parma” who had close links with Italy, was a habitué at the Quadri. Lord Byron, the great British romantic poet was so in love with Venice that he stayed on for three years. Marcel Proust, whose feelings for Venice are expressed in the splendid pages of “La Disparition d’Albertine”, used to lunch at the Quadri with his mother. Alexandre Dumas , who came to Venice to see Giuseppe Verdi's “La Traviata” based on his “La Dame aux Camélias”, spent large sums of money at the Quadri to satisfy his huge appetite. The German composer, Richard Wagner, who died in Venice, used to sip coffee at eleven every morning at Quadri. More recent patrons include Marcello Mastroianni, Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Anthony Quinn, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan and Woody Allen. Leaders on the list include Silvio Berlusconi, Giulio Andreotti, Francois Mitterand, Nobel Prize-winner Mikhail Gorbachev, who played such an important part in the fall of communism and his wife Raissa; the Shah of Persia, the Swedish Royal Family and many others. For over 230 years Ristorante Quadri has symbolized the highest standards and the best Venetian traditions.

The stunning views onto Piazza San Marco, luxurious furnishings, immaculate service and cozy but elegant ambience all contribute to making it a unique and exclusive restaurant in Venice. The refined cuisine featuring only fresh products is prepared with such skill by the chefs that the palate is treated to unforgettable delights. The dishes are a blend of classic flavors and natural products; the favorite sweet is gelato al forno, a typical Quadri ice-cream, made of amaretto mousse and almonds complete with lightly baked meringue. In Piazza San Marco, the Quadri orchestra performs and it’s the ideal place for an aperitif or after dinner rendezvous, from April to October. Michelin rates this world-class establishment a full four red forks and says, “In the most prestigious area of Venice, elegant triumph of stuccoes, Murano glass and precious fabrics in a historical local establishment; refined national and Venetian cuisine.” Expensive but worth it. Reservations recommended. Piazza San Marco 120, Venezia 30124. Tel. 041 5222105 FAX 041 5208041 email: |

Al Ponte dei Tolentini. Reasonably priced, cozy restaurant where Antonio Caldara, talented co-chefs Dino, his brother, and Roberto Andrea Solmi prepare marvelous Venetian specialties such as spaghetti alla scampi (Dublin Bay prawns), ravioli with arugula, gamberoni (shrimp) and lemon, ravioli con gorgonzola, a variety of fresh seafood and delizioso tiramisu or strawberries with vino santo for dessert. Good selection of local wines. Friendly, attentive service. A few yards from the small canal Rio dei Tolentini. It’s enjoyable to watch the people walk across the canal next to Al Ponte dei Tolentini. Small patio area near canal. With 45 minutes notice Antonio will call his son Cristiano to pick you up in a private water taxi in front of the restaurant for a tour of magical Venezia. A gondola ride is a must for first-time visitors to Venice however a larger area can be explored via water taxi and it’s especially enchanting at night after dinner. Close to Piazza Roma and the Hotel Arlecchino: Santa Croce 187, Venezia 30125. Tel. 0417.10112.

Locanda Cipriani***** Opened in 1935 by Giuseppe Cipriani, this peaceful resort on the charming Venetian island of Torcello has won the hearts of these previous guests: Queen Maria José of Savoy and other members of the Italian royal family, Queen Elizabeth II (After numerous visits to Venice, this is the only restaurant she has dined at for private occasions), and the Queen Mother, Queen Sofia of Spain, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, along with numerous other royals; Ernest and Mary Hemingway, Maria Callas, Arturo Toscanini, Marc Chagall, Frank Lloyd Wright, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Kim Novak, Jack Nicholson, Walter Matthau, Paul Newman, Liza Minelli, Al Pacino, Bing Crosby, Bernardo Bertolucci, Francesco Rosi, Sidney Poitier, Charlie Chaplin, Tyrone Power, Steven Spielberg, Omar Sharif and more. One night in 1998 Elton John, Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley dined together. In June 1955 Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman sat at the same table. Later Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Widmark were at Locanda Cipriani. Barbara Hutton threw a party here in 1957 and had thousands of candles lit to set the perfect mood. Sir Winston Churchill still holds a special place on the list of people who have stayed at the Locanda or dined in its restaurant. Throughout the 1950’s Churchill visited often with his wife Lady Clementine, normally with a painter’s easel under his arm. Venice was always a special place for the Churchills and it's where they spent part of their honeymoon in 1908.  In 1954 Britain’s great prime minister painted a corner of an island at Locanda Cipriani and sent Giuseppe Cipriani a copy of it in the form of a greeting card in memory of his visits. (Churchill pictured with FDR and a favorite Borsalino on his lap.)

Join the rich and famous on Torcello which is close to the island of Burano, known for its handmade table linens. Giuseppe Cipriani’s grandson Bonifacio Brass and his wife Daniela own and manage Locanda Cipriani today. The kitchen, led by gifted chef Renato Ceccato, not only prepares dishes invented by the Cipriani family and now considered classics—such as carpaccio of raw meat and John Dory alla Carlina, but also offers a wide range of specialties featuring fish, vegetables, home made pastas and rice. The ultimate in Venice luxury. Michelin rates Locanda Cipriani’s restaurant two red forks and adds, “Evocative traditional establishment with interiors and atmosphere reminiscent of a trattoria from another era and refined traditional cuisine; really pleasant service in the garden in summer.” Piazza Santa Fosca 29 Torcello, Venezia 30012 Tel. 041.730150 FAX: 041.735433. email: |

Hotel Arlecchino*** This hotel and her sister hotel, just steps away, are reasonably priced, comfortable hotels that are close to Piazza Roma, a major transportation center which makes reaching it from the train station and airport (7 miles away) easy. Located at the crossing of two typical Venetian canals. Recently renovated. Fondamenta delle Burchielle, Santa Croce 390 Venezia 30135 Tel. 041.710723 Fax. 041.710965 email: | and its sister hotel is only 28 steps away from Hotel Arlecchino: Hotel Olimpia***Fondamenta delle Burchielle, 395 Santa Croce Venezia 30135 Tel. 041.711041 Fax. 041.5246777 email: |

Schiopetto. Capriva del Friuli, GO, Gorizia. The Schiopetto family has been in the wine business for three generations. Giorgio Schiopetto, who owned Ai Pompieri, a famous old inn in Udine, passed on to his son Mario his love of good wines. When the great Mario Schiopetto died, he left his children Maria Angela, Carlo and Giorgio an inheritance that was uncomplicated yet challenging. Obviously, it is easy to make wine with fruit from the superb vineyards around the cellar in the Collio and at Podere dei Blumeri in Colli Orientali, a few kilometers away. However, it is far from simple to maintain the extraordinary level of Schiopetto wines over the years, while continuing to innovate and explore the qualities that made Mario the undisputed leader of Friulian oenology. A star indicates 10 Three Glass awards.

Italy Heralded by Mauro Battocchi, former Italian Consul General in San Francisco:
Director Francis Ford Coppola from Sonoma to Bernalda

(Francis Ford Coppola with Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese)

Francis Ford Coppola’s immense talent – a creative vision that birthed such classics as The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and Patton – extends beyond his legendary filmmaking to the art of winemaking. Most Californians have probably heard of the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and maybe even tried a glass themselves. Mr. Coppola’s oscars are on display at the Geyserville, California estate, which boasts scores of varietals which span the spectrum from old vine Zinfandels to table reds. There is even a Director’s Cut line of wines, one of which is aptly called the Cinema.

Ever the director, Mr. Coppola’s winemaking venture is interlaced with short films that give a sense of the property and wines. If you have the chance, the estate is well worth a visit. You may even find yourself on one of their four bocce courts in the Sonoma sun. Life could be worse.

Aside from winemaking, a tradition brought to California by Italian immigrants, Mr. Coppola is also connecting with his Italian roots via a resort which he has created in Bernalda, the town near Matera in the rugged region of Basilicata. Mr. Coppola’s grandfather was from Bernalda and the resort, Palazzo Margherita, exemplifies the beauty of this undiscovered region of Italy. It was in this same region that Pier Paolo Pasolini shot The Gospel According to St. Matthew in 1964. Mr. Coppola is proud of his Italian heritage – so much so that he and his children gained citizenship from my predecessor Fabrizio Marcelli.

So if you’re planning either a day trip from the Bay Area or a trip across the world to a remote corner of the bel paese, Mr. Coppola has something for you. To make a visit to the Coppola Winery, click here. For reservations at Palazzo Margherita, click here. Enjoy!

Italy Top Ranking • Florence • St. Catherine

Italy Top Ranking • Florence • St. Catherine

Italy Recommendations • Recipes

Italy Recommendations • Recipes