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Volta • Mario Andretti • Amalfi Coast

Volta • Mario Andretti • Amalfi Coast

Did you know?
The names “volt” and “voltage” come from famous Italian inventor Alessandro Volta. Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was born in Como, Lombardy, on 18 February 1745. At an early age, Volta became fascinated with electricity. In 1774, he was appointed professor of physics in the Como High School and the next year he invented electrophorus, a charge-accumulating machine.

Volta's fame spread as result. He invented other gadgets involving static electricity and received the Copley Medal of the Royal Society in 1791. In 1800 Volta constructed a device that would produce a large flow of electricity. Volta's invention was the world’s first electric battery, which lifted Volta's fame to its pinnacle. He was called to France by Napoleon I in 1801 for a kind of "command performance” of his experiments. He received many medals and decorations, including the Legion of Honor and was made a count and, in 1810, a senator of the kingdom of Lombardy. He called his invention a column battery, although it came to be commonly known as the Volta battery or Voltaic cell. The term volt, a unit for measuring electrical potential difference and electromotive force, is also derived from Alessandro Volta’s name. At Lake Como you can visit the Tempio Voltiano, a classic temple with marble columns that houses the device Volta used to create the first battery. The award-winning Chevrolet Volt, which started production in 2010, pays tribute to Volta.

Famous Italian
Mario Andretti was born Mario Gabriel Andretti on 28 February 1940 in Montona, Italy. After the Second World War Montona was ceded to Yugoslavia. Rather than live under Communist rule, Mario's family resettled in a refugee camp in Tuscany and, in 1955, the family left Italy for the United States and settled in Pennsylvania. Today the village is called Monvun and is part of Croatia. Many consider Andretti to be the finest all-around driver ever. In 2000 the Associated Press and RACER Magazine named Andretti “Driver of the Century.” His career spanned five decades. Andretti, four-time USAC-CART national champion (1965-1966, 1969 and 1984), was the only driver to win the Daytona 500 (1967), the Indy 500 (1969), and the Formula One world title (1978). He retired from racing in 1994, ranking first in poles (67), and starts (407), and second in wins (52) on the all-time Championship Auto Racing Teams list. His teams included Lotus, STP Corporation, Ferrari, Parnelli, Alfa Romeo, and Williams. Sons Michael and Jeff Andretti are race car drivers like their father. At the Champ Car ranks in 1990 they made racing history, marking the first time a father has competed against his two sons in an Champ Car race. Mario's nephew John has had success in both Champ Cars and NASCAR, winning races in both series. His grandson Marco won a championship in Champ Cars' "Stars of Tomorrow" kart racing series. Truly a family of accomplished drivers. After a wine was named after Mario, he formed his own Andretti Winery in Napa Visit the official Mario Andretti Family website

New proverb
Chi non l'occhio vede, col cuor crede: Seeing is believing.

Place to visit
Ravello, Amalfi Coast. High above the Tyrrhenian Sea, the romantic town of Ravello was built in the 4th century BC by Romans and is situated in a splendid position on a rocky spur astride the Valle del Dragone e del Regina (Dragon and Queen valleys) overhanging Minori and Maiori. This enchanted place is among the most beautiful on the whole Amalfi Coast with an intense and unique landscape. Ravello is renowned for its peacefulness and deep fascination. The town entrance is graced by the Roman Church of Santa Maria a Gradillo built in the 12th Century. Breathtaking views abound. Ravello is in a more eleva­ted position than the other pearls of the Amalfi Coast and it boasts ex­ceptional landscapes that have earned the terrace at Villa Cimbrone the name of "Terrace of Infinity". Villa Cimbrone is renowned for its glorious lookout terrace.

Gore Vidal, the prominent American writer, honorary citizen and former resident of Ravello, says it’s the most beautiful panorama in the world. The French Nobel laureate André Gide penned an apropos description: "Ravello is nearer to the sky than it is to the shore". Among the famous guests of Villa Cimbrone were Sir Winston Churchill, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Virginia Woolf, Tennessee Williams, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, David Herbert Lawrence who authored “Lady Chatterley's Lover" (inspired by the gardens and charming buildings here and in Taormina) and Greta Garbo; her elopement with Leopold Stokowski is remembered by a marble inscription at the beginning of the path. The garden is graced by a bronze statue of Mercury, a tea pavilion, several marble statues, Eve's Grotto and the Tempio di Bacco ( Temple of Bacchus) where Lord Beckett is buried. You may add your name to the list of luminaries who have been treated royally at Villa Cimbrone by staying at the palatial four star, 11th century villa yourself! Hotel Villa Cimbrone: 26 Santa Chiara, Ravello, SA Salerno. | Ravello is a touch of heaven on earth! Call the Ravello Concert Society for upcoming performances: 089.858149.

During your adventures along the Amalfi Coast, stop by Hotel Santa Caterina***** at least for a drink and appetizers, or even better yet, to stay. Michelin rates this five star hotel “top class comfort” and Condé Nast Traveler ranks it Italy’s third best hotel. Evocative views, luxurious spa and wellness center, deluxe rooms and “spettacolare” restaurants. Located at S.S. Amalfitana 9, Amalfi, SA Salerno 84011. Telephone 089.871012 | Both Hotel Villa Cimbrone and Hotel Santa Caterina are highly rated by Michelin.

Cumpà Cosimo. Donna Netta Bottone, affectionately called “Mamma Netta” by those who know and love her, is the uncontested ambasciatrice (ambassador) of Ravello’s main piazza and star of this popular ristorante founded in 1929 by her parents. Located just a few steps from the beautiful Duomo di San Pantaleone. Most of the homemade food comes from Netta's garden or her butcher shop. She is famous for her “pasta mista”--seven pastas which are served in an assortment so you can taste them all. Other specialties are cheese crepes, penne all’arrabiata (penne pasta with pomodoro sauce that’s spicy), calamari (squid), roasted lamb and porcini mushrooms that are all mouthwatering. Mamma Netta cooks, sings, serves food, greets everyone and is the quintessential Italian nonna (grandmother). If you want a nonna in Ravello, she may adopt you by the time you leave, topped off with a hug and two kisses--one on each cheek. Closed Mondays November-March. Via Roma 44, Ravello, Amalfi Telephone: 089.857156

Hotel and Restaurant
Villa Pina Hotel*** and Ristorante Antico Francischiello da Peppino. Owner Mamma Giuseppina “Pina” Gargiulo makes all of the antipasti (appetizers) and many of the homemade dishes that are served in the restaurant of this marvelous hotel run by her friendly and helpful children Francesco and Ferminia. Located South of Sorrento in Massa Lubrense in the serene landscape of the Sorrentine hills. Luciano Pavarotti dined at the restaurant and there’s a good reason. In the land where homemade pastas are a national treasure and passion, the food here rates near the top. Reasonably priced rooms are comfortable, small, clean and all have marvelous sea views which look out to the Island of Capri. Delightful live music in the restaurant or on the patio often after dinner. Michelin two forks. Although the hotel and restaurant have different names, they are adjoined and both owned by the wonderful Gargiulo family. Via Partenope 27 and 40, Massa Lubrense, NA Napoli Italy 80061 Tel. 39.081 5339780 or 39.081 8071813  Francesco Gargiulo e-mail: |

Cantine Gran Furor. Furore, SA, Salerno. The Amalfi Coast is not just one of the most beautiful spots on the planet and a magnet for tourists and VIP’s from all over the world. It’s also an area that is supremely well suited to vine cultivation and acts as guardian to many of Campania’s oldest and most characterful varieties such as the fenile, ginestra, ripoli and tintore. The vineyards are small terraces hewn from rocks that hang sheer over the sea, often more than 500 meters high, which means that carrying out a vintage here requires a certain physical courage. Given such conditions, we must renew our congratulations to Marisa Cuomo and Andrea Ferraioli, the foremost Costa d’Amalfi producers.

Italy Heralded by Mauro Battocchi, former Italian Consul General in San Francisco:
Italian Father of Microprocessor Awarded Enrico Fermi Award

(Federico Faggin in 1972, working for Intel)

Our beloved Dr. Federico Faggin, inventor of the microprocessor and advanced researcher of human consciousness, has been awarded the Enrico Fermi Award by the Società Italiana di Fisica, for his work in pioneering the technology that has radically and irreversibly changed the face of humanity.

Dr. Faggin, I am honored to offer you my most sincere auguri for this momentous achievement! May the day you claim the award in Pisa be a joyful one and pay homage to the indelible mark you’ve left on the world of technology and beacon of possibility you’ve demonstrated to aspiring Italian technologists all over the world.

In 1968, Dr. Faggin presented his game-changing paper, “Insulated Gate Field Effect Transistor Integrated Circuits with Silicon Gates”, at the IEEE International Electron Device Meeting and laid the foundation for a transformative technological revolution. Indeed, his seminal work not only paved the way for the microprocessor, but also led to the invention of RAM memory and the CCD sensor, which brought on the pervasive transition from film to digital photography. Dr. Faggin also founded the company Synaptics, which produces the most widely used touchpad in the industry, utilized by Samsung and other device manufacturers.

(Obama confers Dr. Faggin the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest award the United States gives for achievements related to technological progress)

Dr. Faggin’s contribution extends far beyond the realm of microelectronics. Indeed, he is a great thinker and offers valuable insight on technology, humanity and the very essence of what makes us tick. He has founded the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation, which studies human consciousness, the very nexus of the physical world and our human involvement in it. The results promise to be revolutionary. To learn more about Dr. Faggin’s views on consciousness read this fascinating interview here.

To learn more about Dr. Faggin and his life’s work, see below.

Prince Emanuele Filiberto • Roberto Benigni

Prince Emanuele Filiberto • Roberto Benigni

Francesco Totti • Rome • Ristorante Piccolo Mondo

Francesco Totti • Rome • Ristorante Piccolo Mondo