At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Arnoldo Foà – actor


 Talented performer, director and writer worked into his 90s.


Arnoldo Foà pictured in 2008.
Arnoldo Foà pictured in 2008. Photo
 by Roberto Becheri (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Theatre and film actor Arnoldo Foà was born on this day in 1916 in Ferrara.

He began acting in the 1930s and was still appearing on stage after the year 2000 when he was over 90. He had parts in more than 100 films between 1938 and 2007.

Foà was born into a Jewish family living in Ferrara but moved with his family to live in Florence when he was three years old, eventually attending an acting school there.

He abandoned his economics and commerce studies in Florence at the age of 20 to move to Rome and attend the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.

Foà began appearing on stage in the 1930s but his situation became difficult during the war. In order to earn money he had to stand in for actors when they were ill using a false name.

He eventually moved to Naples and when the Allies arrived worked for their radio station as an announcer. At the end of the war Foà was able to work in the theatre under his own name again.

In the 1950s he started writing, became a theatre director and helped with the development of RAI.

During his film career Foà worked for many famous directors. On his website he picks as  two of his most prestigious films Il Processo (The Trial) directed by Orson Welles and Gente di Roma (People of Rome) directed by Ettore Scola, for which he received an award.


Arnoldo Foà with the actress Milly Vitale in the 1955 film 'Cantami Buongiorno Tristezza'
Arnoldo Foà with the actress Milly Vitale in the 1955
film 'Cantami Buongiorno Tristezza'
Foà also played many television roles and provided voices for films dubbed in Italian. He was Antony Quinn’s voice in Fellini’s film La Strada.

Foà has at times been a painter, sculptor and journalist and was briefly a local councillor for the Radical party. He has also had several books published.

He appeared in the film The Good Pope, about Pope John XXIII, in 2003 and was on stage in a play about Toscanini in 2007.

Foà died in 2014 just a few days short of his 98th birthday.


Ferrara's magnificent castle is the centrepiece of the town in Emilia-Romagna
Ferrara's magnificent castle
Travel tip:

Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna was the city of the Este dukes and is still beautiful today with winding cobbled streets, medieval houses, Renaissance palaces and a stunning castle. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Travel tip:

The Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Experimental Film Centre) was established in 1935 in Rome to promote the art and technique of film making. It is located near Cinecittà, the hub of the Italian film industry, to the south of the city. Cinecittà was bombed during the Second World War but rebuilt and used again in the 1950s for large productions, such as Ben-Hur. A range of productions, from television drama to music videos, are filmed there now and it has its own dedicated Metro stop.

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