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.

22 February 2019

22 February


Renato Dulbecco - Nobel Prize-winning physiologist


Research led to major breakthrough in knowledge of cancer

Renato Dulbecco, a physiologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in drawing a link between genetic mutations and cancer, was born on this day in 1914 in Catanzaro in Calabria.  Dulbecco and two colleagues showed that certain viruses could insert their own genes into infected cells and trigger uncontrolled cell growth, a hallmark of cancer. Their findings transformed the course of cancer research, providing the first evidence that the disease involved genetic mutations. Read more...


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Mario Pavesi – entrepreneur


Biscuit maker who gave Italian motorists the Autogrill

Italy lost one of its most important postwar entrepreneurs when Mario Pavesi died on this day in 1990.  Pavesi, originally from the town of Cilavegna in the province of Pavia in Lombardy, not only founded the Pavesi brand, famous for Pavesini and Ringo biscuits among other lines, but also set up Italy’s first motorway service areas under the name of Autogrill. The forward-thinking businessman foresaw the way Italians would embrace road travel once the country developed its own motorway network. Read more…

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Giulietta Masina - actress


Married to Fellini and excelled in his films

The actress Giulietta Masina, who was married for 50 years to the film director Federico Fellini, was born on this day in 1921 in San Giorgio di Piano in Emilia-Romagna. Fellini gave her the lead female role opposition Anthony Quinn in La Strada (1954) and enabled her to win international acclaim when he cast her as a prostitute in the 1957 film Nights of Cabiria, both of which won Oscars for best foreign film. Masina's performance in the latter earned her best actress awards at the film festivals of Cannes and San Sebasti├ín and from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists (SNGCI). Read more…

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Enrico Piaggio -- industrialist


Former aircraft manufacturer famed for Italy's iconic Vespa motor scooter

Enrico Piaggio, who was born on this day in 1905 in the Pegli area of Genoa, was destined to be an industrialist, although he cannot have envisaged the way in which his company would become a world leader. Charged with rebuilding the business after Allied bombers destroyed the company's major factories during World War II, Enrico Piaggio decided to switch from manufacturing aircraft to building motorcycles, an initiative from which emerged one of Italy's most famous symbols, the Vespa scooter. Read more...


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