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.

12 April 2019

12 April

Giorgio Cantarini - actor


Child star of Oscar-winning Life Is Beautiful

Giorgio Cantarini, who delivered an award-winning performance in the triple Oscar-winning movie Life Is Beautiful when he was just five years old, was born on this day in 1992 in Orvieto. Cantarini was cast as Giosuè, the four-year-old son of Roberto Benigni’s character, Guido, in the 1997 film, which brought Academy Awards for Benigni as Best Actor and, as the director, for Best Foreign Film. For his own part, Cantarini was rewarded for a captivating performance in the poignant story with a Young Artist award. Three years later, in Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning blockbuster Gladiator, Cantarini was given another coveted part as the son of Russell Crowe’s character, Maximus. Cantarini went to an audition for the part of Giosuè after an uncle read a description in a newspaper article of the kind of child Benigni wanted and told him he was a perfect match. Read more…

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Marcello Lippi - World Cup winning coach


Former Juventus manager also won the Champions League

Marcello Lippi, one of Italy's most successful football managers and a World Cup winner in 2006, was born on this day in 1948 in Viareggio on the Tuscan coast, where he still lives. Lippi, who as Juventus coach won five Serie A titles and the Champions League before taking the reins of the national team, subsequently had a successful career in China, where his Guangzhou Evergrande team won three Chinese Super League championships and the Asian Champions League. He is the only manager to have won both the European Champions League and the Asian Champions League. After winning his third league title with Guangzhou in November 2015 he announced his retirement, claiming he was too old to continue coaching.  He stayed at the club as director of football but resigned from that position the following February. Read more...

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Flavio Briatore - entrepreneur


From clothing to luxury resorts via Formula One

The colourful and controversial entrepreneur Flavio Briatore was born on this day in 1950 in Verzuolo, a large village in the Italian Alps near Saluzzo in Piedmont. Briatore is best known for his association with the Benetton clothing brand and, through their sponsorship, Formula One motor racing, but his business interests have extended well beyond the High Street and the race track. His empire includes his exclusive Sardinian beach club Billionaire, Twiga beach clubs in Tuscany and Apulia, the Lion under the Sun spa resort in Kenya, the upmarket Sumosan, Twiga and Cipriani restaurants, and the Billionaire Couture menswear line. Briatore was also for three years co-owner with former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal of the English football club Queen’s Park Rangers. Read more…

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Caffarelli – opera singer


Tempestuous life of a talented male soprano

The castrato singer who performed under the stage name of Caffarelli was born Gaetano Maiorano on this day in 1710 in Bitonto in the province of Bari in Apulia. Caffarelli had a reputation for being temperamental and for fighting duels with little provocation, but he was popular with audiences and was able to amass a large fortune for himself. It is thought that his stage name, Caffarelli, may have been taken from his teacher, Caffaro, who gave him music lessons when he was a child. When Maiorano was ten years old he was given the income from two vineyards owned by his grandmother to enable him to study music. The legal document drawn up mentioned that the young boy wished to be castrated and become a eunuch. Maiorano became a pupil of Nicola Porpora, the composer and singing teacher, who is reputed to have told him eventually there was no more he could be taught because he was the greatest singer in Europe. Read more…

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