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.

4 May 2019

4 May

Anthony Martin Sinatra - father of Frank


Sicilian who became a professional boxer in New York

Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, who at various times was a fireman, a professional boxer and the owner of a bar, was born on this day in 1894 in Lercara Friddi, a mining town in Sicily, about 70km (44 miles) south-east of the island’s capital, Palermo.  Usually known as Antonino, after emigrating to the United States he married Natalie Garaventa, a girl from near Genoa who lived in his neighbourhood in New York City.  They set up home in New Jersey and had a son, whom they christened Francis Albert, who would grow up to be better known as Frank Sinatra, one of the most popular entertainers of all time. Early in Antonino’s life, his family decided to join the growing number of Sicilians who believed their prospects of escaping a life of poverty in their homeland were slim and after sailing to Naples boarded a ship bound for New York.  Read more…

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Marella Agnelli - noblewoman and socialite


Married for 50 years to Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli

Donna Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto, the noblewoman from an old Neapolitan family who married the jet-setting chairman of car giants Fiat, Gianni Agnelli, was born on this day in 1927 in Florence.  Simply known as Marella Agnelli, she was propelled by her marriage at the age of 26 into a world in which she became a socialite and style icon, devoting her life to collecting art, decorating the numerous homes she and her husband kept in Europe and beyond, and attending and hosting lavish, exclusive parties.  The couple would eventually have homes in Rome, Paris, New York,  Corsica and Saint-Moritz, as well as several houses in and around Agnelli’s home city of Turin, including the Agnelli estate in the foothills of the Italian Alps.  Read more…

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Bartolomeo Cristofori - inventor of the piano


Instrument maker adapted harpsichord to play soft and loud notes

Bartolomeo Cristofori, the man widely credited with inventing the piano, was born on this day in 1655 in Padua.  He came up with the idea while working for the Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici in Florence, who had hired him to look after his collection of harpsichords and other instruments.  It is thought that Cristofori, who was assumed to have been an established maker of musical instruments, wanted to create a keyboard instrument similar to a harpsichord but capable of playing notes of varying loudness.  An inventory of Medici instruments from 1700 described an "arpicimbalo", which resembled a harpsichord but which created soft and loud (piano e forte) sounds through hammers and dampers rather than the plucking mechanism employed by the harpsichord. It was said to be "newly invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori" and came to be called the pianoforte.  Read more…

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