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.

11 July 2019

11 July

Giorgio Armani – designer


Former army medic forged brilliant career in fashion

Giorgio Armani, who is considered by many to be Italy's greatest fashion designer, was born on this day in 1934 in Piacenza in Emilia-Romagna.  Known for his menswear and the clean, tailored lines of his collections for women, Armani has become a multi-billionaire.  His original career plan was to become a doctor and he enrolled in the Department of Medicine at the University of Milan but after three years left to join the army. Due to his medical background he was assigned to the military hospital in Verona.  After he left the army, Armani decided to have a complete career change and got a job as a window dresser for La Rinascente, a Milan department store.  He progressed to become a sales assistant in the menswear department and then moved on to work for Nino Cerruti as a menswear designer.  In 1973 Armani opened a design office in Milan from where he worked as a freelance designer for fashion houses. He founded his own company, Giorgio Armani, in Milan in 1975.  Read more…

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Giuseppe Arcimboldo – painter


Portraits were considered unique in the history of art

The artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who created imaginative portrait heads made up entirely of objects such as fruit, vegetables, flowers and fish, died on this day in 1593 in Milan.  Unique at the time, Arcimboldo’s work was greatly admired in the 20th century by artists such as Salvador Dali and his fellow Surrealist painters.  Giuseppe’s father, Biagio Arcimboldo, was also an artist and Giuseppe followed in his footsteps designing stained glass and frescoes for churches.  Arcimboldo (sometimes also known as Arcimboldi) at first painted entirely in the style of the time. His beautiful fresco of the Tree of Jesse can still be seen in the Duomo of Monza.  But in 1562 he abruptly changed his style after moving to Prague to become court painter to the erudite King Rudolph II.  He began to create human heads, which could be considered as portraits, made up of pieces of fruit and vegetable and other objects, which were chosen for the meaning attributed to the image.  Arcimboldo also painted settings for the court theatre in Prague and he became an expert in illusionist trickery.  Read more…

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Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo


The shocking fate of a Spanish noblewoman

The beautiful wife of Don Pietro de' Medici, Eleonora di Garzia di Toledo, was strangled to death with a dog lead on this day in 1576 in a villa near Barberino di Mugello in Tuscany.   The murder was carried out by her husband, Pietro, but he was never brought to justice. His brother, Francesco, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, gave out as the official line that his sister-in-law had died as a result of an accident.  Eleonora, who was more often referred to as Leonora, was born in Florence in 1553, the daughter of Garcia Alvarez di Toledo and Vittoria d’Ascanio Colonna. Her father and mother were living in Florence at the time because Garcia was in charge of the castles of Valdichiano.  When her mother died a few months later, the baby, Leonora, was left in the care of her aunt, Eleonora, the Duchess of Florence, and her husband, the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, who raised her, preparing her for a life at the Medici court.  After the Duchess, Eleonora, died, her daughter, Isabella, took over the supervision of the young Leonora.  Read more…

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