9 March 2019

9 March

Bettino Ricasoli - statesman and winemaker

Prime minister and inventor of modern Chianti wine

The politician and winemaker Barone Bettino Ricasoli was born on this day in 1809 in Florence. Ricasoli, who is considered one of the driving forces of the Risorgimento alongside Giuseppe Mazzini, Count Camillo Benso of Cavour, Giuseppe Garibaldi and others, succeeded Cavour as prime minister in 1861, the second person to hold the office in the new Kingdom of Italy. After withdrawing from politics, he concentrated on the family vineyards around the Castello di Brolio in the Tuscan hills between Siena and Arezzo, seat of the Ricasoli family since the early 12th century. It was there is 1872, seeking to create a wine with universal appeal, that he developed the formula for Chianti wine that is still used today, made up of 70 per cent Sangiovese grapes, 15 per cent Canaiolo and 15 per cent Malvasia bianca. Read more...


Internazionale - football superpower

Famous club that broke away from rivals AC Milan

Internazionale, one of Italy's most successful football clubs, came into being on this day in 1908. The winner 18 times of lo scudetto - the Italian championship - the club known often as Inter or Inter-Milan was born after a split within the membership of the Milan Cricket and Football Club, forerunner of the club known now as A C Milan. The original club was established by expatriate British football enthusiasts with a membership restricted to Italian and British players. It was after a dispute over whether foreign players should be signed that a breakaway group formed. Plans for a new club were drawn up at a meeting at the Ristorante L'Orologio in Via Giuseppe Mengoni in Milan, a short distance from the opera house, Teatro alla Scala.  Read more…


Emma Bonino – politician

Leading Radical learnt Arabic to understand Middle East press

Veteran politician Emma Bonino, who most recently served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Government of Enrico Letta, was born on this day in 1948 in Bra in Piedmont. A leading member of the Italian Radicals, Bonino has throughout her career been an activist for reform policies and a campaigner for women's and human rights, leading the campaign that led to the legalisation of abortion in Italy.  She pushed for a referendum against nuclear energy, which led to the rejection of a civil nuclear energy programme in Italy. Bonino was elected to the European parliament in 1979 and re-elected twice afterwards. In 2001 she moved to Cairo to learn Arabic and in 2003 she started a daily review of the Arabic press on Radical Radio.  Read more…


Amerigo Vespucci – explorer

Medici clerk who discovered a new world

Explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci was born on this day in 1454 in Florence. Vespucci was the first to discover the ‘new world’, which later came to be called the Americas, taking the Latin version of his first name. The son of a notary in Florence and a cousin of the husband of the beautiful artist’s model, Simonetta Vespucci, he was educated by his uncle, Fra Giorgio Antonio Vespucci, a Dominican friar, and he was later hired as a clerk by the Medici family. As the executor of an Italian merchant who had died in Seville, Vespucci fulfilled the deceased’s contract with Castile to provide 12 vessels to sail to the Indies. Vespucci is known to have taken an active part in at least two real voyages of exploration. Read more...


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