29 June 2022

29 June

Federico Peliti - catering entrepreneur and photographer

Italian became important figure in British Colonial India

Federico Peliti, whose skills as a chef and pastry-maker led him to spend a large part of his life in India under British colonial rule, was born on this day in 1844 in Carignano, a town in Piedmont about 20km (12 miles) south of Turin.  He was also an accomplished photographer and collections of his work made an important contribution to the documentary history of the early years of British rule in India.  The restaurant Peliti opened in Shimla, the so-called summer capital of the British Empire in India, became a favourite with colonial high society and was mentioned in the writings of Rudyard Kipling and others.  Peliti’s family hailed from Valganna, near Varese in Lombardy. They had mainly been surveyors and Peliti initially studied sculpture at the Accademia Albertina in Turin.  He was diverted from a career in sculpture by the Third Italian War of Independence, in which he participated as a cavalryman in the 1st Nizza regiment of the Italian army. By chance, during his active service, he made friends with a group of confectioners and pastry-makers, who taught him some of their skills.  Read more…


Elizabeth Barrett Browning dies in Florence

Romantic poet produced some of her best work after fleeing to Italy

English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning died on this day in 1861 in Florence.  She had spent 15 years living in Italy with her husband, the poet Robert Browning, after being disinherited by her father who disapproved of their marriage.  The Brownings’ home in Florence, Casa Guidi, is now a memorial to the two poets.  Their only child, Robert Weidemann Barrett Browning, who became known as Pen, was born there in 1849.  Barrett Browning was one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era and was popular in both Britain and the United States during her lifetime.  From about the age of 15 she had suffered health problems and therefore lived a quiet life in her father’s house, concentrating on her writing.  A volume of her poems, published in 1844, inspired another writer, Robert Browning, to send her a letter praising her work.  He was eventually introduced to her by a mutual acquaintance and their legendary courtship began in secret.  They were married in 1846 and, after she had continued to live in her father’s home for a week, they fled to Italy. They settled in Florence, where they continued to write.  Read more…


Masaniello - insurgent

Fisherman who led Naples revolt 

The 17th century insurgent known as Masaniello was born on this day in 1620 in Naples.  A humble fishmonger’s son, Masaniello was the unlikely leader of a revolt against the Spanish rulers of his home city in 1647, which was successful in that it led to the formation of a Neapolitan Republic, even though Spain regained control within less than a year.  The uprising, which followed years of oppression and discontent among the 300,000 inhabitants of Naples, was sparked by the imposition of taxes on fruit and other basic provisions, hitting the poor particularly hard.  Masaniello - real name Tommaso Aniello - was a charismatic character, well known among the traders of Piazza Mercato, the expansive square that had been a centre of commerce in the city since the 14th century.  Born in a house in Vico Rotto al Mercato, one of the many narrow streets around the market square, situated close to the city’s main port area, he followed his father, Ciccio d’Amalfi, into the fish trading business.   He had his own clients among the Spanish nobility, with whom he traded directly to avoid taxation. He was a smuggler, too, although he was frequently caught.  Read more…


Oriana Fallaci - journalist

Writer known for exhaustively probing interviews

Oriana Fallaci, who was at different times in her career one of Italy’s most respected journalists and also one of the most controversial, was born in Florence on this day in 1929.  As a foreign correspondent, often reporting from the world’s most hazardous regions in times of war and revolution, Fallaci interviewed most of the key figures on both sides of conflicts.  Many of these were assembled in her book Interview with History, in which she published accounts of lengthy conversations, often lasting six or seven hours, with such personalities as Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Yasser Arafat, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Willy Brandt, Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Henry Kissinger and the presidents of both South and North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.  Others she interviewed included Deng Xiaoping, Lech Wałęsa, Muammar Gaddafi and the Ayatollah Khomeini.  She seldom held back from asking the most penetrating and awkward questions. Henry Kissinger, the diplomat and former US Secretary of State, later described his meeting with Fallaci for a piece published in Playboy magazine as "the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press".  Read more…


Giorgio Napolitano – 11th President of Italy

Neapolitan was concerned about the development of southern Italy

Giorgio Napolitano, who served as the 11th President of the Republic of Italy, was born on this day in 1925 in Naples. He was the longest serving president in the history of the republic and the only Italian president to have been re-elected.  He graduated in law from Naples University in 1947, having joined a group of young anti-fascists while he was an undergraduate.  At the age of 20, Napolitano joined the Italian Communist Party. He was a militant and then became one of the leaders, staying with the party until 1991 when it was dissolved. He then joined the Democratic Party of the Left.  Napolitano was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 1953 and continued to be re-elected by the Naples constituency until 1996.  His parliamentary activity focused on the issue of southern Italy’s development and on national economic policy.  As a member of the European parliament between 1989 and 1992, he regularly travelled abroad giving lectures.  In 2005 he was appointed life Senator by the President of the Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.  The following year he was elected as President of the Republic and he served until 2015.  Read more…

EN - 728x90


No comments:

Post a Comment