24 May 2024

24 May

NEW - Alessandro Bonora - cricketer

All-rounder played for Italy in almost 100 matches 

The cricketer Alessandro Bonora, who made 99 appearances for Italy’s national team between 2000 and 2016, was born on this day in 1978 in Bordighera, a small town on the coast of Liguria.  Bonara, a right-handed batter and medium-fast bowler, captained Italy on 37 occasions, notably in a 2011 World Cricket League event when he was the tournament’s top scorer and achieved his career-best innings of 124 not out against Oman.  He was also part of the Italian team that took part in the 2013 World Twenty20 qualifying competition in the United Arab Emirates, the highest level of competition in which the team has taken part.  Bonara also played some club cricket in Italy, living in Rome for more than five years and turning out for Lazio Cricket Club.  Although born in Italy, Bonara grew up and learned to play cricket in South Africa, where his parents emigrated when he was two years old, building a new life in Cape Town.  As a youngster, while he counted himself as a Juventus fan in terms of football, his cricket focus was on the South Africa team and he did not know of the existence of the Italian national team until a team-mate at his club told him.  Read more…


Alessandro Cruto - inventor

Produced light bulb hailed as better than Edison’s

The inventor Alessandro Cruto, whose attempts to create artificial diamonds instead led him to develop a light bulb that outperformed that of his contemporary, Thomas Edison, was born on this day in 1847 in Piossasco, a village near Turin.  Younger than his American counterpart by just three months, Cruto hit upon his idea after attending a conference held by Galileo Ferraris, the pioneer of alternating current, where Edison’s attempts to find a suitable filament for incandescent light bulbs were discussed.  Cruto eventually opened a factory that eventually made up to 1,000 light bulbs per day but quit the company after seven years to return to his first love, inventing.  The son of a construction foreman, Cruto enrolled at the University of Turin to study architecture but was more interested in attending physics and chemistry lectures, eager to advance his knowledge. It was after attending one of these lectures that he hit upon the idea that he could produce artificial diamonds by crystallising carbon. In 1872, he opened a small workshop in his home village. In the September of the following year, his experiments resulted in him creating a dense carbon material that was hard enough to scratch glass.  Read more…


Aurelio De Laurentiis - entrepreneur

Film producer who owns SSC Napoli

The film producer and football club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis was born on this day in 1949 in Rome.  The nephew of Dino De Laurentiis, the producer credited with giving Italian cinema an international platform with his backing for Federico Fellini’s Oscar-winning 1954 movie La strada, Aurelio teamed up with his father, Luigi, to form the production company Filmauro in 1975.  The company has produced or distributed more than 400 films in Italy and around the world, working with directors such as Mario Monicelli, Ettore Scola, Pupi Avati, Damiano Damiani and Roberto Benigni among the greats of Italian cinema, as well as internationally-acclaimed names such as Blake Edwards, Peter Weir, Luc Besson, Eduardo Sanchez and Ridley Scott.  Aurelio has won numerous honours for his achievements in the film industry. Filmauro is also the company behind a sequence of Christmas comedies that have proved massively popular with Italian audiences since they were launched in the 1980s.   Yet he is perhaps even better known for buying up a bankrupt SSC Napoli football club in 2004 and taking it from Serie C - the third tier of Italian football - to the Champions League in just five years.  Read more...


Ilaria Alpi - investigative journalist

TV reporter murdered in Somalia ambush

The TV journalist Ilaria Alpi, who with her Italian cameraman Miran Hrovatin was murdered while reporting from war-torn Somalia in the early 1990s, was born on this day in 1961 in Rome.  Alpi, who was in Somalia for Italy’s national broadcaster Rai as the United Nations attempted to end a three-year long civil war in the country, was killed near the Hotel Sahafi, which was the international media base in the Somali capital Mogadishu.  The white Toyota pick-up in which she and Hrovatin were travelling was at a crossroads about 4.5km (2.8 miles) from the Sahafi when a Land Rover pulled across their path, forcing their vehicle to stop. At this point a gunman or several gunmen - as many as seven, some reports said - began shooting. Alpi and Hrovatin died at the scene, although their driver and three armed bodyguards escaped unhurt.  The murders shocked Italy, who had been used to seeing Alpi’s reports on the Tg3 news programmes from Lebanon and Kuwait as well as Somalia thanks to her deep knowledge of the area and her fluency in Arabic languages.  She had been in Somalia regularly to report on the United Nations’ attempts to bring order and peace to the country.  Read more…


Jacopo Carucci da Pontormo – artist

Painter’s expressive style was the start of Mannerism

Painter Jacopo Carucci, often referred to simply as Pontormo, was born on this day in 1494 in Pontorme near Empoli in Tuscany.  Pontormo is considered to be the founder of the Mannerist style of painting in the later years of the Italian high renaissance, as he was capable of blending Michelangelo’s use of colour and monumental figures with the metallic rigidity of northern painters such as Albrecht Dürer. His work represents a distinct stylistic shift from the art typical of the Florentine Renaissance.  According to Giorgio Vasari in his book, The Lives of the Artists, Pontormo’s father was also a painter but he became an orphan at the age of ten. As a young art apprentice he moved around a lot, staying with Leonardo da Vinci, Mariotto Albertinelli, Piero di Cosimo and Andrea del Sarto.  Pope Leo X, passing through Florence in 1515 on a journey, commissioned the young Pontormo to fresco the Pope’s Chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella.  Pontormo also participated in the decoration of the nuptial chamber of Pierfrancesco Borgherini with his Stories of Joseph, four paintings that are now in the National Gallery in London.  Read more…


Simone Rugiati - celebrity chef

Popular presenter found fame early in career

The chef and TV presenter Simone Rugiati was born on this day in 1981 in Santa Croce sull’ Arno, midway between Pisa and Florence in Tuscany.  He became a famous face on TV in Italy with a seven-year run on the hit cookery show La prova del cuoco (the Test of the Cook) - a hugely popular daytime programme on Rai Uno based on the BBC show Ready Steady Cook, fronted by Antonella Clerici.  Rugiati has also presented numerous programmes on the satellite TV food channel Gambero Rosso and since 2010 he has been the face of Cuochi e fiamme (Cooks and Flames) - a cookery contest on the La7 network in which two non-professional chefs cook the same dish and see their efforts marked by a panel of judges.  He has also taken part in reality TV shows, including the 2010 edition of L’isola dei famosi, an Italian version of the American show Survivor.  Rugiati reached the semi-final of another reality show, Pechino Express, in which the competitors, paired in couples, complete an epic 7,900km (4,900 miles) journey from Haridwar in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand to Beijing in China, undertaking various challenges along the way.  Read more…


Charles Emmanuel IV – King of Sardinia

Monarch who was descended from Charles I of England

Charles Emmanuel IV, who was King of Sardinia from 1796 until he abdicated in 1802 and might once have had a claim to the throne of England, was born on this day in 1751 in Turin.  Born Carlo Emanuele Ferdinando Maria di Savoia, he was the eldest son of Victor Amadeus III, King of Sardinia, and of his wife Infanta Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain. From his birth he was known as the Prince of Piedmont.  In 1775, he married Marie Clotilde of France, the daughter of Louis, Dauphin of France, and Princess Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, and sister of King Louis XVI of France.  Although it was essentially a political marriage over which they had little choice, the couple became devoted to one another.  With the death of his father in October 1796, Charles Emmanuel inherited the throne of Sardinia, a kingdom that included not only the island of Sardinia, but also the whole of Piedmont and other parts of north-west Italy.  He took on a difficult political situation along with the throne, only months after his father had signed the disadvantageous Treaty of Paris with the French Republic following the four-year War of the First Coalition, in which Napoleon’s army prevailed.  Read more…


Gian Gastone de' Medici - Grand Duke of Tuscany

The last Medici to rule Florence

Gian Gastone de' Medici, the seventh and last Grand Duke of Tuscany, was born on this day in 1671 in the Pitti Palace in Florence.  He was the second son of Grand Duke Cosimo III and Marguerite Louise d’Orleans.  Because his elder brother predeceased him he succeeded his father to the title in 1723.  He had an unhappy arranged marriage and the couple had no children so when he died in 1737 it was the end of 300 years of Medici rule over Florence.  He spent the last few years of his reign confined to bed, looked after by his entourage.  One of his final acts was to order the erection of a statue to Galileo in the Basilica of Santa Croce.  He was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo and Francis Stephen of Lorraine succeeded to the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany.  The Palazzo Pitti, known to English visitors as the Pitti Palace, is on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. It became the main residence of the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and is now the largest museum complex in Florence.  Read more…


Book of the Day: Sport Italia: The Italian Love Affair with Sport, by Simon Martin

The Italian love affair with sport is passionate, voracious, all-consuming. It provides a backdrop and a narrative to almost every aspect of daily life in Italy and the distinctively pink-coloured newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is devoured by almost half a million readers every day. Narrating the history of modern Italy through its national passion for sport, Sport Italia provides a completely new portrayal of one of Europe's most alluring, yet contradictory countries, tracing the highs and lows of Italy's sporting history from its Liberal pioneers through Mussolini and the 1960 Rome Olympics to the Berlusconi era. By interweaving essential themes of Italian history, its politics, society and economy with a history of the passion for sport in the country, Simon Martin tells the story of modern Italy in a fresh and colourful way, illustrating how and why sport is so strongly embedded in both politics and society, and how it is inseparable from the concept of Italian national identity. Showing sport's capacity to both unite and deeply divide, this fascinating book reveals a novel and previously unexplored element of the history of a society and its state.  Winner of the Lord Aberdare Literary Prize for Sports History in 2012.

Simon Martin is the author of Football and Fascism: The National Game under Mussolini, which won the Lord Aberdare Prize in 2004. He holds a PhD from University College, London and has taught there, as well as at the University of Hertfordshire, the University of California, Rome programme, the New York University in Florence and the American University of Rome.

Buy from Amazon

EN - 728x90


No comments:

Post a Comment