Showing posts with label 1934. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1934. Show all posts

24 March 2018

Mimmo Jodice - photographer

Camera work with shades of metaphysical art

Mimmo Jodice celebrates his 84th birthday today
Mimmo Jodice celebrates his
84th birthday today
Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Jodice, who has been a major influence on artistic photography in Italy for half a century, was born on this day in 1934 in Naples.

Jodice, who was professor of photography at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli from 1969 to 1996, is best known for his atmospheric photographs of urban scenes, especially in his home city.

Often these pictures reflected his fascination with how Italian cities habitually mix the present and the future with echoes of the past in their urban landscapes, with the incongruous juxtapositions of ancient and modern that were characteristic of metaphysical art occurring naturally as part of urban evolution.

His books Vedute di Napoli (Views of Naples) and Lost in Seeing: Dreams and Visions of Italy have been international bestsellers and he has exhibited his work all over the world.

Born in the Sanità district of Naples, Jodice was the second of four children. His father died when he was still a boy and the requirement that he find work as soon as he was able meant he had only a limited education.

Jodice is best known for his photographs of Naples
Jodice is best known for his photographs of Naples
Nonetheless, he was drawn towards art and the theatre, classical music and jazz and read as much as he could to expand his knowledge. He also taught himself to draw and paint.

He took up photography in the late 1950s and became part of the avant-garde revival that took hold in Italy in the 1960s.  Through his friendship with the Naples gallerist Lucio Amelio, he was introduced to artistic styles such as Pop art, Arte Povera and Fluxus, becoming acquainted with important contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and Robert Rauschenberg.

He exhibited his work for the first time at Libreria La Mandragola in Naples in 1967 and took a collection to the Teatro Spento in Urbino the following year. As interest in his photography spread, he began to take his work to many more locations in Italy, and eventually beyond.

Having at one time specialised in portraits and nudes, he began using his photography to highlight the poor conditions in which some people lived in Naples, particularly after the city’s widespread social deprivation sparked a cholera outbreak in 1973.

The disease was linked to poor sanitation and the consumption of seafood caught in waters badly polluted by the city’s antiquated sewerage system.

Jodice's collection Vedute di Napoli was a bestseller
Jodice's collection Vedute di Napoli was a bestseller
Jodice’s focus on social conditions continued until the 1980s, when he began to concentrate more on urban landscapes, where buildings and ancient relics became the focal point of his work rather than people.

His Vedute di Napoli, published in 1980, was the first of many collections which captured the spirit of his home city.  He also took wonderfully atmospheric pictures in Venice and Paris and many other settings.

He worked with the concept of time connecting the old with the new, run-down monuments with modern cities.  His tour de force, Lost in Seeing: Dreams and Visions of Italy, which brought together photographs from his urban and rural collections in Italy, was described by one reviewer as “photos representing metaphysical visions interweaving signs of the past as they return to inhabit the present”.

In the 1990s, Jodice became also a photographer of art and architecture, producing series that highlighted the works of such giants as Michelangelo and Canova, and backdrops such as Paestum, Pompei and historic Naples.

Jodice grew up in the Rione Sanità  neighbourhood
Jodice grew up in the Rione Sanità  neighbourhood 
Travel tips:

The Rione Sanità area of Naples, also known as Stella, to the north of the city near Capodimonte hill, has been alternately wealthy and poor. Once the chosen location for aristocratic Neapolitans to build villas, in more recent times it has had the reputation as one of the most run-down neighbourhoods, rife with crime and with high unemployment. But there are projects under way to try to give the area new life, to which Mimmo Jodice has contributed with fund-raising exhibitions. As well as being his home, it was also the area in which the comic actor Totò grew up.

Hotels in Naples by

The Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples
The Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples
Travel tip:

The Accademia di Belle Arti is in the San Lorenzo district, north of Piazza Dante. Founded in 1752, it is one of the oldest academies in Europe. Situated in Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli, it is at the heart of an area rich in cultural attractions, including the National Archaeological Museum, the Prince of Naples Gallery, the conservatory of San Pietro a Majella and the Teatro Bellini.

15 October 2017

Angelo Schiavio - footballer

Scored goal that won Italy's first World Cup

Angelo Schiavio played all his club football with Bologna
Angelo Schiavio played all his club
football with Bologna
Angelo Schiavio, the hero of the Italian football team’s first World Cup victory in 1934, was born on this day in 1905 in Bologna.

The centre forward, a prolific goalscorer for his home-town club in Serie A, scored the winning goal in the final against Czechoslovakia to hand victory to the Azzurri in the 16-team tournament, of which the Italians were hosts.

In the final at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome, the Azzurri had gone behind to a goal by the Czech winger Antonin Puc with 19 minutes remaining, but equalised 10 minutes later through Raimundo Orsi, the Argentina-born forward from Juventus, taking the match into extra time.

Schiavio struck the decisive goal, driven home with his right foot from a pass by Enrique Guaita, another Argentine – one of 12 to represent Italy and Argentina in the days before playing for more than one nation was outlawed.

It was his fourth goal of the tournament, sparking massive celebrations in Rome and across Italy, albeit in a mood of triumph hijacked by Benito Mussolini and his Fascist regime.

Rumours circulated, almost inevitably, that match officials had been bribed to make decisions favouring the Italians, much to the frustration of coach Vittorio Pozzo, although he was able to validate the victory four years later when the Azzurri retained the trophy in France.

Schiavio hailed from a large family – he was the eighth child – who had originated in Gorla, a tiny hamlet in the hills above Lake Como, close to the villages of Zelbio, Valeso and Erno.

Schiavio's goal beats the Czech 'keeper in the 1934 final
Schiavio's goal beats the Czech 'keeper in the 1934 final
They had run a silk mill before moving to Bologna a year before Angelo was born to start a business selling clothing and underwear made from wool, under the name of Schiavio-Stoppani.

Their first store, opened in 1919, was located on the corner of Via Clavature and Via dei Toschi, right in the historic centre of the city.  The business would grow, expanding into sports equipment, and continued to trade as a family enterprise until the early part of the 20th century.

Angelo Schiavio played an active part in the business himself once his career was over.

As a player, renowned for his power and pace as a centre forward, with excellent dribbling skills and a fierce shot, he made 348 appearances for Bologna between 1922 and 1938, scoring 242 goals, having made his debut against Juventus in January 1923, at the age of just 17. By the end of his first half-season he had scored six goals.

He helped Bologna win the scudetto – the Italian Serie A title – for the first time in their history in 1924-25, winning three more championships in the rossoblu shirt.

Schiavio’s career goals tally remains the highest by any Bologna player and the fourth highest among all Italians. Only Silvio Piola, Giuseppe Meazza and, from the modern era, Francesco Totti have scored more goals over their careers.

Schiavio in the
national colours
For the Azzurri, he struck 15 goals in 21 appearances, scoring twice on his debut against Yugoslavia in Padua in 1925. He twice scored hat-tricks for the national team, the first time in an incredible 11-3 victory over Egypt in the third-place match at the 1928 Olympics in the Netherlands, the second in the opening match of the 1934 World Cup, when Italy thrashed the United States 7-1.

The final was his last international appearance, although he would play on in club football until 1938.

As a coach, he was twice part of a technical committee at Bologna and served the national team in a similar capacity between 1953 and 1958, before leaving football and devoting himself to the family business.

He died in 1990 at the age of 84 and is buried in the Monumental Cemetery of Certosa in Bologna.

Lake Como has an abundance of picturesque lakeside towns and villages
Lake Como has an abundance of picturesque lakeside
towns and villages
Travel tip:

Zelbio, Valeso and Erno are picturesque small villages nestling in the tree-lined hills that descend gently towards the shore of the western branch of Lake Como, about 50km (31 miles) north of Milan, about 25km (16 miles) from Como itself and a similar distance from Bellagio.  The best way to appreciate the beauty of the area is to take one of the ferry services that link the lakeside towns.

Piazza Maggiore in the centre of Bologna
Piazza Maggiore in the centre of Bologna
Travel tip:

The Schiavo-Stoppani store, on the corner of Via Clavature and Via dei Toschi, was in a prime location in the centre of Bologna, only a few metres from the historic heart of the city in Piazza Maggiore.  Via Clavature is an interesting, narrow street lined with fruit and vegetable stores and has several bars and restaurants.

24 September 2017

Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma - exiled princess

Vote for republic forced King's daughter to leave

Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma, pictured in 1963
Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma,
pictured in 1963
Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma was born into the Italian royal family on this day in 1934, the grand-daughter of King Victor Emmanuel III.

Her father, Umberto of Savoy, would himself become King on her grandfather’s abdication but reigned for just 34 days in 1946 before Italy voted to become a republic and the royals were effectively thrown out of the country.

Italians could not forgive Victor Emmanuel III for not doing enough to limit the power of the Fascists and for approving Benito Mussolini’s anti-semitic race laws. The constitution of the new republic decreed that no male member of the House of Savoy could set foot in Italy ever again.

It meant that Princess Maria Pia, the eldest of Umberto’s four children, had to leave Italy immediately along with her brother and two sisters and all the other members of the family, bringing to an abrupt end the life she had known until that moment.

Born in Naples, where the Villa Rosebery, once the property of the British prime minister, the Earl of Rosebery, had been renamed Villa Maria Pia by her doting father, the 11-year-old princess was removed to Cascais in Portugal.

When her parents separated almost immediately after leaving Italy – as strict Catholics, Umberto and Marie-José never divorced – she divided her time between Portugal and her mother’s home in Switzerland.

Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, as she was then, pictured with her first husband,  Alexander of Yugoslavia
Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, as she was then, pictured
with her first husband,  Alexander of Yugoslavia
This changed in 1954 after she was invited to a cruise hosted by Queen Frederica of Greece on the yacht Agamemnon, where she met Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia.  They were married the following year and settled in Paris.

They had four children – two sets of twins, born in 1958 and 1963 – and lived a comfortable life.  Maria Pia was much photographed and came to be regarded as a symbol of Italian style.  Unlike the males in the Savoy line, she was allowed to return to Italy, where she was a regular customer of the Sorelle Fontana fashion house in Rome and would buy shoes from Alberto Dal Cò, the uncle of the three Fontana sisters.

She also wore dresses designed by her fellow Neapolitan, Emilio Schuberth, and would go to Capri to the boutique of Emilio Pucci.

For a while she was a model for Vogue magazine and worked as a journalist on another magazine, Novella 2000, revealing a talent for writing she claimed she inherited from her mother.

Among the many people she interviewed was the artist Salvador Dalì, with whom she became close friends.

Princess Maria Pia is still actively involved with charities
Princess Maria Pia is still actively involved with charities
Like that of her parents, however, her marriage to Prince Alexander ultimately broke down.  They divorced in 1967.

By that time she had begun an affair with Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and was already living with him when she and Alexander divorced. They have remained together since, although they were not married until 2003.

Michel, whose ancestry goes back to the establishment of the House of Bourbon-Parma in Italy in 1731, had been separated from his first wife, Yolande of Broglie-Revel, since 1966 but they did not divorce until 1999.

He and Maria Pia were married in a civil ceremony in Manalapan, Florida, close to the mansion they owned in Palm Beach.

In recent years they have divided their time between homes in Neuilly-sur-Seine, just outside Paris, and Palm Beach, although the 91-year-old Michel has recently become too frail to leave France.

Unlike her brother, Vittorio Emanuele, who did the reputation of the family no good in various scandals, Maria Pia had led a life free from controversy and is recognised, in Florida in particular, for her work with charities and her keen interest in promoting the preservation of the historic, architectural and cultural heritage of Palm Beach.

The Villa Rosebery overlooks the sea at Marechiaro
The Villa Rosebery overlooks the sea at Marechiaro
Travel tip:

The Villa Rosebery, which sits in 16.3 acres (6.6 hectares) of land in Marechiaro on the northern side of the Bay of Naples, came into the possession of the 5th Earl of Rosebery, the former Liberal prime minister of Great Britain, in 1897.  In 1909, he presented the building to the British government for the use of the British Ambassador to Italy. In 1932 the British government in turn presented the building to the Italian State and the villa was used as a summer royal residence until the royal family were exiled in 1946.  It was then used by the Accademia Aeronautica until 1949, after which it was unoccupied until it became an official residence of the President of the Italian Republic in 1957.

Piazza di Spagna, viewed from the Spanish Steps
Piazza di Spagna, viewed from the Spanish Steps
Travel tip:

The House of Fontana still exists today, with its headquarters close to Piazza di Spagna, one of the most famous squares in Rome, situated at the foot of the much-photographed Spanish Steps. The square and steps take their name from the Embassy of Spain, situated close by. The steps were built to provide access from the embassy to the church of Trinità dei Monti.

20 September 2017

Sophia Loren – actress

Glamorous star one of just three Italian Oscar winners

Sophia Loren, aged 19 in this picture, captivated audiences from the start of her career
Sophia Loren, aged 19 in this picture, captivated
audiences from the start of her career
The actress Sophia Loren, who came to be regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful women and is the most famous name in Italian cinema history, was born on this day in 1934 in Rome.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, Loren appeared in almost 90 films made for the big screen and several others for television.  Although she was often picked for her looks and box-office appeal, she proved her acting talent by winning an Oscar for her role in Vittorio De Sica’s gritty 1960 drama Two Women, released in Italy as La Ciociara.

In doing so she became one of only three Italians to win the Academy Award for Best Actor or Actress and the first of either sex to win the award for an Italian-language film. She followed Anna Magnani, who had won in 1955 for The Rose Tattoo, as the second Italian Oscar winner.

Loren stayed away from the awards ceremony in 1961 on the grounds that the suspense of waiting to learn whether she had won was something she would rather suffer in private but she was there in person to accept an honorary Oscar in 1991, recognising her career achievements.

She also attended the 1993 Oscars to present an honorary award to the director Federico Fellini, and the 1999 ceremony to present the Academy Award for Best Actor to her compatriot Roberto Benigni, the first Italian male to win the award, for Life is Beautiful.

Loren, aged 52, photographed by the English  photographer Allan Warren in Los Angeles
Loren, aged 52, photographed by the English
photographer Allan Warren in Los Angeles
Loren was born Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome. Her father, Riccardo Scicolone, was a construction engineer of distant noble descent and her mother, Romilda Villani, a piano teacher.

Scicolone was already married, however, and ultimately abandoned Villani, who left Rome with Sofia and her younger sister, Maria, to live with their grandmother in Pozzuoli, a port town just outside Naples, which is why Loren came to think of herself as Neapolitan rather than Roman.

Growing up in Pozzuoli in wartime was dangerous, the port coming under frequent attack from Allied bombers.  After Sofia was wounded by shrapnel while running to a shelter, the family moved to a safer location with relatives in Naples.

After the war, they returned to Pozzuoli, where Villani’s mother opened a bar, in which Romilda played the piano and her daughters waited on tables.  The bar became popular with America servicemen in particular.

It was after reaching the final of the Miss Italia beauty pageant in 1950 that Loren was encouraged to take acting lessons by Carlo Ponti, a film producer who was one of the judges.

Loren won an Oscar for her role in the 1960 film Two Women
Loren won an Oscar for her role in the
1960 film Two Women
She and Ponti would later marry, despite there being 22 years between them, remaining together from 1957 until his death in 2007 at the age of 94.

Although Ponti obtained a divorce from his wife, Giuliana, in Mexico so that he could marry Loren, the divorce was not recognised in Italy and the marriage had to be annulled so Ponti would not face arrest for bigamy.

They married again in 1966, but only after Giuliana had agreed that all three should become citizens of France so that she and Ponti could be divorced in the French courts, allowing Loren to marry her ex-husband in a civil ceremony.

Loren began her acting career as Sofia Lazzaro, changing her screen name to Sophia Loren in 1952. Her breakthrough role came in De Sica’s 1954 anthology The Gold of Naples, filmed as a series of episodes from Neapolitan life.

In the same year she filmed the first of 11 movies in which she starred with Marcello Mastroianni, the best known of which were the romantic comedy-dramas Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) and Marriage, Italian Style (1964), both directed by De Sica, and Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter (1994).

Loren enjoyed a successful career in the United States, too, signing a contract with Paramount Studios and appearing in a series of Hollywood films opposite such major stars as Cary Grant (Houseboat, 1968), Clark Gable (It Started in Naples, 1960), Frank Sinatra (The Pride and the Passion, 1957, also with Grant), Alan Ladd (Boy on a Dolphin, 1957), William Holden (The Key, 1958), and Paul Newman (Lady L, 1965).

Loren and Marcello Mastroianni starred  together in 11 films
Loren and Marcello Mastroianni starred
together in 11 films
Because she was 1.75m (5ft 9ins) tall – even taller with heels and her hair stacked up – some actors were reluctant to star opposite her. In fact, so that she did not appear to tower over the notably small Alan Ladd in Boy on a Dolphin she filmed some scenes standing in a trench.

Loren had a brief affair with Cary Grant while filming The Pride and the Passion but ultimately rejected him in favour of Ponti. Later she resisted the advances of Peter Sellars, who starred with her in The Millionairess (1960) and recorded a single, Goodness Gracious Me, with her that reached number four in the UK charts.

Among her numerous awards were five Golden Globes, eight Bambi Awards and 10 David di Donatellos – Italy’s own ‘Oscars’ – six as best actress.

Her success with Two Women, which won her eight awards, including a BAFTA, a David di Donatello, a Nastro d’Argento and a Cannes Film Festival award, came after she rejected her original casting and insisted on playing the older of the two women of the title – the mother – after it was assumed she would take the role of the more glamorous daughter.

She and Ponti had two children – Carlo Jr, now an orchestra conductor, and Eduardo, a film director – after Loren suffered two miscarriages, which prompted doctors to order her to spend almost her entire subsequent pregnancies resting in bed.  They have four grandchildren.

Chosen by Empire magazine at number 25 in a list of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history, Loren posed in lingerie for the 2007 Pirelli Calendar at the age of 72.  Asked how she had kept her voluptuous figure, she famously remarked: "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."

The tree-lined Viale Regina Margherita in the area of Rome where Loren was born
The tree-lined Viale Regina Margherita in
the area of Rome where Loren was born
Travel tip:

Viale Regina Margherita, the area in which Loren was born in the charity ward of a hospital, is a long boulevard in the Rome suburbs to the northeast of the city centre, linking the neighborhoods of Trieste, Salario and Nomentano. It ends at Piazza Sassari, near the Polyclinic Umberto I and Sapienza University.  The boulevard has many pretty buildings and villas built in the period between 1910 and 1917, designed mainly by Pio Piacentini and his son, Marcello.

Travel tip:

Once one of the busiest ports on the Mediterranean, much bigger in its heyday than neighbouring Naples, Pozzuoli is less important now but remains a centre for commercial shipping, fishing and tourism with a population of around 80,000 people.  The relics of an enormous Roman amphitheatre attract many visitors – it was supposedly the arena in which the patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro, survived being thrown to the lions – as does nearby Solfatara, the shallow crater of a dormant volcano characterised by numerous fumaroles and bubbling mud pools.

14 May 2017

Aurelio Milani - footballer

Centre forward helped Inter win first European Cup

Aurelio Milano scored Inter's second goal in the 1964 European Cup final in Vienna
Aurelio Milano scored Inter's second goal in the
1964 European Cup final in Vienna
Aurelio Milani, who helped Internazionale become the second Italian football club to win the European Cup, was born on this day in 1934 in Desio, about 25km (15 miles) north of Lombardy’s regional capital.

Inter beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the final Vienna in 1964 to emulate the achievement of city rivals AC Milan, who had become the first European champions from Italy the previous year.

Milani, a centre forward, scored the all-important second goal in the 61st minute after his fellow attacker Sandro Mazzola had given Inter the lead in the first half, receiving a pass from Mazzola before beating Real goalkeeper Vicente Train with a shot from outside the penalty area.

Madrid, whose forward line was still led by the mighty Alfredo di Stefano with Ferenc Puskas playing at inside-left, pulled a goal back but Mazzola added a third for Inter.

But this was the so-called Grande Inter side managed by the Argentinian master-tactician Helenio Herrera, who coached them to three Serie A titles in four years and retained the European Cup by defeating Eusebio’s Benfica 12 months later, when the final was played in their home stadium at San Siro in Milan.

Sadly, Milani could not be on the field on that occasion. Playing against Dinamo Bucharest in San Siro in November, he scored the final goal in a resounding 6-0 win for Inter only to suffer a displaced vertebra in a collision with another player, the injury serious enough effectively to end his career at the age of 31.

Milani (right) with goalkeeper Giuliano Sarti, who would join him at Inter, and coach Nandor Hidegkuti, at Fiorentina
Milani (right) with goalkeeper Giuliano
Sarti, who would join him at Inter, and
coach Nandor Hidegkuti, at Fiorentina
Although he was best remembered for his time with Inter, Milani had also played in Serie A for Sampdoria, Padova and Fiorentina, where he played in a European Cup-Winners’ Cup final and finished the 1962-63 season as the joint leading scorer in Serie A with 22 goals.

Milani had begun his career with his local club, Aurora Desio, in their youth side before being scouted by the Bergamo team, Atalanta, who loaned him to another Lombardy club Fanfulla, based in the city of Lodi. In 1955 he was sold to Simmenthal Monza, for whom he scored 37 times over two Serie B seasons. Those figures earned him his first move outside Lombardy, to Triestina in Friuli, where he scored 17 goals in 30 Serie B appearances in his first and only season.

By now he was regularly attracting scouts from Serie A and signed for Sampdoria, where he proved he could be an equally effective striker at the top level, with 13 goals in his debut season.  Injury blighted his second season but his talents were not forgotten and after one year with Padova, where he scored another 18 goals, he earned his move to Fiorentina in the summer of 1961.

Interestingly, his first two goals in the famous purple shirt of the viola were also the first two goals conceded in the career of the legendary Italy goalkeeper Dino Zoff, who was making his professional debut for opponents Udinese, aged 19.

After his injury in 1964 he attempted a comeback in the lower divisions with the Piedmont club Verbania but after eight appearances he decided to call it a day.

Milani, who had made his international debut a few months before the injury, which denied the chance to add to his debut cap in a friendly against Switzerland, died at his home in Borgo Ticino, near Lake Maggiore, in 2014 at the age of 80.

The Villa Tittoni Traversi, the former royal palace at Desio
The Villa Tittoni Traversi, the former royal palace at Desio
Travel tip:

Desio, a town of 42,000 inhabitants that built its prosperity around the wool and silk industries, is historically significant for having been the site of a battle in 1277 between the Visconti and della Torre families for control of Milan. The birthplace of Pope Pius XI.  There is an impressive basilica, dedicated to the Saints Siro and Materno, in the centre of the town in Piazza Conciliazione.  Also worthy of a visit is the Villa Tittoni Traversi, a former royal palace that has been home to King Ferdinand IV of Naples and King Umberto I of Italy.

Travel tip:

Situated 32km (20 miles) south of Lake Maggiore, Borgo Ticino is a small town of fewer than 5,000 people. Nearby attractions include the pretty lakeside towns of Arona and Angera and the Volandia Museum of Flight in Somma Lombardo, close to Milan Malpensa airport, which houses 45 aircraft.

More reading:

Why Giuseppe Meazza was Italian football's first superstar

Dino Zoff - the record-breaking career of football's oldest World Cup winner

The unparalleled success of former Inter coach Giovanni Trapattoni

Also on this day:

1916: The birth of architect and designer Marco Zanuso


11 July 2016

Giorgio Armani – designer

Former army medic forged brilliant career in fashion

Fashion designer Giorgio Armani, who is 82 today
Giorgio Armani
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, who celebrates his 82nd birthday today, 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.

La Rinascente in Milan, with its rooftop garden, as seen from the roof of the neighbouring Duomo
La Rinascente in Milan, with its rooftop garden,
as seen from the roof of the neighbouring Duomo
He began producing designs specifically for the United States and his label soon became one of the leading names in international fashion. He also designed costumes for the film industry and suits for many sports teams, including the England football team.

Armani has built up a network of hundreds of boutiques and stores across nearly 40 countries.

He was also the first designer to ban models who had a BMI of less than 18, following the death of a model from anorexia.

Travel tip:

La Rinascente in Milan, where Giorgio Armani once worked, is right in the centre of the city in Piazza Duomo, close to the entrance to the Duomo metro stop. The store, which sells clothes and cosmetics as well as house wares, was nominated the Best Department Store in the World at a Global Department Store Summit in 2016.

Milan's Via Montenapoleone, home of the original Armani store
Milan's Via Montenapoleone
Travel tip:

The original Giorgio Armani store in Milan is in Via Montenapoleone in the centre of the city. It reopened in April 2015 after Armani and his team of architects had completely redesigned the store to bring out the original architecture of the building. This was part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the company.

(Photo of Giorgio Armani by GianAngelo Pistoia CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Photo of Via Montenapoleone by Geobia CC BY-SA 4.0)

More on fashion:


20 March 2016

Azeglio Vicini - 1990 World Cup coach

Semi-final heartbreak ended dream of victory on home soil

Azeglio Vicini was Italy's coach at the 1990 World Cup finals
Azeglio Vicini
Azeglio Vicini, the coach who led Italy to the semi-finals when the nation hosted the 1990 World Cup finals, celebrates his 83rd birthday today.

Born in the city of Cesena in Emilia-Romagna, on this day in 1934, Vicini worked for the Italian Football Federation for an unbroken 23 years in various roles, having joined their technical staff in 1968 after less than one season as a coach at club level.

He was head coach of the Italy Under-23 and Italy Under-21 teams before being succeeding World Cup winner Enzo Bearzot as coach of the senior Italy side in 1986.

Vicini's brief with the senior team was an onerous one.  When Italy won the right to host the 1990 World Cup finals there was an expectation among Italian football's hierarchy that a nation with such a proud history should be capable of winning the tournament on home soil.

Responsibility for producing a team good enough rested squarely on Vicini's shoulders but he was well prepared, having guided his under-21 team to the later stages of the European Championships consistently and brought through the likes of Roberto Mancini, Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Donadoni, Walter Zenga and Gianluca Vialli, all of whom played in the 1986 European Under-21 Championships final.

Vicini is credited with helping Bearzot devise the defensive strategy behind Italy's triumph at the 1982 World Cup in Spain and his plans for the 1990 finals were built around one of the best defences in the history of the tournament, comprising the AC Milan players Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, and the Internazionale duo Giuseppe Bergomi and Riccardo Ferri.

He brought through some fine creative talent, too. Roberto Baggio, the brilliant playmaker from Fiorentina, scored one of the goals of the tournament against Czechoslovakia in the group stages, while Salvatore 'Toto' Schillaci, an inspired choice with only one international appearance before the finals, famously scored within two minutes of being sent on as a substitute in Italy's opening group match against Austria and went on to win the Golden Boot as the tournament's leading goalscorer.

Roberto Baggio starred at Italia '90
Roberto Baggio, one of Italy's
stars at Italia '90
Yet Italy ultimately failed, going out at the semi-final stage to Argentina after a penalty shoot-out at the Sao Paolo Stadium in Naples.

Italy had reached the last four without conceding a goal and when Schillaci gave them the lead after only 17 minutes in the semi-final it seemed their destiny was to reach the final at least.

But, in classic Italian style, the team's instinct was to defend their lead rather than go all out for a second goal and ultimately Argentina found a way back. When Claudio Caniggia levelled the scores midway through the second half, it mattered little that Italy's 517 minutes without conceding a goal was a record for the finals.

The match went into extra time, during which Argentina's Ricardo Giusti was sent off, but neither side could score again and when it came down to the pressure of taking penalties to determine the winner, the South Americans kept their nerve.

After Baresi, Baggio and Luigi de Agostini had scored, Roberto Donadoni and Aldo Serena both saw their kicks saved.  In between, Diego Maradona - then playing his club football in the same stadium for Napoli - scored what would be the winning penalty.

Vicini's team finished third, beating England in the play-off match after England had similarly been eliminated in the semi-finals on penalties, and Vicini initially remained in the job. He was sacked after failing to qualify for the 1992 European Championship finals, giving way to Arrigo Sacchi.

Subsequently, he spent two seasons in Serie A as manager of Cesena and then Udinese before returning to the Italian Federation as head of the technical sector until his retirement in 2010.

Piazza del Popolo in the centre of Cesena
Photo: Lorenzo Gaudenzi (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Travel tip:

Cesena, where Azeglio Vicini was born, is an historic city in Emilia-Romagna, south of Ravenna and north west of Rimini. It is famous as the site of the ‘Cesena bloodbath’ in 1377 when Pope Gregory’s legate ordered the murder of thousands of citizens for revolting against the papal troops. The city recovered and prospered under the rule of the Malatesta family in the 14th and 15th centuries, who rebuilt the castle, Rocca Malatestiana, and founded a beautiful library, Biblioteca Malatestiana, which has been preserved in its 15th century condition and still holds valuable manuscripts.

Cesena hotels by

The Stadio San Paolo in Naples hosted the 1990
World Cup semi-final between Italy and Argentina 
Photo: Gaetano Capaldo (CC BY 4.0)
Travel tip:

Stadio San Paolo in Naples has become famous for hosting the 1990 World Cup semi-final between Italy and Argentina. Situated in Piazzale Vincenzo Tecchio in the suburb of Fuorigrotta, it is the home of the Serie A club Napoli and is the third largest football stadium in Italy. The stadium takes its name from St Paul, who is said to have landed on Italian soil in the area of Fuorigrotta.