Showing posts with label Canale 5. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canale 5. Show all posts

5 December 2018

Maria De Filippi - television presenter

One of the most popular faces on Italian TV

Maria De Filippi has become one of the  most popular presenters on Italian TV
Maria De Filippi has become one of the
most popular presenters on Italian TV
The television presenter Maria De Filippi, who has hosted numerous talk and talent shows in a career spanning 25 years, was born on this day in 1961 in Milan.

De Filippi is best known as the presenter of the long-running talent show Amici de Maria De Filippi, which completed its 17th season this year, having been launched in 2001.

The show’s predecessor, called simply Amici, was hosted by De Filippi from 1993 onwards.

One of the most popular faces on Italian television, De Filippi has been married since 1995 to the veteran talk show host and journalist Maurizio Costanzo, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year.

The daughter of a drugs company representative and a Greek teacher, De Filippi was born in Milan before moving at age 10 to Mornico Losana, a village in the province of Pavia, where her parents owned a vineyard.

A graduate in law, she had ambitions of a career as a magistrate but in 1989, while she was working in the legal department of a video cassette company, she had a chance meeting with Costanzo at a conference in Venice to discuss ways of combating musical piracy.

Maria De Filippi presented the 2017 Sanremo Music Festival along another popular TV host, Carlo Conti
Maria De Filippi presented the 2017 Sanremo Music
Festival along another popular TV host, Carlo Conti
She clearly made an impression on the broadcaster, already well known as the face of the Maurizio Costanzo Show. He soon invited her to move to Rome to work for his communication and image company.

What began as a professional relationship then turned into a romance. Costanzo, who was separated from his third wife, the television presenter  Marta Flavi, moved in with De Filippi and after five years they were married, in 1995.

The chance for De Filippi to break into television came in 1992 when the original choice as presenter of the Amici show, Lella Costa, withdrew after becoming pregnant.  With little time to find a replacement, the producers decided to take a chance with De Filippi, despite her lack of experience, and it paid off handsomely.

The show, modelled on the United States hit Fame, featuring a school in which two groups of aspiring young singers and dancers compete against each other before a panel of judges, proved hugely popular, twice winning coveted Telegatto awards, and De Filippi was soon being offered more television work.

Maria De Filippi survived a car bomb attack on her husband in 1993
Maria De Filippi survived a car bomb
attack on her husband in 1993
She had another hit with Uomini e donne (Men and Women), which began as a talk show focusing on conflicts between husband and wife but evolved into a dating show.

De Filippi became a judge on Canale 5’s Italia’s Got Talent in 2009, alongside Gerry Scotti and Rudy Zerbi, a position she kept until Mediaset lost the rights to the show in 2014, after which she was asked to front a new show, Tù si que vales.

Alongside Carlo Conti, she presented the Sanremo Music Festival in 2017 and currently presents Uomini e donne, Tù si que vales and C’è posta per te (You’ve Got Mail) as well as Amici, and produces a number of other shows.

Before they were married, she and Costanzo had a lucky escape in 1993 from a Mafia-organised car bomb attack, a response to a number of programmes Costanzo produced focusing on the fight against the Cosa Nostra in Sicily.

The bomb detonated in the Via Ruggero Fauro, close to the Parioli Theatre in Rome where the Maurizio Costanzo Show was filmed, but Costanzo and De Filippi were not in the car they usually used. Their driver and bodyguard suffered injuries but they were unhurt.

UPDATE: Sadly, De Filippi was widowed in February, 2023, when Costanzo died at the age of 84 in a clinic in Rome, where he had been recovering from colon surgery. After a funeral at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto, he was buried at the Italian capital's Campo Verano cemetery.

The landscapes of the Oltrepò Pavese, which includes Mornico Losana, give it the look of rural Tuscany
The landscapes of the Oltrepò Pavese, which includes Mornico
Losana, give it the look of rural Tuscany
Travel tip:

Mornico Losana, where De Filippi moved when she was 10 years old, is in the Oltrepò Pavese, an area of scenic beauty south of the Po river in Lombardy that is often called the Tuscany of the North, on account of its rolling hills, medieval villages and castles and panoramic views. It is the largest wine producing area of Lombardy and one of the largest in Italy, specialising in Pinot Nero grapes. The landscape is scattered with vineyards and is popular with hikers and mountain bikers.

The Teatro Parioli, part of the wealthy Parioli neighbourhood, north of Rome's city centre
The Teatro Parioli, part of the wealthy Parioli
neighbourhood, north of Rome's city centre
Travel tip:

The Parioli district, in which the Parioli Theatre is located on Via Giosuè Borsi, is one of Rome's wealthiest residential neighbourhoods. Located north of the city centre, it is notable for its tree-lined streets and elegant houses, and for some of Rome's finest restaurants. The Auditorium Parco della Musica and the Villa Ada, once the Rome residence of the Italian royal family and surrounded by the second largest park in the city, can also be found within the Parioli district.

Rome hotels from TripAdvisor

More reading:

Gerry Scotti - host of Italy's Millionaire

Why Sanremo winner Adriano Celentano is Italy's biggest selling recording artist of all time

The remarkable life of veteran talk show host Maurizio Costanzo

Also on this day:

1443: The birth of Pope Julius II

1687: The birth of composer and violinist Francesco Gemianini

1861: The birth of World War One general Armando Diaz


11 December 2017

Gianni Morandi – actor and pop singer

Veteran entertainer has sold 50 million records 

Gianni Morandi has been in the music  business for 55 years
Gianni Morandi has been in the music
business for 55 years
The singer Gianni Morandi, a Sanremo Festival winner and Eurovision Song Contest contestant who has sold more than 50 million records and had a simultaneous career as a successful TV and film actor, was born on this day in 1944 in a mountain village in Emilia-Romagna.

Morandi, whose longevity has brought comparisons with the British singer Sir Cliff Richard, is still performing today at the age of 73. In fact, he had an unlikely hit this year when he teamed up with 23-year-old rapper and web star Fabio Rovazzi.

Morandi, whose pop-ballad style still has a big following, showed his versatility and willingness to indulge in self-mocking humour this year by co-starring with Rovazzi in an electro-pop track and video called Volare that went to No 1 on iTunes Italy and attracted 2.5 million views in less than 24 hours.

He has also appeared in his 11th TV drama series, having a few months earlier seen the release of his 18th movie.

His birthday is being marked today with a late-evening special on Italy’s Canale 5 television station called Amore d’Autore, which celebrates the public and private life of one of Italy’s best-loved entertainers.

Morandi on stage in 2016: He still performs regularly
Morandi on stage in 2016: He still
performs regularly
Morandi was born in Monghidoro, now a village of almost 4,000 people that sits on a ridge in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines some 840m (2,750ft) above sea level, about 41km (25 miles) south of Bologna.

As a young man he sold drinks and confectionery at his local cinema and worked as an assistant in the workshop of his father, Renato, a cobbler.  Renato was an active member of the Italian Communist Party and Morandi recalls that part of his daily routine was to read aloud passages from Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and reports from the party newspaper L’Unità.

But they were also a family who sang to entertain themselves and it was when his father arranged for him to sing at family festivals sponsored by L’Unità that Morandi enjoyed his first commercial success, collecting a princely 1,000 lire as his appearance fee.

In 1958, his rendition of Domenico Modugno’s Sanremo winner Nel blu dipinto di blu – more commonly known as Volare – earned him a place at a singing school in Bologna and after winning good reviews at a number of festivals he released his first single in 1962, with backing from Ennio Morricone’s orchestra.

With a recording contract from RCA, he had a juke-box hit and his first chart success later in the same year before releasing his first album in 1963. 

Throughout the 60s, he was a star of the Italian pop scene. His 1964 single In ginocchio da te (Kneeling before you) was at the top of the Italian singles charts for 17 weeks, selling more than one million copies, and was followed by several more number one successes.

Morandi performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in Amsterdam in 1970
Morandi performing at the Eurovision Song
Contest in Amsterdam in 1970
He courted controversy while at the early peak of his fame by recording a protest song against the Vietnam War which the television networks refused to promote yet which still reached number one in the chart.

Ironically, his career was then interrupted by compulsory national service.

When he returned to civilian life, he was chosen to participate for Italy in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest in Amsterdam, in which he finished eighth behind the young Irish singer Dana’s entry All Kinds of Everything, but thereafter his career went into a decline.

He enjoyed a revival in the 1980s, started by his success as an actor in TV dramas, and by 1987, when he won the Sanremo Festival with Si può dare di più, he was again popular and an album recorded with his friend, the singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla, was very well received.

Since then, Morandi has become something of an icon in the entertainment world in Italy. His concert tours, often marathon affairs lasting more than a year and packing in hundreds of dates, would sell out months in advance, and he has fronted many TV shows.

In 2013, his two Gianni Morandi – Live concerts at the Arena di Verona were broadcast live on Canale 5 with an average audience of 6 million.  Cher and Ennio Morricone were among the artists who made guest appearances.

Morandi (right) in one of his earliest TV dramas, in 1966
Morandi (right) in one of his earliest TV dramas, in 1966
Morandi has been married twice – for the first time, from 1966 to 1979, to Laura Efrikian, the daughter of an Armenian conductor, with whom he had three children: Serena (1967), who sadly died after only a few hours, Marianna (1969) and Marco (1974). He has five grandchildren.

In November, 2004 he married Anna Dan, his partner of 10 years and the mother of his son, Pietro, and the couple moved into a renovated house in the regional park of Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa.

Morandi owes his enduring physical fitness to a passion for marathon running. He has raced in 10 marathons, including New York (twice), Berlin, London, Paris, Milan and Bologna.

Away from the entertainment business, he is a lifelong fan of Bologna Football Club, which he helped saved from bankruptcy in 2010 before being appointed honorary president later in the same year, a position he held until the club was sold to an American consortium in 2014.

The Chiostro della Cisterna in Monghidoro
The Chiostro della Cisterna in Monghidoro
Travel tip:

Occupying a ridge between two river valleys, Monghidoro has historically been a place of strategic importance going back to the time of the Ostrogoths and Lombards in the eighth and ninth centuries and remained so in the Second World War, when it was liberated from the Germans by Allied forces in October 1944. Because of the challenging nature of nearby terrain, it was also a stopping-off place for travellers seeking a passage between the Po Valley and central Italy. Notable sights include the Chiostro della Cisterna, an elegant cloister in the centre of the village that is all that remains of a 16th century Olivetan monastery. The cultural heart of the village, in the summer it hosts concerts, plays and exhibitions.  The elegant Piazza Armaciotto De Ramazzotti has a romantic atmosphere created by lanterns, which take the place of street lights.

Typical scenery in the Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa regional park near Bologna
Typical scenery in the Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi
dell'Abbadessa regional park near Bologna
Travel tip:

The Gessi Bolognesi and Calanchi dell'Abbadessa regional park, situated just outside the city of Bologna to the southeast, is an area of striking natural beauty characterised by a series of gypsum outcrops creating a landscape of cliffs, caves, rocky hillsides, enclosed basins, chalky ridges and hidden valleys interspersed with rich greenery.  The area has been subjected to intensive mining over the centuries but all activity ceased in the 1970s and the area is now popular with walkers and caving enthusiasts.

7 August 2017

Gerry Scotti - television show host

One-time politician who presented Chi vuol essere milionario?

Gerry Scotti
Gerry Scotti
Gerry Scotti, the host of Italy’s equivalent of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and one of the most familiar faces on Italian television, was born on this day in 1956 in Camporinaldo, an agricultural village in Lombardy.

The presenter, whose career in television began in the 1980s, was also a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies between 1987 and 1992, having won the Lombardy 1 district in the Milan college for Bettino Craxi’s Italian Socialist Party.

But he is best known as the face of Chi vuol essere milionario?, which he fronted when it launched in Italy in 2000 and continued in the role after Italy’s entry into the single currency in 2002 required the show to make a subtle change of name.

Originally Chi vuol essere miliardario – billionaire – the title was changed to milionario – millionaire – with a new top prize of 1,000,000 euro replacing the 1,000,000,000 lire of the original.

Scotti continued to host the show until it aired for the last time in Italy in 2011, at which time he held a Guinness World Record for the number of editions presented of the show, which was created for the British network ITV in 1998 and was subsequently exported to 160 countries worldwide.

The son of a printworker at Corriere della Sera in Milan, Scotti – whose real first name is Virginio - studied law at university but dropped out to pursue a career as a radio DJ, working for a number of stations in Milan before being hired as a launch presenter for Radio Deejay, a national network based in Milan.

Scotti is nicknamed Uncle Gerry by his fans
Scotti is nicknamed Uncle Gerry by his fans
He fronted Deejay Television, the first music video programme on Italian television, before moving into full-time TV work with the commercial Mediaset networks, working mainly for Canale 5.

Apart from Millionaire, Scotti has been the host of a number of other popular quiz shows, notably the word game Passaparola. He also fronted The Money Drop and Avanti un altro.

In the entertainment category, his credits include La sai l'ultima?, La Corrida, Paperissima and Buona Domenica. 

He also co-hosted the satirical current affairs programme, Striscia la Notizia, and has been on the judging panels of the talent shows Italia’s Got Talent and Tú sí que vales.

The winner of 10 Telegatto awards – the prize sponsored by the Italian TV listings magazine TV Sorrisi e Canzoni – and a Telegatto Platinum prize for career achievement, Scotti has presented almost 100 different TV shows, appearing in almost 600 prime time editions and more than 6,000 daytime slots.

Known as Uncle Gerry by his fans, he has also acted in around a dozen films, mainly for television, and two sitcoms. He has made commercials on behalf of around a dozen companies.

He was married for 18 years to Patrizia Grosso, with whom he has a son, 25-year-old Eduardo, and has for several years been the companion of Gabriella Perino, a divorcee who is the mother of one of Eduardo’s former schoolfriends.

In 2009, Scotti wrote a letter published in Corriere della Sera supporting a proposal that the Catholic Church soften its position towards divorce, which traditionally it does not recognise.

The Palazzo Pubblico in Piacenza dominates the  central Piazza dei Cavalli
The Palazzo Pubblico in Piacenza dominates the
central Piazza dei Cavalli
Travel tip:

Camporinaldo is an agricultural hamlet, part of the municipality of Miradolo Terme, a small town of 3,500 people about 25km (16 miles) east of Pavia and 55km (34 miles) south-east of Milan, on the way to Piacenza, which was given its name – meaning ‘pleasant place’ – by the Romans.  Piacenza’s industrial suburbs may bely that description but its well-preserved historical centre includes an imposing Gothic town hall – the Palazzo Pubblico, which dominates the central Piazza dei Cavalli, also notable for its equestrian statues.

The elaborately carved tomb of St Augustine in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia
The elaborately carved tomb of St Augustine in the
Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro in Pavia
Travel tip:

The city of Pavia once rivalled Milan as the regional capital and was the seat of the Kings of Lombardy for more than 200 years from 572 to 774.  It was once also known as the ‘city of 100 towers’ although only a few remain.  Among the attractions of this historic university city is the Romanesque basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, which contains an elaborately carved ark housing the remains of St Augustine, a convert to Christianity who became one of the religion’s most influential theologians.