Showing posts with label Merano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Merano. Show all posts

21 August 2018

Lino Capolicchio - actor

Acclaimed for role in Vittorio de Sica classic

Lino Capolicchio's acting talents shone on the  stage, television and the big screen
Lino Capolicchio's acting talents shone on the
 stage, television and the big screen
The actor and director Lino Capolicchio, who starred in Vittorio de Sica’s Oscar-winning film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, was born on this day in 1943 in Merano, an alpine town in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy.

Capolicchio appeared in more than 70 films and TV dramas, and dubbed the voice of Bo Hazzard in the Italian adaptation of the American action-comedy The Dukes of Hazzard.

As a director, he won awards for Pugili, a drama-documentary film set in the world of boxing based on his own storylines, but it is for The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, for which he won a David di Donatello award for best actor, that he is best remembered.

The movie is about a wealthy Jewish family in Ferrara in the 1930s, whose adult children, Micol and Alberto, enjoy blissful summers entertaining friends with tennis and parties in the garden the family’s sumptuous villa.

Capolicchio’s character, Giorgio, from another middle-class Jewish family, falls in love with Micol but she only toys with his attentions. In any event, everything changes with the outbreak of war as northern Italy’s Jewish population become targets for the Nazis and their Fascist allies.

Capolicchio with his co-star Dominique Sanda in Vittorio de Sica's Oscar winner The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
Capolicchio with his co-star Dominique Sanda in Vittorio
de Sica's Oscar winner The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
The movie won De Sica one of his four Oscars as a director. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow both won Best Foreign Language Film, while Bicycle Thieves and Sciuscià were both awarded honorary Oscars.

Trained at the Silvio D’Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, Capolicchio made his stage debut in 1964 at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano in a play by Carlo Goldoni under the direction of Giorgio Strehler, who also used him in some subsequent Shakespeare productions.

By 1967 his acting talents were held in such high regard that he was given a small role in Franco Zeffirelli’s movie version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, which starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

His first major starring role came in Escalation (1968), a drama directed by Roberto Faenza, before the chance to play Giorgio in The Garden of the Finzi-Contadinis followed in 1970. The movie was such a success, winning critical acclaim as well as public popularity, that Capolicchio became famous almost overnight.

Capolicchio continued to work well into his 70s with a number of TV roles
Capolicchio continued to work well into his
70s with a number of TV roles
Many more parts followed, including several films for the director Pupi Avati, including his 1976 movie La casa dalle finestre che ridono (The House with the Laughing Windows), the 1984 film Noi tre (The Three of Us), in which he plays Mozart’s father, and Ultimo minuto (Last minute) in 1988.

For a period in the late 80s, Capolicchio focussed on teaching, taking the acting chair at the Experimental Centre of Cinematography in Rome. During this period he discovered new talents such as Francesca Neri, Sabrina Ferilli and Jaja Forte.  Later, while he was holding auditions for his film Pugili, he came across a young actor of great talent who has gone on to enjoy a successful career in Pierfrancesco Favino.

Pugili, shot in 1995, was named Best Film by the international press at the Turin Film Festival.  Awarded the Vittorio de Sica Award in 2012 for best actor and director, he continued working into his 70s, with parts in TV dramas such as La piovra and the massively popular Una grande famiglia.

Updated August 2022: Lino Capolicchio sadly passed away in Rome in May, 2022, at the age of 78.

Trauttmansdorff Castle is one of the attractions of Merano
Trauttmansdorff Castle is one of the attractions of Merano
Travel tip:

Located in a basin surrounded by mountains that rise up to almost 3,350m (11,000ft), Merano is a town of around 40,000 inhabitants in Trentino-Alto Adige, known also as the South Tyrol, which is most famous for its spas. The writers Franz Kafka and Ezra Pound were both residents at one time or another. Among the attractions for visitors are the Gothic St. Nicholas' Church and, a little outside the town, the Trauttmansdorff Castle and its gardens.

The Rotonda Foschini in Ferrara
The Rotonda Foschini in Ferrara
Travel tip:

Apart from the impressively well preserved Castello Estense right at the heart of the city, Ferrara - situated midway between Bologna and Venice in Emilia-Romagna - has many notable architectural gems, including many palaces from the 14th and 15th centuries.  Among them is the striking Palazzo dei Diamanti, so-called because the stone blocks of its facade are cut into the shape of diamonds. The palace holds the National Picture Gallery, which houses many works from the  masters of the 16th-century School of Ferrara, including Lorenzo Costa, Dosso Dossi, Girolamo da Carpi and Benvenuto Tisi.

More reading:

Vittorio de Sica - the maestro behind Bicycle Thieves and other classics in Italian cinema history

The Shakespeare adaptations that made Franco Zeffirelli into a household name

How La Dolce Vita actor Marcello Mastroianni became the epitome of Italian cool

Also on this day:

1862: The birth of adventure novelist Emilio Salgari

1969: The death of Giuseppe Meazza, Italian football's first superstar


11 February 2018

Carlo Sartori – footballer

Italian was first foreigner to play for Manchester United

Italian-born Carlo Sartori in action  for Manchester United
Italian-born Carlo Sartori in action
 for Manchester United 
Carlo Domenico Sartori, the first footballer from outside Great Britain or Ireland to play for Manchester United, was born on this day in 1948 in the mountain village of Caderzone Terme in Trentino.

The red-haired attacking midfielder made his United debut on October 9, 1968, appearing as substitute in a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at the London club’s White Hart Lane ground.

On the field were seven members of the United team that had won the European Cup for the first time the previous May, including George Best and Bobby Charlton, as well as his boyhood idol, Denis Law, who had missed the final against Benfica through injury.

Sartori, who made his European Cup debut against the Belgian side Anderlecht the following month, went on to make 56 appearances in four seasons as a senior United player before returning to Italy to join Bologna.

Although they dominate the Premier League today, players from abroad were a rarity in British football in Sartori’s era and United did not have another in their ranks until they signed the Yugoslav defender Nikola Jovanovic from Red Star Belgrade in 1980.

Jovanovic, in fact, was the first United player to be signed from an overseas club, Sartori having grown up in Manchester after arriving in the city with his family as a 10-month old baby.

Sartori made 56 senior appearances for  United before joining Bologna
Sartori made 56 senior appearances for
United before joining Bologna
They lived at first in the Ancoats area to the northeast of the industrial city, which at the time had a large Italian community.

Later, they would move a little further out of the city to Collyhurst, where his father established a knife-sharpening business that still thrives today, with clients in Liverpool as well as Manchester, and which would later provide Carlo with a living.

The young Sartori caught the eye as a schoolboy and a number of professional clubs began to monitor his progress.  Everton, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion all expressed an interest in signing him, and he had a trial with Manchester City, before United sent Joe Armstrong, their chief scout, to meet him and his parents at their home and offer him an apprenticeship.

His career made good progress while Matt Busby was United manager but began to wane after the legendary Scottish boss retired. In 1973 came the opportunity to play in Italy for Bologna, although in order to return to Italy he had to accept a period of compulsory national service.

Even so, Sartori was able to keep his football skills in order by turning out for the Italian Army team, with whom he won the World Military Cup.  Though he had to content himself initially with being on the fringes at Bologna, he still picked up a medal in his first season as a member of their victorious Coppa Italia squad.

He went on to play for a number of clubs in Italy, including 100 appearances for Lecce, before finishing his career, appropriately, with Trento, which meant he was able to rediscover his roots, having been born just 30km (19 miles) away.

Sartori, pictured at the time of his retirement, spent 29 years as a knife-sharpener
Sartori, pictured at the time of his retirement,
spent 29 years as a knife-sharpener
Had fate not intervened he might well have settled in the area. He qualified as a coach and was about to take up his first appointment, with the Serie C club at nearby Merano, when he learned that one of his two brothers, who had remained in England to run his father’s business, had passed away.

It meant that the surviving brother was left with more work that he could manage on his own and he asked Carlo to consider returning to England to help out.  After giving the matter some thought, he decided family came first.

So it was that Sartori, the former Manchester United star, became a familiar figure in the kitchens of the restaurants and hotels around Manchester that relied on the services of Sartori and Sons.

The business sustained him and his family for the next 29 years until he retired in 2013.  Now living near the town of Halifax in West Yorkshire, about 48km (30 miles) northeast of Manchester, he still returns to Italy from time to time and was recently honoured at a civic reception in Caderzone Terme.

The Alpine lakes at San Giugliano are one of the tourist attractions near Caderzone Terme
The Alpine lakes at San Giugliano are one of the tourist
attractions near Caderzone Terme
Travel tip:

Caderzone Terme is one of a cluster of villages in the middle of the Adamello-Brenta Nature Park in the Valle Rendena area of Trentino-Alto Adige, the autonomous region of northwest Italy that is also known as Sudtirol, with an Austrian as well as Italian heritage.  Traditionally, it was farming that provided for a population of around 5-600 inhabitants; nowadays, increasingly, the local economy is based on tourism. Nearby are the Alpine lakes of San Giugliano, Garzon and Vacarsa, while the mountains offer skiing and trekking opportunities.

Piazza Duomo in Trento, with the Palazzo Pretorio and Torre Civica on the left, and the Duomo to the right
Piazza Duomo in Trento, with the Palazzo Pretorio and Torre
Civica on the left, and the Duomo to the right
Travel tip:

The regional capital, Trento, is one of Italy’s wealthiest cities and often ranks highly in polls for quality of life, standard of living and business and job opportunities.  As well as being a modern city in terms of its strong scientific and financial sectors, Trento has a picturesque historic centre and a beautiful Alpine backdrop, with many of its suburbs retaining the feel of traditional rural or Alpine villages. At the centre of the city is the beautiful Piazza Duomo with its late Baroque Fountain of Neptune. The Duomo itself, built in the 12th and 13th centuries, sits on top of a late Roman basilica, the remains of which can be seen in the underground crypt.

6 September 2017

Francesco I d’Este – Duke of Modena

Military leader left legacy of fine architecture

Diego Valásquez's portrait of Francesco I
Diego Valásquez's portrait of Francesco I
Francesco I, Duke of Modena, who was to be immortalised in a bust by the sculptor, Bernini, was born on this day in 1610 in Modena in Emilia-Romagna.

He is remembered as a skilful military commander, who enriched Modena with the building of the Ducal Palace.

Francesco was the eldest son of Alfonso III d’Este and Isabella of Savoy and became Duke of Modena in 1629 after the death of his mother had prompted his grieving father to abdicate in order to take religious vows and become a Capuchin Friar in Merano.

During the next two years about 70 per cent of the inhabitants of Modena were killed by the plague.

The Duke’s father, now known as Fra’ Giambattista da Modena, tried to help the dying and went about preaching during the outbreak of plague, before retiring to a convent built by Francesco for him in Castelnuovo in Garfagnana.

After the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, Francesco sided with Spain and invaded the Duchy of Parma, but when he went to Spain to claim his reward he was able to acquire only Correggio, for a payment of 230,000 florins.

Francesco then sided with Venice, Florence and Parma against Pope Urban VIII and tried unsuccessfully to conquer Ferrara.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini's 1651 bust of Francesco I d'Este
Gian Lorenzo Bernini's 1651 bust of Francesco I d'Este
Francesco had married Maria Caterina Farnese, but after she died in 1646, he married her sister, Vittoria, who died in 1649.

Modena then became the ally of France, through the intercession of Cardinal Mazarin, but Francesco later made an agreement with Spain because they seemed to be on the winning side in the Thirty Years War.

He married off his son and heir, Alfonso, to Laura Martinozzi, Mazarin’s niece.

Francesco’s third and final marriage was to Lucrezia Barberini, the daughter of Taddeo Barberini, who his troops had at one stage fought against during the Thirty Years War. He had 11 children in total and two of them, Alfonso and Rinaldo, later became Dukes of Modena.

He fought alongside France and Savoy in 1656, conquering Alessandria and Valenza. In 1658 he conquered Mortara, but he became ill with malaria and died in Santhia in Vercelli in the Piedmont region.

Francesco I is remembered for his good character and religious ideals and for improving and enriching Modena.

Balsamic vinegar is big  business in Modena
Balsamic vinegar is big
business in Modena
Travel tip:

Modena is a city on the south side of the Po Valley in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It is known for its car industry, as Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati have all been located there. The city is also well known for producing balsamic vinegar. Operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti and soprano Mirella Freni were both born in Modena.

The Ducal Palace is a dominant feature of the Modena skyline
The Ducal Palace is a dominant feature of the Modena skyline
Travel tip:

One of the main sights in Modena is the huge, baroque Ducal Palace, which was begun by Francesco I on the site of a former castle in 1635. His architect, Luigi Bartolomeo Avanzini, created a home for him that few European princes could match at the time. The palace is now home to the Italian national military academy. In the Galleria Estense, on the upper floor of the Palazzo dei Musei in Modena, the one-metre high bust of Francesco I d’Este, Duke of Modena, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, still seems to be commanding the city.