Showing posts with label Pescara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pescara. Show all posts

13 July 2019

Jarno Trulli - racing driver and winemaker

Ex-Formula One star still winning prizes


Former F1 racing driver Jarno Trulli now produces wine from his Abruzzo vineyard
Former F1 racing driver Jarno Trulli now
produces wine from his Abruzzo vineyard
The racing driver-turned-winemaker Jarno Trulli was born on this day in 1974 in Pescara on the Adriatic coast.

Trulli competed in Formula One from 1997 until 2011, competing in more than 250 Grand Prix.  He enjoyed his most successful season in 2004, when he represented the Mild Seven Renault team and finished sixth in the drivers’ championship.

He retired from racing in 2014-15 to focus on his winemaking business, which he had established while still competing and which now produces more than 1.2 million bottles every year.

Trulli’s Podere Castorani vineyard, situated near the village of Alanno, some 35km (22 miles) inland of Pescara, focuses largely on wines made from Abruzzo’s renowned Montepulciano grapes.

Although he was familiar with vineyards as a boy - his grandfather was a winemaker - Trulli’s parents were motorsports fans and named him after a Finnish Grand Prix motorcycling champion, Jarno Saarinen, who had been killed at the Monza circuit the year before Trulli was born.

Trulli began kart racing at the age of seven and by 17 was Karting World Champion.

The Renault car that Trulli drove to victory at the 2004
Monaco Grand Prix, his only success in Formula 1
He made his debut in Formula Three in 1993 and in 1996, driving for the Benetton-sponsored Opel team, won the German F3 Championship, winning six races from 15 starts.

His F3 success led to him being handed a drive for Minardi in the 1997 F1 season, soon switching to the Prost team to replace an injured driver. He impressed by finishing fourth in the German GP at Hockenheim.

As an F1 driver, he was a respected figure renowned for his skill in qualifying, regularly achieving better grid positions than rivals with superior cars to his own.

On the track, he excelled in a defensive driving style which allowed him successfully to hold off quicker drivers, sometimes for an entire race. Often starting from high grid positions in comparatively slow cars, his skill in denying quicker cars the chance to pass him often resulted in a line of vehicles forming behind him during a race. Commentators began to refer to these lines of frustrated rivals as forming a ‘Trulli Train'.

Trulli was a very capable driver who had a reputation for positioning his car so he could hog the middle ground
Trulli was a very capable driver
 who was difficult to pass
Overall, Trulli’s F1 career was rather unsuccessful.  He was seldom in a car that was competitive enough to be in contention in the closing stages of a race and he managed only 11 podium finishes all told.

He won just one Grand Prix, although it was a memorable one. At Monaco in 2004, driving a Renault, Trulli achieved the first pole position of his career after setting a circuit record for the fastest lap.

Pole position had regularly failed to produce the winner at the Monaco street circuit but in the event Trulli beat the British driver Jenson Button to the first corner and led almost throughout, surrendering first place only briefly - to Michael Schumacher - before coming home almost half a second ahead of Button with Rubens Barrichello third.

It was with the encouragement of his father that Trulli invested in a future in the wine business.

In partnership with his manager, Lucio Cavuto, who also had a winemaking background, Trulli bought the Podere Castorani estate, which dates back to 1793, in 1999.

The label on Trulli's Castorani wines
The label on Trulli's Castorani wines
Between them, the two families invested around £5 million into the business over the next few years, increasing the number of wines in their range year on year and selling more bottles with each vintage.

Podere Castorani wines regularly win prizes and the vineyard was named Winery of the Year in the London Wine Competition in 2018.  Among Trulli's most successful wines are his Jarno Rosso and Majolica, two full-bodied reds made from Montepulciano grapes.

Trulli has generated orders for his company’s wines all over the world, capitalising on his fame as a racing driver by setting up promotion events to coincide with Grand Prix dates.

Married to Barbara, Trulli has two sons, Enzo, born in 2005 and named after Jarno’s father, and Marco, who was born in 2006.

A typical narrow street in medieval Alanno
A typical narrow street in
medieval Alanno
Travel tip:

Alanno is a medieval village situated in the hills between the Cigno stream and the Aterno-Pescara river, some 25km (16 miles) from the ancient city of Chieti. The most important landmark of Alanno is the Renaissance church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built around 1485, which was built on a sacred site overlooking a valley 3km (2 miles) outside the town. There are also the remains of the village’s castle and medieval walls.  The Wildlife Oasis of Alanno is home to many species of wild birds.

The birthplace of  Gabriele D'Annunzio in Pescara
The birthplace of  Gabriele
D'Annunzio in Pescara
Travel tip:

Pescara, a city of almost 120,000 people on the Adriatic in the Abruzzo region, is known for its 10 miles of clean, sandy beaches, yet is only 50km (31 miles) from the Gran Sasso mountain range, the snow-capped peaks of which are visible even from the coast on a clear winter’s day. The city is the birthplace of the poet, patriot and military leader, Gabriele D’Annunzio. His childhood home, the Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio, which can be found in the historic centre of the city on the south side of the Fiume Pescara, which bisects the city, houses a museum about his life and works. The Museo delle Genti d'Abruzzo has exhibitions on regional industries like ceramics and olive oil. Pieces by Miró and Picasso are on view at the Vittoria Colonna Museum of Modern Art.

More reading:

How Alex Zanardi went from F1 star to paralympic athlete

Giamperi Moretti - racing driver turned entrepreneur

Elio de Angelis, the last of the 'gentleman racers'





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27 March 2019

Joe Sentieri - singer and actor

Joe Sentieri began his career on ocean liners in the 1950s, soon becoming popular with holiday-makers
Joe Sentieri began his career on ocean liners in the 1950s,
soon becoming popular with holiday-makers

Career remembered for international hit song


The singer, songwriter and actor Joe Sentieri, who released seven albums and around 100 singles over the course of a career spanning more than a quarter of a century, died on this day in 2007 in the Adriatic coastal city of Pescara.

Although he enjoyed considerable success in his own right, he tends to be remembered most for his association with an Italian song that became an international hit after it was translated into English.

Sentieri’s 1961 song Uno dei tanti - One of the Many - was given English lyrics by the American producing partners Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and repackaged as I (Who Have Nothing).

Sentieri enjoyed a number of hits in Italy but is best known for a song that brought success for others
Sentieri enjoyed a number of hits in Italy but is best
known for a song that brought success for others
A hit first for the American soul and R&B star Ben E King, it was covered with considerable success by the British artists Tom Jones and later Shirley Bassey. The Jones version reached No 14 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while Bassey’s climbed to No 6 in the UK singles chart in 1963 and became a staple of her concert repertoire.

Countless other cover versions were released over time, by performers as diverse as Petula Clark and Joe Cocker, Katherine Jenkins and Gladys Knight.  The song has also featured in the hit US television series, The Sopranos.

Sentieri was born Rino Luigi Sentieri in Genoa in March 1925. He grew up in a working-class neighbourhood in the port area and was sent out to work at a young age, going into the mountains above the city where there were opencast coal mines, loading bags of coal on to a truck to be sold by his father.

His musical talent emerged after he was given a mandolin as a present and taught himself to play. He learned the accordion, too, and helped supplement the family income by busking. He also developed a good singing voice, and in the early 1950s began to find work on the cruise ships and transatlantic liners that regularly sailed from Genoa to the Americas.

Sentieri with Wilma De Angelis at the 1960 Festival di San Remo
Sentieri with Wilma De Angelis at the 1960
Festival di San Remo
Modelling himself on Elvis Presley with a touch of Little Richard thrown in, he became a very popular performer, especially in South America and in New York, where he would stay for long periods. He ended each performance with a trademark jump, apparently the legacy of a show he gave during a particularly rough voyage, when right at the end of his closing number the ship rolled suddenly and he instinctively jumped to stop himself falling.

Back in Italy he made his debut on dry land in 1956 as a singer of the orchestra of Corrado Bezzi, with whom he also recorded some 78rpm records for the Italian RCA label, under the name of Rino Sentieri.

His career accelerated after he took part in the Festival of Musichiere at the Arena di Verona in 1959, with a song written by Domenico Modugno, who also provided him with the winning entry - Piove (ciao ciao bambina) - at the prestigious Canzonissima song contest of the same year, by which time he had decided on Joe as a stage name.

As well as making numerous records, Sentieri was also chosen to sing the theme song for the 1960 Olympic Games of Rome, entitled Welcome To Rome, and gained a number of parts in movies, including a couple for the director Damiano Damiani, one of which - La moglie più bella (The Most Beautiful Wife) - featured the screen debut at 14 of the future star Ornella Muti.

He decided to end his career in the 1980s so that he could devote more time to his love of painting, a hobby he had maintained since childhood. He and his partner, Dora, moved to Pescara, where he would exhibit from time to time. He accepted some invitations to sing or appear on television and actually released a collection of Genovese songs in 1996, although he preferred a quiet life.

He ended his days in considerably reduced circumstances compared with peak of his career, mainly as a result of bad luck with his investments. He spent 40 million lire on some land at Rapallo which was then compulsorily purchased by the government for 16 million, saw his record shop go bust and had his fingers burnt on another property investment, in a country club outside Genoa.

As a result, he was left to live on little more than a €700-a-month state pension, before premier Silvio Berlusconi decided he should benefit to the tune of an extra €1,000 per month as a result of the Becchalli Law, which allows governments to provide special help to “illustrious citizens” who have fallen on hard times.

Sentieri died in a clinic in Pescara a few weeks after suffering a stroke, at the age of 82.

Gabriele D'Annunzio's childhood home in Pescara contains a museum dedicated to his life
Gabriele D'Annunzio's childhood home in
Pescara contains a museum dedicated to his life 
Travel tip:

Pescara, a city of almost 120,000 people on the Adriatic in the Abruzzo region, is known for its 10 miles of clean, sandy beaches, yet is only 50km (31 miles) from the Gran Sasso mountain range, the snow-capped peaks of which are visible even from the coast on a clear winter’s day. The city is the birthplace of the poet, patriot and military leader, Gabriele D’Annunzio. His childhood home, the Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio, which can be found in the historic centre of the city on the south side of the Fiume Pescara, which bisects the city, houses a museum about his life and works. The Museo delle Genti d'Abruzzo has exhibitions on regional industries like ceramics and olive oil. Pieces by Miró and Picasso are on view at the Vittoria Colonna Museum of Modern Art.

The Piazza de Ferrari in the centre of Genoa is always a hub of lively activity
The Piazza de Ferrari in the centre of Genoa is
always a hub of lively activity
Travel tip:

The port city of Genoa, known in Italy as Genova, is the capital of the Liguria region. It has a rich history as a powerful trading centre with considerable wealth built on its shipyards and steelworks, but also boasts many fine buildings, many of which have been restored to their original splendour.  The Doge's Palace, the 16th century Royal Palace and the Romanesque-Renaissance style San Lorenzo Cathedral are just three examples.  The area around the restored harbour area offers a maze of fascinating alleys and squares, enhanced recently by the work of Genoa architect Renzo Piano, and a landmark aquarium, the largest in Italy.

More reading:

Patty Pravo - the '60s star still performing today

Italy's biggest-selling recording artist of all time

How Domenico Modugno wrote the iconic Italian ballad Volare

Also on this day:

1799: The birth of Alessandro La Marmora, founder of Italy's Bersaglieri corps

1968: The birth of popular politician Luca Zaia

1969: The birth of Gianluigi Lentini, once the world's most expensive footballer


(Picture credit: D'Annunzio house by Rae Bo; Fountain by Roberta de roberto; via Wikimedia Commons) 

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12 March 2016

Gabriele D’Annunzio – writer and patriot

Military hero influenced Mussolini with his distinctive style



Gabriele D'Annunzio: writer and military  hero, pictured in the 1930s
Gabriele D'Annunzio: writer and military
hero, pictured in the 1930s
Poet, playwright and political leader Gabriele D’Annunzio was born on this day in 1863 in Pescara in Abruzzo.

He is considered to be the leading writer in Italy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as well as being a military hero and a political activist. Some of his ideas and actions were believed to have influenced Italian Fascism and the style of the dictator, Benito Mussolini.

D’Annunzio was the son of a wealthy landowner and went to university in Rome. His first poetry was published when he was just 16 and the novels that made him famous came out when he was in his twenties.

At the age of 30 he began a long liaison with the actress Eleonora Duse and started writing plays for her. But his writing failed to pay for his extravagant lifestyle and he had to flee to France in 1910 because of his debts.

After Italy entered the First World War, D’Annunzio returned and plunged into the fighting, losing an eye during combat while serving with the air force. He became famous for his bold, individual actions, such as his daring flight over Vienna to drop thousands of propaganda leaflets and his surprise attack on the Austrian fleet with power boats when they were moored at Buccari Bay in what is now Croatia.

Eleonora Duse, the actress with whom D'Annunzio had a long affair
Eleonora Duse, the actress with
whom D'Annunzio had a long affair
In 1919, with about 300 supporters, he occupied the port of Fiume, now Rijeka, whose population was mostly Italian. D’Annunzio believed it belonged to Italy but the Italian Government and the Allies were proposing to incorporate it into the new state of Yugoslavia.

He ruled Fiume as a dictator until December 1920. Some of his slogans and the tactics he used while he was leader there were later copied by Mussolini.

After Italian forces made him abdicate he retired to his home at Gardone Riviera to write .In 1922 he was pushed out of a window by an unknown assailant but, although badly injured, he survived the fall.

He was given the hereditary title of Principe di Montenevoso by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1924.

Next to his house he built a stadium, Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, to display his torpedo boat and the aircraft in which he flew over Vienna. A mausoleum was built there after his death in 1938 to contain his remains.


The amphitheatre at Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, the stadium  D'Annunzio built next to his home overlooking Lake Garda
The amphitheatre at Il Vittoriale degli Italiani, the stadium
D'Annunzio built next to his home overlooking Lake Garda

Travel tip:

Il Vittoriale degli italiani, The Shrine of Italian Victories, is an estate in the hillside above the town of Gardone Riviera, overlooking Lake Garda in the province of Brescia. D’Annunzio began planning the estate in 1921 with architect Giancarlo Maroni. Jutting out of the hillside is the cruiser, Puglia, its bow pointing symbolically in the direction of the Adriatic, as though ready to conquer the Dalmatian shores. Now a national monument, the estate houses a military museum and library and is a popular tourist destination.



Gabriele D'Annunzio's former house in Pescara is now a museum dedicated to the writer's life
Gabriele D'Annunzio's former house in Pescara is now a
museum dedicated to the writer's life
Travel tip:

The birthplace of Gabriele D’Annunzio in Corso Manthonè in Pescara is now the Museo Casa Natale Gabriele D’Annunzio. The house at number 116, where he spent his childhood, displays furniture, documents and photographs illustrating the writer’s life. It is open to visitors every morning from 9 am to 1.30 pm. For more information, click here.

Pescara hotels by Booking.com

More reading:

The founding of Mussolini's Fascist Party

The abdication of Victor Emmanuel III

Why Eleonora Duse is seen as one of Italy's greatest acting talents

Also on this day:

1501: The birth of doctor and botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli

1921: The birth of Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli


(Picture credits: Amphitheatre by BlueSky2012; museum by RaBoe001; via Wikimedia Commons)

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