Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ang Lee Back to Direct Venice Film Festival

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Director Ang Lee, who twice won the Venice Film Festival's prestigious Golden Lion award, will head its jury this year.

The Taiwanese-born director won the award in 2007 for "Lust, Caution," and in 2005 for "Brokeback Mountain," for which he also won a best directing Oscar.

The festival made the announcement Friday. Last year's jury was headed by German film director Wim Wenders.

This year's film festival will be held Sept. 2-12. For more video about Italy visit

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Italian Fashion Gianfranco Ferre enters Bankruptcy

Designer label Gianfranco Ferre has been put into special administration under the weight of financial pressure, along with its owner IT Holding, just a day before the label launches its new womenswear collection.

The Gianfranco Ferre fashion show in Milan scehduled for tomorrow, Friday, will be on.

In a statement on Thursday, Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said the move aimed "to safeguard the group and its ability to continue in business".

IT Holding is one of the first Italian listed companies to go into special administration in the global market crisis and its fate reflects not just the current credit crunch but also the impact of falling demand on luxury goods companies.

Besides Ferre, IT Holding also owns the Malo and Exte brands and its Ittierre unit distributes for Cavalli and Versace lines.

Ferre's founder died in 2007. He was known for his signature "architectural" style in suits and jackets and his trademark white shirts.

The label, one of Italy's best-known fashion lines, is now styled by Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, from brand Malo. On Wednesday, Roberto Cavalli cancelled his Just Cavalli line show because of the uncertainty surrounding IT Holding.

Special administration is similar to U.S. Bankruptcy Law Chapter 11 filing, which aims to find ways to revive the business of companies in financial difficulties without closing them down, which would be a chapter 7 filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

For more about Italian fashion and the recent shows from Italian designers Zucchelli and Vacca, click WebVisionItaly's Fashion Channel.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

New York Fashion Week Fall 2009/2010

New York Fashionn Week Fall 2009/2010 Fall Collection included Calvin Klein's men's creative director Italo Zucchelli runway show and Domenico Vacca runway show. Click below for runway video:

Italo Zucchelli Interview

Italo Zucchelli Runway Show
New York Fashion Week 2009 /2010

Domenico Vacca Runway Show
New York Fashion Week 2009 /2010

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Giorgio Armani: New York Store Opens and Armani Blogs

After 35 years in fashion, Giorgio Armani opened has his own store on New York's Fifth Avenue across the street from Bergdorf. As Giorgio says about his accomplishment, "Look what happens when you have a dream!"

To read more about what Giorgio Armani has to say during New York Fashion week and among the collapsing economy, read his For the Moment by Giorgio Armani in the New York Times after the jump.

For the Moment blog by Giorgio Armani,
New York Fashion Week, February 2009

For the Moment Giorgio Armani Takes Manhattan

For the Moment Giorgio Armani in the Bronx

For more video of the Italian designers in New York Fashion Week Fall 2009/2010 visit Fashion Channel, the only Internet TV network about Italy.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Italy Travel: Umbria by Car - Umbrian Cashmere and Umbrian Food

Umbrian Cashmere and Food


March is the perfect month for wearing a light cashmere jacket, shawl, scarf or handsome sweater, so where better to indulge yourself than in central Italy. The region of Umbria is home to some of the finest and most fashionable cashmere in the world.

Brunello Cucinelli: We begin our journey a short distance from Perugia and Assisi, in the picturesque hill town of Solomeo. The entire town is dedicated to the cashmere company Brunello Cucinelli and is home of their beautiful factory outlet.

The “Franciscan of cashmere” is a name often applied to Brunello Cucinelli, a man dedicated to humanism. More than 30 years ago Cucinelli moved to Solomeo, purchased three knitting machines, and laid the foundation for his clothing company. He ploughed his profits into the restoration of the medieval castle, Castello di Solome, in order to provide his staff with a spacious and motivating working environment. He has invested more than 20 million euros in Solomeo as the “preserver of Solomeo’s old town.” According to Brunello Cucinelli, “perfect quality” is the result of the inner goodness and quality of each individual. He nourishes creativity and team spirit by providing his workforce with beautiful, inspiring surroundings.

Cucinelli selects the very best materials. Collections are made using the finest, softest, fluffiest hair of the cashmere found around the throat. He dyes the wool the colors of the rainbow. The styles are exquisite for both men and women. Each piece is an investment in beauty.

Just before you ascend to Solomeo, you will find the factory outlets of Gunext and Rivamonte, both owned by the Cucinelli company. Gunext features skirts and pants for women made of the finest wools. Rivamonte specializes in tops and jackets varying in fabrics from fine cotton, silk, and wool, some with a touch of leather, all of the highest Italian style.

There are no restaurants for lunch in Solomeo.

My suggestion for lunch is Osteria dell’Olmo, close by in the town of Olmo. This 16th century villa with its own vineyard is surrounded by olive trees and the Umbrian hills. Chef Aeneas creates dishes following ancient traditions. Their cuisine is inspired by the richness of the Umbrian soil that produces their olive oil, mushrooms, and truffles. Their massive outdoor grill burns throughout the year sizzling local meats.

Osteria Dell’Olmo is a tasteful experience!

How to get here - Superstrada Firenze - Perugia, exit Coriciano, per Solomeo. Cucinelli is in the main square of Solomeo.

Arnaldo Caprai: Just south of Assisi, a few miles down from Foligino, along the highway, is the cashmere company Arnaldo Caprai. The artfully designed factory outlet offers cashmere of elegant styles for both men and women bursting with colors influenced by nature. There are also fine linens detailed with the famous Caprai lace.

The Arnaldo Capri Textile Museum, featuring antique lace, is one of the most important in the world and definitely worth a visit.

The Caprai vineyard is close by and continues the sense of luxury with high quality wines, such as, Rosso di Montefalco and Sagrantino.

The luxurious world of Arnaldo Capri’s cashmere, lace, and wine is an enchanting way to spend time in Umbria.

There are many outstanding choices nearby to savor authentic Umbrian dishes for lunch or dinner.

In the walled hill town of Trevi is Ristorante Maggiolini, on Via San Francesco. The stone interior keeps it warm and cozy in winter and cool in the summer months. The gentle owners make you feel welcome Umbrian style with warmth and affection. Specials include strongozzi pasta, prepared with seasonal sauces, grilled vegetables, and many choices of grilled meats. The frittata with truffles (when in season) is a favorite as is the grilled tacchino (turkey). Be sure to tell them Deborah and Ron send their best.

On the way to Spoleto, just off the highway, you will come upon Ristorante Benedetti in the town of Campello sul Clituno, where the Ancient Roman temple still stands adjoining the percolating waters. Owners Andrea and Federica have been running this family affair for over 30 years. The flour and oil pastas are handmade following old artisan ways. Federica is very justifiably proud of her pasta! Benedetti’s is like a stage set presenting sincere hospitality. The antipasto table is worthy of an artist palette. Their meats are grilled over hot embers as is the custom in Umbria. Even if you don’t see pennoni fra diavolo on the menu, ask for it…they’ll know you have been sent by Deborah and Ron.

For a unique Umbrian experience, I suggest a visit to Norcia, about an hour’s drive from the Assisi-Spoleto highway at Clituno. High in the Sibillini Mountains, you will come upon Norcia, home of Saint Benedict, founder of the Benedictine order, and Saint Scholastica. In Ancient Roman times up to the 1400s, the Sibyls were thought to inhabit their namesake mountains forecasting the future.

Norcia is famous for its pork products. As soon as you begin your walk toward the main piazza, you realize there’s something special in the air. Follow that scent into shop after shop offering all types of pork specialties. So famous for their skills with pork are the butchers of Norcia, that butcher shops in Italy are frequently called "Norcineria." Norcia is also widely known for lentils, truffles, and farro.

I highly recommend that you eat at Taverna de' Massari, a short way past the Piazza. S. Benedetto. They have an extensive menu and an amazing wine selection. On our last visit, we particularly enjoyed Lenticchie di “Castelluccio” con salsicce alla brace and also Penne alla norcina. Do taste their pork dishes.

Once you return from Umbria you will find yourself aching for one last whiff of porchetta and lusting for that cashmere you left behind. Umbria Internet Programs

Links to mentioned in the article can be found at the Umbria Channel of

Direct links are:

1. Nice intro to Umbrian food here.

2. An interview with Chef Aeneas

3. In Clitunno, Benedetti - Traditional dishes, lovingly prepared.

4. In Perugia [towards Corciano] l’Osteria dell’ Olmo - Umbrian dishes the old-fashion way, delicious, among the olive trees.

5. In Trevi, Maggiolini Ristorante - A taste of paradise in an Umbrian hilltown.

6. Arnaldo Capri, cashmere, lace, and wine

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great Italian Wine for under $20

Published: February 10, 2009 New York Times

IF you are satisfied with a wine that is palatable and goes down easy, you will never go thirsty spending less than $10 on a bottle. But for just a few dollars more, a world opens wide, revealing all sorts of distinctive and delicious wines that speak of culture and history rather than communicating mere commerce. Few places offer a wider selection of singular wines in the $10 to $20 price range — the sweet spot for great wine values — than Italy.

For more about great tasting reasonably priced Italian wine see the rest of the article after the jump - Italian Unknowns, From $10 to $20.

For more about Italian food and wine, the only Internet TV network about Italy.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Italian Fashion 2009/2010 - Armani Women's Collection

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano is the king of all cheese, made in Italy in the region of Emilia Romagna. Crafted in small batches by artisans, carefully aged and cared for, each wheel is not only an expression of the cheese maker's dedication but of the culinary history of the region itself.

Conditions for producing Parmigiano Reggiano are perfect in the rolling hills and pastures of Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua.

Each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano carries proof of its authenticity. During production, the future rind is impressed with the numbr of the "caseificio," or cheese house, production date and pin dots forming words "Parmigiano Reggiano." The pin dots guarantee that the cheese was made under regulation of the Cornorzi del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, conforming toits stringent standards or quality.

After one year of aging, each Parmigiano Reggiano wheel that passes the test is branded with an oval certification mark and left to finish aging. Look for a piece that includes part of the market rind, so you can verify it is Parmigiano Reggiano.

Chef's Tip:
Don't toss the Parmigiano Reggiano rind. Instead, use the rind to cook in soup or sauce. The Parmigiano Reggiano rind is totally edible. After it is soft, remove the Parmigiano Reggiano rind, dice and returnt he bits back to a simmering sauce, stew or soup.

Parmigiano Reggiano after Sports - Food of the Champions:
Parmigiano Reggiano is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and phosphorous, and contains many other vitamins and minerals, including B12, magnesium, copper, and zonc. Made from part-skim milk, it's one of the lowest in fat an contains less salt than many other aged, hard cheeses. In addition, the long, careful, aging breaks down the milk proteins making it easier than other milk products for some people to digest.

Parmigiano Reggiano Perfect Pairings:
Pairing Parmigiano Reggiano with other food highlights its subtle bite and sweetness.

  • Arugula Salad
  • Honey-drizzled pears
  • Creamy risotto
  • Eeggs with shaved truffles

And, of course, the flavor duo of Parmigiano Reggiano and tomato sauce is oe of the most satisfying combinations in food history.

When it comes to wine, bring out the full potential of the cheese by serving it with light- to medium-bodied reds such as Chianti, Valpolicella, or Lambrusco, as well as Prosecco and other sparkling whites.

Click for Parmigiano Reggiano video cheese making process.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Beckham Kicks with the Big Fish

Looking for a soccer challenge, Beckham, David that is, wants to split Los Angeles Galaxy and stay in Italy where he is on loan to AC Milan. Beckham likes being back in Europe, after leaving Real Madrid and Manchester United in Europe for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the U.S. for $32+ million.

David Beckham's lawyers are talking to the Los Angeles Galaxy to see whether the club will enter into negotiations so he can stay in Italy, AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said Wednesday.

"At the moment there is neither optimism nor pessimism," Galliani said.

The European soccer ambassador is crossing back over the pond to Europe from Los Angeles Galaxy as a soccer super star that crosses continents like Marco Polo with Spices to boot!

The English midfielder is halfway through a three-month loan with Milan that ends March 8. He has started all five matches since his arrival in Milan and has scored twice, and on Sunday he set up two goals in a 3-1 victory.

Beckham says he's enjoyed his return to Europe more than he expected, and while he respects the $32.5 million, five-year contract he signed with Major League Soccer in 2007, playing for Milan has been special. The Galaxy has reiterated that it wants Beckham back when the loan ends.

Cheers Beckham and bienvenuto a milan.

For more Italy sports click

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Prosciutto: What is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto (pronounced "pro-shoot-toe") is the Italian word for ham.

In English the word prosciutto is almost always used for an aged, dry-cured Italian ham that is usually sliced thin and served raw. In Italian, however it's paramount to distinguish between "prosciutto crudo" (raw) and "prosciutto cotto" (cooked - which instead identifies the wet cured ham). The most renowned and pricey legs of "prosciutto" come from central and northern Italy, such as the region of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Prosciutto is a vast world of taste and texture, with each Italian region putting its own spin on this classic. Prosciutto di Parma is Italy’s best-known variety of cured ham, but many others compete with it: Le Marche's Prosciutto di Carpegna, Tuscan Prosciutto Crudo and Prosciutto di San Daniele are just a few of the many kinds of available prosciutto.

Prosciutto, whose name comes from the Latin word for “deprived of all liquid”, has been made in Italy since the second century BC. Although each kind of Prosciutto claims its own flavor and texture nuances, the curing process is similar in all. Pork thighs are first hung in a breezy and well-ventilated room for a day or longer. Next, the fat and hide are trimmed, then salt is massaged onto the meat once a week for a month. At the end of the month, the hams are washed off and dried (traditionally, in the sunlight, although now they are more often dried indoors in a warm room). The hams are greased with a mixture of salt, lard, pepper and flour and are aged for months or years, depending on the kind of ham. During this long aging period, hams will lose up to a third of their weight.

What can vary greatly between Prosciutto-making regions is the diet pigs are fed. In order to be officially recognized as a Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) Prosciutto, the ham must follow strict guidelines about what kind of pig the ham is made from and what those pigs are fed. To make Prosciutto di Parma, for example, local pigs are fed whey from locally made cheese, which has been orgic for thousands of years.

The delicate flavor of Prosciutto is best enjoyed with a dry but not too powerful white wine (like dry Malvasia), so that none of the ham’s flavor is masked. Ideal recipes for Prosciutto are those that allow the ham’s unaltered flavor to shine through; serve it on thick Italian bread with Olive Oil, accompanied by a soft cheese like mozzarella, or alongside fruit like melon or figs. Prosciutto and melon is often found on the menu as a tasty way to enjoy prosciutto.

There are two famous types of Italian prosciutto crudo exported abroad: prosciutto di Parma, from Parma, and prosciutto di San Daniele, from the San Daniele del Friuli area, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. The prosciutto di Parma has a slightly nutty flavor from the Parmigiano Reggiano whey that is sometimes added to the pigs' diet. The prosciutto di San Daniele, on the other hand, is darker in color and sweeter in flavour.

The other EU protected designations for prosciutto, each slightly different in color, flavour and texture, are:

  • Prosciutto di Modena, Italy (PDO)(allows nitrites)
  • Prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo, Italy (PDO)
  • Prosciutto di Carpegna, near Montefeltro, Italy (PDO)
  • Prosciutto di Norcia, Italy (PGI)
  • Prosciutto Toscano, Italy (PDO)
  • Prosciutto crudo di San Daniele (UD)
Recently, many people prefer to buy their prosciutto pre-sliced. In the United States supermarkets do sell pre-sliced prosciutto from Italy. The finest quality pre-sliced prosciutto, which is authentic prosciutto, may be found in your grocery deli by looking for the mark on the packaging that proves it is authentic prosciutto.

For more about Prosciutto check out video of Prosciutto.

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