All posts in the PEOPLES category


Published February 16, 2015 by Tony


Michele Ferrero (1925 – 2015) was one of the most important Italian businessmen, owner of the eponymous Ferrero Group.
Son of peasants, after the second big war, together his wife he opened a pastry shop in Alba (Cuneo). In 1946 Michele was the man behind the company’s development, creating many new products purchased today by millions of consumers around the world, opening factories and representation in Germany and France, and then exporting his articles  overseas, from Australia to Ecuador.
At that time the Italian giants brands were Motta and Alemagna that predicted: “Ferrero goes for broke, it will fail.”
Michele is the inventor of the most famous Ferrero products: Nutella (1964), Mon Cheri (1956), Tic Tac (1969), Ferrero Rocher (1982), up to the Kinder line that now represents about 50% of the Ferrero turnover.
Thanks to the continuous territorial expansion, and production lines, today Ferrero is one of the leading confectionery worldwide, with over 34,000 employees in 53 countries, 20 production facilities, 3 of which are operating in the field of social enterprises in Africa, and Asia and 9 farms.

By Michele Ferrero’s will,  in 1983 was born the Ferrero Foundation, based in Alba, which has the dual objective of taking care of ex-employees Ferrero and to promote cultural and artistic initiatives. Indeed,  in its logo appear the three verbs that characterize his phylosophy : “Work, Create, Donate”.
In 2005 he created the Social Enterprises, already active in India, South Africa and Cameroon, not only based on a purely Conception entrepreneurial, but acting with a “social” spirit, as they are aimed on the one hand to create jobs in disadvantaged areas emerging countries, and to also carry out projects and initiatives to promote children’s education and health in the areas where the establishments are located.

Perhaps the best-known product in most of the world is “Nutella”, trade name of an Italian hazelnut cream made from sugar and vegetable oils to flavor cocoa and hazelnuts. It was created in 1964 by the confectionery Ferrero in Alba, from a previous cream called Giandujot and then Supercrema. The name comes from the noun “nut,”  and the Italian suffix “ella” to get a catchy name.
Today Nutella is probably the most widespread “chocolate spread” in the world, whose main ingredient is the hazelnut, once taken from the local hazelnut plantation where he was born. Mr. Michele, as his collaborators always called him, had the idea of planting trees hazelnuts in the South, so that he could have at disposal fresh hazelnuts at any season. From that visionary project was born  8,000 hectares of crops in Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and Australia, where have been planted 6.6 million of trees. The latest reports claim that sales have been of 350 thousand tons produced each year.

Since the beginning Ferrero adopted reusable glass containers as a form of incentive to buy the product. Once emptied of its contents, the container can be used as a container. The glass jars were soon embellished with multi-color images and a characteristic shape.
During the feast of St. Peter and Paul, Michele had a habit of visiting his Ferrero Foundation in Alba. Here he greeted older workers and talked with other workers, and maybe tasted his products too, keeping the air conditioners to the maximum so that the chocolate did not “suffer” the heat “.
Frequently he went to various
supermarket to buy its products and those of other brands to verify freshness and differences. In each factory Michele asked to put a statue of the Lady of Lourdes, but not to offend Muslims, the designers did not put it in the factory in Manisa, Turkey. Michele Ferrero did not like to waste money, except for his favorite cake that he commissioned for some event to a trusted confectioner, and then carried by a helicopter to Alba.   Dwelling in Monaco where he lived in recent years, next to the villas of his son John and Louise, and the widow of his son Peter (who died in 2011), his last joy was being with his five grandchildren ((Michele, Bernardo, Michael, Marie Elder e John). He wrote for them a affectionate letter, during the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Nutella, celebrated in May 2014.  He ideally passed the baton to the fourth Ferrero family’s generation.


Published October 26, 2014 by Tony

FAVIJ, an Italian boy rewarded


He’s the first Italian to win this award and few Italian people know him, aside from a mass of teenagers who love video games. This is Lorenzo Ostuni, a nineteen year old from Turin who with the nickname ” Favij ,” about three years ago, started sharing on YouTube tips and impressions about video games. On his channel, on YouTube, you find his videos taken by webcam while he plays with his console. Jokes, bad words, jokes, smiles, grimaces and things like that do not follow a script and do not even have a real content, but with an exciting rhythm given by a good post-production editing. Probably, other players liked his outburst while playing, and those who followed him in just three years have exceeded one million (1.2 million subscribers). Nearly as many as those that our RAI national channel has. The visualizations generated by Favij channel are around 280 million, while here a famous telefilm series gets an audience of about 6 million!


By regulation, Google rewards Youtubers whose videos have over a million of subscribers, and for that, a few days ago, Lorenzo received the Golden Button, a big button-shaped plate 24-carat gold. But in the meantime, some companies already are knocking on his door, like Sony for a TV commercial.
Like Lorenzo says, “What could be more beautiful than turning a playful passion into a profitable business?”


George Clooney’s marriage

Published October 2, 2014 by Tony

George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin: a fairytale wedding

Three days of celebration, several changes of clothes, star chefs, historic locations and hundreds of guests. All this magnificence has its cost, and the account that bride & groom paid is rather pricey. Only a royal wedding can outclass to luxury and sumptuousness it. The total cost of this romantic weekend is nearly 13 million dollars (just over € 10 million.) The premise that it was something great came up when the pretty UN’s representative received a beautiful lonely seven carat worth about 600,000 euro, and that the wedding would have took place in Venice.
Mrs. Clooney has worn in order: a 50s style striped dress by Dolce & Gabbana for her arrival in the lagoon, a long asymmetrical bright red dress by Alexander McQueen, and a clutch by Oscar de la Renta for the bachelorette party. A wedding dress in American style by Oscar de la Renta, and after the wedding,  a balloon skirt in a macramé by Giambattista Valli. Finally, women can’t forget the cream pantsuit by Stella McCartney for the civil wedding in the municipal office.
After her arriving in Venice, the lawyer of Lebanese origin has nearly stole the show to her future husband, embodying the myth of Mrs. Kennedy. If in the previous hours she had been spotted at the airport in Milan with a sporty outfit, with jeans and sneakers, after the arrival in the lagoon she has unlined all her charm with a look from the fifties: a lounguette dress white-blacks inlaid, blacks big glasses like her long flowing hair, and court pointy shoes.
After many false leads and rumors circulated on purpose to confuse the curious, after arriving in Venice George and his girlfriend have materialized in Tronchetto, the car terminal, preceded by a van that unloaded the couple’s bulky baggage, including a trunk by Giorgio Armani containing the dress that the groom had to wear on Monday morning for the civil marriage. Nothing was left to chance, including the name of the gondola-taxi number 256, with the auspicious name “Love”, driven by the loyal Sandro Greco, the man-shadow to each Clooney Venice Film Festival partecipation.
Amal like Cinderella, when getting off of the taxi ‘Love’ to go to the hotel Cipriani, she held in the hand one of her shoes with the big stiletto heel.
Stumbling upon a typical star’s affectation, Clooney took exception to the bedroom’s furniture in the luxurious Aman Grand Canal Hotel, where the couple had to stay, asking to change it.
To manage the wedding of the year, the City even issued an order to prohibit the passage of persons and boats, by land and water, in front of the municipal building that housed the ironclad celebration. And that’s not all! Until Thursday, outside the building next to the hotel, there were some scaffolding installed for the restoration. To have a better sight of the Grand Canal, Clooney decided to shell out a substantial amount to disassemble it in a jiffy. Also, restyling maneuvers for the city, that for the occasion has been dressed up by authorities, without leaving even a gondola out of place.
A weekend in Venice has been enough for Mr. Clooney to infringe upon his past lived as much as possible away from gossip.
About sixty guests arrived at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the day before the wedding, for a pre-wedding dinner party. The day after, the wedding banquet at Aman Grand Canal Hotel, a seven-star where a room’s price ranges from one thousand to 3000 euro per night.
George Clooney and his wife chose the singer Andrea Bocelli to spread music in such a magical day.  Amal’s bridesmaid has been her sister, while George chose the dear friend Rande Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s husband.
To understand the extent to which George and Amal have refined palates, we gotta give a look at the banquet, that among other things included: lobster, lemon risotto and polenta with fried mushrooms. To accomplish this menu there was the chef of the famous Hotel Dolada to Plois, Riccardo De Pra. He has been supported by two teams of outside cooks, one in Pisa and the other in Paris.
In this riot of colors and flavors, a particular dessert could not miss , the favorite of the Hollywood star: the Pasticcciotto of Puglia. A typical Salento one made of sweet pastry, filled with custard and shaped as a mini plumcake.
Not being able to give up this delight, for the wedding George Clooney ordered 2000 of them directly from Otranto, the origin country of these sweet.
I wonder if, as some say, this marriage is only meant to support Cloney’s political activity.






Published December 29, 2013 by Tony

– Major World Events in 2013 –

Another year has passed, and although this 2013 fortunately will not go down in history as the year of the worst disasters, many important events have occurred, and it is appropriate to summarize them (news are not given in a chronological order).

Historical Events for Year 2013

Obama’s victory – re-elected to the White House
Election of Pope Francis, after Pope Benedict’s resignation
Hollande new French President
Samaras double voting and the government in Greece
Xi Jinping at the head of the Chinese Communist Party
Aung San Suu Kyi was elected in Burma and withdraw the Nobel
The robot Curiosity arrives on Mars
Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union as Lithuania takes over the presidency
Scientists successfully cloned human stem cells
Detroit files for bankruptcy
Iran Nuclear Deal
China Moon Rover Lands on Moon.
Death of Nelson Mandela


Cyclone Cleopatra
Train accident in Lac-Mégantic
Train accident in Santiago de Compostela
Chelyabinsk Meteor
Earthquake in Bushehr
Earthquake in Ya’an
Typhoon Haiyan
Lao Airlines Flight 301
Tatarstan Airlines Flight 363
Boeing 777 crashes at San Francisco Airport
Boston Marathon’s Blasts
Hurricane Sandy

Golden Globes 2013
Best Drama: Argo , directed by Ben Affleck
Best Musical or Comedy: Les Misérables , directed by Tom Hooper

Grammy Awards 2013
Record of the Year : Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know
Song of the Year : Fun – We Are Young
Album of the Year : Mumford & Sons – Babel
Best Rock Album: The Black Keys – El Camino

Emmy Award 2013
Breaking Bad
Behind the Candelabra
The Colbert Report
Modern Family
The Voice

Oscars 2013

Argo by Ben Affleck
Ang Lee – Life of Pi
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

Sport Events
London Marathon
Moscow Athletics World Championships
Rugby League World Cup final
UEFA Champions League final
Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

Miss Universe 2013
María Gabriela Isler

Nobel Prizes in 2013

François Englert
Eugene Fama
Lars Peter Hansen
Peter Higgs
Martin Karplus
Michael Levitt
Alice Munro
James Rothman
Randy Schekman
Robert Shiller
Thomas Südhof
Arieh Warshel
European Union

Celestial Bodies discovered in 2013
2013 ET
C/2013 A1 Siding Spring
C/2013 F1 Boattini
Kepler- 62 c
Kepler- 62 and
Kepler- 69 c
Kepler- 78 b
S/2004 N 1

International Crisis

Syria and Lebanon, Sudan, Turkey/PKK, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sahel, Mali, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Central Asia, Iraq, Colombia, Philippines, Myanmar.

According to some ” TIME” ‘ s surveys , here’s a list of the top Arts & Entertainment events of the past 12 months.

Best Movies
The Great Beauty / Big Beauty
American Hustle
The Grandmaster

Best Songs
“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk
“The Wire ,” Haim
“Control,” Big Sean feat. Jay Electronica & Kendrick Lamar
“Ohm,” Yo La Tengo
“I Got a Boy,” Girls ‘ Generation

Best Books

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
Tenth of December, George Saunders
The flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner
Book of Ages, Jill Lepore
Command and Control, Erik Schlosser
The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin


Published December 14, 2013 by Tony

– VUO’  CUMPRA’ ? –

The Italian term “Extra-communitarian” (Non-EU) refers to immigrants who come from countries outside Europe, but usually here either we use it in a more general way, to mean any person who comes from an underdeveloped/poor country, or to identify, in particular, Africans and Indians (and even Chinese). For us, the “extra-comunitari” are all those individuals who run away from their countries, often with “no art and no part” (like we say), hoping to make do and earn money just to survive. Most of them end up doing the beggars as is the case for almost all of the gypsies (Rom) coming from eastern Europe. Instead, for the majority of Africans and Indians, if things go well, they become street vendors. With the help of friends and relatives, they buy cheap merchandise, then exposing them on the sidewalks, in the local markets, in country’s parties, or strolling on the beach during the summer. If things go wrong, adults or children,  they stop at traffic lights trying to clean windshields or sell Kleenex to the motorists for some coin. In Naples and south Italy in general, with a so high rate of unemployment and lack of jobs, what future may have these individuals?
Their repetitive (selling) recall, “vuò cumprà?” (want to buy?), in a sort of Neapolitan dialect that probably they needed to learn and shoot for first, over the years has become so famous that we often use it to identify any African peddlers.
The items most commonly sold by Africans are: African crafts (wooden carved items), fashion jewelry, sunglasses, swim suits, leather handbags and belts (often contraband items).
Indians are more specialized in selling fashion jewelry (gemstones) coming (from India and clothing, as Chinese in small cheap electronics devices.
In the village where every year I go  to spend my summer vacation, I find many “vuò cumprà”.  For years, some of them regularly sojourn in this small village, staying there for a couple of months. Every day, many of them trace the beach – back and forth – with their cargo of goods. In the afternoon and at night they display their wares on the promenade, directly on the ground or on small stands. They are generally friendly pwho greet all passers-by, and those who have learned the language, often chat with holidaymakers. And it is not unusual that one of them makes friends with some vacationer. When things go well, someone let even his wife and children to come in Italy, and then we see them all together next to their stand.

Usually these immigrants live in groups in small flats to share the expenses, and needless to say that theirs is a poor existence in the balance, evidently not so bad as the one lived in their countries. They live isolated, in poor hygienic conditions, and often you see them sleeping on the sidewalks between pieces of cardboard or in small huts arranged for the occasion. Sometimes, the smell of piss forces you to hold your nose….
The bordering neighborhoods are often the best place for them. Remote districts where there still find small spaces and where in a flash their slums make inroads.
The only people we Neapolitans fear most, are nomads and gypsies. They move in groups, always attended by their family, usually dirty and smelly, not looking for a job, but simply to beg, sometimes trying to pity the passer. Often, they wander around the neighborhood with wife and children in tow, with a guitar or a music-cassettes  playing some old Neapolitan song. They scream and call below any dwelling or buzz so that some coin is thrown from balconies. Others rummage through the garbage looking for items that they can sell to those that treat old and used objects.
Unfortunately, these immigrates have the reputation of being thieves and especially their children, that if they can, steal and run away. Sometimes it has happened that even our children have been kidnapped, then being reported as missing and very difficult to trace if you don’t know that it has been a gypsy to do that.

I’m not racist and I feel very sorry for these people, but although they know Naples to be a city with a good heart, I do not think it is appropriate to make them freely get into areas already at risk, with no money, no job and no a fixed abode. 

Despite all this, you’ll never heard a racial slur against these people, and usually they are left alone, even by storekeepers and police. If a cop or a financial police would approach one of them, many Neapolitans tried to help and devote a good word for the victim.
These are Neapolitans, for better or for worse!