All posts tagged celebration

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 May 21, 2012 by Tony

Napoli Wins Italian Cup

Napoli team

Today “Il corriere dello sport“, the most important Italian sports newspaper, devoted its front page to the final championship of the “Italian Cup“, writing in large letters:



Great Napoli!

beat Serie A champion Juventus 2-0 yesterday night, inflicting the Bianconeri’s first defeat of the last months. It seemed impossible to beat Juventus this season also if all the Naples’ squad has done something extraordinary these past three years. Anyway, Edinson Cavani broke the deadlock with a penalty and then Marek Hamsik sealed the result with the second goal seven minutes from the end. Everyone talks about Cavani, Lavezzi and Hamsik, an exceptional group that Naples’s fans call “the three tenors”. Also if it’s almost certain to have been the last game for Lavezzi in the Napoli football team (perhaps will be the Paris Saint Germain to buy The tree tenorshim), and for this he probably has cried at the end of the game, near the cup. At the end of the game, at night, hundreds of thousands of people have took the street to celebrate the event, a flood of euphoric young people  went on a binge until dawn. Just arrived from Rome, the “blue football team” has risen on a open sightseeing bus and toured the city to greet the warm Neapolitans. The bus moved through the delirious crowd, while the players aboard showed excited the cup. They were 25 years that Napoli football team didn’t win this trophy, since the superstar Maradona time. The whole city has enjoyed because too many years that the team had not won a trophy; a team that for unknown reasons is always mistreated by other teams and sports critics (sometimes small teams from the South bother, evidently!), although in recent years it has proven to be a great team, as it even had defeated Chelsea in the knockout stage of the Champions League, which is now the European champion. Therefore, beyond the cup, there is the satisfaction and the revenge of an entire city and of many fans who, for better or for worse, they always follow their favorite team.

I rejoiced with them and now can only repeat GREAT NAPOLI!


Published May 1, 2012 by Tony


"The Fourth Estate" by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo

Today in Italy is celebrated the national “Festa dei lavoratori” (Workers Day or May Day) also called “festa del Lavoro” (Labour day), as it happens officially in other 80 states worldwide like France, UK, Spain, Chile, China, Germany,  Russia, Greece, Slovenia, Swiss, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Egypt,  Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Cuba and any EU country. But unofficially in other countries too, as india.
It is celebrated worldwide on 1 May each year and highlight the commitment of the trade union movement and the achievements in economic and social field from the workers. This holiday, on the other hand, is a global celebration, through which we remember and support the struggles of workers’ organizations and movements; by its very nature, its principles refer to leftist ideas, but despite these clear political overtones, is a national holiday in many nations.
Oddly, in USA the similar holiday “Labor Day” is differently celebrated on the first Monday in September, because originates in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. In other parts of the world, however, to finally bring down the choice of this holiday on May 1, were the serious incidents that occurred in early May 1886 in Chicago and known as the Haymarket affairs. The May 3 Chicago workers on strike, they found themselves at the McCormick factory farm, where the police called to quell the crowd, fired on demonstrators, killing two and wounding several others. In October 1884, a convention held by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions unanimously set May 1, 1886, as the date by which the eight-hour work day would become standard. As the chosen date approached, U.S. labor unions prepared for a general strike in support of the eight-hour day. Commemoration of May Day became an annual event the following year. Historian Philip Foner on that time wrote “here is little doubt that everyone associated with the resolution passed by the Paris Congress knew of the May 1 demonstrations and strikes for the eight-hour day in 1886 in the United States … and the events associated with the Haymarket tragedy”. This year, since the States have never aligned their Labour Day on this date, protesters ‘Occupy Wall Street’ declared a national strike.

Haymarket Riot-Harpers
Anyway, that this holiday is celebrated in May or September has little importance because it is important that there is and continues to be, although it would be nice to have a unique celebration made on the same day all over the world.
In Italy, since 1990, the Italian trade unions CGIL, CISL and UIL organize annually, in many cities, parades and concerts to celebrate May 1,  attended by hundreds of thousands of people each year.


Published March 6, 2012 by Tony


Continuing the theme of the carnival, this year I participated to the last day of the Carnival of Cento, a small town in the province of Ferrara, a few miles from Bologna. For those who have not read my previous posts, over the years I already have wrote something about the carnival of Venice, Acireale and Sciacca.
Cento is a small town on a totally flat farmland, rich in streams and small ponds, kinda damp because not so far from the wide mouth of the River Po.
To be precise, our trip included a visit to other cities too, and for this we stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of Ravenna. The Saturday evening we visited  Urbino and on Sunday morning
the city of Ferrara, while in the afternoon we moved to Cento to attend to the carnival. On Monday morning, instead, we visited Ravenna and then set off after lunch to Naples, which, including stops, the trip by bus requires more than 7 hours.
The modest Cento Carnival can not be compared to Viareggio or Venice one, but has a secular tradition and, like many others in Italy, is characterized by floats decorated with grotesque and allegorical papier-mâché figures or parodies,  as high as 20 meters, resulting from a long and skillful craftsmanship. Parading through the town’s main street and preceded by groups of people dancing in masks and fancy costumes, it lets adults and children, placed on the sidewalks, to enjoy the parade, with other young people who follow the floats dancing and having fun. As usually, there is an air of festivity and everyone is involved by happiness and lightheartedness, while the crowd strolls among stands and stalls of food.
During the parades, some people on the balconies throw stuffed animals or rubber toys on the public, in honor of the saying “No one goes back home empty-handed.”
Traditionally, after the awards, is the burning of the local mask called “Tasi”, the traditional puppet dressed in a tuxedo accompanied by a fireworks show in a picturesque location, just in front the “Rocca di Cento”, the monument of the city. As in many other carnival festivities, admission is paid, even though 15 euros per person seems to me too much if we consider that it is a celebration for families mainly.

Carnival in Cento

Carnival in Cento

Carnival in Cento

Carnival in Cento

Carnival in Cento

Carnival in Cento

people having fun

detail of a float

Carnival in Cento

Carnival in Cento

boy with mask

a food stand

Rocca di Cento

Puppet Trppet Tasi


Published February 13, 2012 by Tony



In Italy, as in many other countries of Catholic tradition, February is the month when Carnival is celebrated.
The origins of this holiday are lost in the mists of time, even if we can find similarities with the Greek Dionysia or Roman Saturnalia ceremonies, during which was achieved a temporary dissolution of hierarchies and social obligations by
any order overthrow, through joke and debauchery. The same goes for other popular Carnival, celebrated in Mesopotamian, from Indo-European peoples or other ancient civilizations where, in the same way, the celebrations had a purification value with the need for periodic regeneration. The Carnival led to a metaphysical dimension, signifying the movement of spirits between heaven, earth and hell and, therefore, pertaining to human being and his destiny. In spring, when the earth begins to manifest one’s energy, the Carnival represented a gap between the underworld and the earth inhabited by the living, the revival of the Cosmos from Chaos.
On this occasion, t
he masks just symbolize the souls of the dead and ancestors who visit the living in a time when there are no more borders between reality and netherworld. In fact, the word carnival comes from the Latin “carnem levare” (move meat out), as it originally pointed out to the banquet held on the last day of Carnival (Mardi Gras), immediately before Lent, period of abstinence and fasting (during which we don’t eat meat currently).
In several Carnival celebration, Shrove Tuesday is often represented by a bonfire, to symbolize the end or, rather, the “Carnival Death”,  frequently represented by a puppet. For this reason, even if unconsciously, nowadays the celebration is dominated by playful and imaginative elements with public parades characterized by the use of masks, often with the use of floats that move across urban streets. In Italy there are many cities where the Carnival celebrations have long since become famous, even outside Italian borders, like the Carnival of Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea, Acireale and Sciacca, each with its own peculiarities. (In previous posts I mentioned Acireale and Sciacca Carnival).

In some cities, certain masks, which had popular and theatrical origins, have become the symbol of Carnival of that town. The best known are: Pulcinella (Punchinello), Naples mask representing a servant that temperamentally has embodied and continues to embody the Neapolitan-type, the character who, conscious of the problems, always manages to come up with a smile, making fun of the mighty publicly.
Pantalone (Pantaloon) is the mask of the city of Venice that represents a typical old merchant, greedy and lustful.
Arlecchino (Harlequin) is the mask of Bergamo, a character from the boorish spirit, sometimes witty but more often silly, just a poor devil as the servants of the traditional comedy ever since.
Balanzone is the mask of Bologna, which is the classic character “serious”, conceited and pundit who often indulges in long-winded speeches larded with quotations in Latin.
Gianduja is the mask of Turin, which is a cheerful and jovial character, embodying the stereotype of Turin”gentleman”, courageous, sober-minded, prone to good and faithful to his inseparable partner.
In many Italian countries it also is customary, during Carnival day, to dress their children (0 to 10 years, more or less) with fancy costumes and bring them into the street where, after a walk, go to a photographer store to get a photo.