The Year of Italian Culture in the United States
This is the year to discover Italy--without even leaving the country.
The government of Italy has declared 2013 the “anno della cultura italiana negli Stati Uniti” (the year of Italian culture in the United States), designed to "reveal today’s Italy, its brilliance, and its excellence, anchored in the present and driven by an unparalleled past.”
Few cultures have contributed as much to the United States and to the world. Italians gave the name "America" (a tribute to the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci) to Americans; created the first universities, law and medical schools, banks, and public libraries; taught diplomacy and manners to Europe; mapped the moon (in 1651); split the atom; produced the first modern histories, satires, sonnets, and travelogues; invented the battery, barometer, radio, and thermometer; and bestowed on the world the eternal gift of music.
To me Italian—la bella lingua—is no less a part of Italy’s rich cultural heritage than Petrarch’s poetry, Michelangelo’s sculptures, Puccini’s operas, or Fellini’s movies. To celebrate a year of Italian culture and language, I will expand the focus of my blog to include arte, musica, teatro, patrimonio architettonico e paesaggistico, cinema, letteratura, scienza, design, moda, cultura politica, giuridica ed economica, e cultura alimentare (art, music, theatre, architectual and landscape heritage, cinema, literature, science, design, fashion, political, legal and economic culture, and food culture).
Planned highlights for the Italian initiative include commemorations of the 700th anniversary of Boccaccio’s birth, the 500th of Machiavelli’s writing of The Prince, and the 200th of Verdi’s birth. Here is a sampling of cultural events scheduled around the country:
*Michelangelo's "David-Apollo," at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. until March 3.
*Leonardo da Vinci’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds,” his famous manuscript showing his plans for a Flying Machine, at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. from May to June, 2013.
*Caravaggio’s “Adoration of the Shepherds,” on display for the first time in the United States at the San Francisco Legion of Honor in February and his “Raising of Lazarus” at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in September.
*Works by Giuseppe Verdi performed by the Boston Symphony, Opera San Jose, Colorado Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, Metropolitan Opera of New York, Pittsburgh Opera, New Orleans Opera, Dallas Opera, Tulsa Opera, San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Chicago Opera Theater.
Other happenings include an Italian photography exhibit at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., a reading of his translation of verses from Dante’s Inferno by the former poet laureate Robert Pinsky at New York University, conferences on Italian writers such as Italo Calvino, Primo Levi and Giacomo Leopardi at various colleges, and an exhibit of Italian yachts and luxury vessels in Fort Lauderdale. Italian wine-makers and chefs also will be showcasing the tastes of Italy at dozens of sites around the country.
Click here for further information on programs, places and dates.
Dianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.
In appreciation for Italy's year-long gift, here is Italy's national anthem with an English translation of its lyrics: