In a business built on dreams, Federico Fellini, born a century ago, may have been the biggest dreamer of all. As a boy in Rimini, he kept a sketch pad by his bed so he could record his vivid fantasies. His lifelong passion was transforming his visions into stories to share with the world.
In Italy La Festa del Papà falls on March 19, the feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph), the husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus. In the United States we celebrate fathers on the third Sunday of June. I welcome any chance to honor the men we love so much–whatever the date and whatever we call them.
Leonardo’s muse, Mona (Madame) Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, was born 541 years ago on June 15, 1479. Few art works have experienced more adventures—and misadventures—in and out of the frame. The Florentine matron has shed her stately robes and appeared in sunglasses, hair curlers, burka, kimono Mickey Mouse ears, black boots, Santa hat, see-through blouse and nothing at all. She’s straddled a motorcycle and a mule, flashed her underwear, skateboarded, skied, smoked a joint and engaged in a kinky array of X-rated activities. NASA once bounced Mona Lisa’s image off the moon. Why not? She’s been everywhere else.
The Medici, the dynasty that governed Renaissance Florence, blazed into the 21st century in a three-part Netflix series. While many dispute its historical accuracy, the the lavish production captures the seize-the-day spirit of the age. Certainly the handsome actor cast as the most magnificent Medici, bears little resemblance to the supremely but seductively ugly Lorenzo (1449-1492).
Come what may, people do what they love. Dancers dance; singers sing; actors perform; writers write. And so I’ve created a new book: “A” Is for Amore. This letter-by-letter journey through the Italian alphabet, culled from decades of research, writing, and wandering, takes readers on a virtual tour of Italian treasures and pleasures, ranging from cucina to opera to vino.You can download the digital PDF for free—a small gift that I hope will entertain and uplift you.
Not even a global pandemic can stop people from doing what they love. Over the last few months, we’ve seen dancers dance; singers sing; actors perform—wherever and whenever they could. The same is true of writers. While sheltering at home in California, I’ve created a new book: “A” Is for Amore. You can download the digital PDF for free —a small gift that I hope will entertain and uplift you.