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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.

*A comprehensive presentation of the Venetian painter Paolo
Veronese
 at the Sarasota
Ringling Museum
 until April 14.

*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.

*Artemisia Gentileschi’s  Judith and Holophernes
 at  the Art Institute of Chicago in October.

*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: