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    • Episode 5: Guglielmo Marconi

      The subject of Episode 5 is Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor and electrical engineer who is credited as the inventor of the radio. The episode focuses on the path from the bold dreams of an Italian scientist to global broadcasting. Below I have provided additional content to help you dive deeper into Episode 5 and help with your "homework" assigned at the end of the episode! MARCONI & VILLA GRIFFONE Marconi’s house (Villa Griffone) is located a few miles south of Bologna in a city that is now named Sasso Marconi (Marconi Rock) in his honor. Italian drivers often refer to Sasso Marconi as the beginning of the highway trait connecting Bologna and Florence, across the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano (the Apennines in between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany). Villa Griffone was the place of Marconi’s first radio transmission in 1895 and is now the site of the Marconi Museum and the Marconi Mausoleum, built in 1941, after the glorious state funeral organized by the Fascist regime at his death in 1937. If you are planning a trip to Sasso Marconi, add a stop to the nearby town of Marzabotto, site of an old Etruscan city and of the bloodiest Nazi massacre of Italian civilians during WWII. The SS exterminated the entire population of the village (located on the Gothic line) in the fall of 1944, before the 6th Armored Division from South Africa freed it. YOUR NEXT TRIP TO CAPE COD Midway through the Cape Cod National Seashore, you will be able to visit Marconi beach, where Marconi sent his first transatlantic radio signal in 1903. Pictured below is how the beach looked in Marconi’s time (top photo) versus how it looks today (bottom photo). Sea erosion has reduced the Wellfleet radio transmitting station into ruins. In a small booth near the beach dunes (pictured below), you can see what the station looked like back in the day, find a commemorative plaque of the event, and read the text of the radio exchange between U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII of England. If you are in the area, you might also want to visit the nearby studio of American painter Edward Hopper. The site (near Truro) is a true pleasure for the eyes! ITALIAN RADIO IN THE 1930s A complete history of radio broadcasting would require books upon books. If you are interested, you can find some useful material in English at this link. If you read Italian you can consult the webpages Museo della Radio e della Televisione or Storia della radio. Radio transmissions arrived late in Italy, and radio diffusion found legitimacy in the early 1930s, after the foundation of EIAR (Ente Italiano Audizioni Radiofoniche), and the merger (mirroring the British fusion of HMV and Columbia into EMI) between Italy’s two gramophone houses (Societá Italiana di Fonotipia and Societá nazionale del grammofono) and Marconi’s company into VCM (Voce del Padrone; Columbia; Marconiphone). By 1931, radio acquired a broadcasting structure, and first introduced reproduced music as a part of programming. As contents became more and more educational—radiophonic “reductions” of literary masterpieces, theatrical radio-dramas, Futuristic sintesi radiofoniche, or reproduced concerts—and devices acquired a cultural reference (in their naming of radiophonographers after Petrarca or Ariosto), some intellectuals started to investigate the possibilities offered by the new technology for the development of a new aesthetic language. In 1931, the director of the journal Il convegno, Enzo Ferrieri published an essay entitled “La radio come forza creativa” (“Radio as a Creative Force”), which launched the debate on the new language of spectacle and mass-communication. Against the critics of radio diffusion (Guido Piovene, Emilio Cecchi, and Anton Giulio Bragaglia), Marinetti participated in the debate, by co-authoring with Pino Masnata the manifesto “La radia,” published for La gazzetta di Torino on September 22, 1933. In his reflection, Marinetti envisioned radio as an experimental space of interaction across different arts and the development platform of a new abstract language of entertainment/communication, not only abolishing any unity of action or rootedness in tradition, but also inventing a new ubiquitous poetics of “synthesis of infinite simultaneous actions,” “immensification of space,” and “amplification and transfiguration of vibrations.” Inspired by “La radia” and his own broadcasting experience, the Futurist painter Fortunato Depero published in 1934 the poetic collection Liriche radiofoniche (Radiophonic Lyrics). In his vision, radio expressed not just a unique continuum of words and sounds (or “onomalingua”), but rather an experimental poetic form, representing the modern capacity of registration, transmission, and displacement of sound from its contingent location to a multitude of simultaneous spaces/atmospheres. In his words, radio embodied the ultimate experience of a “dinamondo,” (“dyna-world”), that is, of simultaneity in perennial movement. RADIO CLIPS As promised, here are some audio clips for your homework. Click on the links to hear these historic pieces, and imagine listening to them via radio, without correlated images. For radio lovers, listening is still nowadays an act of imaginative thinking! Audio of the first official Italian broadcast on October 6, 1924. Audio of F.D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address on March 4, 1933 “Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.” Audio of Mussolini’s announcement of the Italian Empire after the conquest of Ethiopia on May 9, 1936 Audio of W. Churchill’s first entrance as British Prime Minister to the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” Video about the Cuneo-Pinerolo stage of the 1949 Giro d’Italia (June 10, 1949). The expression of the radio commentator, Mario Ferretti, referring to Fausto Coppi as “un uomo solo al comando,” is now proverbial in Italian.

    • Episode 4: Enzo Ferrari

      The subject of Episode 4 is Enzo Ferrari and the myth of racing in a country of ancient ruins. Ferrari was an Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile. Below I have provided additional content to help you dive deeper into Episode 4 and help with your "homework" assigned at the end of the episode! A FEW MAPS OF ITALY Below is a calendar map of Italy. The Grand Tour in a nutshell: plenty of monuments and picturesque views, yet no people on display. Below is the car district between Bologna and Modena. The headquarters of Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini are concentrated in a 30mile radius. If you are a lover of Italian motorcycles, you can also find in the same area the headquarters of the iconic brand Ducati. Where is the car district located exactly? Below is a broader map of Northern Italy, which includes the “autostrada dei laghi” (the first ever built, in the early 1920s), connecting Milan and Varese, and Turin, where FIAT was born and is located. The historic plant of FIAT (which stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino; Italian car plant in Turin) is called Lingotto and features on its rooftop both a racetrack (designed by Trucco Mattè in the 1920s) and the “pinacoteca Agnelli” (the art collection of the Agnelli family), designed in recent years by the top Italian architect Renzo Piano. A FEW ICONIC ITALIAN CARS Here is a list of a few iconic Italian cars for you to remember: The Lancia Lambda, launched in 1922, created a new demand for cars, by virtue of its innovations (unitary body, suspensions, and elevated speed). The Fiat Balilla, launched in 1932, was the first Italian popular car, produced in series for an affordable price. The Ferrari 125 S, launched in 1947, was the first car manufactured by Ferrari in Maranello. The originals (only 2 cars) are lost. Ferrari Testarossa, launched in 1984, and designed in collaboration with Pininfarina, was one of the most successful models in the 1980s, right before Enzo Ferrari’s death. FRANCESCO BARACCA AND THE PRANCING HORSE After the first flight by the Wright brothers in 1903, the fascination for aviation quickly spread throughout Europe and Italy, along with flying races (especially in the Italian “circuito aereo” of Montichiari) and flying feats like the crossing of the British Channel by Louis Blériot in 1909, or the crossing of the Alps by Oskar Bider in 1913. Airplanes were first used in a war during the Italian military campaign in Libya of 1911-12, and became important military tools during WWI. During the First World War, airplane duels captured the imagination of the public opinion, in search of new exciting stories about an otherwise immobile trench war. For soldiers, flying was a very risky way out of the trench warfare. For newspapers, flying represented a sort of sporting event, made of matches between enemy pilots, stats, and records. Francesco Baracca was the most renowned Italian flying “ace” because he held the best record in taking down enemy airplanes. His death in flight in 1918, a few months before the end of the war, turned him from a sporting legend into a national hero. In the city of Lugo, in Emilia Romagna, you can still visit the museum dedicated to him. The symbol of his airplane, which was well known at the time, was a prancing horse. Ferrari adopted it for his automobiles in his honor. VISIT THE FERRARI PLANT IN MARANELLO! The Ferrari headquarters is located in Maranello, near the city of Modena (the same city of tenor Luciano Pavarotti). In Maranello you can visit the Ferrari Museum where you’ll get to know the story of the scuderia, come to love its most epic racers (Nuvolari, Ascari, Fangio, Villeneuve, Lauda), see the most renowned Ferrari racing cars, and test one of them in the driving simulation range!

    • Episode 7: Alfonso Bialetti

      The subject of Episode 7 is Alfonso Bialetti, the Italian engineer who fashioned and crafted the at-home Aluminum Stovetop espresso coffee maker, the Moka Express. The episode also focuses on Italy’s love affair with coffee, espresso making and creative thinking in Bialetti’s moka. Below I have provided additional content to help you dive deeper into Episode 7 and help with your "homework" assigned at the end of the episode! BIALETTI AND THE ITALIAN TECHNOLOGY OF ESPRESSO MAKING In the late 19th century, the home production of coffee was a very slow process. There were two main devices used to prepare coffee at home: La Napoletana, a stovetop pot to be flipped over, and La Milanese, where boiling water was dripped over a strainer of coffee grounds. The first single-serving espresso machine for public use was invented and patented in 1901 by the Italian entrepreneur Luigi Bezzera. His model, which combined the principles of La Napoletana and La Milanese, revolutionized the coffee-making process, in terms of both rapidity and technique. The word espresso (literally “pressed out”) referred to pressure (moving from the water-filled metal tank to the handle where finely ground coffee was packed tight). At the same time, the word espresso also indicated speed, since Bezzera’s machine could produce a concentrated coffee in a half-minute (against the previous five-minute process to produce small batches of boiled water with pulverized coffee grounds). In 1905, the Milanese businessman Desiderio Pavoni acquired the patent of Bezzera’s invention and started to produce the machine on an industrial scale, renaming it “La Pavoni” and launching the espresso culture in bars as a drink for public consumption. A few decades later, in 1948, the father of Italian design, Giò Ponti, would work on the famous project for Pavoni of “La cornuta” (pictured above), which would turn into one of the most renowned pieces of Italian industrial art. In parallel with Milan, also Turin was a prominent espresso city. In 1884, during the National Exposition of Turin, Angelo Moribondo had presented the first rudimental device to make pressed out coffee, and in 1895, the businessman Luigi Lavazza had established his first coffee-roasting firm. In 1905, the physicist Pier Teresio Arduino designed and installed in Turin his newly patented coffee machine “Victoria” (“Victory”), which guaranteed fast pouring and small size of coffee. The company, Victoria Arduino, became a pioneering brand in advertising and communication, and one of the leaders of the market. Here is the famous 1922 poster ad for Arduino by the Italian master illustrator Leonetto Cappiello, identifying coffee with modern life, and equating espresso making to the pressure and speed of a train in motion. Throughout the 20th century, the other Turin-based company, Lavazza, would dominate the coffee market, both in the production of ground coffee blends and in the manufacture of coffee machines. In 1989, the Italian master Sergio Pininfarina (who also extensively worked for Alfa Romeo and Ferrari) designed for Lavazza the first model of espresso machines (see picture to the left), which would become the prototype for the Firma series. Against this backdrop, Bialetti’s story lies in-between technology and coffee culture. The headquarters of the company, located in Omegna, in the North West part of the Piedmont region, are also in-between Milan and Turin. Bialetti’s main innovation consisted in creating a home-based machine, which could reproduce the quality of an espresso produced and consumed at the bar (including its intrinsic qualities of speed and energy), and at the same time empower individual artisanship and creativity (within the context of an intimate domestic space). Bialetti’s moka (pictured right) would symbolize the encounter of urban modernity and domesticity, mixing rapidity and slowness, industrial techniques and personalized traditions. His logo, the “omino coi baffi," would represent this message, as a character embodying technical skills yet also a long-grown wisdom. At this link you can find a TV commercial (“carosello”) from 1959 where the “omino coi baffi” educates the Bialetti spectators on the technology and culture of the product, by comparing the steps required to fix a leaking faucet to the process for preparing a coffee with the “moka." If you are wondering how to prepare coffee with the Bialetti moka, here is a brief set of instructions from the Omino coi Baffi:

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    • Home | Italian Innovators

      Home About I'm interested in... News & Events More A YouTube show exploring the Italian way to innovation through presentations, interviews, and lessons. For academics, professionals, students, and lovers of Italian culture and industry. Stories of Italian Creativity & Entrepreneurship ​ COMING UP "Bicycles, Sports, and the Birth of Italian Tourism" Public online lecture February 10, 2021 11:30am EST (17:30 Italia) ​ Click on the image to register Release schedule: # Innovators (1st + podcast); # ItalianAges (7th); # Interviews (15th + podcast); # ItalianModernities (21st) Trailer of the show A presentation of Italian Innovators (themes, audience, story) Italian Times #ItalianModernities #Innovators Presentations of innovative figures in design, fashion, technology, music, food #Interviews Interviews to prominent academics, professionals or entrepreneurs #ItalianAges Lessons of Italian Cultural History from the Middle Ages to the present #ItalianModernities Lessons on the history of Italian modernity Show More ©Italian Innovators 2018 SUBSCRIBE to the channel or JOIN the newsletter Join CREATOR & HOST Luca Cottini CONTACT Discover Italy's Contribution to Modern Arts, Fashion, Business, Design, and Technology

    • News & Events | Italian Innovators

      Home About I'm interested in... News & Events More News & Events January 21 - New Episode #ItalianModernities Italian times and the invention of modern timekeeping COMING UP "Bicycles, Sports, and the Birth of Italian Tourism" Public online lecture February 10, 2021 11:30am EST (17:30 Italia) ​ Click on the image to register

    • Lessons

      Home About I'm interested in... News & Events More Italian Ages ​( new lesson every 7th of the month) From the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages Medieval Travels and the Pursuit of a New World From the Late Middle Ages to Humanism Italian Renaissance Courts A Century of Marvel. The Italian Baroque The Italian Settecento From Restoration to Risorgimento. The 19th Century A Culture of Time and Space (1880-1930) The Great War and the Advent of Fascism From Fascist Dictatorship to WWII (1925-1945) The Post-War Reconstruction and the Economic Boom Crisis and Excellence. Italy’s Present Lessons Course presentation ​ ​ Italian Beauties (​ new lessons July & August 2021) Savoir Faire/Vivre Creativity Diversity Heritage Italian Modernities ​(n ew lesson every 21st of the month) Italy & Food. Culture and Industry Italian Fashion. Origins, Evolution, and System A Cultural History of Italian Photography The Golden Age of Italian Silent Cinema Italian Times Bicycles and the Mechanic Industry. Sports, Tourism, and the National Imagination Italy and the Development of Modern Transportation The Simultaneous Age. The Broadcasting Age. The Network Age. The Shape of Knowledge. On Writing and Computing. The Design of Experience. Products, Objects, Spaces.

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