As some of you might know we are approaching the date for Italy to hold its general Elections. It be more precise it is exactly on March 4th which is roughly less than two weeks away and already we are getting bombarded with the final sprint by all the main parties which are involved in this current version of an attempt at bringing some sense to who will govern this country.
At this current moment from what I can gather the choices are divided between these three guys present in the image below (yes! Thats Berlusconi back in action just like in the old days…mamma mia!)
Let’s start from left to right:
On the left we have Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement party which is represents a populist surge derived from a coalition between a famous Italian comedian Beppe Grillo (who is quite funny in my personal opinion and his close friend who recently passed away Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist. They seem to be favourite in recent polls and recently in the news due to some internal party money issues that are still being investigated.
Than in the middle with have the recently departed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of the Partito Democratico party, close friend of Barak Obama, who resigned last year after a referendum and gave way to the current techical team governing the country. Who is not doing great in the polls due to internal diatribes inside his own party and I have serious doubts he will be able to have good numbers since folks seem to be a bit fed up with him.
Than last but not least we have Silvio Berlusconi who even if elected he has a ban from the EU to be able to govern so he as linked up with the North League resentative Matteo Salvini along with ex-Alleanza Nazional candidate Giorgia Meloni. These folks are representing a so called Central Right movement but the candidates that Berlusconi has lined up with in my book come across as racist and self-interested of their goals.They are looking very good in the polls and this to me reflects a bit of has been a common trend in Italy of conservatism.
So we shall see in the next couple of weeks what will occur. Betti still is undecided who to cast here vote for and in my case I do not vote in Italy since I am a US Citizen and so not eligible to cast a say in this very confusing and sad campaign.
Blog Post Update!
The Central Right coalition had the most percentage of votes along with the populist Five Star Movement while the Democratic Party took a licking! All in all, what does this mean for Italy? Only time will tell. Right now everyone is playing poker till the Italian President Sergio Mattarella calls all involved on daily basis to try to get them to talk to each other and try to come out with a semblance of a coherent government. If this is no possible than we will probably end up with the current governmental members headed by Gentiloni and another go at making an Electoral Law that does not permit these sort of results.
To add to the whole picture the visit of Steve Bannon in Italy (NY Times article here) last week indicating that it is time for the populist movements to raise their head against the EU and pull out! A total mess!
As some of you might know after moving to Italy back in 1992 and having left the sunny shores of South Beach, my first set of interviews looking for a job as in Architect in Italy (with vast Cad Management experience) was sort of touch and go.
All the studios I initially contacted on my arrival in Milan loved my portfolio but back then they were just starting to embrace CAD and offered measly salary offers as opposed to what I was earning back in the US.
After a foray of interviews, I went into a slump and was a bit depressed to the point that my wife considered moving back to Miami (my old position was always open since my boss at the time had mentioned that if I encountered any problems in my new country that I was welcome back).
But out of the blue, my wife’s sister calls me up and says that a friend of hers architectural studio in Genoa (about 2 hours away from Milan) was precisely looking for a person with my qualifications.
So I rush down to Genoa and have the interview with my future boss that went much better than expected (considering that it is an architectural studio that designs Cruise Ships – something totally different than the type of projects I worked on in Miami back in the day).
I have to say that after 24 years working at this studio the level of projects and the working environment are superb! And along the road after embarking on projects for companies such as Princess Cruises, Cunard, and Silversea we arrive at the first of a series of vessels for the new company founded by Sir Richard Branson. Last week we had the pleasure of being his guest at the Steel Kneel ceremony (Steel kneel relates to placing the first steel component of the ship and officially starts the construction process) at the Sestri Levante Shipyard.
The party was amazing as you can see if the short video clips below. Boy George was the DJ (Culture Club was one of the first groups on the Virgin Records roster). I also had the pleasure of having a short chat with Richard at the after party in which we spoke about the vessel.
So in a nutshell….I tend to imagine what would have happened if I had not encountered my current boss and moved back to Miami back in 1992?
Life and its mysterious routes…. Viva Italia!
Here is an additional link regarding the new ship currently under construction.
One of the great things about Social Media is the possibility of meeting wonderful people from all around the world.
As most of you know we are on the main channels so that we can reach out to our audience and show them the beauty that is Italy.
A while back my friend Vicki Fitch contacted us and invited us to be part of her show “A Fresh Perspective” a show that in our time frame starts at 4am in the morning. In fact, I get to catch the end of her show usually when I am on the train to go to work in Genoa. This time I put two alarms on so that I would not miss the allocate for the interview. It was a pity that Betti was out of town due to work commitments (maybe next time).
I have to say that the hour flew by since Vicki is tops as both host and interviewer. We covered how I ended up in Italy along with the stuff that we do over here at Casa Chiesi regarding our love for Italy.
Would love to invite you to check it out over at this link on her Facebook Page: click Fresh Perspective with Vicki Fitch
Thanks, Vicki and all those that joined!
This Friday we are flying down to Sicily and more precisely the city of Palermo for a 4-day visit and to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary which is really in August but we start celebrating now!
In February we did the first Casa Chiesi City Belly, a live stream which revolves from the center piazza (square) of our favorite Italian cities. Our first one was revolving around the city of Bologna and you can view it here.
Now it is the turn of the city of Palermo!
In this 30 minute format we will give you a 360° (hint…) view and analysis of the Italian city we are visiting from the center of each one (from here comes the reference to the Belly!) We would love for you to join us this Sunday at 11 am EST where we will be highlighting the wonderful city of Palermo.
These Livestreams are visible on our Facebook Page at this link
and we will also be featured on this website and YouTube channel
Kinda like bring the town center to your Living Room!
Betti and Nazim
One thing we love of our dear friends in Italy is that on the whim of a moment an invitation gets extended and we find ourselves catapulted in beautiful Umbria. Since we tend to spend Christmas in Camogli with the whole family we wanted to be able to take a break somewhere else for a change and Renato, Paola and their son Carlos (who is the photographer behind these blog post photos) came to the rescue.
Renato’s parents have a beautiful country house in Umbria (which is close to Todi, to be featured in a Casa Chiesi article soon) roughly 4 hours and 20 minutes away from Camogli, so yesterday we embarked on a nice drive between occasional fog and bright sunshine arriving at destination at 5 pm.
On our arrival, we found out that the country mice (or rats in this case) had eaten through the plastic tubing of the brand new heating system and the house was as cold as ice (love the Foreigner song reference). Our guest had arrived two hours before so we had the installers figuring out what was needed to fix the unit and get the house heated. They will be back today.
No big deal since we made a nice fire, bundled up, wine and cold cuts along with great conversation heated up our souls. That and a nice visit to the local trattoria for a wonderful evening with friends.
As you can all imagine we are full of sadness as we watch the images that are coming out of Central Italy which was hit with a devastating Earthquake last Sunday in the early morning that totally wiped out the small town of Amatrice along with heavy damage in additional cities close by.
We would like to thank all our friends of Casa Chiesi for the message of support and love from all over. We were on the Ligurian coast in the city of Camogli which is further north (about 4 hours away) from the area affected.
Betti and Nazim
Last week a friend of ours from the Blab community invited us to join on a worldwide Periscope experience called Scope Day for Holidays(#SDxHolidays) which occurred in a 48 hour period between December 12th and December the 13th.
Betti was pretty caught uo for work over the week so I decided to take the bike and my live streaming setup and show the folks the pre-Christmas atmosphere that occurs in the center of Milan and to be more precise along the Duomo area. I took a stroll down the side of the church, then went on to cover the Rinascente store (Italy’s equivalent of Bloomingdales in New York) went into the Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele to visit the original Prada store were the whole empire started to then finish up at La Scala Opera house!
Yesterday I received a phone call from my better half (Elisabetta) who was down in the Saturnia Terme resort doing make-up for a shoot of a Woolrich commercial. Since she had two hours to kill she decided to give this Periscope thing a try (For those of you that do not know Periscope is a mobile/tablet App that lets you live to stream connected to your Twitter account). I have been doing Periscope and Meerkat for the last two months (we started by doing a Meerkat with our friend Mia Voss when she was here in Italy) showing interesting backdrops from Italy along the lines of what we offer here on the Casa Chiesi website.
Obviously, those of you who know Betti remember her as a witty and funny presence via our YouTube channel so I thought it would be an automatic to have her jump on the platform. But I sensed some resistance over the phone (“I want to do this with you…What if nobody tunes in…etc, etc). Well after a bit of coaching she did her first Periscope and load and behold she was hooked! I quote from the scope:
Wow! Hi, New Zealand! Thanks for watching!
Thank you for the hearts!
Yes, we will get some wine very soon and relax.
and so on…
Obviously with the excitement of the scope she totally forgot to save for replay purposes (In fact she is bummed out about not watching the replay…but hey now she is convinced and is brainstorming some ideas for Casa Chiesi!).
If you want to see what the whole fuss is about on your regular computer check out this link