Workshop Fermo 2014

May 22nd, 2014
Fermo, Le Marche

Fermo, Le Marche

Fondazione Azzurra, in collaboration with Mediars and The Corte dei Conti Farfensi, is organizing the fifth edition of an international workshop in Fermo, Italy, from June 21 to July 5, 2014. Using new media tools, this two-week program crafts stories about the town of Fermo, exploring its richness of history, people and traditions.

This intensive program expands the participants creativity and skills in digital storytelling, design, video and interactive content production through new media making, while widening their knowledge and understanding of the current scene within this innovative and multidisciplinary field.

The workshop is a unique opportunity to create a digital storytelling production in the form of a short film and interactive contents introducing local culture, art and crafts, fashion, and food. It teaches conceptual background, design skills and production methods.

Fondazione Azzurra strengthens its relationship with The Corte dei Conte Farfensi and Mediars bringing the Academy Award winner and six-time Oscar nominee in the field of Visual Effects John Bruno to Fermo. Furthermore Fondazione Azzura and The Corte dei Farfensi are awarding scholarships to some of the participants in the workshop.

Fondazione Azzurra celebrates the 500th anniversary of Machiavelli’s The Prince

July 14th, 2013

Fondazione Azzurra hosted a dinner in celebration of the conference “From Earthly Pleasures to Princely Glories in the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds”, which took place at the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies to honor the quincentenary of Machiavelli’s The Prince. The Italian winery Le Corte dei Farfensi, owned by Antonella and Marco Cavalieri, sponsored the dinner event by offering bottles of their oil to all the conference participants, as well as their wine to accompany the meal. The esteemed Los Angeles based chef Gino Angelini cooked for the fifty guests in a private home in Santa Monica: swordfish in tomato sauce, salad and porchetta. Pasta with Calamari and Spaghetti with Cheese and Pepper were cooked by Elisabetta Ciardullo, owner of the event planning company, Think Italian! Events. The dinner concluded with a variety of desserts: Ciambellone, Bavarese and Strawberry Aspic.

The 2013 Winner of the Poetry Contest funded by Fondazione Azzurra, Edulingua and The UCLA Italian Club.

March 28th, 2013

Alyanna Cardozo, winner of the 2013 Poetry Contest

Alyanna Cardozo is the scholarship winner for the 2013 Poetry Contest funded by Fondazione Azzurra, Edulingua and The UCLA Italian Club.

“It’s been three years now since we started this program and we’ve been noticing an increase of interest in our language, especially among people who do not have Italian origins, which means that Italian is perceived as the language of culture and knowledge” says Marcella Spinotti, member of the panel of judges together with Elissa Tognozzi, UCLA faculty member, Domenico Siracusa, a Ph.D candidate at UCLA Deparment of Italian, Antonella Meriggi, owner of  “Le Corti dei Farfensi” Olive Oil, and Giorgio Masei, Director of Edulingua.

The scholarship covers one month of tuition in August in Castelraimondo (Marche); three one-day excursions to Rome,Venice and Florence; six half-day excursions to Tolentino and Caldarola, Gubbio, Matelica, Frasassi Caves, Loreto, Civitanova Marche and San Severino. Special evenings and events include: a welcome breakfast, an Italian music night, a karaoke night, an international night, a farewell dinner,and a certificate ceremony. The participant will be given a certificate for the completion of the program.
Past winners were Emily Cacciola (2011) and Amber Murakami-Fester (2012).

18 year old Alyanna Cardozo, tells us about her decision to participate in the poetry contest:

Why did you decide to study Italian?
My grandpa was born and raised in Italy and he inspired me to get better acquainted with our culture. I felt that learning the language was the first step.

Why did you decide to participate in this scholarship contest?
I heard about the contest from my Italian TA and decided to give it a shot.

Were you expecting to win?
I did not expect to win at all, but my grandpa convinced me to enter because it would be good writing practice.

How long did it take to write your poem?
I wrote the poem in a couple of hours and continued to revise it over the course of a week.

Is it more challenging to write in Italian or to write a poem?
Writing a poem is more challenging to me because it is often difficult to find words that both have the meaning I am looking for and that also flow well in the poem.

Where did you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration came from my views on the meaning of life. The idea of discovering what makes you happy and working toward that thing is something that I both think and talk about frequently.

What was your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was making sure that the metaphors I used made sense in Italian. I was never able to verify whether they did but I hoped that readers would be able to follow.

How do you feel about spending one month in Italy?
I am very excited and anxious to go! I want to interact with native speakers and learn more about daily Italian culture.

What do you expect from this experience?
I expect to become much more fluent in the language. While I can write well enough, speaking only gets better with practice, and this will be the best time to practice

Why should other students participate in this poetry contest?
Whether or not they win, participating is a great and fun way to practice writing in Italian. Writing a poem, especially in a such a beautiful (and not to mention foreign) language, is something to be very proud of. Maybe they will even discover that they have a great gift for writing poetry. They’ll never know until they try.


Trovala (by Alyanna Cardozo)


Raramente viaggiata è la via che cerco,

Nascosta sotto la palude che è questa conurbazione,

Ma no, non nascosta, perche solo si deve volere per trovare.

Il lago ghiacciato, appena abbastanza robusto per camminare sopra,

Ma con cautela andiamo, inconsapevolmente evitando l’unica cosa che vogliamo,

Che il ghiaccio si rompa.

Ci porterà ad un percorso che somiglia instabilità,

Forse è più di una semplice somiglianza,

Ma chi l’ha viaggiato sa:

Stabilità, convenzionalità, sicurezza,

Non è il modo,

Di trovare la tua felicità.


Rompi il ghiaccio.


Sentire l’acqua raffreddare la pelle,

E ‘rinfrescante, detergente, chiarificante,

Adesso vedi il mondo?

Le possibilità sono infinite,

Anche i percorsi senza fine,

Ma non dimenticare.

Prima di iniziare, ricordati,

Qual’è lo scopo di questo viaggio:



Non importa quello che fa lui,

O quello che fa lei,

O quello che fanno loro.

Tu che cosa vuoi fare con il tempo che hai?

Non lasciarlo svanire in una nuvola di rammarico,

Non essere preoccupato per ciò che si dovrebbe fare,

Pensa invece a quello che tu vuoi fare,

Non avere paura di prendere la strada sbagliata,

Perché se non si sa esattamente dove vai,

Quando si arriva al bivio,

Non importa se si sceglie a destra o a sinistra,





Young Talents

March 19th, 2013
Young Talents at UCLA

Alice Tomassetti, Emanuele Cidonelli, Alessandra Grassi, Barbara Ciriello, Lucia Marengo

Fondazione Azzurra and Barbara Boyle, co-dean of the UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, welcomed the first group of young talents from Italy, winners of a four-month residency at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), with a typical Italian dinner. Alice Tomassetti, Emanuele Cidonelli, Alessandra Grassi, Barbara Ciriello, Lucia Marengo will be participating in a sixteen week research exchange internship and will be joined on March 15th by twenty more students for a four week intensive workshop. The students have been selected through a national contest to create an ensemble of graduate students and alumni in screenwriting, cinematography, set design, video directing, post-production and computer science.

“Since Fondazione Azzurra is interested in working with young people, we were approached by the Ministry delegation of the Youth Policy Department of the Italian Government to work on a project with them – says Marcella Spinotti, President at Fondazione Azzurra – we hosted them at UCLA in 2001 and it was then when we started to talk about this International Research Program in Storytelling and Technology”.

The project includes workshop classes that combine didactic components and the development of a project. The young talents will be involved in these activities for 40 hours per week and they will also take part in social activities on and off campus.

The workshops will include follow-ups, lectures and discussions with film, TV and digital media faculty, alumni and students on aspects of screenwriting, directing, cinematography, production, editing and new media.

“The program selects fields at the intersection of the visual language and technology taking into account the students’ background and the required skill set for young professionals in the larger entertainment field,” says the director of the project and researcher at the Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance (REMAP, UCLA) Alessandro Marianantoni, whose goal is to further inspire the young Italians and to extend not only their professional expectations but also the artistic expression of their own personal talents. “The residency will also be a human experience, a confrontation between young students from different cultures, a formative experience towards the improvement of the self-confidence through the awareness and the capability of developing professionalism and sense of entrepreneurship,” says Jeff Burke, executive director at REMAP.


VOICES FROM THE COLOSSEUM, the App that Brings Monuments to Life

March 4th, 2013

LOS ANGELES – The traditional walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali in Rome becomes a playful scenario into the life of the Roman emperors.

The Colosseum

The project, promoted by Fondazione Azurra, developed in partnership with Google and produced between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Italy,  is experimental and Voices from the Colosseum is the name: through the use of tablets and the latest generation of cell phones, visitors watch the passion between Cleopatra and Caesar, the conversion of Constantine and the virtual reconstruction of the Colosseum as Vespasian wanted it.

This research offers visitors the chance to add a new visual layer to the reality of the historic monuments and remains, while looking at the Colosseum, – says Alessandro Marianantoni researcher at UCLA REMAP – what happens is that as visitors enjoy their walk on Via dei Fori Imperiali  and take a picture with their phone, say, of the statue of Caesar or his Forum or the Senate, a short video clip on Caesar and Cleopatra or on Caesar’s assassination or on a Caesar’s monologue will be played right on their phones.


Caesar: Benny Briseno


Even if experimental, Voices from the Colosseum is stable and very easy to use: visitors just need to take pictures of the monuments using the Google Goggles software app, free and available for Android and iOS mobile devices. As the mobile app recognizes the content of the picture, the user enters the web application’s project and watches the movie clips associated to monument.

Voices from the Colosseum is an interactive and dynamic storytelling that tourists can watch on site or even later, once they’re done with the tour. For this project the team created a new database with images of the monuments within the area.



At UCLA Film, TV and Digital Media, the set of 'Voices from the Colosseum'

During the research phase of this project, only some episodes about the Colosseum area and its historical characters were selected and turned into movie clips, images, text and sounds – Marianantoni says – However the new possible stories to tell is countless.
Fifteen of the sixteen movie clips were shot at the UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media with students and professional actors following a similar production process as the one in the movie industry: screenplay, shooting and post-production, with particular solutions because the backgrounds are completely virtual. The sixteenth scene and most of the post-production, including the creation of the digital background, have been done in Italy with international students.  Fondazione Azzurra brought in Marc Abraham, Betsy Heimann, Andrea Morricone, Pietro Scalia and Dante Spinotti as outstanding mentors for the initiative. They supported the group by making available their knowledge and experience througout the whole project.


Voices from the Colosseum is a web application able to analyze the ongoing visit and present the contents in a personalized way. It does not intend to distract the visitor from looking at the monuments, in fact it wishes to add another way to connect to the historic place, creating a new playful experience. 


GOOGLE, UCLA REMAP, UCLA ETC, MEDIARS and Fondazione Azzurra collaborated on the project. Marc Abraham, Betsy Heimann, Andrea Morricone, Pietro Scalia and Dante Spinotti are the outstanding mentors for this initiative brought in by Fondazione Azzurra.
More info available at

Alessandro Marianantoni, Marcella Spinotti, Charles D. Guillen

The team working with the mentors Andrea Morricone, Betsy Heimann, Dante Spinotti, Marc Abraham, Pietro Scaliapietro Scalia, Dante Spinotti, Marc Abraham, Marcella Spinotti

Pietro Scalia, Dante Spinotti , Marc Abraham, Marcella Spinotti













UCLA MFA Graduate in Directing, Video Artist

“It was important to capture the essence of each of the emperors quickly and have the scenes say something essential about their character while basing everything on historical fact. There are a number of scenes that end with specific lines that the emperors are famously rumored to have said. The most intriguing challenge was to look at the geographical area that had been plotted out (the colosseum and surrounding areas) and then build a narrative around an existing physical space in a way that would be engaging for a tourist. The geographical location dictated the scenes rather than it being the other way around. It was also important that the scenes play effectively on a mobile device (tablet/mobile phone) and be relevant to the sites that were photographed.  It was undoubtedly a challenging but extremely enjoyable experience.”

UCLA MFA in Directing

“This was an amazing script to work with. As a director, my job was made easy because the script was so visual already. The most interesting and exciting part of the production was the costumes. They really bring the characters and scenes to life. The teams we assembled were fantastic. We were able to shoot at a great speed while still maintaining great performance and creativity. And the post production process completely transformed everything into a real work of art. Directing the actors was wonderful as usual. They really committed themselves fully to the period and had a lot of fun with the project.”

Film Editor, Academy Award for Film Editing, BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Satellite Award for Best Editing

“As a film editor and storyteller surrounded in a world of changing technology, I was particularly interested in this project as to how the perception and experience of a physical historical place, rich in history can connect the viewer dramatically, to enrich and change the experience from other established conventions. Combining the use of new tools, and having young filmmakers explore various disciplines through social media is an original step towards our ever expanding world of social interaction.”

A.S.C., A.I.C. is a cinematographer and a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

“As I was invited to have a part in the mentorship, and to have a meeting with the students, the mentors and the group that eventually photographed and completed the original idea, my response was positive and enthusiastic mainly because the use of storytelling with moving images of a film, or more films, for the purpose for which they have been conceived, was presenting some challenging language choices and ways of visualization.  Internet has expanded the utilization of the product of my profession, cinematography, but at the same time pushes for a research in how to better utilize the potential of filmmaking if it is directed to that kind of audience, who will enjoy the message in a very specific situation.” 

Costume Designer in Hollywood

“When Marcella Spinotti approached me to me be a mentor, I was intrigued by the interactive nature of the project. I liked the idea of combining a visual reference with a verbal description on demand.”

Historic consultant
Professor of Comparative Literature, UCLA Italian Department

“Being someone who works in the field of literature and history, Alessandro Marianantoni’s invitation to brainstorm with him on the nature of the project was irresistible. I thought from the beginning that the project was exciting and innovative, and although my role was marginal, I am very proud of having participated in the project.”

Historic consultant
Emeritus, Ahmanson Foundation

“Working with Alessandro’s vision it was a pleasure to review  the extraordinary complexity accomplished in designing the Colosseum through the amazing clarity for proportioning of all of it’s components. The engineering throughout the ten year period of construction was an additional remarkable feat, particularly since so little is known as to who the architect(s) was/were and who oversaw the building of this amazing edifice created for the enjoyment of Rome’s citizenry.”



Baccalà e Naufragio Casalinga Style

March 4th, 2013

Baccala e Naufragio Casalinga StyleBaccala e Naufragio Casalinga Style



















Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seated around long tables, in traditional Italian style, sixty people learned about the fascinating story of salted cod, discovered in 1431 by the nobleman Piero Querini. The event, Baccalà e Naufragio Casalinga Style began with an introductive talk by the poet gastronome Luigi Ballerini of UCLA who told of how, after shipwrecked on Lofoten Island, off the coast of Norway, Querini tasted salted cod for the first time, offered to him by the natives. Returning to his country Querini, with large quantities of cod in tow presented this unknown fish to the then Doge. Even though his journey is considered the first introduction of cod into Mediterranean cuisine, it was not until the XVI century that true cod imports began becoming one of the principal dishes of Venetian cuisine.

After hearing of this extraordinary adventure, the guests at the event enjoyed an early dinner buffet composed of a salted cod based menu which included Polenta from Friuli, Baccalà Mantecato (Creamy Whipped Salted Cod), Fried Salted Cod fillets, Salted Cod Lasagna, Baccalà alla Vicentina (Vicentina style Salted Cod), and for dessert, Pear Tart, Christmas Yule Log (Buche de Noel) and Rum Babà. All the specialties were cooked by three home cooks – Marcella Spinotti, Antonella Cavalieri, Randi Malkin Steinberger and professional chef, Elisabetta Ciardullo, who owns an event planning company, Think Italian! Events. The food was accompanied by the complete line of the Corte dei Farfensi wines, a wine company owned by Antonella and Marco Cavalieri and located in the small town of Moresco in the Marche Region of Central Italy.


See The Shipwreck that Brought Stockfish to Venice



The Shipwreck that Brought Stockfish to Venice

December 2nd, 2012

Shipwreck of the minotaur

In 1431 the Venetian nobleman Piero Querini and a few of his sailors reached Lofoten Island (off the coast of Norway) where they discovered Stockfish which was to become one of the principal dishes of Venetian Cuisine. Their extraordinary adventure and the transformation of their discovery into an exquisite culinary experience will be narrated by poet gastronome Luigi Ballerini of UCLA.

Baccalà e Naufragio Casalinga Style

Hosted by Fondazione Azzurra
Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 3-5pm
Santa Monica residence of Marcella and Dante Spinotti

Luigi Ballerini
Poet & Gastronome ~ will enlighten us with his words

Marcella, Elisabetta, Antonella and Randi
The Home Cooks ~ will prepare the food

Le Corti dei Farfensi
Winery from The Marche Region ~ will provide exceptional Gold Medal winning wines



The presentation will be followed by an early dinner buffet with Italian home cooked Salted Cod based specialities, accompaniments and the complete line of  Le Corti dei Farfensi wines.

Tickets $75 each ($50 is tax-deductible)
$130 two ($100  is tax-deductible)

Wines are generously offered by Antonella and Marco Cavalieri owners of Le Corti dei Farfensi.


Email for more info

Painting: Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Wreck of a Transport Ship c.1810




Don’t miss the extraordinary experience of seeing works by Alighiero Boetti in intimate settings and in a global, social context.

April 13th, 2012

The Fondazione Azzurra has sponsored two exhibitions by Boetti, both on view in Los Angeles, at the Fowler Museum on the UCLA campus until July 29 and the IIC in Westwood until May 2.
Photo by Randi Malkin Steinberger from "Boetti by Afghan People" Photo by Randi Malkin Steinberger from "Boetti by Afghan People"Photo by Randi Malkin Steinberger  - Alighiero Boetti

Boetti’s work is multifaceted and interdisciplinary and both exhibitions highlight how he was able to craft his profound conceptual art into beautiful and accessible works.

At the Fowler Museum, Order and Disorder: Alighiero Boetti by Afghan People, visitors can see Boetti’s embroideries, designed by the artist but stitched by Afghan women first in Afghanistan and later in Peshawar, Pakistan. Boetti considered art an inseparable mix of individual and social effort. See the results when an Italian artist’s vision is conceived in Rome and brought to life by a community of women thousands of miles away. And, get a very personal glimpse of that community of women, and the artist they never met, through the beautiful photographs of Randi Malkin Steinberger, Fondazione Azzurra Board Member. Also included in the exhibition is a selection of traditional Afghan Embroideries.

At the IIC, you will see Open Book – Accanto al Pantheon: Randi Malkin Steinberger’s Snapshots of Alighiero Boetti’s Studio. Steinberger spent a six-month period photographing the artist and his studio in Rome. In 1989, together they produced the book Accanto al Pantheon. This show features the photos from this book and excerpts from the texts.

See what they are saying here:
LA Times – Art review: ‘Alighieri Boetti by Afghan Women’ at UCLA Fowler Museum
LA Times – Conceptual artist Alighiero Boetti back in the public ey

Don’t miss the chance to connect with Boetti in LA!

These two unique exhibits and a stunning companion book document the power of art to connect people across continents, cultures, and time.

Now, for a limited time, Fondazione Azzurra friends and members can purchase Boetti by Afghan People: Peshawar, Pakistan, 1990, the full-color illustrated book of photographs documenting the women who embroidered some of Boetti’s most iconic works at a discounted price of $40, with all proceeds supporting the Fondazione Azzurra.

Take advantage of this great opportunity to own the book and help support the programs of the Fondazione Azzurra.



All photographs ©RMS Photo: Randi Malkin Steinberger


Order and Disorder: Boetti by Afghan Women

November 16th, 2011

Fowler Museum, February 26–July 29, 2012


From 1971 to 1994, Italian artist Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994) embarked on a series of projects with Afghan embroiderers, creating monumental pieces that would become some of the artist’s most iconic works.

Photo by Randi Malkin Steinberger from "Boetti by Afghan People"

Working first in Kabul in the 1970s and then in refugee camps in Pakistan after the 1979 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Afghan women embroidered works based on Boetti’s templates that include:  colorful grids of letters that spell out phrases (such as “Order and Disorder”); Mappe (maps), wall-sized world maps with countries filled-in with the colors and symbols of their flags; and Tutto (everything), large-scale works entirely filled with intricately embroidered shapes representing diverse objects—sunglasses, a Hindu goddess, a protractor, twins, and more.

Photo by Randi Malkin Steinberger - from "Boetti by Afghan People "

The exhibition features twenty-nine  works by Boetti along with documentary photographs of the Afghan embroiderers taken in 1990 at Boetti’s request by Randi Malkin Steinberger, as well as examples of the traditional styles of embroidery that might have played a role in stimulating Boetti’s best known works.



Exhibition Credits

This exhibition is organized by the Fowler Museum in association with the Fondazione Azzurra and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Los Angeles, and is co-curated by Alma Ruiz, senior curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and specialist on the Arte Povera movement, and Christopher G. Bennett, Boetti scholar and Dean’s Post-doctoral Fellow in Art History at the University of Delaware.

Support for the exhibition comes from the Fowler’s Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg Fund and Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director’s Discretionary Fund, an anonymous donor, and Suzanne and David Johnson. Funding for the publication is provided by the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation. Additional support for programming is provided by the Fondazione Azzurra, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the UCLA Dream Fund, and Manus, the support group of the Fowler Museum.

The Fondazione Azzurra organizes and supports arts exhibitions and initiatives that present and explore the culture of Italy; Order and Disorder illuminates Boetti’s work in a global context for new American Audiences.

CINEMA ITALIAN STYLE – Los Angeles, November 10-15

November 7th, 2011

From November 10-15, a selection of new Italian films will be showing at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica -except for the screening of Terraferma at the Egyptian Theater on November 11.
(See full program below or go to“)

We would especially like to bring to your attention Mario Martone’s latest film, We Believed (Ci credevamo), scheduled on Sunday, November 13 at 7:30pm at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.
This film chronicles an important moment in Italian history around 1860, that ended with the unification of Italy. Those of you present at our October 16th Libiamo Event will appreciate the connection between our salon and the topic of this film shedding further insight on that momentous time period.

We have a limited number of complimentary tickets available.
If you would like to reserve tickets through Fondazione Azzurra, please send an e-mail to specifying the date, time, and title of the film you would like to see.
Limit 2 tickets per reservation.
Tickets are available on a first come basis.

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