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Italy's hidden side revealed in ANSA photo show

'Follows Roman, Renaissance tradition' says Pistoletto

Italy's hidden side revealed in ANSA photo show

Washington, May 12 - Dressed in full Medieval regalia, the Italian national flag-wavers marked the official opening this weekend of Tour Around Italy, a selection of ANSA photographs featuring the lesser-known angles of the country. To the delight of thousands of spectators at the Italian embassy in Washington Saturday, the standard-bearers added the American and European Union flags to their choreographed routine performed to the music of the ocarina, the beguiling egg-shaped wind instrument that was modernized by Bolognese craftsman Giuseppe Donati in the 19th century. Unknown to much of the world, the instrument in many ways symbolized the scope of the current exhibition, which goes a step further than typical photo reportage of the 'Bel Paese', so often limited to postcard images of the Colosseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Tour of Italy, which runs through May 25, features 100 images of Italy from the ground up, so to speak - from a woman handling a ruby-red tomato as gently as a newborn, to the Sicilian sky reflected in crystalline waters, and the triumphant expressions of restoration artists as they admire a Giotto cross sparkling like new. "It is a beautiful collection that reflects the unfathomable beauty of our landscapes, as well as the highlights of Italian society, our culture and our passion: images of the highest emotional impact," Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero told ANSA. The exhibit is divided into six sections: arts and culture, style, fashion and design, food and wine, science and hi-tech, green energy, and travel and leisure, with testimonials accompanying the images. "While creative and artistic Italy still holds a hegemonic position in the public's eye, when it comes to design, small-medium enterprise also enjoys undisputed leadership," celebrated Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas said. Renowned contemporary artist Michelangelo Pistoletto said the show comes from the same tradition that made Italy a "teacher of art and culture during the Roman Empire, the Renaissance and beyond". The opening coincided with a day in which all European embassies in the United States opened their doors to the public, as well as the Year of Italian Culture, promoted by the foreign ministry and various institutions. "As always, our embassy is the most crowded and most appreciated by Americans," said the ambassador. "People are drawn to it, they like it. Today's crowds prove as much. "In addition to the ANSA exhibit, we have a show dedicated to Giovanni Falcone," an anti-Mafia prosecutor killed by a massive bomb under the highway from Palermo to its airport this month in 1992, two months before his friend and fellow magistrate Paolo Borsellino was assassinated by a huge car bomb outside his mother's apartment block. Bisogniero also pointed out an exhibit on Italy's armed forces currently serving in peace missions around the world. "Then of course we couldn't go without showcasing our national products beloved by all," he added. Hundreds of people lined up beside the ambassador, inside what has been transformed into a virtual Italian piazza, to try samples of coffee, gelato, and pizza fresh from an oven installed in the embassy garden. Nearby hung the 19th-century period costumes worn by Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale in Luchino Visconti's 1963 classic The Leopard. Also on show was a selection of Italian automobiles, from Lamborghini and Maserati racecars to a Fiat 500, as well as a 300 model by Michigan-based Chrysler, which is majority owned and controlled by Fiat. Next to them were five fire-engine-red performance motorcycles by Ducati. Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori was on hand explaining astrophysics and space travel to children, while a costumed fairy draped in the Italian flag gave free language lessons. Tour Around Italy can also be attended virtually using a free Apple Store application. The show is sponsored by the foreign ministry and the Italian Embassy in the United States, as well as Milan Expo 2015. A twin exhibit featuring prints opens Tuesday at the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) headquarters in New York and runs until June 2.

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