Perugia

Chinese supermodels star in Umbrian reality show

Region first stop for fashion models in China TV event

Chinese supermodels star in Umbrian reality show

(By Sandra Cordon) Perugia, September 10 - Umbria was the first stop for 10 aspiring supermodels from China competing in a new television reality show that will feature the region in four episodes. "Top Model on the Road by Loren Models" is to be aired on television in the province of Guangxi in southern China before as many as 40 million viewers, some perhaps drawn by the title selected in honour of glamourous Italian movie star Sophia Loren. The countryside and towns of Umbria will also be stars of the program that has been supported by the regional government of Umbria, which anticipates the economic and cultural benefits of hosting the program. It is also expected to encourage greater cultural exchanges between Italy and China, promoted by the Italian ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development. The project is "a great opportunity" for Umbria, as millions of Chinese TV viewers will see the beautiful region, noted Fabrizio Bracco, who is councillor in charge of tourism and culture for the regional government of Umbria. In fact, the region was a special favourite of the Italian ambassador in Beijing, Bracco told a recent news conference which included some of the super-models and their manager Steven Luo. Luo, the young entrepreneur who founded the agency and created Top Model on the Road, was born in China but raised in Milan. Bracco said that Umbria is a great fit for the program, which will link beauty, art and fashion. Shooting was scheduled at communities across the Umbrian region, including Perugia, Terni, Gubbio, Gualdo Tadino, Panicale, Spello, and Bevagna. The project will expose not only Italy but Umbria in particular to such important and growing tourism markets as China, said Bracco. The region will also help to promote an exhibition in Bejing by photographer Steve McCurry, whose show in Perugia was very popular. It is easy to understand why the Chinese television program selected Umbria for some of its episodes. Umbria, which boasts a rich physical beauty as well as unspoiled historic hilltowns, exhibits many treasures. Some of Italy's finest medieval and Renaissance art and architecture is found in its frescos, painted by master artists inspired by the physical beauty of the region as well as its mystical heart. Several saints, most notably St. Francis of Assisi, sprang from the lush forests and mountains of Umbria. Assisi itself has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in part of its remarkable art history. But the region is also known for some of Italy's finest olive oil, truffles, wine and other food products.

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