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South Africa - Insider Magazine
Sout
h Africa
Year 1
•
Number 0
•
Free copy
•
November 2013
publishing Editor
Insider Srl
Largo Messico, 15 - 00198 Rome - Italy
+39 06 98353089
President
Angela Grimaldi
[email protected]
CONTENTS
n
o
v
e
m
b
e
r
Relations with the Institutions
Alessandro La Rocca
[email protected]
letter from the editor
INSIDER MAGAZINE South Africa, Made in Italy
Chief Operating Officer
Raimondo Cappa
[email protected]
Managing Director
Francesca d’Aloja
[email protected]
Cover
Castel dell’Ovo
ph Rastrelli
Editorial Director
Mariela A. Gizzi
[email protected]
Managing Editor italy
Donatella Codonesu
[email protected]
Managing Editor south africa
Alessia Cabib
[email protected]
Art Director
[email protected]
[email protected]
contributing writers
Alessandra Vittoria Fanelli
Carlotta Miceli Picardi
Carolina Schioppa
Ciro Migliore
Edoardo Maria Vitali
Kim Lieberman
Laura Di Cosimo
Lorenzo Simoncelli
Mike Oldham
Pippo Dalla Vecchia
Ray Matthews
Vincenzo Schioppa
sailing
sailing
sailing
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Izivunvuvungu School
R.C.y.C. cape town
r.Y.C.C. Savoia, napoli
PRINTING
Creda
TRANSLATOR
Guido Angelucci
interview
aircraft
building
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58
Willy Persico
YEAR 1 - NUMBER 0
November 2013
Company Register: Court of Rome,
n° 58/2009 of 25/2/2009
The brand is protected by the Italian Brand
and Patent Office
Copy right Insider ©. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be
reproduced without prior permission
from the publisher.
The Flying Lions
Italian Real Estate
ADVERTISING
[email protected]
This magazine
is part of the Italian Periodical
Press Union
art
travel
resort
90
104
108
Alighiero Boetti
Cinque Terre
Villa Cimbrone
Under the patronage of the Italian
National Olympic Committee
www.insidermagazine.it
I
n occasion of the “Italian Ambassador’s
Perennial Trophy”, we are proud to introduce
a special edition of Insider Magazine South
Africa. This edition has been launched because the Italian
Ambassador’s Perennial Trophy is a charity project and
deserves the support and the effort of the people, institutions
and the media.
Insider Magazine is an exclusive magazine dedicated to
style, culture and to the best of Made in Italy, with an eye on
positive and sensitive stories. For more than four years it has
focused on the reality around us, telling us about traveling,
art, design, sport... always maintaining a very personal Free
Press style. Following up to the Italian edition, we are now
glad to announce the launch of Insider Magazine South
Africa number Zero, to emphasize the Made in Italy in a part
of the world that very much appreciates our culture and more
generally what comes out of our beautiful country. Born
under the auspices of the Italian Embassy in South Africa and
the Italian Consulate in Cape Town, this number Zero of the
new edition is focused on the Italian people and their stories
of finding success in South Africa, and on and on South
African stories of excellence.
It is a new, challenging editorial journey, an ambitious project
aiming to highlight the success achieved by Italians out in the
world. This number Zero proves our will to highlight people
and sustainable products that keep our flag high abroad. The
magazine has been put together thanks to the cooperation
of the Roman editorial staff with a new born editorial staff
in Cape Town. It tells Italian stories in South Africa, South
African stories in Italy and shows images from Italy that we
think will be interesting to our South African readers, and
vice versa.
Last but not least, we would like to warmly thank our partners:
Morgenster, Southern Wind Shipyards, Ferrero, Viglietti and
Giuricich, Iveco. They gave us their support, believed in us
and embraced this project from the beginning ◆
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With the pupils of the primary schools of Diepsloot, August 2012
With the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and the Ambassador of Argentina, August 2012
A foreword
from Vincenzo Schioppa
Ambassador of Italy to South Africa
W
hat excitement in these past two months!
Launching a local edition of a well-known
Italian glossy magazine, which builds on
the friendly relations between Italy and South Africa and on
the strong ties of our two peoples, was in itself a daunting
task. Add to that the desire for the first issue of Insider/South
Africa to accompany the first charity regatta of the Italian
Ambassador’s Perennial Trophy in Cape Town, and the
twinning of the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia of Naples
with the not less old and renowned Royal Cape Yacht Club;
put all that in the framework of the already demanding daily
workload of an Embassy in such an important Country as
South Africa, and you can have an idea.
Eventually, we are there. Thanks to the enthusiasm and
dedication of so many collaborators and friends, in Italy,
South Africa and elsewhere. I could not mention all, but I
cannot not mention Alessia Cabib, Edoardo Vitali, Toni
Mainprize with Ray Matthews and all the RCYC’s friends in
Cape Town; Gerardo de Maio, Francesco Angeloni, Anna
Maria Venturi, Paolo Bonissone in Pretoria; my daughter
Carolina in Paris, who designed the logos, and of course
Raimondo and Mariela Cappa and their staff in Rome.
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With our young friends at the Izivunguvungu School, for the Italian Christmas Regatta, December 2012
“Insider Magazine South Africa” is not an end in itself. It is
intended to be a vehicle for our reciprocal messages and for
even better reciprocal knowledge. The Italian Ambassador’s
Perennial Trophy charity regatta is not simply a gathering of
keen sailors. It is the first of, I hope, many occasions for sharing
with the less advantaged youth of the Cape Region the values of
the sea, of seamanship, of solidarity and reciprocal learning. The
twinning between the two glorious Yacht Clubs of Naples and
Cape Town is not only a social event. It is the expression of a
common vision of sport as an enrichment of society as a whole.
Few other Countries like South Africa can show better the
importance, for modern diplomatic relations, of human
exchanges and of day-by-day outreach to the real people.
I feel - I know - that the occasions of reciprocal knowledge
that we have organized during the last two years with the
children, be they the ones of the Izivunguvungu school, of
Alexandra, or of the primary schools of Diepsloot are not less
important that a State visit or a business forum.
This is also the reason why we want the South-African youth to
be the protagonists of another forthcoming memorable event:
the visit in February of our Navy’s new flagship, the 800 ft
(250 mt) aircraft carrier Cavour. But that is another story, one
to which we may dedicate the next issue of Insider...
A tutte e tutti, buona lettura, e buon divertimento alla Regata! ◆
Under the patronage of the Italian National Olympic Committee
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Italians in the Cape
or: why there is so much of Italy
at the foot of the Table Mountain
(and in the rest of the Country)
by Edoardo Maria Vitali - Consul of Italy, Cape Town
Ciro Migliore - Editor, La Gazzetta del Sudafrica - ph Trevor Wilkins
T
he relationship of Italians with South Africa
is an impassioned affair. Many interesting
publications are available but, most
probably, there is much more to say. The presence of Italians
in this country has developed during periodic moments of
migration but seems to be epitomised by the adventures and
fortunes of a few notable people.
While history books tell us that Cape Town was founded in
the year 1652 by Jan van Riebeek, commander of the fleet
sent to start an agricultural station by the East India Company,
the city became a strategic square on the chessboard of
international relations at the turn of the eighteenth century,
when the Napoleonic Wars in Europe sent the said Company
into bankruptcy and “forced” England to take possession of
the Cape. It was in fact this change of owners that quickstarted the migration of thousands of British and Europeans
towards the Cape of Good Hope and the hinterland. But it is
hard to find Italians among them, first of all because they were
Catholics and also because they could not speak English and
therefore it would be difficult to communicate with them.
The first Consulate of the Kingdom of Sardegna had been
established in the Cape in 1852, well ahead of the Italian national
unity, but eleven years later the journalist Cristoforo Negri would
write on “La Stampa” that he did in fact look for Italians in the
colony, “but there are none and I did not see any.”
He was wrong because the Italian Rocco Catoggio had arrived
in the Cape with the British troops that had defeated the scant
resistance opposed by the soldiers of the East India Company
and had become a rich businessman in Paarl, leaving a perennial
memory of himself in the name Rocco that ever since has been
shared by generations of prominent South Africans of families,
like the De Villiers and others. It is a certainty that other Italians
were living in the Cape, as is proven by the death certificates
filed between 1821 and 1868 and mentioned by the historian
Valentina Jacoponi in her “Fields of gold and roads of iron”
(Campi d’oro e strade di ferro) just published in Italy. At least ten
had Italian names on them.
Better known are the arrivals of Italians in the following years.
It is well known and documented that Sicilian fishermen
were contracted to develop the fishing industry; and the
South African writer Dalene Mathee has given immortality
in her “Mulberry forest” to the Italians that were recruited to
start a silk industry in the Gouna Forest, on the mountains
above Knysna, in total absence of… mulberry trees! It is also
well documented that many Italian immigrants were sharing
District Six, with the mix of races and languages that the
apartheid regime decided to demolish decades later.
Those were not easy years for Italian immigrants. The Italians
were commonly indicated as “bad smelling, dirty and
dangerous criminals.” But police records of the time show
indeed that in the span of thirty years only about forty Italians
were actually apprehended by the police and just a few were
actually prosecuted, while all the others had soon after their
arrest been freed for lack of evidence against them.
When diamonds were found on the banks of the Orange
River many Italians went to try their luck in Kimberley and
the tented cities that were mushrooming in the region; many
more punctually showed up in the Transvaal for the gold
race that followed the discovery of the yellow metal in the
area where today stands the ten million people metropolis
that is Johannesburg. Some three hundred of them fought for
President Kruger and the Afrikaans Republics in the AngloBoer War under the command of colonel Ricchiardi.
But Cape Town was far away from the front line and the
Italian community was growing in numbers and importance,
to the point that the most successful businessmen - Nannucci
among them - felt the need to start an Italian school and a
Common Wealth Society. Italian workers were building the
new docks in Simon’s Town and most of the new buildings in
the growing centre of the Mother City. The builder Giuseppe
Rubbi was also the owner of the farm that today puts on the
market the well-known JJ LeRoux sparkling wine and many
newcomers found employment and hospitality there.
Painful time for the Italians were the years of the Second
World War, when families were torn apart by the internment
of the fathers and grown-up children; but those were also the
years that brought about a new understanding of the Italians
by the South Africans. Thousands of Italian POWs were in
fact used as cheap labour in many farms and in the building of
roads and they were highly regarded for their craftsmanship;
indeed, they opened a new chapter in the history of the
Italians in South Africa and facilitated the immigration of
thousands in the years immediately after the war.
In the decades following the war there was no lack of
significant contribution from Italy towards the struggle
against apartheid and the birth of the “Rainbow Nation” as
we know it today. During his years in exile, Oliver Reginald
Tambo, one of the founding fathers of modern South Africa,
found hospitality in several Italian cities where he formed
deep and lasting personal relationships, which impacted also
on his political activity. Most importantly, a close relationship
with the City of Reggio Emilia was created, where Tambo
formed a strong intellectual friendship with city councillor
Giuseppe Soncini, known for his activism in favour of
the decolonisation in Africa. This profound and special
relationship was formalized in 1977, when Reggio Emilia
signed an agreement of solidarity with the African National
Congress - making it the first city to do so - and was solemnly
recognized when the city, the only Municipality in the world,
was invited to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony of
Nelson Mandela in 1994.
Through the ages, Italians have left a bold and durable
imprint. Stone masons and engineers, doctors and lawyers,
wine makers, restaurateurs, tailors and businessmen: in a
thousand different ways, Italians who have made the world
their Country have diffused and transmitted the “Italian
spirit.” South Africa is definitely no exception ◆
* “La Gazzetta del Sud Africa” is a daily online bulletin to inform the Italian
Community in this country and the Italians in Italy about South Africa. It was
started on the 1st of October 2005 and has been declared from the start a
quality site.
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Izivunguvungu,
the upliftment sailing school
In Simon’s Town the Foundation for disadvantaged youth
challenges kids with a different way of learning
and a better chance for life. This is how
by Commander Mike Oldham, School’s General Manager
T
he Izivunguvungu Sailing School (part of
a Foundation for disadvantaged youth in
South Africa) operates out of the Simon’s
Town harbour area, situated approximately at the southern
tip of Africa where stunning landscapes and dramatic seas
interact to provide both charm and challenge. The human
challenge revolves around several thousand young people
still experiencing various levels of poverty in the area, despite
political reforms, some of whom are rising above their
misfortune through the medium of sailing. Approximately
50 young people are presently involved with many more on
the waiting list. The project was initially a social outreach
activity started by the South African Navy, spotlighting the
young people in the poverty stricken areas approximate to
the Naval Base these being Masiphumelele, Ocean View and
Redhill. The Navy still lends logistical support by means of
office and storage space etc but is unable to give financial
support due to government restrictions.
The opportunity for our students to become involved
nationally and even internationally with the sailing community
is invaluable towards opening their minds literally to a whole
new world. Our main Staff sponsor, Captain Salvatore Sarno
who is CEO of the Mediterranean Shipping Company,
was instrumental in giving some of the young students the
wonderful chance to sail in Europe. With typical Italian
passion, the Captain has also embraced the activities of the
music students from Izivunguvungu. MSC quite rightly boast
that they now embrace the entire African continent and
Izivunguvungu is very grateful that we are included in their
humanitarian activities. The Italian connection also extends
to the magnificient support given by Ambassador Vincenzo
Schioppa who instigated an end of year regatta which he
attends in Simon’s Town, with his colleagues, encouraging
the young sailors(and the musicians!). Much needed funding
will also be realised, partly for Izivunguvungu, via the “Italian
Ambassador’s Perennial Trophy.”
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The schools in these areas all cater for at least a thousand
pupils each, are underresourced and underfinanced. Several
have no school hall, no reasonable sporting facilities, and
no credible extra-mural programme. Izivunguvungu has also
developed a vibrant music project for these young people and
this, together with the Sailing school has a small staff who are
sponsored by the Mediterranean Shipping Company. These
activities are essential in an environment where most of the
students are left unattended after normal school hours and
during holiday periods, making them vulnerable to organised
crime, drug distribution and abuse.
Although not always initially able to cope with normal
school studies where broken homes and broken schools
will often have overwhelmed, some students have risen to
the highest levels of sailing achievement as is the case with
Asanathi Jim who sailed in the last Olympics and Wandisile
Xayimpi, one of several to participate in the Cape to Rio
race. The present Sailing Manager, Ricardo Williams, is a
former sailing student from Ocean View who now holds
official sailing qualifications. He distinguished himself in
2012 by literally saving himself and his crew when they
got into difficulty while attempting the return trip from Rio.
Several students have also competed in International events
in Ireland and France during the last year. The sailing students
can begin at approximately age 10 years and will initially be
taught to swim. They eventually sail regattas in dingies and
keelboats, participating in many events around the Western
Cape area, nationally and in some instances internationally.
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The development of skills associated with boat-building
and repairs are also prioritised, there being an obvious skills
cross-over to acquiring the ability to work productively with
wood, metal, fibreglass etc...
The stark reality is that the majority of the young people
in our area, and nationally, have not achieved many of the
aims and objectives intended and even the Projects such
as Izivunguvungu have had minimum success in the long
term, leaving the young people unemployed, demotivated
and exposed to the never-ending environments tainted by
gangsters, druglords et al. Izivunguvungu is now linking up
with the False Bay Colleges who have five campuses in the
areas around Cape Town, including Fish Hoek, Muizenberg
and Westlake, the latter of which offers boat-building Courses
and all of whom include a variety of occupational training
opportunities. This will afford the possibility for school-leavers
to continue their education, subject to the availability of
financial support, towards achieving meaningful employment.
The need is urgent among the new generation while resources
are severely limited in the present economic environment. It
is intended to use whatever is made available to maximum
effect in order to achieve the stunning and dramatic results
that will match the landscapes of our beloved Country. This
level of achievement is essential in order to save our youth
from the otherwise bleak future that will face many of them
and, in some instances, to save even their lives! Project
sponsors are encouraged to view the website and to consider
supporting our young students ◆
www.izivungu.co.za
Royal Cape
Yacht Club
From 1860 to 2013: Historical Review
of the Cape Town’s sailing headquarters
by Ray Matthews, Vice Commodore of the Royal Cape Yacht Club
and Cape to Rio Race chairman - ph Trevor Wilkins
R
oyal Cape Yacht Club is honoured to
have been approached this year by H.E.
the Italian Ambassador to South Africa,
Vincenzo Schioppa, to host the “Italian Ambassador’s
Perennial Trophy Regatta.” Ambassador Schioppa’s love
of sailing and passion to share the values of the sea and
seamanship in the framework of communities project is
now alive at Royal Cape Yacht Club. In support of the
disadvantaged youth of the Cape Region, through the Royal
Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy and Izivunguvungu Sailing
School, the Ambassador has invited members of the South
African and Italian Governments, Ambassadors and Consuls,
sport, movie and TV stars, artists, representative of the
business community, and sailing enthusiasts to join him and
the Royal Cape Yacht Club in a charity social race, where
each boat will hosts kids of the two schools. The regatta is
supported also by the Italian Olympic Committee, C.O.N.I.
The inaugural event will see the exchange of Club burgees
between Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia in Naples
Italy and Royal Cape Yacht Club, first step of the process of
twinning. We welcome the Italian Trophy as a permanent
date on our annual sailing calendar.
Recorded competitive sailing began in the waters of Table Bay
around 1860 but the southern Cross yacht club was dissolved
around 1890 it took 15 more years before a sustainable club
the Table Bay Yacht Club was finally inaugurated on the 7th
April 1905.
Initially the yacht club shared boat sheds with the Alfred
rowing club in a portion of the Harbour know as Rogge
bay, various moves often prompted by the commercial
developments within the harbour, meant the Club had
various homes, even the current clock tower at one point.
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R.C.Y.C.’s Current Facilities
The first definitive event of the club was the donation by Sir
Thomas Lipton to the club of the “Lipton Challenge Cup” in
1909 and its accompanying deed of grant, this deed of grant
has remained almost unchanged for the past 105 years. The
first Lipton Challenge cup was sailed in the waters of Table
Bay towards the end of August 1911 and from newspaper
reports it seems Cape Town came to a halt as Cup fever
spread, Point Yacht challenged for the cup with Tess against
the Table Bay entry of Patricia, with the Natal team winning
the first challenge. The Lipton challenge cup is still competed
for annually offshore by all sailing clubs in Southern African.
As the clubs sailing activities took the members further
afield than Table Bay a more appropriate name was adopted,
during 1913 The name of the club was changed to The Cape
Yacht Club, paving the way for the momentous occasion
that during the middle of 1914 the King of England George
the 5th via efforts of the Commodore and the Governor
General, granted the club a Royal Charter, this resulted in
the name change to The Royal Cape Yacht Club, to reflect
its new status a new burgee was designed and is the one we
still use today.
The club continued as an active yachting club for the period
between the 2 world wars also surviving the ravages of the
economic depression of the early 1930’s and contributed
significantly to the introduction of new sailing vessels in
the Cape. The main fleet however still around 20 larger
yachts with 14 and 16 foot dinghies, it also received many
visiting yachtsmen using Cape Town as a stopover on world
voyages. The larger boats had regular trips to Saldanha and
Simonstown. 1920 saw the club introduce its blue ensign
after receipt of its Royal warrant. This was used until 1967.
During the Second World War members of the club formed
the Seaward Defence Force reserve which operated from
SAS Unite, the purpose was to use member’s boats to patrol
the harbour which they did.
Marina
The marina accommodates yachts ranging from 15 to 62
feet with a maximum of a 12-foot draft. Walk-on moorings
are provided with water, 220v electricity supply and WiFi
connectivity. Crane (18-ton) and slip services (40 tons) are
available, at special rates to members.
Boat Owner Services
An on the dock chandlery stocks essential consumables and
yacht hardware as well as a variety of boat maintenance services
including repairs, spraying and anti-fouling. Diving services for
on mooring repairs and hull cleaning are also on offer.
Restaurant & Bars
Elegantly designed with views over the yacht basin, The Gally
Restaurant offers a fusion-style dining experience. Diners can
enjoy informal alfresco lunches or dinners accompanied by
award-winning, popular branded wines.
Our member’s bar is a glorious setting for a quiet drink and
relaxed meal, as well as a popular venue all year round.
Private Functions,
Conferences & Meeting Rooms
Nestled in the heart of the clubhouse, our conference and
meeting rooms are an ideal setting for your next corporate
event. The regatta centre caters for private functions from
250-seater weddings to up to 400 guests for cocktail style
events. Although open to the public, these facilities have
special rates for members.
Regular Events
Join us for an annual wine tasting where we score wines, reflecting
the most palatable on our wine list. We offer food &wine pairing
evenings, live bands, champagne & whiskey evenings as well as
charity events. One often over-subscribed event is the first Sunday
of the month live Jazz concert on the deck.
Sailing Schools
Wanting to get out on the water but don’t know where to
begin? The RCYC, located in the Table Bay’s most protected
waters, is a safe learning environment to start the gripping
sport of sailing. The club hosts a number of sailing schools
that provide accredited training resulting in internationally
recognised crew and skipper qualifications.
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After this war began the changes that we still can witness
today, with the club obtaining its present clubhouse, in the
Small Craft Harbour which was opened in February 1951.
The Small craft harbour meant that member’s vessels could
be moored safety on trot moorings in front of the club house.
1955 saw the introduction of the first long distance race
organised by the club to Mossel Bay some 240 miles away
6 boats participated and as luck would have it the race
was sailed in a full gale. The next long distance race was
arranged in 1956 to Port Elizabeth 700 miles from Cape
Town and again 6 boats took part.
The Cape to Rio Race
The South Atlantic Ocean Trust and Cruising Association of
South Africa staged the inaugural Cape to Rio Yacht Race some
3600 miles away, which started on 16th January 1971. The club
hosted all boats and crews leading up to the start. 69 boats
entered and the race captured the imagination of many South
Africans, with many towns and cities entering teams. Stormkaap
the Royal Cape entry however retired shortly after the start with
rudder failure. Fittingly Sir Robin Knox Johnston co-skippered
Ocean Spirit and took line honours in 23 days. Next year, 2014,
sees the 14th edition of this iconic event and Royal Cape Club,
the organisers, expect that the current record crossing of 10 days
and 16 hours held by Zephyrus IV in 2000, may be broken by
Maserati a Volvo 70 skippered by Giovanni Soldini. This event is
proudly owned and run by Royal Cape Yacht Club.
America’s Cup featured in our history when Royal Cape
was the host club for Shosholza, South Africa’s entry for
the 2007 Americas Cup. The club continues to play host to
all international sailing events calling on Cape Town, Volvo
Ocean Race, Clipper, Vendee Globe, Global Ocean Race,
Arc and Oyster rallies.
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The Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy
The Royal Cape Yacht Club Sailing Academy has recently
sprung to life again after many years, and growing rapidly
from 2 boats to four, the club currently own 5 one design
Lavranos 26 foot boats used exclusively in the Sailing
Academy. The aim of the academy is to train underprivileged
youth of Cape Town, in good seamanship and keel boat
racing. The youth have been selected from good dingy sail
training programmes to grow themselves as yachtsmen into
keel boat sailing. The course has been specially adapted so
that through mentorship, the candidates may be better placed
to handle the pressures of modern life. The course focuses on
growing the youth’s confidence on keel boats by providing
them the opportunities to race as a team or as individuals
placed on other teams, in all keel boat events at RCYC as well
as travelling to other club’s regattas.
Royal Cape Events
The clubs current sailing calendar caters for all levels of
sailing and is full. Locally organised races include popular
calendar events such as the Cape’s largest sailing regatta, The
Mykonos Offshore with over 100 entries, Mid-summer Fling
Regatta in Table Bay over 3 days and December’s Summer
Regatta with over 50 entries and real fun “Antigua week”
style of racing. Our twilight racing see some spectacular
sunsets in front of Table Mountain and is really an around
the world phenomenon making superb use of late summer
hours. It’s a cocktail mix of racing, fun and socialising that
has become very competitive over the years. And of course,
Saturday afternoons throughout the year are dedicated to
inshore around-the-cans racing.
The Royal Cape Yacht Club is a haven for those who share
the love of sailing, not necessarily racing.
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We encourage togetherness on the water through regular
cruising events. The opportunity to join a flotilla of yachts
for a tour of the bay, anchor off Robben Island, barbeque off
Clifton or join the annual ‘sailgrimage’ to Dassen Island to
celebrate the start of crayfish season is a growing part of our
sailing calendar every year ◆
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VALUES AND FRIENDSHIP FROM NAPLES
THE REALE YACHT CLUB
CANOTTIERI SAVOIA
AND THE ITALIAN AMBASSADOR’S
PERENNIAL TROPHY
by Vincenzo Schioppa, “Founder Member” of the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia, Naples
J
uly 1893. Naples has completely recovered
from the shock of having lost its position
as the Capital of a Kingdom. The soul and
spirit of the cosmopolitan city are back; industry and tourism
are flourishing. The romantic Neapolitan songs are the hymn
of a new, confident Italy. “Funiculì, Funiculà” (imitated later by
Richard Strauss and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov...) was written in
1880 to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable
car on Mount Vesuvius, quite a technological achievement for
the period. A few years later “‘O Sole mio”, the most globally
known song ever, would be born.
The Belle Époque was in full swing. Neapolitan gentlemen
and ladies would follow the trends, in some cases would
even set the standards for European elegance. Sports were
getting enthusiastic attention and in Naples, according to
the legend the daughter of a Mermaid, rowing was a natural
choice for many.
Eleven distinguished members of the “Circolo Canottieri
Italia”, founded four years before, decided to give life to
another rowing club in order to constitute a competitive
alternative. One of these gentlemen, I am quite proud to
remember it, was a member of the Schioppa family.
Thus, the “Sebetia” Club, from the name of an ancient,
A Belle Époque advertising
The Yacht “Molly”, of the RYCC Savoia, around 1910
mysterious Neapolitan river, was born. And so too a
protagonist was born of the sport, cultural and social scenes
of Naples and Italy. Always a devout supporter of the Royal
Family, the Club in 1895 changed the name to “Savoia”, and
was affectionately close to the Court for the grief caused
by the regicide of Monza, in July 1900. The new King,
Vittorio Emanuele III, in the same year of his accession to the
throne, granted the club the title of “Royal”, and assumed its
Honorary Presidency. A charge held for forty-six years, until
the day he exiled to Alexandria.
In the same year, to once again give a concrete sign of
gratitude to the House of Savoy, the colors of the Club
changed, as they are now, adopting the definitive royal blue.
After the Second World War, the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri
Savoia formed part of rebuilding of a Nation. It has and
continues to contribute to the élan of Italy with innumerable
sport achievements, and by promoting and safeguarding the
best qualities of the Neapolitan social life.
On a more personal note, for me the Savoia was the place
where, since I was very young, I would learn to understand,
cherish and practice the values of the sea, of seamanship,
of passing experiences from one generation to another and
from mate to mate. The place where you would admire and
The early years: the Founders, July 1893
The early years: the rowers, June 1898
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Not only sport: cruising to Capri, around 1910
befriend young talented skippers that would become world
champions, like Raimondo Cappa and Carlo Campobasso
(recently elected as our new President after 22 years of the
highly successful presidency of the charismatic predecessor
Pippo Dalla Vecchia), or have the chance, as I had, to be
chosen to sail together with legendary skippers like the
unforgettable Neri Stella.
Yes, that was and in a sense still is an elitarian circle, but not
with the intent of exclusion, rather in the very Neapolitan
sense of inclusion, of sharing, and, why not, of teaching. Few
experiences like sailing can be a school of life, of a better
and more human life, for all, and a school of egalitarianism.
After all, all men are equal before the sea.
This is why I am deeply glad that South Africa and Italy,
Cape Town and Naples, the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri
Savoia and the Royal Cape Yacht Club could build yet
another bridge between our two peoples. The initiative of
the Italian Ambassador’s Perennial Trophy allows us to share
with the children and teenagers of the rainbow nation - the
old and noble land of South Africa - and particularly with
the more disadvantaged, our common belief in friendship,
integration, solidarity ◆
Time and fashion change: cruising to Capri in 1960, when the RYCC Savoia hosted the Olympics
The unmistakable beauty of a classic yacht, racing in the Bay of Naples under the colours of the RYCC Savoia, around 1920
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Circolo velico savoia
A rich history
bound
to the sea
by Fabrizio Mautone, featuring a personal
reminiscence by Raimondo Cappa - ph Mediasail
T
Savoia’s crew at Lysistrata
he life of the sport, having begun with
rowing, was soon greatly inclined towards
sailing which at the time was practised by
the Neopolitan upper-middle class and most of all by the
aristocracy. The successes would ensue almost immediately.
Amongst the many, we remember the most important ones:
The twenty-tonne (20t) “Caprice” that belonged to the Vice
President of the Savoia, Emilio Anatra, won at Nice in 1909,
gaining victory over the yachts belonging to the kings of
England, Germany and Spain over three consecutive years.
Thus securing the Gordon Bennet Cup. Also In 1909, the
Lysistrata Cup was instituted by the Circolo Italia and was
reserved for youth class rowers. The trophy was donated by
the great American editor Gordon Bennet. For many decades
the route spanned two-thousand metres from Cape Posillipo
to Mergellina with eight teams participating on captains
gigs. The Circolo Savoia would win the first edition and
four consecutive others. An unquestionable triumph. The
Lysistrata Cup is even now an annual affair which still holds
great success. After the First World War the Savoia continued
to reap grand successes in the sailing and rowing categories.
“Capelle”, the six metre (6m) S.I. of the Savoia dominated the
international scene for ten years as did the Star “Orsa” which
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claimed the European Championship at Marseilles. The social
life was glamorous and remained as such until the break-out
of the Second World War. The clubhouse, near the end of the
conflict, was almost completely destroyed due to an American
air-strike. However, the Members quickly endeavoured to
reconstruct the clubhouse and render it more beautiful than
ever before. As such the International Sailing Federation
elected the Circolo Savoia as the hosting clubhouse for the
1960 sailing Olympics. The club enjoyed great acclaim and
XIX Marcello Campobasso Trophy.
The usual international regatta on invitation only, for Optimist Class
acknowledgement for its excellent capabilities on that grand
occasion. The respective sporting and social successes have
not been diminished by time. International titles in sailing
have enriched the cabinets, displays and walls of the Circolo
Savoia as has the international acclaim garnered by the blue
and white rowing teams. The Savoia has also received one of
the most prestigious awards, the Collare d’Oro, which was
conferred upon it by the Italian Federations for Sailing and
Rowing and by CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee).
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with
personal
reminder
470 - 1972
by Raimondo Cappa
My memories bring me back to the last of the fifties when,
shortly after the 1960 Olympic Games Regatte, I was admiring
the little but oh so great sailor Nino Cosentino whom had just
won the olympic bronze medal in the Dragon class, and I
started to attend the sailing school by the Circolo Savoia to
compete; first in regattas on dinghies and gradually moving
onto the Flying Junior, the 470, the Flying Dutchman and,
and finally onto fixed keel boats. I remember when the World
Championships would take place and the circolo would see
great champions coming to visit such as Rodney Pattison, Paul
Elvstrom, Paul Cayard with whom the crews of Savoia would
have the chance to compete and sometimes even beat. I
remember when from 1983 to 1987 we formed a mixed crew
of athletes from the nearby Circolo Italia, competing in the J
24 class and, thanks to rigorous training and teamwork with
brothers Maurizio and Giampaolo Pavesi, Roberto Perrone
Capano, Francesco de Angelis and myself from Savoia, we
conquered three Italian titles, an European title and finally a
world title in the waters of Capri. In 1989 I was called upon by
my good friend De Angelis on board the “Brava” of Pasquale
Landolfi and I found myself winning a second world title side
by side with great champs such as Paul Cayard and others,
many of whom are still involved today in the America’s Cup.
We can’t forget that the Savoia’s burgee has been waving in
Caprice
two edition of the American’s Cup on board of “Mascalzone
Latino”, Vincenzo’s Onorato racing boat who won two world
championships in the Farr 30 and Farr 40 class, as well as.
Nowdays, the Savoia is renowned for being the host of one
of the most important regattas of the international scene in
the optimist class: the Trofeo Campobasso, with over three
hundred young sailors representing twenty-eight nations
taking part.
This magnificent sport has taught me the value of victory
through respect for the rules, knowledge of one’s values and
limits, appreciating an opponent in his win and how that very
win will drive you to improve; all excellent values our youths
should be taught for a better society.
In the last twenty years the Savoia has sucessfully twinned with
nineteen other clubs situated across the globe. According to
a special ranking published by great French editor Gallimard
which encompasses all the sailing and rowing clubs in the world,
the Circolo Savoia is amongst the first in the world for the beauty
of its clubhouse and its rich collection of art and furnishings
which are related to the history of international sailing and
which render the locales of the Savoia uniquely fascinating ◆
Skal International Roma and Roscioli Hotels congratulate the Italian Ambassador in
South Africa, Vincenzo Schioppa, and the Organizers of the first edition of the “Italian
Ambassador’s Perennial Trophy” and wish them a great success of the event.
Skal International is the largest and oldest Association of Tourism Professionals in the world
and Roscioli Hotels, Member of Skal Roma, is a flagship of Roman hospitality.
SKAL SKAL SKAL
Almagores - 1984
Segreteria Operativa SKAL ROMA c/o Blastness: Via Castelrosso 10 - 00144 Roma
Tel +39 06 87675059 - [email protected] - www.skalroma.org
Sede Legale SKAL ROMA c/o Best Western Hotel Universo: Via Principe Amedeo 5/b 00185 Roma
Tel +39 06 476811 - [email protected] - [email protected] - www.hoteluniverso.com
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Ingegner Persico’s
Southern Wind Shipyard
Semi Custom sailing yachts of qualitative excellence since 1991
interview
Ingegner Guglielmo Persico - ph G. Malgarini
I
n 1990 Willy Persico decided to construct
his own boat in Cape Town, letting his longstanding friend architect Antonio Minniti design
the interiors. The year after, he founded his own company that
has never stopped growing since then. Insider met him to hear
the story of his twenty two years of lasting success.
Mr Persico, what brought you and Southern Wind Shipyard
to South Africa?
Southern Wind Shipyard was born by chance, as it happens
for some of the best things...
I have always loved the sea in all possible ways. After years
of cruising and racing as an owner of different Swans and
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Almagores - ph Peter Shreiber
SanGermani I decided in 1990 to have my own boat built.
I chose Ron Holland as a naval architect and long lasting
friend Antonio Minniti for the interior design.
In one of many business trips, I was advised by Ron Holland to
visit Cenmarine, a small yard in Cape Town which specialized
in building custom yachts of very good craftsmanship. I swiftly
decided to have my boat built by them, the 72 feet Aga Jari
and also a friend’s boat, an innovative 72 feet projected by
Farr Yacht Design, which was destined to have great success.
A few months later, as the boat was being built, the yard’s owner
was forced to shut down the yard due to personal problems. I
decided to seize the opportunity and bought an industrial area
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Feelin' Good - ph Rob Kamhoot
to be converted in a shipyard, selected the best craftsmen and
founded a new reality: Southern Wind Shipyard.
What elements do you like to remember about your South
African adventure since it began in 1991?
In its first nine years of life, besides Aga Jari, the shipyard
launched ten Farr 72s. Building more than a boat per year, I had
the time to conduct research, to select specialized personnel,
as well as training a management group that was to become a
fundamental asset for the company. Having gained fame, the
quality level of the boats attracted many boat owners who
also wanted larger boats. Hence, in collaboration with Nauta
Yacht Design from Milan, the splendid 95’ blue water cruiser
project was born, an ideal boat for owners who intend to sail
around the world.
interview
Building such maxi yachts entailed the inevitable growth of
the shipyard, new sheds and facilities were created, state of
the art construction technologies were implemented and in
2000 this ultimately lead to have the boats built by epoxy
resin infused Carbon fiber sandwich construction.
With a production rate of 3 boats launched every year, to
date Southern Wind has built 43 yachts, of which 16 in the
100 foot range, size for which the yard is leading the market.
SWS yachts are renowned for their qualitative excellence,
what’s so special about boat building in South Africa? And what
about this parallel development between Cape Town-Genoa ?
The shipyard employs about 250 people, mostly locals that have
costs make the yard more competitive than most of the
leading European countries; a slight advantage that is all
invested in quality and not in savings.
However, the necessity to be present where the yacht market
is the most active requires a presence in Europe. This is done
thanks to Pegaso Srl, based in Genoa, which is one the most
important hub in the Mediterranean with a vast yachting
tradition. Pegaso manages and develops relationships with
clients from the first design phase to after sales services.
Fado - Transport out from the yard - ph Francesca Van Der Royen
Almagores - ph Peter Shrieber
now been with us for 15-20 years. Their experience allows to
achieve qualitative excellence in every phase of construction.
In its first few years of activity Southern Wind had the good
fortune to grow in efficiency and improve its products
thanks to South African government incentives in product
exportation and a favorable exchange rate. This advantage
ended in 1994, when exportation incentives were abolished.
This led the company to focus even more on products of
qualitative excellence. Still today the more accessible labor
interview
Premises - ph Guido Grugnola
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interview
Yard Lamination - ph Guido Grugnola
Yard Lamination - ph Guido Grugnola
Yard Lamination - ph Guido Grugnola
Which ones of your boats represent Southern Wind the most?
In the last ten years Southern Wind had its greatest success
with the 100 feet model. 15 Of these boats were built in just
six years; on the wake of this success, in the last two years
we have proposed a new 102 project to the market. Two of
these boats are already sailing and two are in construction.
The reasons behind this success are linked to the capacity
of these yachts to satisfy both comfort requirements (that
depend on interior volumes) also during long “blue water”
navigations and performance requirements. Mediumlight displacements make our yachts fun in light winds and
competitive on the most challenging regattas.
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interview
Thalima - ph Superyachtmedia
Our most recent challenge is the SW115, a project which
started last year to answer to the growing requests of owners
who are looking for boats of this size.
What is your relationship with clients like?
The choice of a Southern Wind is always a new encounter:
the shipyard exposes its philosophy and projects while the
clients express their desires. This produces unique models,
that are clearly the offspring of a shared feeling: to enjoy the
sea in the best possible way. The conception and realization of
a boat is an activity that creates a strong link between people
and this is an aspect I live intensely. Long hours are spent
analyzing different aspects and taking decisions with each
of them establishes a relationship of mutual trust which is at
the base of our day to day work. Such a trust is greatly valued
and we do the greatest efforts to maintain strong, following
clients closely throughout the boat’s life and its management:
administrative/fiscal consultancy, crew recruiting, as well as
360° technical assistance. Great resources are allocated to
these services, both human and financial.
The result of this for the client is to feel part of an enlarged
family! ◆
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Iveco
Rise
of the Phoenix
I
veco’s back-to-basics approach to rejuvenating
the brand’s presence in South Africa is
culminating in a full-scale exhibition at the last
October’s Johannesburg International Motor Show.
When Bob Lowden arrived in South Africa last year from Iveco
in the United Kingdom, appointed to the role of Managing
Director for the Southern African region, it would be more than
fair to say that he was presented with a monumental challenge.
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Bob Lowden
Bob’s To Do List
1. Establish a Key Fleet programme
“We didn’t have a demo programme, we weren’t really
present at tenders - it’s fair to say we weren’t even on
the radar of what I’d call the top 100 Blue Chip fleets
in South Africa.”
2. Establish a Used Division
“We didn’t have any means of providing buy-backs,
trade-ins or any of the normal used business.”
Bob didn’t need the figures showing Iveco’s dismal sales
performance locally (around 15th of 16 brands). Simply
conducting impromptu market research by studying the
unending stream of trucks driving past his office overlooking
the N1 highway told him all he needed to know: Ivecos were
few and far between.
“If you look at Iveco’s extra heavy performance globally,
and particularly in Europe, we’re number one in a couple
of markets and we tend to be at least in the top five,” Bob
explains, describing his disbelief at what he was seeing.
“That’s really where we deserve to be with our current range:
number fifteen told me at the time that something was wrong
with either the product, the network, or the people.”
As Bob came to discover, it was a mixture of all of the above,
and he describes the process of reorienting Iveco South
Africa as ‘starting from scratch’. So much so, in fact, that
when he presented his strategy to Iveco’s global head office
it was in the format of a five year action plan.
He wasn’t deterred, however. Bob describes himself as
a ‘fairly hard task-master’, and his unique background
encompasses not only a heritage of trucking - his father
operated his own haulage company - but also diverse
experience within the sales organisation. An engineer
by trade, Bob also has a business and economics degree
from Manchester University. With considerable experience
working in the after-sales sector in service and parts, Bob
spent several years in the UK as Franchise Director, and ran
the largest dealer in the country.
Clearly then his talents ran deep enough to untangle the Gordian
knot that Iveco’s South African operation had become, and over
the past year that’s exactly what he’s done. As an overview of
his substantial accomplishments locally while as Bob terms it
‘putting my house in order’, see the accompanying check-list.
3. Secure End-User Finance
“We have an alliance now with Standard Bank, and enduser financing is another fundamental in the sale of extra
heavies.”
4. Improve After-Sales And Parts Reputation
“There’s an old saying in the UK that sales sell the first
vehicle and after-sales sell the second, third and fourth.
Honestly, that adage isn’t true anymore: if you have a
bad reputation for service you won’t even sell the first
vehicle.”
5. Improve The Dealer Network
“When I arrived we didn’t have the best dealer network
in terms of its footprint from a sales point of view,
nor service. There’s a lot of work which is ongoing to
upgrade the dealer network, both in terms of volume
and capacity.”
6. Sell Trucks Into Their Mission
“We had been selling almost any product to any
customer. If you don’t have a product for a particular
niche in the market, I’m a firm believer that you should
be brave enough to walk away.”
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New JIMS, new Iveco
There can be no doubt that the Johannesburg International
Motor Show (JIMS) has become one of the showcase events
for the South African motor industry, and Bob is frank in
terms of the significant investment Iveco has pumped into
their high-profile stand at the 2013 show.
“In hindsight we probably made a mistake as a company
not participating in 2011. Many customers put two and
two together - the fact that we weren’t at JIMS, combined
with a poor declining sales performance - and reached the
conclusion that we must be pulling out of the country,” he
reflects. “I made the decision that for 2013 we were going
to be present at JIMS, to repair the negative impact that not
being there in 2011 had on the brand.”
Fortunately for Bob, the timing couldn’t be better. He had no
fewer than three new products on the stand, one which was a
linchpin for Iveco’s ongoing recovery in South Africa: the new
Iveco Stralis Hi-Way 480, European Truck of the Year 2013.
“We lag the local competition in the Extra Heavy market,
and I’m hoping that our new Hi-Way model will give us the
impetus to get into some of the big fleets that we’ve been
chasing,” says Bob. “The new model has come at just the
right time, because it offers many benefits over the old model
in terms of safety, driver comfort and fuel consumption.”
With the intention being to cause a stir, it’s appropriate that
Iveco launched the new Stralis in its premium 480 and 500
guise, while the 430 ‘fleet’ version will be left as the current
version of Stralis, to be launched in South Africa in 2014.
Also set to grace the Iveco stand at JIMS was the off-road
sister of the Hi-Way, the Trakker Hi-Land, replacing the
current Trakker; and a Euro 4 derivative of the highly
successful Daily. Even better news is that the fresh product
introductions won’t end there.
“We’ve got new products on the drawing board that will
be progressively released from JIMS right throughout 2014,”
Bob reveals, adding that these include several models to
be announced in the first quarter of 2014 which have been
designed specifically for the South African market.
Iveco’s Local Future
The current star in Iveco’s stable is undoubtedly the versatile
Daily van, which enjoys Iveco’s strongest South African
market positioning at third in a highly competitive segment.
Bob attributes its success to its robust design, built on a truck
chassis, unlike competitors’ monocoque construction.
“Honestly I’m not happy with the performance of any of
our vehicles,” Bob says. “Euro Cargo is a market leader in
many markets in Europe, but again over here when I arrived
it was languishing. My hope is that we get to the head of the
European-type of product, which Euro Cargo is.”
Another ace up Bob’s sleeve is the joint-venture Iveco
has struck with the Larimar Group: an independent Iveco
assembly plant in Rosslyn, with a start of production
scheduled for June 2014.
Not only will this plant bring with it the intangible benefit of
selling trucks which are ‘made in South Africa’ - as the entire
Iveco line-up excluding the Daily vans will be assembled there -
but it will cut out import duties and include locally-produced
components. With the basics now in place, Iveco Southern
Africa is in a position to start capitalising on the ongoing
market growth. Bob notes projections for the commercial
market which will see growth to the 30 000 threshold, and
says that he is optimistic about accessing a share of that.
Another intriguing highlight to look out for in 2014 is the
possible introduction of the Iveco Daily Electric or Natural
Power (i.e. compressed natural gas) vans. Both are already
available to the brand in right-hand drive, and are currently
sold within the UK.
“If we were number four or five in the volume rankings, I’d
probably be pushing alternative fuels harder than we are. To
be frank, there’s a lot of work that is still ongoing that needs to
be done just to sell our mainstream products,” says Bob. “I’m
focusing on putting my house in order at Iveco and getting
the network resourced and up to speed. You’ll probably start
to see those products in 2014” ◆
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Andrea Meneghelli
and The Flying Lions
The Formation Team operates five ex-military Harvards
making headlines with its daring feats
and magnificent aerial displays at air shows around South Africa.
The Italian Number Two pilot tells his story
T
he Flying Lions’ Formation Team, operating
five
ex-military
Harvards,
regularly
makes headlines with its daring feats and
magnificent aerial displays at air shows around South Africa.
The Italian national Andrea Meneghelli is the patron and
Number Two pilot. The team consists of four other renowned
pilots: Scully Levin (Number One pilot), Ellis Levin, Stew
Lithgow and Sean Thackwray.
The Harvard is one of the most successful pilot trainers ever
built, with more than 17.000 constructed between 1940
and 1954 alone. The South African Air Force had between
100 and 200 of them, which it started selling off into the
civilian market in the year 2000. When an opportunity like
that presented itself, Andrea Meneghelli, being an aviation
enthusiast from childhood, bought five of them. Having
acquired a fleet of Harvards, Andrea was not exactly sure
what he was going to do with them. After some thought,
he decided to start a formation aerobatic team. It was going
to be the “oldies” team. Older aircraft and older and more
experienced pilots - well let us say more experienced pilots.
Slow and graceful aerobatics was the idea. Andrea, being of
Venetian descent, decided to use the Lion of Venice as the
team’s icon. The Lion of Venice is also the symbol of St Mark,
the patron saint in Venice. The Flying Lions gave their first
show at Howick in 1998 with a 3-ship formation.
With their inimitable magical sound and fitted smoke
system to enhance the choreography of the display, the
Harvards have huge spectator appeal and consistently draw
considerable crowds at airshows. To use the words of Andrea
Meneghelli “the Harvard is a big growly beast with its 550hp
P & W Wasp. It looks, sounds and smells like a real warbird,
which is why it’s so popular. In a way it is a real warbird since
some air forces did arm them with guns, bombs or rockets but its main heritage is that trained untold numbers of pilots
to fly Spitfires, Mustangs, Thunderbolts - you name it.”
The team has five Harvards, but only four are displayed
at airshows as the choreography and logistic become too
complex and difficult to handle with five aircraft. The fifth
aircraft is the most modern version and is kept as a spare for
when one of the others is in for maintenance. The Flying Lions
has probably flown some 540 formal displays over the past
twelve years. The members of the team are a close-knit group
of pilots who eat, drink, sleep and think flying. The pilots are
tremendously dedicated in what they do and derive great
pleasure and satisfaction from formation and display flying.
One of the Flying Lions unique displays is their night show,
which is incredible to watch. As you might have guessed, a
lot of practice is required. All pilots have to practice night
formation before the display. As these pilots have flown
together so often, they know each other’s every move. They
know what references to look for on each other’s aircraft in
the air and on the ground. Obviously they need a lot more
radio communication at nigh, as they can’t see each other’s
hand signals. The night display epitomises the efforts and
sacrifices of the whole team. Teamwork is what makes it all
happen. At the end of every air show Andrea Meneghelli
says: “Please do not try this at home!”
The Flying Lions are also very involved in charity work, together
with the “Reach for a Dream Foundation.” Every year, usually
in November, they take children for flights using 5 Harvards
aircraft
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aircraft
and a Beechcraft Baron. They fly from Rand Airport and, rather
appropriately, the children are given a meal at the Harvard Café.
In addition a renowed company provides food hampers for the
children to take home. The Flying Lions also participate at the
Commemorative Ceremony in the Zonderwater Italian Military
Cemetery (this year it took place on the 3rd of November),
located in the area of the biggest detention camp built by
the Allies during World War II. The camp hosted, from April
1941 to January 1947, more than 100.000 Italian soldiers
captured by the British on the North and East Africa fronts. The
commemoration is a very emotional event and an important
occasion to strengthen the friendship between Italian and South
African people as many of the sons and grandchildren of the
prisoners still today live in South Africa ◆
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I.C.E., the Trade Promotion Office of the Italian Embassy, in Johannesburg
W
The Chancellery in Pretoria, in a period photo
An historical
and cultural heritage
hat a fascinating journey it has been
going through the history of the Italian
Government’s properties in South Africa,
and what a challenging but rewarding task is taking care of
them, so as to utilize them at their best in the service to our
Countries’ relations.
I love houses, and love to restore them the way they want to
be restored; I try to listen to their murmurs, to the stories they
keep inside their stones, and reveal only to the ones that are
interested in them.
The research and reading of old local documents has not
been without its share of sadness, but was nonetheless
useful in reinforcing the consciousness of the brutal past of
this magnificent and dramatic Country, and of the seemingly
incredible yet real injustices perpetrated against the nonwhite people. Contained within the deeds of property
transfers, as was mandatory for all during those times, one
can find infamous clauses such as: “the said Erf or any
portion thereof shall not be transferred, leased, or in any
other manner assigned or disposed of to any Cape Malay,
coloured person, aboriginal native or Asiatic, or Company
the controlling interest wherein is held by Cape Malays,
coloured person, aboriginal native or Asiatic other than the
The Italian Consulate and Embassy in Cape Town in a period photo
domestic servant of the registered owner or his tenant shall be
permitted to reside thereon or in any other manner occupy
the same” (deed of property transfer of the Chancellery in
Pretoria, 1962) or “it is a condition of the sale that the land
hereby sold may be not resold, alienated, disposed or leased
in any way to any person of non-European extraction (sic!),
and this condition shall be binding on all or any successors
in title to the purchaser” (Residence in Cape Town, 1958).
Unjust, cruel and, above all, stupid…
Much, much more entertaining clauses can be found like
the interdiction for “slaughter poles and cattle-kraals” (deed
of property transfer, Pretoria’s Residence), together with
the permission granted upon the new owner “ to keep a
cow or cows on the property for the supply of milk for his
own domestic purposes.” Indeed, a healthy and very green
resolution, but I’m not sure that my good neighbor, the
Ambassador of Spain, although a keen vegetable gardener
like myself, would appreciate it. It is worth to note the we are
allowed “to also keep horses on the property but in this such
event shall be obliged to construct a stable for the housing
of the same.”
But let’s have a quick look together at the buildings, starting
with the offices.
in the service to our Countries’ relations
the properties of the Italian Government in South Africa
by Vincenzo Schioppa, Ambassador of Italy to South Africa
The Chancellery in Pretoria, today
The Italian Consulate-general in Johannesburg
The Italian Consulate and Embassy in Cape Town, today
The Italian Ambassador’s Residence in Pretoria,
with its typical chimneys
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H.E. Qedani Mashlangu, Minister for the Infrastructures
in the Gauteng Government, is a very serious chef, and one
of the many enthusiasts of pizza making Sunday mornings competitions
The garden is magic, like many in Pretoria, and every season has its own flowers.
Here is during the jacarandas blossoming, in November
The Chancellery, Italian Embassy, Pretoria
The Chancellery in Pretoria is pretty, but small. Purchased by
the Italian Government in 1962, the building sits in Arcadia,
close to the Union Buildings, where by tradition many other
Embassies are. It has a pleasant gabled façade and exudes
an old charm, but has the limits of having been conceived
for residential purposes. I’m glad that, even in time of budget
constraints, and because of the importance that we attach
to South Africa, I have been authorized to rent the opposite
building, much bigger, where in 2014 we will reunite the
Office of the Military Attaché, the Italian Institute of Culture,
and the economic section of the Embassy.
The Consulate-General, Johannesburg
In Johannesburg the large and dignified building of the Italian
Consulate-General boasts a beautiful colonnade, and is an
appreciated landmark of Houghton. Built in 1922, it was
acquired by Italy in 1991.
The Pretoria’s Residence formal facet
The Trade Promotion Office, Johannesburg
Also in Johannesburg, the I.C.E., Trade Promotion Office of
the Italian Embassy, is another valuable property of the Italian
Government. A familiar sight for the business community
and the inhabitants of Parklands alike, the corner building,
modern and functional, was bought in 1992. It is worth to
mentioning that South Africa holds a special position in the
history of our trade promotion institutions: in fact, it seems
that Johannesburg was the first city in the world to host an
office of our trade commissioners abroad, in 1935!
The Consulate
and the Ambassador’s Office in Cape Town
The building of the Consulate and the Embassy in Cape Town,
in Grey’s Pass, close to the Gardens and the Parliament, is a
small gem, whose story goes back to a remarkable episode
of patronage and love for Italy. Built at the beginning of the
XX century, in neo-classical style, it hosted the first Legation
and a more relaxed one. Bocce is a popular entertainment
of Italy to South Africa from 1929. Count Natale Labia was
sent in 1916 as the Italian Consul in Johannesburg, where
he married Ida Louise, daughter of the mining pioneer Sir
J. B. Robinson. In 1928 he was appointed, as Minister
Plenipotentiary, representing Italy to the South African
Government. The Grey’s pass “palazzetto” was probably
built by the Labia family at the same time as the well-known
Casa Labia in Muizenberg, between 1928 and 1930. Proof
of this are the ornate wooden ceiling panels of the second
floor, in the Ambassador’s study (the building is used by the
Ambassador and his aides during their stays in Cape Town
to follow the Parliamentary works). The ceiling panels, in
renaissance style, are the same as in Casa Labia, and were
possibly imported from Italy or made in South Africa by an
Italian artist, probably Angelo Zaniol.
In 1938, after the death of Natale Labia, the gentleman and
civil servant who deeply cherished both Italy and South
Two almost Neapolitan “pizzaioli”, very professional
Africa, Ida Louise Labia decided to cede the property to the
Italian Government “to honor the occasion of the opening
of the first Italian Legation by her late beloved husband.”
The deed of transfer is touching, even with its bureaucratic
style, and gives us all a taste of a bygone world.
The Residence
of the Italian Ambassador, Pretoria
We are now coming to know the most “private” properties (if
houses intended mainly as tools for the social, economic and
cultural outreach interaction of the Ambassador can be called
private). We go back to Pretoria, the Capital of the Republic
and home to the most enchanted gardens, with probably the
most pleasant climate in the world, and definitely fantastic
winters, sunny and dry, inviting one to outdoors’ socializing.
The Residence is again not very large, but is exquisitely
designed and crafted, in a pure Cape Dutch style, not
common at all in Gauteng. I am conducting some studies on
Fun is a serious affair - Ambassador Seokolo
and his wife are rightly proud of a perfect “Margherita”
Cape Town’s Residence - The impressive south facade
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Cape Town’s Residence - A strong statement.
The wood staircase and the vast entrance
Cape Town’s Residence - The impressive south facade
it, but I am reasonably sure that it is a small but significant
work by Sir Herbert Baker, without any doubt the most
prominent architect in the history of modern South Africa,
and also in the history of the world’s architecture at the end of
the XIX century-beginning of the XX (he was a prolific artist,
and, apart from South Africa, he operated in India - where he
was the shaper of New Delhi - the United Kingdom, Kenya,
Australia and even France and Belgium).
Arriving in Cape Town in 1892, he was commissioned in
1893 by Cecil Rhodes to remodel Groote Schuur, Rhodes’
house on the slopes of Table Mountain. Rhodes supported
Baker’s further education in Greece, Italy and Egypt, after
which he returned to South Africa where he stayed for the
next 20 years. In Gauteng, the Pretoria’s Union Buildings
are the most prominent of his works, but he designed also
quite a number of private properties (like Villa Arcadia in
Johannesburg). One of his distinctive “signatures” were the
typical chimneys en torsade. Like the ones of the Italian
Residence, that we recently had restored. Another major
feature of Baker’s influence, together with the gables, is the
shape of the arches and columns of the entrance: Rust-enVrede is much bigger, of course, but there is a certain air
de famille…
The interiors are very homely, and perfect for receiving in a
warm and relaxed atmosphere, even if, when needed, they
Cape Town’s Residence - The quite romantic north facade
Cape Town’s Residence - The impressive mahogany dining table
Cape Town’s Residence - The quite romantic north facade
can boast a refined formal elegance. They accommodate the
first, not-so-secret weapon of the Residence: my grand piano,
around which guests gather frequently, sometimes for classic
concerts, much more often for far less classic singing together.
Even the more timid, after a good Italian dinner, accompanied
by stunning South African wines, and a lively conversation,
found the voice and the inspiration to perform…
The other fatal weapon is highly technological, and
perfectly inserted within the garden: one of the only two
real Neapolitan pizza ovens in South Africa, and probably
of all the sub-Saharan Africa. I’m glad that Italian sponsors
immediately supported my request for a promotional tool
that is a powerful social magnet.
It is necessary to know that a true Neapolitan pizza wood oven
is built with very special bricks, able to keep the temperature at
more than 450° C, and demands a lot of technical know-how.
We regularly organize informal gatherings around it celebrating
the art or preparing the most globally known food, with the
original recipes. These occasions are very much appreciated,
especially by our South Africans friends. For honoring the
local tradition we also have, of course, a proper “braai.”
I am proud to remember that the oven was inaugurated on
the occasion of the 2012 Italian National Day celebration
with several hundred guests, in the presence of Ministers of
the South African central and local Governments, and of His
Cape Town’s Residence
A strong statement. The wood staircase and the vast entrance
Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, the King of the Zulu
Nation. Together with the heartening food, which facilitates
cordial relations and friendship, the lawn of the garden is ideal
for amicable, but very emotional, bocce competitions…
The Residence
of the Italian Ambassador, Cape Town
The Jewel in the Crown is beyond any doubt the truly
magnificent Residence in Bishopscourt, Cape Town. Since
my arrival in South Africa in November 2012, I made every
effort to bring her back to her full pristine beauty, for the
sake of the promotion of the Italian and South African
cultures, economies and values. Thanks to the attention of
the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of sponsors, friends and
collaborators, and to a lot of fantasy and saving oriented tricks,
the mission -I am happy to say- has been accomplished.
“Highbury” (that was the name of the property) is now more
than ever the place where South Africa and Italy meet. Like
on the occasion of the exclusive charity “Cape Classic”
concerts that, since 2012, are held at the Residence, along
with a small number of beautiful historical properties of
the Cape region such as Vergelegen, Morgenstern and the
Mount Nelson Hotel, of the reception for the opening of the
Parliament, and of the many community oriented events, like
the Christmas regatta party for the disadvantaged youth of
Cape Town’s Residence - Different characters rooms
the Izuvunguvungu Music and Sailing school, or the charity
Gala Party for the launching of the Italian Ambassador’s
Perennial Trophy.
The research that I made, supported by the deep knowledge
and taste for conservation of the historical architects Trevor
and Jacqui Thorold, show with little or no doubts that the
stately house was designed in the first quarter of the XX
century (probably 1922) by no less than William Hood Grant,
the renowned inventor of the “Cape Mediterranean” eclectic
architecture, where classic reminiscences, ornate Italianate
loggias and some late Art and Crafts suggestions would melt
with quite strikingly results.
He was very much linked to Muizenberg, the former whale
station close to Cape Town, which by the beginning of the XX
century became a cosmopolitan seaside resort, gifted with
35 kilometers of magnificent beach of which Rudyard Kipling
sang the natural beauty: “white as the sands of Muizenberg,
spun before the gale.”
Grant designed most of Muizenberg’s landmark buildings.
Amongst others the palatial home “Graceland”, now a Provincial
Heritage site, and the immense second Pavilion, right on the
beach. It was reported in the South African Railway Holiday
brochure as “being able to accommodate 3000 bathers a day
so that Muizenberg, besides being the best beach on our coast,
could now offer every comfort and convenience.”
Cape Town’s Residence - Different characters rooms
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Cape Town’s Residence - An homage to the vanity of the House
The Residence was bought by the Italian Government in
1958. The deed of transfer of property, being from a trust,
did not help me in finding the name of the family that
inhabited it. The only think that I was able to know, from an
old distinguished lady, is that the house was in the 50s the
property of a very wealthy family with interest in banking, and
with “a lot of children”. Feature that is confirmed by the long
series of bedrooms on the second floor, all communicating
with more or less concealed doors...
The house, as it was common in that period for notable
properties, is far from the sea and its winds, and it is nestled
at the foot of Table Mountain, at a stone’s throw from the
world famous Botanical Garden of Kirstenbosch. It has two
stunning facades, one of which would overlook the City
and the Ocean from quite a distance, were it not for the
exuberant vegetation. She has a double character: smiling
and light on one side, serious and formal on the other.
The roof is of lovely Brosely tiles (of which, quite luckily,
I have found a significant quantity buried in the gardens…),
the windows and doors are of the highest quality Burmese
teak. The interiors are characterized by most beautiful and
dramatic dark boiserie carved wood panels, by an alternation
of formal and more intimate spaces, and by a magnificent
wooden staircase to the first floor, where one can find the
typically placed bedrooms and the private apartment. Some
pleasant paintings of the late XVII and XVIII centuries Italian
school ornate the formal dining room, with its immense
mahogany table accommodating up to 32 guests, and the
reception rooms.
The charm of the House is incommensurable, and I am sure
that she is quite happy with herself, now even more so, with
her repainted facades and restored roof. She is also a bit
vain. That is why I asked my friend Jan Krijgsman, a young
and talented painter, to paint for her, in an unused niche, a
trompe l’oeil depicting the house looking at herself. That will
be my homage to her beauty, and a token of thanks for the
joy and the feelings of friendship that she is able to give to
her guests, in the sign of the Italian tradition of hospitality ◆
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“Where there is quality, there is no compromise”
Morgenster, one of the gems
of the Western Cape
by Alessia Cabib - ph Alain Proust
Wetland area in fron of the tasting room and the helderberg mountains
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Panorama
G
iulio Bertrand, originally from the north of
Italy, now in South Africa, has invested a lot
of passion in his farm Morgenster in Somerset
West just outside Cape Town and has become one of the
important wine producers of the Cape and the leading olive
oil producer in South Africa.
As he speaks to me, his calm voice reflects the surroundings
and the time that slowly flows between the ancient oak trees.
When he arrived in the country in 1975 it had a closed
economy. Much has changed since then, and in his opinion
South Africa is one of the most interesting countries in the
worldwide economic panorama. Being a textile entrepreneur
in Italy, Bertrand opened two textile factories in the Eastern
Cape which resulted in his travelling to South Africa four times
a year. Fascinated by the beauty of the country, he decided in
1990 to look for a property in the Western Cape to escape the
Italian winter - “those cold months where on the auto route
between Milan and Biella, you always find the fog.”
Watch the birdlife in the wetland area infront of the tasting room
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The scallop design and ‘morning start’ from the front gable
16th century refractory table (fruit wood) from a monastary in south of France
The scallop design and ‘morning start’ from the front gable
Giulio Bertrand and Pierre Lurton
After a few years of research Bertrand came across
Morgenster, a farm dating back to 1711 and featuring a Cape
Dutch house in the original H-shaped structure, described in
many architectural books as being one of the most beautiful
and best conserved of that period.
Morgenster means “Morning Star” in Dutch. It was originally
part of Vergelegen, a farm owned by Willem Adriaan van der
Stel during his period as governor (1700-1708). He was one
of the series of governors appointed by the Dutch East India
Company to manage the Cape of Good Hope colony as a
refreshment station for its ships to and from India in the rich
spice trade.
Bertrand’s first step on buying Morgenster was to preserve
the beautiful historic buildings and restore the manor house.
One project was the careful uncovering in the entrance hall
of layers of wall painting to display five different decorative
periods.
Then he found that the farm’s terroir had the potential to
produce wine and olives of extraordinary quality. He started
planning from scratch and invited Pierre Lurton, MD of
Château Cheval Blanc, a name synonymous with Bordeaux
wines, to come to Morgenster and help establish vineyards
and build a cellar. Lurton is still the consultant to the local
winemaking team. “The idea was to produce a French-style
wine that was elegant and could age nicely”, says Bertrand.
“South Africa has always been a producer of good wines but
there was no culture of enhancing their value through the
aging process.”
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Oil olives in the hopper
Hand harvesting of table olives
Nets used to gather the olives
But the real feather in the cap of Morgenster is the production
of extra virgin olive oil. Bertrand explains: “When I first
arrived in South Africa good quality extra virgin olive oil was
not being produced locally, consumers were not used to it at
all. We imported 17 different types of olive trees from Italy
and started production; then we had to stimulate consumer
awareness and demand.”
The Flos Olei Guides to the World’s best olive oils over years
2010-2013 awarded Morgenster’s oil 97/100 points, one of
only seven olive oils in the world to achieve this score for four
consecutive years.
The morning star, symbol of the property, is on the front
gable of the manor house and on the packaging of all the
wines and olive products that are produced on the farm.
“Whatever you want to do” maintains Bertrand, “oil,
wine or something else, you can do it. You must have a
professional approach though. And if your hobbies become
your passions, then success is guaranteed.” Words of advice
from a man who won the prestigious Giraglia Race and the
Mediterranean Championship in 1961 on his yacht Arianna
under Yacht Club Italiano burgees, and who sailed on the
Cape to Rio race in 1996 with Bertie Reed ◆
Olives being crated for transportation to the olive cellar
Fresh olive oil
Barrel maturation cellar
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Once upon a time in Lussino...
There was a craftsman
that founded the Giuricich Empire
by Alessia Cabib
W
hat is now the Giuricich construction
empire had its origin between the first and
second World War, on the tiny island of
Lussinpiccolo off the Italian portion of Istria, in the Adriatic Sea.
Nicolò Giuricich, founder of Giuricich Brothers (Pty) Ltd,was
born in Lussinpiccolo in 1910, after 4 years of experience in
New York and 2 years with the Italian Navy, he decided to go
and look for new opportunities in South Africa.
In 1935 he and his father, nonno Matteo, left by boat for
South Africa and arrived in Cape Town on the 13th of June
1935. They made their way to Johannesburg to first work in
the gold mines and later for several construction companies.
Shortly thereafter they were joined by Simone and Cesare,
both younger siblings of Nicolò.
Singing in the Choir of the Catholic Cathedral of Johannesburg
saved the family from the concentration camps after the
outbreak of the second World War. The nephew of the parish
priest was a Major in the South African Police and managed to
find an active role for the family working for the South African
Government. They worked as carpenters building aircraft
hangers and other related jobs for the military and were not
allowed to leave the immediate area of Johannesburg. On the
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island of Lussino the family had a wood working business and
all the siblings and “Nonno” were accomplished craftsmen.
A big family with strong values like theirs brought them often
to help Italian Prisoners in the Zonderwater Concentration
camp, by bringing them food, clothing and trying to make a
difference to their tough lives in prison.
In 1940 Giuricich Brothers was founded by Nonno Matteo,
Nicolò Simone and Cesare. In 1942 Nicolò married Claudia
Troainich also from Lussinpiccolo in Krugersdorp. They had
9 children and Claudia immediately immersed herself in
assisting her husband in the day to day running of the newly
formed business. Claudia was also very involved in the Italian
Community right up to her passing in 2006.
Today the company is at the forefront of the Construction
Industry in South Africa and is run and owned by the 6
sons of Nicolò: Edward, Adrian, Julian, Gerard, Leonard and
Nicolò jnr (Nicky).
The company operates nationally and has its head office in
Johannesburg and an office in Cape Town. The company
carries out projects for many prestigious South African
and International clients. It is proud to be involved in the
development of the country and is a level 2 BEE company.
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It employs over 300 people and has its own construction
division as well as a smaller property development arm.
The company provides assistance to the previously
disadvantaged communities from where it sources many
current staff members, is involved in a number of training
initiatives and supports students in this regard with bursaries.
The Giuricich family has a close relationship with the Italian
community and has not forgotten its roots. Every year most of
them return to Lussino and Italy to try and keep the traditions
of their parents alive especially for the younger generation.
Agostino Straulino
Giuricich Brothers Construction is grateful for what the country
has offered them and will continue to evolve and expand as
it believes that South Africa can offer opportunities going
forward for all its peoples. “We will continue to strive and
pass on to all the values of our parents and forefathers” ends
Nicky emotionally, “we believe that from a small Island in the
Adriatic great developments can be realized in the Southern
most part of the sub Sahara Africa, after all that is why our
parents came here in the first place!!” ◆
Agostino Straulino (October 10, 1914 - December
14, 2004) was born in Lussin Piccolo on the island
of Lussino, now Croatia (at that time in the Austrian
part of Austria-Hungary). In those years Lussino had
a very important Naval Academy that gave light to
many famous sailors, like Nicolò Rode and Agostino
Straulino to name but a few!
The Italian sailor and sailboat racer Straulino, won one
Olympic gold medal and one silver medal in the Star
class, and eight consecutive European championships
and two world championships in this class and was
world champion in the 5.5m-class.
Straulino and Nicolò Giuricich were class mates and
friends at school on the Island.
On the occasion of the first Ambassador’s Perennial
Trophy, that is held in Cape Town in November 2013,
Nicky Giuricich jr, in agreement with the Association
of Giuliani in South Africa, that he chairs, as well as
the Community of Lussinpiccolo in Trieste will give
a trophy won by Straulino to the race as a first prize.
construction
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CASA LABIA
A PRICELESS ITALIAN TREASURE ON THE MUIZENBERG COAST
P
erched above the turquoise Indian Ocean
on Muizenberg’s historical mile, Casa
Labia is a unique landmark with a rich
and pertinent history. The former residence of the Count
and Countess Natale Labia, it has been lovingly restored by
the Labia family and deserves its reputation as one of South
Africa’s foremost cultural centres.
Casa Labia was originally built in 1929 as a family home,
and the official residence of the Italian Ambassador. The
Count’s wish was to reflect the opulence of the Palazzo of
his ancestors in Venice. Well-known Cape Town architect,
the late Fred Glennie designed the buildings, while Venetian
interior designer Angelo Zaniol was commissioned to create
a true Italian ambience.
italian treasure
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By all accounts, Natale Labia led a noble and meaningful
life. He was born in 1877 in the little town of Cerignola, near
Foggia in Italy. In 1906 he joined the Italian Foreign Service
and was transferred as Italian Consul to Johannesburg in 1916,
where he was appointed in 1928, with the rank of Minister
Plenipotentiary, as the head of the first Italian Legation to the
Government of South Africa. He met and married Ida, daughter
of the mining magnate Sir J.B. Robinson in Johannesburg in
1921, and a few years later they decided to build a home of
their own in Muizenberg, on the former site of an old battery
that was set up to protect False Bay from hostile and marauding
ships. One of the first receptions held at their magnificent
residence, which was then known as The Fort, was in honour
of the birthday of the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III.
Count Natale played a key role in promoting South Africa as
a desirable destination for Italian emigration and creating a
thriving economic partnership with Italy. The house became
a meeting place for statesmen, academics and businessmen
from all over the country. Sadly, Mussolini’s invasion of
Abyssinia and the South African threat of sanctions against
Italy led to his passing from a stress-related heart attack in
January 1936. The Government recognised the Count’s
long association with South Africa and he was given a state
funeral. Heartbroken, his widow, Ida took her two sons to live
at her erstwhile family home in Wynberg, and for many years
refused to set foot in what is today known as Casa Labia.
She passed on in 1961, and after some years, the house was
leased first to the Canadian Government as its Cape Town
embassy, and after that also to the Argentine Government.
After 20 years as a satellite museum of the South African
National Gallery, in 2008 Count Luccio Labia (son of Count
Natale Labia) regained ownership of Casa Labia, and the
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family set out to restore the property to its former glory.
Open to the public, today it is home to a contemporary South
African art gallery, the afro-chic CasBah Design Boutique, and
the celebrated Italian café and terrace. A much desired venue
for weddings and private functions, here one may drink in the
passionate spirit of Italy, along with the glorious sea views ◆
www.casalabia.co.za
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opera
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The fairytale of Pretty Yende,
from South Africa
to the lyric’s Olympus
A certain 27-years-old soprano who graduated
from the Scala’s Academy in Milan, is being met
with critical acclaim worldwide from all and every plaudit
by Lorenzo Simoncelli, Freelance foreign correspondent @lionreporter
S
outh Africa is a “singing nation” however it’s
not common having the chance to perform
at the New York Metropolitan Opera
House, which is the most important lyric theatre in the
world. Especially if you are a 27 year old and come from
South Africa, a country not renown for its tradition in song.
Nonetheless, Ms. Pretty Yende, a young soprano from the
Mpumalanga province, who has been making waves all
across Europe. Also, she is enormously talented along with
lots of fortune and remains driven to the end. Regardless of
current success and natural talent which has been sweeping
up several top prizes at competitions, less than one month
before the opening night of Rossini’s Comte Ory at the New
York Metropolitan Opera House, Ms. Yende’s cellphone
started ringing. Nino Machaidze, the soprano who had been
scheduled to sing Adèle felt ill and the 27-years-old from
Piet Retief, a small town in Mpumalanga province, had been
choosen to replace her. «I had never heard the opera before»
- she said in an interview to the New Tork Times - «so when
I got the call, I said, how can I say yes? But when I looked
at the score, I thought, ah. It’s not like a Susanna, where you
have many recitatives. It’s ensemble work. And it’s beautiful
music, which got into my ear quite quickly. At that moment I
knew that I could do it.” «Singing at the Metropolitan Opera
House» - Ms. Yende concludes - «takes a lot of courage, but
also a lot of humility, because people come from all over the
world just to hear you.”
Once passed the test with flying colours, Ms. Yende’s careers
took a crucial turn thanks to her voice, which allows her to
power both her clarion top notes and her outstandingly rich
low register. This talent brought about worldwide acclaim
and resulted in performances at various opera theaters for
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ph Rudi Amisano De Lespin
the months which lay ahead. As John Allison of UK The
Telegraph said «she is possessed of diamanté tone and a
megawatt smile, the young South African soprano Pretty
Yende seems to take charge of the stage wherever she goes.”
However the 27-year-old soprano didn’t forget her roots
and has just concluded a tour comprising of 2 tours in her
homeland. Accompanied by Professor Kamal Khan on piano
and the harpist Jane Theron, Pretty Yende performed at the
Teatro Montecasino (Johannesburg) and at the Artscape
Opera House (Cape Town) with an Italian recital programme
including La Promessa by Rossini, La Ricordanza by Bellini
and L’amor funesto by Donizetti.
Ms. Yende’s career is strongly linked with Italy and she
already speaks an accent-free Italian, which she learned over
the past three years while studying at La Scala’s Academy
of Lyric Opera in Milan. Ilias Tzempetonidis, the casting
manager of La Scala, discovered her in 2009 at the Belvedere
Singing Competition in Vienna. «All of us in the jury realized
that there was a diamond there» - he explained from Milan
- «when Ms. Yende joined the Academy at La Scala she
closely followed her development and I was impressed with
her dedication. In three years, she attended every rehearsal
in the opera house, watching and listening.”
She made her debut at La Scala theatre in 2010 as Berenice in
Rossini’s L’Occasione fa il Ladro and has since also appeared
as Norina in Don Pasquale and in the autumn of 2012 as
Musetta in La Boheme.
This is a remarkable feat for a young singer who only heard
about opera ten years ago, quite by chance, when she heard
the Lakmé duet playing as background music to a British
Airways television commercial, and there and then it was a
life-changing moments Pretty knew that she wanted to learn.
Interestingly, at the time she didn’t know what beautiful
music was. It was only after asking one of her teachers about
the duet that she heard the word “opera”, and from then on,
opera singing became pivotal in her life. Challenges in life
for this young international acclaimed South African soprano
have just started, however Pretty Yende’s career seems to
have a bright future, especially if she remains so determinated
and focused ◆
opera
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art
Cianfanelli
a matter of perspectives
The 43-years-old artist has left a remarkable impact locally
and worldwide through his artworks, shuffling mosaics, paintings
and digital image techniques in a mixed South African-Italian style
by Lorenzo Simoncelli, Freelance foreign correspondent @lionreporter
Marco Cianfanell's picture bio
B
eing well known in South Africa as the
artist who sculptured two artworks of
Nelson Mandela, gives him free access
to the Rainbow Nation’s hall of fame. Even if his blood is
not 50% South African. Marco Cianfanelli, as his surname
suggest, is half Italian, from the father’s side and half German,
from the mother’s side, but was born and bred in South
Africa. The 43-years-old artist graduated, with a distinction
in Fine Arts, from the University of the Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg, has had seven solo exhibitions and has won
numerous awards including the prestigious Absa Atelier in
2002. He is fascinated by the act of romanticizing space
and what the inverse effect of that act might be. For this
reason, most of his artworks change perspective according
to the specific viewpoint from where you see them. One of
the most astonishing Cianfanelli’s peculiarity is the ability to
work with different materials, from dried grass, to mielie skins
Sculpture Capture in prospective
Sculpture Shadow Boxing maquete
and steal’s paper. A combination that allows him to produce
such as different kind of artworks, a sculptured sea sand, till
mosaics, one of his cup of tea.
However his popularity increased locally and worldwide, in
2012, when he unveiled “Capture” and “Shadow boxing”,
the two sculptures representing Nelson Mandela’s life. The
first piece of art uses 50 steel columns - each between
6.5 and 9.5 meters tall - that viewed collectively create a
portrait of Madiba. The artwork is located approximately
three kilometers outside Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, where in
1962, on 5 August, the apartheid police captured Nelson
Mandela after he had spent months on the run. «The 50
columns represent the 50 years since his capture», comments
Cianfanelli, «but they also suggest the idea of “many making
the whole of solidarity.” The approach to the site, which has
been designed by Jeremy Rose of Mashabane Rose Architects,
leads one down to a path toward the sculpture where, at a
Detail steel column - Sculpture Capture
distance of 35 meters, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking
west, comes into focus and the 50 linear vertical units lining
up to create the illusion of a flat image. Marco Cianfanelli’s
second sculpture of Mandela is “Shadow boxing”, almost six
meters of layers of painted metal sheets, placed between
Chancellor House and the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
The artwork represents Nelson Mandela while is boxing, one
of his biggest passions, and the metal pieces makes shadow
on the figure, creating a 3-D effect. In the decision to built
this kind of sculpture, the South African artist was inspired
by the image captured by Drum photographer Bob Gosani in
1952, while Nelson Mandela was sparring with Jerry Moloi
on the rooftop of the South African associated Newspapers
Building in downtown Johannesburg. The sculpture stands
atop a base with his words etched across it: «in the ring, rank,
age, color, and wealth are irrelevant.” «The uniqueness of the
piece, the character of the boxer rather than the political
Mosaic Dying
slave on The Spier Wine Estate
Detail artwork Seed inside Standard Bank
building in Rosebank - Johannesburg
figure, which was also part of his person, has made me very
proud», says Cianfanelli.
Through these sculptures he has linked forever his name
to South Africa and his artworks, “Shadow boxing” and
“Capture”, will stand always as an eternal reminder of the
fight for justice for the South African people.
However, the desire of this sophisticated artist to innovate
and leave a mark in the art scenario, pushed Cianfanelli
forward; he recently unveiled his two latest gems. “Seed”
is gracing the atrium of the new Standard Bank building in
Rosebank and represents the whole African continent within
a spherical form. “Dying slave”, created on The Spier Wine
Estate, consists of flatly rectangular columns that coalesce
to depict an image of a dying slave. The subject matter was
inspired by Michelangelo’s work that holds the same title, to
underline that this eclectic South African artist never lost his
Italian spirit ◆
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Encountering Boetti
by Kim Lieberman
Ishi
sitting cultures III
art
I
remember it clearly. I first spotted Boetti’s
work in 1997 at a ‘fringe’ exhibition of the
Venice Biennale. One small quiet postal
work consisting of a few yellow and green postal envelopes.
The work struck a resounding chord in me as I was due to
have my second solo exhibition a month later in Cape Town
- it consisted of the entire gallery being wall papered with
red and blue airmail envelopes that I had sent to every place
I had ever slept a night.
The visual similarity between the two works was a bit of a
shock - a good shock though, as I immediately felt a kinship
which has lead me down a path of investigation. For some
odd reason I didn’t take a photo of this small Boetti, although
I was certainly aware immediately that it was relevant to me.
It therefore sits in my minds eye, and although I scan the net
looking for an image of it it has not yet come up.
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Pushing the Envelope
From this initial private and personal encounter I started
researching Boetti’s postal work which I found both then
(1997-2001), and still now (2013), was lesser known than
his other more glamorous colourful works. As I said in my
Masters dissertation entitled Alighiero e Boetti’s Postal Art “Little attention has been paid to the postal work of Boetti’s
as distinctive in its own right, as well as the light it throws on
his work as a whole”... which I now find actually suits me.
My work at the time dovetailed both conceptually and visually
with Boetti’s. And the more I discovered the more I was
pushed in an alternate direction, as having an artist who was
so known and revered as Boetti having done similar things was
quite inconvenient to my own emerging artist status.
So I moved on to delving into the detail of postal elements.
This peaked when I had blank HS8 quality stamp paper
perforated through the South African government philatelic
services. It was a coup, and I don’t think they quite understood
how it happened - a young artist organised, with permission,
to have stamps printed and perforated through a legal stampmaking source. I am sure Boetti would have approved.
Now, I sit here 16 years later, and am still intrigued with how
my path crosses Boetti’s and Italy in general. Last night at a
dinner held by my friend Genoveva, the Spanish Ambassador
to South Africa’s wife I met the Italian Abassador, Vincenzo
Schioppa, and I quickly told him the plan I have been hatching
for years. Vincenzo knowing Boetti, Arte Povera, and my
context, immediately grasped and liked this odd relationship
between a South African and Italian artist. For him, the Italian
Ambassador to South Africa it makes wry sense.
What I hope to be heading towards is an exhibition of Boetti’s
postal work in conjunction with my own, showing how works
from across the world separated by decades can be so similar
in visual. And ironically how this spurned a different direction
for me. It was the opposite of being influenced by an artist ◆
art
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Francesco Rastrelli, Roberta Roccati
COMMON OBJECTIVES,
THE LIGHT AN ACCOMPLICE
T
alent is an extraordinary gift, which allows you
to transfer an empathetic feeling and emotion
in the hearts of others. To create works that
lead to intellectual arrangements which are unpredictable
in their immediacy. Melodies, paintings, photographs:
spiritual binders, revealing the genius of the author. Facing a
shot of Francesco Rastrelli, who collaborates with the most
prestigious international agencies, superbly supported by
Roberta Roccati, companion in life and adventure, means
to psychologically tackle its descriptive power. Maybe feel
moved in front of an implicit representation of dignity,
through the working hands of his sea people. Swollen fingers,
grasping small fish like silver pens to fill the pages of their
diary with fatigue and storms, like needles stuck in the mesh
of the torn nets. Perhaps, marvel in front of the portrait which
redeems a ferryman, reminiscent of Dante’s words: the “old
hoary with the hair”, suddenly wonderful and reassuring
even in his name, Clement, in a twenty-first century version.
But it is worth enduring a scratch to the soul, just not to miss
the intensity of the vibrations coming one’s way.
Francesco, does it really take just two seconds for the
realization of a perfect picture?
“One second, naturalness. Two, technique. You have to
decide quickly. I’m going on intuition. It can be risky, but I
try to act in accordance with the subject in question, trying
not to let momentum break down that wall of distrust. I am
discreet though, to think of it, I steal“ - he smiles.
interview
by Carlotta Miceli Picardi - ph © Francesco & Roberta Rastrelli
Sort of an image gentleman-thief in a way.
“Yeah, with a set plan for the heist: my experience as artdirector leads me to compose while following rigorous
graphic methodology. Applying it equally throughout my
work, may it be witnessing the solemnity of a wedding
ceremony, or the dramatic excitement of a slaughter. I
construct the documentary or chapters of the story I want to
tell with all the pathos, all the strength that washes over me.
Roberta is my narrative voice on the field, tireless.”
What does your feminine sensibility add to the art of
Francesco?
Roberta: “The way certain details are framed, with an eye
halfway between photographer and client. That sense of ‘out
of place‘ that the male mind sometimes misses: an untidy
lapel of a jacket one fold too many or rather the expression
of a woman caught in a moment in which I know she would
not want to see herself. He’s volcanic creativity, flair. I am
pragmatism and organization. After all, the different areas of
photography in which we specialize (not just yachting and
diving, but also rallies of vintage cars , events and happenings,
industrial and architectural photos, as well as advertising)
require different sensibilities and points of view which are
now the added value of our team and are highly treasured
by our customers. The very relationship with the client,
often being international, and boasting a certain prestige, is
affected and, dare I say, benefits from our “complementary”
approach, tailored according to his needs.
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You gave up a career as a lawyer in the blink of an eye, your
position working for Fiat, leaving Turin to move to Naples:
what leap of faith! What kind of love leads to having so
much courage?
Roberta: “Passionate love, for a person whom you discover
to be special and matching. Able to find a detail invisible to
many, the very essence of what he is observing. The ability to
use light as a tool of expression and writing to explain their
feelings emphasizing the need to share them. If it sweeps you
away, no decision seems reckless.”
When does an amateur picture become beautiful?
Francesco: “When, while looking at it, you clearly perceive
the relationship between the energy, culture and poetry of
the person who created it.”
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Is there poetry even in the digital photography?
Francesco: “There is less preparation, less magic. It’s missing
the inevitability of the acid stain. If I were not constrained
by pressing delivery deadlines, a roll of film and a subject,
without wide-angle lens would suffice. I would go back
towards what I want to ‘capture‘. Digital composition
represents the darkroom of days past. Today, the market
dictates the need for technology, for sublimation. Naturally,
it is the answer to what are otherwise practically impossible
present-day conditions.”
Tell me about a significant experience you had due to
professional needs.
Francesco: “Imagine a boat fishing for swordfish buffeted by
gusts of Libeccio (South-Western Mediterranean Wind), at
the mercy of the currents dueling in the waters of the Strait
of Messina: a combination of elements ideal for realizing
evocative photos. I therefore excitedly ask one of the
fishermen to let me occupy a position which I think ideal,
in truth very dangerous, and get an abrupt and peremptory
‘no‘. I immediately realize that I acted somewhat conceitedly,
ignoring the sacredness of the context, its rituals. Shortly
thereafter, I change my form of communication and I say: - It
seems that the wind has died down, should I go? - Getting a
nod. I knock three times on the iron, then make the sign of
the Cross, feeling like one of them.”
Did you ever consider yourself inadequate?
“Years ago, I had a terrible crisis during an expo following the
exhibition of Francesco Zizola in the same location. I caught
the devastation of ‘his‘ wars as opposed to the serenity of my
seabed images and I was shocked: I thought I was useless. Truth
be told I think I still give my personal contribution; be it when
I realize exhibitions such as those on the Military Divers of the
Arsenale della Spezia, who still dive with nineteenth century
diving suits and that, being the last remaining in Italy, will
continue to exist in our culture thanks to my images, or when,
through my images I contribute to the worldwide appreciation
and popularity of our clients such as Riva, Lamborghini, Fendi,
Officine Panerai, Siad, Vhernier etc....”
Roberta, do you recognize yourself emotionally in
Francesco’s choices?
“Our synergy surprises me: him, from Sorrento, impulsive,
irrepressible (with the face of an Irishman, though) - laughs
- Me, from Piedmont, thoughtful, meticulous. He prefers to
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photograph boats, I prefer cars... but we still go in the same
direction! “
What is the determining factor in a couple’s professional
and intimate relationship?
Roberta: “The enthusiasm, which sometimes turns into a
sort of complicity in the process, daring or playful it may be.
Sharing. For example, we just bought a beautiful almond milk
loaf: I am sure that Francesco cannot wait to run off to melt
it and taste it together. And every drop spilling from the glass
of the mixer, will be a source of inspiration, trust me!“ - She
concludes with joy.
Francesco, what would you lock away in your virtual safe?
“The photo of a magical moment that I lost” ◆
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“For the lanscape, art and nature.
Forever, for everyone”
VILLA GREGORIANA
L
ocated in a scenic spot at the foot of the
Roman Acropolis at Tivoli, this suggestive
Park boasts considerable naturalistic value,
as well as historical and artistic significance.
In 2002, it was given to the FAI by the State as a gratuitous loan,
so that the former might carry out a project for its restoration.
This is a difficult work of enhancement, both in terms of the
vegetation and the structures (paths, railings, retaining walls),
as well as the ancient remains, seriously decayed during the
prolonged period of abandonment, which, over time, had
reduced the Park to an open-air dumping site.
It was Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) who gave the “Villa” its
current aspect, with the large-scale deviation of the torrent
Aniene, in order to avoid the scenic, but often disastrous floods
that the stream was prone to, at the point where, near the walls
of the citadel, it was forced to make a sharp turn through a
narrows and then drop many metres. An impressive sight - a
gorge, or orrido as poets and artists called it. Although lauded
since antiquity, this spot reached its maximum glory between
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when - thanks to the
ph © Luca Simoncello
construction of paths and lookout points - it became a mustsee stop on the post-university Grand Tour. In 1826, following
an especially destructive flood, which flattened much of the
old city and took many lives, the Vatican government was
forced to resolve the thorny question once and for all. The
project, carried out between 1832 and 1835, was designed
and directed by Clemente Folchi, engineer, who decided to
deviate the course of the stream by digging a double tunnel
into Mount Catillo. The waters, thus channelled, were tamed,
and artificially augmented, they created the new Great Falls,
120 metres high.
Following the indications of Cardinal Agostino Rivarola, the
old abandoned gorge was restored with several species of
plants, naturally arranged, and a system of steep pathways
was installed, leading up from the valley floor. The paths
wind through archaeological remains, grottoes and tunnels,
providing breathtaking views from strategically placed
lookout points. After years of complete abandonment,
therefore, this extraordinary Park, designed for “the delight
of the community”, has finally been restored and given back
ph © Maurizio Conti
to the public, which can now enjoy all its unique beauty by
following the itinerary suggested by the FAI.
And so we find ourselves admiring the spectacle of the Falls
from the suggestive terrace known as the “horseshoe”, with its
turbulent mass of water emerging from the artificial cuts in the
rock. Then we can descend until Neptune’s Grotto and the
Siren’s Cave, full of stalactites, where the stream is swallowed
by the rocks. If we climb the path to the other side, we find a
small tunnel, dug in 1809 by the French general Sextius Miollis
(at the time, Governor of the Roman States under Napoleon),
from whose openings we can enjoy a splendid view of the
underlying ravine. The luxuriant greenery also contains
interesting objects from past eras, most of which came to light
during the massive restoration effort. These are mostly stone
pieces and have been subjected to a careful cleaning and
cataloguing operation. Among these, the remains of the villa
of the Roman Consul Manlio Vopisco, a sumptuous residence
celebrated by the Latin poet Horace, stand out.
High on the Acropolis, finally, one can visit the Temples
of Vesta (dedicated to the Tiburtine Sibyl) and of Tiburnus,
ph © Luca Simoncello
dating to the second century B.C., which are part of the
Park’s archaeological legacy. It was in this area that the
ancient entry was repaired and enhanced, thanks to the
renovation of a former school, built following World War
II, which was transformed into a modern service centre for
visitors to the Park.
A unique opportunity, already acclaimed by those on the
Grand Tour, often illustrious exponents of European nobility,
whose passing is noted by the many tombstones scattered
among the vegetation ◆
Villa Gregoriana - rome
Phone: 0774 332650
[email protected] - www.fondoambiente.it
Opening hours
March, November, December 10.00am - 4.00pm
April - October 10.00am - 6.30pm
CINQUE TERRE NATIONAL PARK
SUSPENDED BETWEEN THE SEA AND MOUNTAINS AND BORDERED BY THE WAY
OF LOVE CROSSING HIS FIVE VILLAGES, THE NATIONAL PARK OF THE CINQUE
TERRE HAS BEEN DECLARED ‘CULTURAL LANDSCAPE’ AND CLASSIFIED
AS ONE OF UNESCO’S HUMANITY WORLD HERITAGE SITES SINCE 1997
over the centuries. Characterized by its rural settlements
and terraces supported by dry stone walls, every town in the
National Park of Cinque Terre is a small and unique jewel.
Starting from the West, we come upon Monterosso with a
picturesque medieval center whose first historical records
date back to 1201, when the Lagneto family, owners of the
castle of which only a few ruins remain today, entered into a
concession agreement with Genoa which, in 1214, founded
the community of the same name and began to fortify its walls
Via dell’amore
M
onterosso,
Vernazza,
Corniglia,
Manarola and Riomaggiore are the
five villages that make up the National
Park of Cinque Terre along a jagged coastline that climbs up
to the ridges of the mountains, between paths and terraces
overlooking the sea, making this eastern part of the Riviera one
of the most sought-after destinations in the world. A cultural
landscape of exceptional value, the Cinque Terre represents
the settled harmonious interaction between man and nature
Monterosso
by Alessandra Vittoria Fanelli
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La Francesca
Small gem on the sea
A
Monesteroli, spectacular staircase perched upon a sheer drop onto the sea
Vernazza
to protect it from the incursions of the Saracens. The result,
was the most powerful defence system of the Cinque Terre.
Much loved by the poet Eugenio Montale, Nobel Prize
winner for Literature in 1975, who spent the summer in his
liberty villa and loved to write surrounded by the “rocky
and austere landscape, home of fishermen and farmers...’,
nowadays Monterosso is an elegant holiday destination
boasting the famous beach resort of Fagina, a meeting place
of the intellighentia of Lombardy and Piedmont.
First mentions of Vernazza date back to circa year 1000, a
wonderful village perched on a majestic cliff and its harbor,
nestled between two mountain ridges, was a likely point
of departure and landing for the naval forces deployed to
fight the Saracen threat. With its narrow streets magical and
mysteriously enclosed between softly colored homesteads, it
is ranked among the top hundred most beautiful villages of
Italy, and getting there by sea is an experience that has left
countless of its visitors breathless!
The emblem of Corniglia is the deer pictured in the center
hole of the canopy, created in 1351 in white Carrara marble
which adorns the façade of St. Peter, the Gothic-Genoese
church and most important monument of the village.
Corniglia is also the only village of the Cinque Terre not in
direct contact with the coast, rising up on a rocky promontory.
The true heart of the village is the small main square with the
Oratorio dei Disciplinati, which features a breathtaking view
of the sea. Manarola on the other hand, originates from the
displacement of populations from the Val di Vara, who moved
Riomaggiore
towards the sea to exploit its resources. Set on a promontory
high above the coastline, the town expanded into the gorge
that descends to the water blow, enclosed between two rocky
outcrops, hosting a small landing where houses are clumped
all around overlooking the main street, created following
the coverage of the watercourse and therefore nicknamed U
Cana’ (The Waterway) by its inhabitants.
Finally there is Riomaggiore, a village climbing along the
ridges overlooking the sea, its stone houses featuring colorful
facades and sloping slate roofs. Its origins tracing back to
the VIII century, Riomaggiore became independent in 1343,
later absorbing Manarola and Torre Guardiola during the
Napoleonic era. Now a naturalistic park and Environmental
Education Center, it can be reached via a path that starts from
within the residential area and from where you can admire a
magnificent view of the coast.
Along these splendid views it is possible to carry out in the
month of March the ‘Maritime Walking Festival’ guided tours
promoted by the Cinque Terre National Park (in collaboration
with Tuscany, Corsica and Sardinia) to discover the surrounding
area, a festival to walk in this protected marine oasis and
discover the unique places and the most suggestive locations,
through vineyards and Mediterranean scents that lead
from the mountains to the sea; taste the famous fish fritters
accompanied by local wines of the Cinque Terre (Sciacchetra’,
Costa da Campu and Aquamarina) in a riot of flavors, smells
and colors of fragrant and intense basil ◆
www.parconazionalecinqueterre.it
travel
djacent to the National Park of Cinque
Terre, in an area of ​​strong contrast and
a natural color palette that unfolds,
flounced into the sea, perpetually roaring against the rocks,
we find in Bonassola Il Villaggio La Francesca, an ideal place
to enjoy a different kind of stay in direct contact with nature.
Created over fifty years ago in this slice of Ligurian coast of
the Levant, rugged and steep overhanging the sea, a small
jewel indeed among resorts and well ahead of its time, it is
characterized by a series of mini bungalows spread along the
promontory of Punta Mesco.
Open all year round, it is a great starting point to visit the
vineyards of the villages of the Cinque Terre National Park
(also clearly visible by boat), or to discover the shrines
scattered along the panoramic paths.
Walking along the several kilometers of dry stone walls that
‘mark’ the terraces used for the cultivation of vines (many
DOC wines can be found here), leads one to Lerici and
Portovenere in the Gulf of La Spezia, also known as ‘the Gulf
of poets’ due to the renowned romantic English writers, such
as Shelley, his wife Mary and even the famous Lord Byron,
who used to reside here.
Upon heading back, while viewing the wonderful sunset
on the beach and holding a glass of Schiacchetrà (in dialect
refursa’), the well-known golden wine praised by the poet
Montale, enjoying freshly caught fish of the local specialties
(including the famous anchovies) and browsing the traditional
crafts all around, one can fully appreciate the value of this
picturesque village, slotted harmoniously within the National
Park of Cinque Terre ◆
www.lafrancesca.it
A.V.F.
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A JEWEL ON THE COASTLINE
Villa Cimbrone and its gardens overlooking the sea,
a fascinating corner of Ravello, witness to centuries of history
resort
by Laura Di Cosimo
W
hen a cultured traveler - or a simple tourist
driven by curiosity - visits the magical
place of the Amalfi Coast, he is greeted by
a continuous crescendo of emotions. In fact, everything here
is rich of history, breath-taking views, stunning coves. It’s in the
very air one breathes, filled with scents of flowers and plants,
a synergy of scenery bathed in the Mediterranean sun , every
corner looking different, original, waiting to be discovered
among the stunning paths and towns along the way.
Boulevard of The Immense
Tourist Attractions renowned throughout the world such
as Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, all the way to Vietri sul Mare,
flow one after another other along the slopes of the coast
of Campania , overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, south of the
Sorrento peninsula. Among these locations, each a true and
unique “jewel”, Ravello stands out for its refined beauty,
especially with its nobility’s villas and mansions, most notably
the Villa Cimbrone and its extraordinary gardens.
This elegant mansion, with its centuries-old park, extends for
six hectares and is located right at the top of the promontory. It
can be reached by going up the well-known stone steps of the
town of Ravello, through the narrow streets, while admiring
orchards, gardens and lemon groves, churches, cloisters and
other splendid views. Upon entering the enchanting Villa
Cimbrone, praised by poets, musicians and writers for its
powerfully inspiring atmosphere, full of historical echoes,
one is easily moved by the poignant harmony of the natural
landscape that stands out - looking like the bow of a ship -
onto the sea of the Amalfi Coast, so as to leave any visitor
literally gasping upon seeing this incomparable view.
Its historical origins are found in archival documents dating
back to the eleventh century, linking the name “Cimbronium”
to the vast farmland found upon the promontory, where the
villa was built. Throughout the centuries, Villa Cimbrone was
a large estate, belonging to some of the most important noble
families of the area such as the Acconciojoco. From the 14th
century to the half of the 19th century the Villa was owned by
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Cloister
the Fusco Family, a wealthy family of Ravello, who boasted
family ties with both the Pitti of Florence and the D’Angiò of
Naples. Thanks to this noble and powerful family, the villa’s
structure was enlarged and its interior halls and lounges
embellished with elegant décor and frescoes.
During the nineteenth century, the villa went through a
period of abandonment.
In 1904, a learned English traveler, Ernest William Beckett,
later Lord Grimthorpe, fell in love with Villa Cimbrone and
became its new owner. With the help of the Nicola Mansi, he
renewed the ancient splendor of the dwelling, transforming the
main building , with its magnificent park, in an extraordinary
place that became one of the most important models of the
Romantic period, a tribute to Anglo-Saxon landscaping and
botanic culture in the south of Europe.
The villa has since changed its appearance, becoming
a successful mix between different styles and eras, with
harmonious input of cultural elements and exotic influences,
transforming into a truly magical place, a source of inspiration
for famous writers and painters, meeting point for aristocrats,
famous politicians and even the prestigious London-based
group of intellectuals: Bloomsbury.
Ceres
Belvedere of Infinity
Taking inspiration from the classic style while pursuing the
reinterpretation of the Roman Villa model, numerous fine
decorative elements were included in the luxurious gardens
of Villa Cimbrone, hailing from different parts of the world,
such as statues, fountains, temples, pavilions, nymphs and
epigraphs, beautifully designed to emphasize the emotional
relationship bestowed upon visitors by the spectacular
beauty of the surrounding Nature.
The lush garden of the villa, back then largely redesigned
by popular English landscape artist Vita Sackville-West, was
made even more precious by artistic elements, along with
natural caves, ravines and above all, by its rich and fine variety
of plants, so as to represent to this day a spectacular fusion
between the English landscape culture and the renowned
harmony of the Italian garden.
Surely, one of the most intense visual impacts (and there are
many!) is found at the end of the long central boulevard, the
shady Viale dell’Immenso (Boulevard of the Immense), which
reaches its climax in the Terrazzo dell’Infinito (Terrace of
Infinity) a scenic belvedere overhanging the sea, adorned with
eighteenth century busts, from which you can admire the view
that Gore Vidal defined as “the most beautiful in the world.”
Today Villa Cimbrone is an exclusive hotel, among the finest,
welcoming its privileged guests with reserved refinement,
owned by the family Vuilleumier, with an historical tradition in
the hospitality business, who personally handle the management.
Counting Only nineteen rooms, including bedrooms and
suites, furnished with simple elegance and antique furnishings
of the ‘600 and ‘700, some with stone fireplaces and antique
majolica tiles floors, others with vaulted ceilings decorated
with frescoes, each so unique and all remarkable.
Even the gastronomic factor adds to the incomparable
atmosphere, from the delicious breakfasts in the morning
(served maybe by the pool) to a real gourmet experience in
evening waiting for you in the scenic Il Flauto di Pan (The Flute
of Pan), award-winning restaurant of the hotel, thanks to the
culinary touch of chef Giovanni De Vivo, striving to prepare
creative Mediterranean cuisine with genuine passion ◆
resort
VILLA CIMBRONE HOTEL
Via Santa Chiara, 26 - 84010 Ravello (SA)
Phone +39 089 857459 - +39 089 858072
Fax +39 089 857777
[email protected] - www.villacimbrone.com
* Exclusive transfer service with private Helipad available on request.
The Villa Cimbrone Gardens are open to the public every day of the year,
from 9 am until sunset. The cost of the ticket for entry is 7 euro. Discounts
are available for children under the age of 12 years, groups and tours
Sout
h Africa
Year 1
•
Number 0
•
Free copy
•
November 2013
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