The Italian Almanac

Monica Bellucci

Italian News - January 4

Actor Roberto Benigni, architect Renzo Pianoand film star Monica Bellucciare the magnificent threeItalians most often mentioned in positive terms in foreign media.They are the Italians who save the honour of a country of strikes, conflicts of interest, financial scandals and protests against major public works.Oddly enough, in an Italy that has slashed spending on the arts, creative Italians are the ones that keep a shine on the image of their thankless mother country.

The survey was carried out by the Nathan il Saggio company for the Osservatorio permanente BitLab, which monitors Italy’s image in the tourism sector abroad.The survey examined 3,033 articles dealing with the environment, art, design, cities, tourism, culture, food and wine, society and transport published during 2005 in leading daily newspapers in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Britain and the United States.

The Italy of new faces is driven by professionals who are almost unknown.For example, the French, Spanish and Austrians are much enamoured of the short-film director Vincenzo Marra. Saverio Costanzo, son of television presenter Maurizio, is popular in America. Germans, Swiss and Spanish lovers of contemporary art are betting on Mimmo Paladino and Martino Gamper.Then there is the top five of Italians who are entirely unknown, but only at home.They are architect Alvise Orsini, painter Piero Pizzi Canella, artist Sabrina Mezzaqui, architect Livio Scarpella and artist Nicola Frangione.

On the tourism front, ratings and visibility are rising for Tuscany, the most frequently mentioned region in the international media in absolute terms. Tuscany attracts attention for its art treasures, for the magical landscapes of the Maremma and Valle del Chianti, and for its superb food and wine.Sicily is the island with most appeal, followed by Sardinia where, according to Le Monde, “around every corner, there’s something to amaze you”.