Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Return Of A Legend To F1

The resurgence of the Alfa-Romeo brand continues as the auto legend announces a return to F1 in a partnership with Sauber.

This is great news given Alfa's long and rich racing tradition. It never felt right they were not involved in racing. The base root of what Italian cars are about is racing. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ENI Wins Oil Drilling Bid From U.S. Government

Trump makes good on reversing Obama era freeze on off shore oil drilling with the approval of Italian oil company ENI. 

Federal regulators approved ENI to begin the project in Federal waters in the Arctic ocean off Alaska. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Redi And The Value OF Controlled Experiments

In keeping with the spirit I outlined in the last post, it's worth mentioning from time to time the work of Italians in the field of science.

Francesco Redi is one such person.

The interesting aspect of Redi's role in science - using a controlled environment to examine the theory of spontaneous generation - is that it actually shows the Church was not hostile to science as we've become way too accustomed to thanks to the misunderstood story of Galileo.

The issue wasn't that the Church felt Galileo was challenging it. On the contrary, the Church was a purveyor and promoter of science. In Galileo they were up against a stubborn and resolute individual who insisted on writing about the Copernicus Theory that the Church demanded proof and which Galileo could not deliver.

This was the crux of the dispute.

Redi was Galileo's contemporary and his work and its relationship to the Church was nothing like what Galileo endured thus lending credence that the Church was not a backward institution rooted in superstition. Perhaps, as Scientus (in link above) observes, Redi was just better at arguing his position? Interesting notion and quite possible indeed.

This is an inaccurate and incorrect view just as scholars claim the essence of Christianity is aggression and racism.

To take such a stance, in my view, is unproductive if not tragic.

In fact, Italians practically invented the scientific method. Again Scientus explains:

"It is difficult to credit any one individual with the invention of the scientific method. The development of the scientific method seems more an evolution than a discovery or invention. Although Galileo is often credited with its invention, there were well known physicists and philosophers who were advocating similar ideas and conducting similar experiments before and during his time. Galileo's writings on method focused on the demonstrative regress of his predecessors at the University of Padua and the Jesuits' Collegio Romano. Giuseppe Moletti, a professor at the University of Padua, performed and recorded a well-designed and well-controlled experiment on free fall when Galileo was only 12 years old (see Galileo's Contemporaries). Another criticism of the single inventor approach is based on the belief that craftsmen throughout the world could not have achieved such high levels of craftsmanship without using the approach described in the scientific method."

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Inventiveness Of The Roman Catholic Church In Science: Reflecting Telescope

Not sure, if this will be a reoccurring feature but I'd like to explore a little more the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the development of Western science. Catholicism, of all the organized religions, was possibly the most energetic and committed to science.

A monumental debt is owed to the Church for its work in astronomy, mathematics and other branches of science. For some reason, despite their contributions to the development of science (astronomy, math, physics, philosophy etc.) and reason, the names of these clergymen are often ignored.

I happened upon, which spurred this post, a wiki entry on one Father Niccolo Zucchi.

Zucchi was an astronomer and physicist who invented the reflecting telescope.

Moving on, I'm probably going to post more about the Roman Catholic Church's inventiveness.

Here's a link to discussing the evolution of the reflecting telescope:

"The early history of the reflecting telescope has its surprises. The builder of that first crude telescope, Nicolo Zucchi, and the scientist who published the Mersenne telescope design, Marin Mersenne, were both Catholic priests. The involvement of church scientists in the early development of both the reflecting and refracting telescopes is often missed."

Friday, November 17, 2017

Where Have The Great Italian Car Designers Gone?

Nice run down of a group of designers keeping the Italian automotive design heritage and legacy alive from Automobile magazine.

Staying with Automobile magazine here's a compilation of their 25 best car designers in history.

Where seven Italians plus two hybrid Italians (bringing the number to nine) make the grade. The USA come in with eight where they led in production design as opposed to design idea leadership dominated by Italians according to Automobile.

Let's keep it going. 25 of the most influential designers working today of which four are from Italy - De Silva, Ramaciotti, Giugiaro, and Giolito. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Stunned: Italy Fails To Qualify For World Cup For First Time Since 1958

Like so many dedicated fans of the Azzurri, I was left disappointed (but not surprised) by their inability to qualify for the World Cup. In fact, I admit I never thought I'd see this day. Sure, poor performances happen but not to not qualify?

It's actually quite a seismic event.

Italy is a soccer power on par with Brazil, Germany and Argentina historically. To not see them in is surreal as it is irritating. The image of this great soccer nation has been hit no doubt about it. Now, they're not even on current par with great sides like Belgium, Portugal, France, Spain and - gulp! - England.

Instead, Italy finds itself on the sidelines along with another power that lost its way in The Netherlands. And even the United States who were a fairly consistent performer until this campaign. And let's not forget Argentina barely qualified despite their talent.

The question is, what will they do about it?

At this point, the look to the future begins now but this means the main 'mummies' as Paolo Cannavaro put it running the FIGC must be removed. First order of business is to get to Euro.

Beyond this, I'm not overly confident in what's in the development system and the work of Di Biagio at the U-21 level. So I expect things to continue like this before it gets better. Unless, they fully commit themselves to repairing the damage made to Italian soccer.

Ventura must do the honourable thing and resign even though he has said he won't. Which is baffling considering he failed in spectacular fashion. There's no excuse for his tactical decisions and keeping Insigne to 15 minutes of playing time. None. ZERO goals in 180 minutes against a side that Sassuolo could probably beat. No disrespect to Sweden as they had a good qualifying campaign and deserved their victory. Good luck to them in Russia.

In order for real changes to be made, Tavecchio must also be dismissed. That he was re-elected despite his unsavoury racist comments said a lot about the FIGC. Adriano Galliani for supporting him? Fuori!

This bunch then handed the keys to a Ferrari to a 70 year-old who was clearly less about change and more about staying set in his ways. The kicker? In a country that has produced hands down among the best coaches in soccer history on a consistent basis including three who won titles for teams in the Big Five leagues and having won four out of the last seven English titles they settle on Ventura?

A country that boasts coaches (never mind that country also produces some of the best referees) that have won an endless stream of trophies couldn't have chosen better?

The shocking lack of depth is also of serious concern. We see at the U-17 and U-21 levels Italy routinely smacked by countries like Spain now. England too has gotten its act together and are on the rise. Who would have thought Italy was to become England?

Without key obstacles removed, there can be no 'revolution' as Corriere dello Sporto asserts must happen.

The FIGC disgracefully used band aid applications to mask the wounds we all saw with Italian soccer over the last two World Cup campaigns. It's been said that unfortunately it took such an event to take place in order to consider a direct overhaul. It's been done. Germany hit darks days in the 1990s and 2000s and revamped themselves (although they never had the dubious distinction and trauma of not qualifying for a major tournament) and came back as strong as ever. Spain too has its system down pat. France is another country finding its consistent identity and more recently Portugal has joined the ranks.

Will Italy (and for that matter The Netherlands) rejoin them?

What a brutal end to Buffon's illustrious career. The entire crud in the FIGC let him - arguably the greatest keeper ever - down.

What kind of class is Buffon? When he heard the fans disrespecting the Swedish anthem (something I could do without and was ashamed to hear) he was clapping in defiance. He understood this was not polite or just.

Good luck to Sweden in Russia.

Two images these bumbling nincompoops gave fans today: Italy's most creative player Insigne rotting on the bench and Gigi Buffon crying for failing supporters. That's ALL on the FIGC. All of it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Speed Up Factory Motorcycle Team

Speed Up is a Moto2 bike manufacturer. 

The company hasn't achieved the legacy of renowned bikes like Bimota, Aprilia, Ducati etc. but that's because it's very young having been founded in 2010.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Alfa Romeo Introduces The Stelvio

It's always tricky whenever an established sports car manufacturer dabbles outside its area of expertise and so it is with Alfa's decision to head into the SUV market for the first time with the Stelvio named after the legendary Stelvio Pass made famous at the Giro d'Italia.

I have no idea how it will go but Car and Driver gave it a 4-star review.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fornasari Left Its Mark

I didn't realize Fornasari declared bankruptcy in 2015. Quite the impressive legacy during its 16 year run nonetheless. The company was known for its racing buggies and SUVs like the RR600 picture above. What an awesome looking bomb that vehicle!

Another independent artist-design auto company moves into Italy's long legacy of automakers.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ferrari And Bianchi Join Forces

The iconic mint green colours of Bianchi and Ferrari's racing red - two hundred years of excellence in their respective sporting fields between them - will collaborate to produce new models.

Look forward to what they come up with if anything to see how far Italy can push bicycle racing technology.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Matera's Revival Brings It To The Cutting Edge Of Space Tech

"The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, today visited the Matera space hub, one of the most important centres in southern Italy for research, development and technology transfer, as well as one of the most advanced space facilities in Europe. Welcoming the Head of State delegation were the President and General Director of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Roberto Battiston and Anna Sirica, together with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo, Giovanni De Gennaro and Alessandro Profumo."

Matera went from forgotten ghost town to space hub with state of the art facilities?


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Memories Of The Tour de France: Nencini Champion Of 1960

With Fabio Aru in second place and doing well at the Tour de France (no shame in that given Chris Froome is the leader), let's go back into history and meet the forgotten champion Gastone Nencini. Here's a a story about Nencini who was quite the character.

The pic above features two riders - Roger Riviere and Nencini - decked in the national colours of France and Italy who both died young and tragically.

Articles Of Interest: Hydrogen Buses And Space Technology

Dear me, I hadn't realized June went by without a post! I blame the Russians.


Here are a couple of articles I spotted:

"...German and Italian public transportation companies are coming together in order to help develop new fuel cell buses in Europe. This is part of a larger European Union initiative that aims to cut down on urban emissions and improve the overall air quality of European cities. The German and Italian companies are seeking to develop 63 new fuel cell vehicles, which will serve as public transit solutions in major urban areas.


"...Alessio Fanfani and his team at the D-Orbit mission are big on space but also concerned with sustainability. Dozens of companies are launching hundreds of missions into space in the next decades, and D-Orbit wants to help make space free of debris. 
A NASA stat says that hundreds of thousands of debris chunks are in Earth orbit, ranging in size from 1 to 10 centimeters. Objects in orbit at 36,000 kilometers, for example, might take thousands of years to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. Their project D-Sat is a satellite designed to perform its mission and then pull itself out of orbit. The team is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a set of in-orbit experiments.
The self decommissioning is one feature of the D-Sat but the main mission is sending and receiving MAMES data, messages sent from Earth. When natural disasters strike and threaten remote areas the team hopes that the satellites can take emergency messages and send them to public safety officials."

I checked their Gofundme page. Unfortunately they did not achieve their goals half reached half their goal. Hopefully they don't give up.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lamborghini Gifts The Huracan To Police

Italian police have a second Huracan in their ranks:

"As if one Lamborghini Huracán isn’t enough, the Italian supercar brand is now donating a second example of the supercar to the Polizia. The Highway Patrol in Bologna will put the coupe’s high-speed capabilities to good use in urgent situations as a first-aid vehicle and as a transporter for organs. Resumes will likely be flooding in for the job of flying down the Autostrade for this important ­job. According to the Polizia, the Huracán will also take part in normal police operations..."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Company Builds Experimental Plant To Produce Energy From Nuclear Fusion

"Italian firm ASG Superconductors on Friday presented the first magnet for ITER, the world's largest experimental plant designed to show it is possible to produce energy from nuclear fusion. It is 14 metres high, nine metres long, weighs 300 tonnes - as much as a Boeing 747 - and is the shape of a big capital D. The super-high-tech magnet, the first of 18 destined for the ITER project, was made by the Malacalza family's ASG Superconductors in its La Spezia plant, which will go on to produce another nine (plus one spare one) of the 18 which will form the core of the Iter reactor being built at Cadarache in southern France."


Developments like this in a country as developed as Italy always remind me why it irritates me whenever I hear it be tagged a PIIG.

Not only is Italy one of the wealthiest nations on earth as member of the G8, it also is a net giver to the EU - always was.

Never quite understood the source of this chauvinism. Italy's economy is far more advanced than Spain, Portugal and Greece. It feels like a guilt by association scenario.

Culturally, Italy shares a heritage with those countries, industrially and in science and technology, they're natural rival to Germany, the UK, France, USA and Japan.

There are serious economic problems indeed. From persistent low growth to high unemployment among the youth, to weakening banks, restrictive labor laws and a bureaucratic system so convoluted it's a marvel the country even ranks as high as it does.

But it's more in-line with France's problems than the so-called Pigs. And quite frankly, the media - so politically correct when it suits them - should drop the derogatory term altogether.

After all, are they not all part of the EU? What did they expect? That every country was going to perform to the highest standards? You can't claim to be a united block and then chastise members. It's not healthy or appropriate and is bound to cause friction.

Italians Are The Healthiest People In The World

According to Bloomberg Global Health Index.

List of all 163 countries.

Canada is 17th and the United States 34th.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

....And Bandini

Rather than merge Bandini with post below with Stanguellini I felt it appropriate it gets its own entry.

Bandini Auto is yet another product from a genius mind that graces the Italian peninsula. This time by way of Ilario Bandini. 

And as usual with Italian brands, they come up with unique logos and like most independents like Bandini (with an interesting history) its essence was to...race. In the process, they left behind a memorable legacy.

The Legendary Legacy Of The Stanguellini

When we think of the Italian passion for racing the names of Alfa Romeo, Pantera De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Ferrari and even Lancia in rally come to mind.

But the auto history in the country is littered with little independent manufacturers producing memorable gems including Stanguellini which is motor racing personified. 


To you folks who use cartoons as a metaphor for life you may recall these little beauties as likely being the inspiration for the car driven by Goggles Paesano at the Indianrockolis 500 in The Flintstones.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tidy Italian Tidbits And Notes

Been collecting these stories and articles. Rather than post them each individually let's go bulk!

Italdesign with its partners offers up its futuristic car design.

"Airbus and Italdesign have revealed their plans to help city dwellers beat traffic with a modular vehicle that is part car, part drone.The concept vehicle, named Pop Up, was unveiled at this year's Geneva Motor Show. It features a "passenger capsule" that can detach from a wheeled base."

I don't know if you've noticed by all the ads, but Alfa-Romeo is marking its comeback into the North American market. Besides FIAT, I can't recall an Italian car brand going hard into advertising.

They have no choice if they want to sell the Giulia Quadrifoglio

"These pics are the proof. The car I drove last week – a fully-specced seventy-three-and-a-half-grand Giulia Quadrifoglio demands a big leap of faith in the Italian brand when the German opposition is so soundly rooted.
But let’s check the facts. That twin turbo, three-litre V6 Ferrari-influenced engine churns out 510bhp and 600Nm of torque, giving this rear-wheel drive five-seater a top speed of over 190mph and a claimed lap time round the Nurburgring that beats the opposition handsomely.
From the outside, it’s unmistakably Alfa – that hip-height swage line, the familiar face sporting that traditional grille.
It’s handsome rather than beautiful but compared to its German rivals, somehow less arrogant. It’s the same inside.


Italy has not only been working on increasing trade with Russia but collaborating with them on Mars exploration.

"Italy is developing detectors at the heart of a “dish” for the Millimetron — a 10-meter space telescope designed to study extremely dark objects in the Universe at millimeter and infrared wavelengths. Russia leads the project."


Company focus: Dell'Orto are worldwide leaders in carburetors and electronic injection systems.


Get ready for more and more Italian brands coming out with family/luxury cars. Lamborghini (probably at the behest of its German owners) have entered the family market and so have Ferrari and Alfa-Romeo with the beautiful Stelvio.

I hope they know what they're doing because this is not the essence of these brands. They're not Porsche who cater to a wider market. Their essence and legend is rooted in racing and a specific type of consumer.

Not sure what to make of it - especially Lamborghini.


Speaking of the day I hope to get to the iconic Passo dello Stelvio and ride it on my bike.


And now for something really different Bullwinkle....

Italian cuisine and its influence on France.

'the Court of Catherine de' Médici was a veritable earthly paradise and a school for all the chivalry and flower of France. Ladies shone there like stars in the sky on a fine night.'

"Italy has been called the mother of the Western cuisines, and perhaps its greatest contribution was its influence on France. The crucial event was the arrival of Catherine de Médicis in France in the 16th century. The great-granddaughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Catherine married the young man who later was to become Henry II of France. She brought with her a retinue of Florentine cooks who were schooled in the subtleties of Renaissance cooking—in preparing such elegant dishes as aspics, sweetbreads, artichoke hearts, truffles, liver crépinettesquenelles of poultry, macaroons, ice cream, and zabagliones. Catherine also introduced a new elegance and refinement to the French table. "

Of course, French cuisine has also influence Italian cooking as well.


The Lamborghini story reminded me of this scene in 'Big Night'. Is Lambo comprising itself?

Thank God for people like Primo. They keep us all honest:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Scientists Claim Oldest Human Blood Found

The German and Italian scientists said they used an atomic force microscope to examine tissue sections from a wound caused by an arrow that killed the Copper Age man, who was found frozen in a glacier, and from a laceration on his right hand."
They really looked similar to modern-day blood samples,"said Professor Albert Zink, 46, the German head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy in Bolzano, the capital of Italy's German-speaking Alto-Adige region.
"So far, this is the clearest evidence of the oldest blood cells," he said by telephone, adding that the new technique might now be used to examine mummies from Egypt.
Institute for Mummies and the Iceman?
Man, I shoulda paid more attention in school.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Revival Of Viotti

I didn't realize the Viotti brand - long since gone since 1964 - was purchased by a Chinese group and subsequently revived. Since this event, it's gone on to acquire other brand names and eventually developed its first concept car:

It's great to see this company established in 1921 back in the saddle and contributing to the Italian automobile legacy. As with many independent auto-craft shops, this one now has a distinctly international flavour with Brazilian, French and American input.

The Willy AW 380 Berlinetta is inspired by Willys (famous for its military Jeeps) whose trademark was purchased by Viotti and was assembled by Willys in Brazil along with Alpine France.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bartoli: Nothing But Greatness

Aaaaand so it begins. 2017 that is. Let's kick it off with a sports theme. Every once in a while I like to         go outside the mandate of this blog. The great cyclist Gino Bartoli's remarkable story is worth it.