Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cineforum Italiano: Benvenuti al sud

Alberto is the manager of a Post Office in a small town in the northwest of Italy. Under pressure from his wife Silvia, he will do anything to get a transfer to Milan - even going so far as to pretend he is disabled to get higher up on the transfer list! But this stunt backfires and as a punishment he is transferred to a small town near Naples, which, for a person from the north, is a real nightmare.

Full of prejudice, Alberto leaves alone to brave what he considers the land of camorra, full of dirty, lazy southerners. But, to his surprise, Alberto will instead find a fascinating place, with friendly colleagues, very hospitable people and a new best friend, the postman Mattia, who he will help to win the heart of the beautiful Maria.

The problem is, however, how does he tell Silvia? Since he has left, not only has their relationship been reborn, but to the eyes of his friends in the north, Alberto has become a real hero...


Price: $8.00 (with RSVP) or $10.00 at the door (cash only)

Please see the full event details, including location, on the Meetup website.

Sunday, June 12 at 4pm:

Belated Galileo III Review - CLOSED

****In case you have recently found this through an Internet search, please be aware that Galileo III is now closed****

I apologize for the delay on this, I know you've all been holding your breath.  Overall, I have to say that the food was fantastic.  But if Roberto Donna's concept for this restaurant is multiple gourmet tasting menus, he needs to get his service up to the same level.  CiaoDC and guests sat for way too long in between the five courses, often without water and refilling our own wine glasses.  I understand that having top-notch service for a five course meal is difficult, but the top-notch quality of Galileo's food demands it.  Without further ado, here is the run down of everything we tasted.

The first five courses comprise Galileo's Pasta Tasting Menu
Riso Venere - Black rice Venere (whole grain black rice from the Piedmont region), shrimp, mayonnaise, spring onion, cherry tomato, herbs.  This was a great starter, very flavorful but not overpowering.

Tortelloni - filled with fava beans in a pureed pea and butter sauce.  These were unquestionably made in house with a great deal of care.  They were cooked perfectly and served with just the right amount of sauce.

Gnocchi - tossed in a sauce of pork sausage, peas, asparagus, and fonduta sauce.  I was really excited to see gnocchi on the tasting menu because I love them but can rarely eat a full plate of them.  The small amount was a perfect assaggio.

Triangoli - triangular shaped black squid ink pasta filled with rockfish in a potato, basil, butter and pine nut sauce.  Being the huge fan of basil pesto that I am, this dish was a real treat.  The squid ink pasta is definitely a different flavor, but one that I thought went very well with its filling and sauce.

Pappardelle al Cinghiale - large homemade flat egg noodles with a wild boar ragu, a personal favorite of mine!  If you've never tried a wild boar sauce, you really should.  It has a great flavor without being too gamey.

These additional items were ordered a la carte from Galileo's other tasting menus.
Vitello Tonnato - roasted veal, sliced thinly and served cold with a sauce of tuna, capers and egg yolk.  I know, tuna sauce sounds less than appetizing, but it was really mild and went really well with the veal.

Capesante - sauteed scallops with a ricotta-filled squash blossom and cremini mushrooms.  I love scallops, and these were no exception.  I had never tasted the squash blossom before, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Risotto with Pork Belly - Acquarello Carnaroli rice tossed with herbs and spring onions and topped with slow cooked pork belly.  Since I make my own risotto with Arborio rice, I am often hesitant to try it at restaurants.  The Canaroli rice has a slightly different texture that lends itself more to heavily herbed concoctions as opposed to the creamy comfort food style that I usually make at home.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Etruscan Exhibit Coming Soon to the National Geographic!

Before the rise of the Roman Republic and the mighty Roman Empire, there was another prominent civilization that dominated the cultural and economic life of the Italian peninsula. The Etruscans may be somewhat less celebrated in popular culture than the Romans. To be sure, their influence lives on in more than just the name Tuscany, which is derived from the Roman word for the Etruscans, tusci or Etrusci. As noted by the Exhibits Development Group, which worked to bring this traveling exhibit to DC, the Etruscans are revered as a civilization of "skillfull seafarers, wealthy merchants, and skillful metallurgists."

Lucky for us in the Nation's Capital, the National Geographic museum will open the highly anticipated exhibit, The Etruscans: An Ancient Italian Civilization on June 10th. Another highlight of the Dolce DC/Italy@150 promotion that we have blogged about through the Spring, the exhibit will feature more than 450 artifacts from the areas of Florence and Chiusi. The wealth of artifacts range from burial gifts, domestic implements, and tools and weaponry, to jewelry, and skillful sculptures. Together they help to bring to life the development of the civilization from its origins to its ascendancy on the peninsula.

This distinctive collection includes rare artifacts on loan from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence, and the rarely-seen Collezione Cambi, Chiusi. They include a 7th-century BCE carriage found in the Tomb of Carriages at the Necropolis of San Carbone, Populonia; a late 6th-century BCE clay amphora from Argilla; a 4th-century BCE three-foot high alabaster urn from Perugia; a 4th-century BCE gold diadem; and a late 2nd-century BCE terracotta sarcophagus.

I can't wait until the exhibit opens, and we'll be sure to update CiaoDC followers once we attend! Guided tours will be available Wednesdays at 11 AM. There is also a family activity daily at 2 PM.

Also, we'd love to hear from anyone who does attend. You can leave us a comment, send us a tweet, or a facebook message. The exhibit will remain open until September 25, 2011.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Italian Deaf Community Protests Denigration of Lingua Di Segni Italiana

By Will Spiva, Events Contributor

This Thursday the Italian Deaf Community of DC rallied at the Italian Embassy to protest the implementation of a new bill that would change the classification of sign language to Linguaggio Mimico Gesturale (LMG). Although there is no direct translation, it roughly means “less than language.” According to the protestors, this legislation would be another step towards the “colonization of deaf people,” and would only serve to further ostracize similarly disabled persons in Italy.

Only an hour after the protest started a representative from the embassy came out and pledged to convey their dissent to the Italian Parliament. Even though they deemed the event a success, Italians in America are still “holding their breath” as to whether the legislation will pass or fail. If you want to show your dissent towards the legislation and your support for the Italian deaf community, sign a petition to stop the change in sign language classification. Italian Nationals should sign this version of the petition.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Join Joe Mantegna for a Special Memorial Day Concert

Celebrate this upcoming Memorial Day with Joe Mantegna and many others at the 2011 National Memorial Day Concert. This Night of Remembrance starts at 8:00 PM and will be held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The concert is free to the public, so you will definitely want to arrive early for this special show! Joe Mantegna, an award-winning entertainer, is set to co-host the concert for his sixth year in a row. Mantegna is an experienced and gifted television, theater, and film actor who has performed in over 100 films such as The Godfather III, Celebrity, and Forget Paris. If you are unable to make it to the Capitol's West Lawn, you can also watch the concert live on PBS. For more information on the concert, be sure to visit the PBS website. Honor those who have served our country by joining Joe Mantegna and PBS at this outstanding 2011 National Memorial Day Concert.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tenor for Tots Benefit Concert on May 26

ABy Brandy Simpson, Special Events Contributor

Listen to great music for a great cause! Help support the Parkville Tots Program by attending the Tenor for Tots Benefit Concert on Thursday, May 26 at 6 PM. Tickets are priced at $10, with the proceeds going to the Parkville Tots Program, a co-op program that has been providing a safe and nurturing environment for children for over 20 years. The money raised will help offsett the cost for supplies and tuition costs.

The concert will feature Elio Scaccio, singing classics from Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett and music from Scaccio's own debut album. The emcee for the night will be A.J. Ali from Good Fellas of Baltimore! There will also be a raffle and door prizes. The concert will be held at the Parkville Recreation Center, located at 8601 Harford Rd. Parkville, MD 21234. To purchase tickets, call Ann Watson at 410-668-3451 or e-mail annw2000@msn.com. You won't want to miss out on this one-time show for a great cause!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Great Wine Tasting at Screwtop in Arlington

Last night CiaoDC participated in a wonderful wine tasting class at Screwtop Wine Bar and Cheese Shop.  Beth Wolfe from Siema wines hosted the tasting of 6 different red wines that Siema imports.  A little bit about Siema to start - Siema is an importer out of Springfield, VA that brings in wines from smaller family-owned vineyards in Italy, among other countries.  Beth explained that because some of the estates are so small, Siema is the only U.S. importer for some of their wines.  Another great part about the size of these farms is that it allows Siema to really get to know the families who grow the grapes and produce such amazing wine.

To start, Beth dispossessed us of a common confusion between two very different wines: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Montepulciano (from Tuscany).  

The first is one that many people familiar with Italian wines have probably tasted - Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.  Siema imports this one from the Galasso family in the Abruzzo region, which is east of Rome and north of the "heel of the boot" - Apulia.  Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a versatile wine that goes with many different types of food, most descriptions state that it has light fruit flavors with soft tannins.  After tasting it, I would have to agree.  

The second wine was a Montepulciano from the town by the same name, in Tuscany. More specifically, this one comes from the Corte alla Flora Estate, run by the Cragnotti family.  Unlike the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, this wine is made from the Sangiovese grape, as opposed to the Montepulciano grape.  It is a cheaper version of a more rare wine from Montepulciano - the Vino Nobile.  This wine was my favorite out of the six,with, as Siema would say "a full-bodied bouquet with spicy berry notes."  I wouldn't disagree and noticed especially that it doesn't hit you with flavor when you first taste it, but it has a really nice finish.

From the Montepulcianos, we moved onto two very Old World Italian wines that are really more designed to be had with food: Barolo and Brunello.  And trust me, after tasting them, I would not be sipping on them without pairing them with a serious meal.  

We started with a Barolo from the Piedmont region (in the northwest corner of the country, bordering on France).  This particular Barolo comes from the Rocche Costamagna cantina and villa, which is in a city called La Morra.  Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape, which Beth explained is somewhat finicky and difficult to work with.  Part of that difficulty plays into its higher price.  Beth warned us that we would notice immediately the strong tannins in this wine.  While difficult to explain what tannins really are, wine experts will tell you that they can come from the grape skins, stems, and seeds, and sometimes even the barrels the wine is placed in to age.  Beth told us the sensation we would experience was a somewhat sour taste on the sides of our tongues.  She was right on the money.

From the Barolo we moved onto one of my personal favorites, Brunello, from Montalcino in Tuscany.  Brunello is made from the Sangiovese grape, but only grows in the Montalcino region due to its particular climate and soil.  Brunello is widely regarded as the most prestigious of the Tuscan wines and comes from a specific clone/variety of San Giovese.  Like Barolo, it is best when paired with food, particularly hearty, Tuscan style food.  Most producers will tell you that you should not drink a Brunello until it is at least 5 years old because the aging process improves the quality of the wine.  Brunello cannot even be bottled until it has aged in barrels for at least four years!  I promise you, though, it is definitely worth the wait.

Moving into a type of wine that is less "serious" and a little more fun to most, probably, we tasted two different types of Lambrusco.  Both bottles come from the oldest Lambrusco producer in Italy, Chiarli.  Chiarli has its vineyards in the Emiglia-Romagna region, which is in the central north, just to the north of Tuscany.  It is made from the Lambrusco grape and generally brings to mind the thought of a sweet carbonated wine, perhaps even that cheap jug wine some of us drank in college.  Fortunately, the Lambruscos we tasted were anything but college-style.

The first Lambrusco was Chiarli's Lambrusco Dolce NV, which considering that dolce means "sweet" in Italian, it makes sense that this one was the sweeter of the two.  It was also a dark red color with very slight carbonation.

The second Lambrusco was the Lambrusco "Vecchia Modena" NV, and reminded me more of a rose' both in color and taste.  The carbonation was much more intense on this one, but served chilled, would be refreshing on a hot summer day.

Overall, this wine tasting was a great learning experience, even for someone who considers themselves familiar with Italian wines.  There is so much to learn, and Beth did a fabulous job explaining it all to us and answering our questions!  You can purchase all of these wines and many others at Screwtop.  If you're interested in future wine tasting classes at Screwtop, click on the link to this post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Week of Wine Tasting

By Brandy Simpson, Special Events Contributor

Do you know which wine to pair with duck ravioli or seared rockfish? Do you know the difference between using white and red grapes in wine? If not, then this week's wine tasting events are for you!

Stop by Lia's on Tuesday, May 17 at 7 PM and enjoy a five-course dinner and wine pairing event with Chef Warren Hutchinson and Chef Norm Messer. The event will feature guest speaker Nicola Dal Maso, owner of two vineyards in Northern Italy. Tickets to the event are $69 per person and can be purchased here: https://www.chefgeoff.com/dalmaso-wine-dinner.html.

On Thursday, May 19, Casa Italiana is hosting a wine tasting seminar on Italy's hot, white and red grapes. Starting at 6:30 PM, the event lasts two and a half hours and costs $55. Guest speaker Vittorio Vettori of Banfi Vintners will explain the difference between white and red grapes, using Frascati of Castelli Romani (white wine) and Sangiovese of Tuscany (red wine) for tasting.

Visit the national headquarters of the National Italian American Foundation on Saturday, May 21 at 6 PM for a special wine tasting of fine Italian wines and gourmet specialties. For more information or to RSVP, contact beatrice@niaf.org


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neopolitan Pizza Arrives in Bethesda at Pizzeria Da Marco!

Last night, Pizzeria da Marco - An Authentic Neopolitan Pizzeria in Bethesda, opened their doors and packed in a full house with their offer for a free pizza to ALL diners.

The wait time was originally estimated at an hour and a half. However, my party was seated after about 20 minutes, due to the large amount of people that decided not to wait.

Pizzeria da Marco has an extensive and inexpensive wine list. My original inclination was to go with a red, Cassata Monticello (2009). After hearing that they were out, I went with prosecco, my usual first choice anyway. Their prosecco by the glass, Tonan Baby Prosecco (Veneto) at only $8 a glass,was pleasing with just the right amount of dryness.

Our server was very courteous and attentive. I appreciated the fact that he let my table know approximately how long the pizza would take, and he was apologetic when later notifying us of the delay.

We ordered the Romana (Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano and anchovies, basil) and the Salame (Tomato Sauce, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella amd Sopressata), 2 of the specialy pizzas. The menu contains 6 Pizze classiche and 8 specialties,none costing more than $13 dollars.

The pizza was definitely worth the wait, we thoroughly enjoyed the crust that struck the delicate balance between chewy and crispy. Moreover, the organic mozzarella covered just enough of the surface, leaving room
for the taste of the tomato sauce to shine through. Although, I would have liked the dough in the center of the pizza to be have been a little more crisp.

I have to say that I was surprised that Pizzeria Da Marco was giving one pizza to each diner, as I originally assumed it was one pizza per table. I was not sure whether the generous offer for a whole pie was due soley to the grand opening, or because the pizzas are meant to be individual servings.

While you could eat a whole pizza yourself in one sitting (as I did), beware that doing so requires eating several portions. As much as I have an aversion to over-eating, I also hate to see food, especially good food,
go to waste. So when I was told that we could not take leftovers, I convinced myself to finish the last 2 pieces.

Overall, our dining experience was pleasant, and I chalk-up my few gripes to the intensity of the opening night. I definitely plan to dine there again and encourage you to visit Pizzeria Da Marco for yourself.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cooking Risotto with Chef Catalani at Casa Italiana

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to be part of a cooking class at Casa Italiana led by Chef Daniele Catalani. The class, which focused on Risotto making techniques, was the third in a series offered this Spring.

Risotto, a creamy rice dish, originated in the Northern regions of Italy. Now it can be found throughout the country, with each region incorporating their own unique spin on the classic dish. During the class, we made four different variations: Risotto with asparagus and shrimp, risotto with braised radicchio cabbage, Arancini made with classic, saffron- infused risotto and finally, mushroom risotto fritters.

First, we started by learning the proper way to cut onions, at which point I learned that I had been doing it wrong. (I also found out that we can avoid tearing eyes when cutting onions if we avoid squeezing them.) We then divided the onions amongst the four pots on the stove, and poured in enough oil to cover all of the onions. I have to say that I was surprised to know you should not cook with extra virgin olive oil, due to its delicate nature and ability to burn. A vegetable blend was used to cook the onions until they were translucent.

Next we poured in the Arborio rice to the pots and let it cook just long enough to be toasted. Just enough chicken stock was ladled in to each pot, just enough to cover all of the rice. Slowly, the hard rice grain turned into a soft, creamy, consistency. The creamy nature is a result of the high amount of starch contained inside each grain of rice. Chef Catalani, a former contestant of Iron Chef America, and current owner of Toscana Café, stressed the importance of using either Arborio or Carnaroli rice to achieve this effect. Other varieties of rice simply will not cook the same.

For the basic risotto that would later be used for the arancini, A Sicilian dish that translates into little oranges, we poured about a ½ cup of saffron extract into the pot. Of course, you could also use the more expensive saffron threads. After the mixture was removed from the heat, butter and parmigiano cheese were added. It was then cooled and we used our hands to mold the rice into spheres, that we then filled with mozzarella cheese and peas, before being double breaded, and fried!

Perhaps the most helpful ingredient of any risotto dish is patience! You have to allow the risotto time to cook, but you also have to make sure it does not pass the threshold where it becomes soggy; it is a delicate balance. Make no mistake, by the time we finished cooking the regular risotto and frying the arancini and the fritters, everyone’s mouth was watering. It was worth the wait! At the end, the class sat down at the table together to enjoy our culinary creations!

The class was fun and stress free. The most important lesson that Chef Catalani passed on: there is a “right” way to make a dish and then there is your way. While the specifications you follow in your kitchen may not live up to the traditional recipe, it is all about having fun and creating comfort food that indulges our your own tastes!

If you would like to try some of Chef Catalani’s delicious risotto for yourself, you can visit his restaurant, Toscana Café in Washington D.C.’s Capital Hill neighborhood.

Find out more information on Casa Italiana’s cooking and wine tasting courses.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Special Offer on Verdi's Requiem through the Italian Cultural Institute!

On May 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM the National Philharmonic at Strathmore presents
Verdi's Requiem - Triumph of the Spirit. In 1874, Verdi composed this brilliant, theatrical Requiem as a memorial to his close friend, Alessandro Manzoni, whose novel, I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), was a powerful force in the unification of Italy. Verdi conceived the Requiem as a patriotic act celebrating the Italian Republic. The music of the Requiem covers the range of human emotions from terror, shame and sadness to hope and exaltation. The performance will feature: Arianna Zukerman, soprano;
Patricia Miller, mezzo soprano; Don Bernardini, tenor; Kevin Deas, bass
and Stan Engebretson, conductor.

Tickets are available online at nationalphilharmonic.org or via telephoen at 301) 581-5100. When you mention promotion code NPVERDI you will receive a 20% discount on tickets! Even better, children 7-17 free.

The Strathmore is located 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Italians in DC Festival 2011 is almost here!

This past Friday, CiaoDC caught up with Lorenzo Montanari from Italians in DC to talk about their first ever Italians in DC Festival! Read to find out more about this exciting event.

CiaoDC: You mentioned that the Italians in DC First Ever Contemporary Italy festival is occurring during the city-wide celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. Was this the original spark for organizing the festival, or are there any other reasons behind the celebration?

Lorenzo: Let me start by saying that 2011 is also the year of Italy in Washington, DC and Washingtonians should have the chance to discover and enjoy contemporary Italian pop culture! This is exactly what Italians who live in the Nation’s Capital want to offer to the community by organizing the Italians in DC Festival 2011.

On the occasion of La Dolce DC program promoted by Destination DC and the 150 Anniversary of the Unification of Italy, Italians in DC partnered with the Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center to offer Washingtonians the first ever festival showcasing contemporary Italian pop culture through music, aperitivo, and arts. The festival will consist of a concert by the Italian music group i-Talians, a DJ performance, a happy hour the Italian way (aperitivo italiano), an arts exhibition, a panel discussion, and an early afternoon program for families. 

Who can we expect to hear speaking on the panel discussion “Italians in Washington, DC today: stories of an ongoing exchange," and what are some topics can we expect to hear during the discussion?

The panel will feature four Italians and will be the defining moment of the entire Festival. They will share very different perspectives about their experience in Washington, DC. This discussion will highlight what they have received from Washington, DC and also how they have contributed to the city. As Italians in DC, we thought that it would be nice to invite Italians that have been successful in their careers in order to share their experiences and to better understand the real value of Washington.

During this panel, moderated by Dr. Giovanna Casagrande (researcher and IDC Chair of “Science and Research”), we will have the pleasure to welcome among our speakers a great entrepreneur, Ezio Mattiace, CEO of Poltrone FRAU in Washington, DC and President of CIIM - Confederation of Italian Entrepreneurs Worldwide, Washington, DC; Diego D’Ambrosio, Owner of "Diego's Hair Saloon", not only one of the most famous Italians in Washington, DC but also the only living Italian recently honored with a renamed neighborhood street (Q Street between 19th St. and Connecticut Ave. NW-Diego D’Ambrosio Way). Moreover, we will listen the witnesses of Chiara Monticelli, member of the Italians in DC team and IDC Chair of “Family Activities”. Chiara is a Teacher of Italian language, at the Italian Culture Society and at the Elementary School in Montgomery County, VA; last but not the least we have Dr.Roberto Weigert an Italian scientist from the National Institute of Health that will explain his experience as scientist in the US in terms of careers and human experiences.

I am really looking forward to the contemporary Italian band. While Italian Opera music has had a rich following here in the U.S., not as many Americans are familiar with contemporary Italian artists.  How would you describe the contemporary Italian music scene? How is the band I-Talians a reflection (or not) of the current Italian music scene?

Historically, Italian pop music sinks its roots in the rich folk tradition of Italy. In the 1960's and '70s American and other world music merged with our historical tradition, giving birth to a successful generation of singer-songwriters - the Italian cantautori. Those songs are still part of the common sound-track of much younger generations. Indeed, the i-Talians draw from that repertoire of classics, which is at once highly enjoyable and representative of today's Italian music scene.

It looks like there will be something for everyone at the festival, including i bambini.  Can you tell us a little about what kinds of activities will be part of the Kids Love Italy event?

Kidz love Italy will be a train with 10-12 stations, each representing a different Italian city. The children, divided into groups, will stop at each station where they will do an activity characteristic of that city. For example in Rome the children will paint the Capella Sistina, or in Venice they will do face painting. In Pompei, they will try to find objects in the sand; However, all children under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult. 

What part of the festival are you most excited about?

As part of the panel mentioned above, we are excited to present four great emerging Italians artists: Davide Prete, sculptor and architect, Sofia Caligiuri, painter, and Eugonio Agostino & Morgan Marinoni, photographers. All will present the contemporary Italian art from the perspective of three different art mediums. Moreover, we are also excited for our original “Italian Aperitivo” (Happy Hour) with good food and Italian beer and wine surrounded by Italian contemporary pop music performed by the music band the I-Talians.

Finally, can we expect more Contemporary Italian Festivals from Italians in DC?

Yes, this 2011 Festival is the first edition, and if it is successful we really want to make it an annual meeting. A meeting that I consider an important asset not only for the Italians living in Washington but also for Washingtonians. In addition, I personally believe that Washington is a great city, not only for politics, lobbying, and international affairs, (my job sector), but also for science, art, and culture. I have never felt foreign in this beautiful and cosmopolitan Capital; this Festival is an amazing occasion to celebrate and consolidate the relationship between Italians and Washingtonians.

About Italians in DC:
Mission: Italians in DC aims to connect, create meeting opportunities, and assist Italians in Washington, DC, facilitating their integration in the US capital environment. Italians in DC wants to connect people so to add to their personal as well as professional success thereby creating a strong Italian community in Washington, DC.

About Lorenzo Montanari:
Montanari, reggiano , is co-founder and member of the first board of directors of Italians in DC and is in charge of business and public relations with Italian firms in the DC area. Since 2008, Lorenzo has been working in Washington, DC as a political consultant and as a researcher on strategic communication and international lobbying at the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University where he obtained a Master’s degree in Political Management. He holds a Bachelor degree in Political Science and a Masters in International Relations from the University Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna. He worked as a consultant for the FAO and European Union in election monitoring. He is also member of the of the Italian Association of Political Consultant and Public Affairs (AICOP) and member of the International Editorial Board of the Italian Review of Public Communication. He speaks Italian, English and Spanish.