"Made in Italy" is a merchandise mark that developed in the course of the twentieth century to indicate that a product was completely designed, manufactured and packaged in Italy. It is one of the most well-recognized "brands" in the world.
The Made in Italy merchandise mark underscores the international uniqueness of Italian goods in four traditional industries: food, fashion, furniture, and mechanical engineering (such as the manufacture of automobiles and other motorized vehicles, industrial design, machinery, and shipbuilding), which are known in Italy as le quattro A ("the four As"): abbiglaimento (clothing), alimentare (food), arredamento (furniture and design), and automazione (automation). Italian products in these fields and others have come to be associated with high quality, specialization, differentiation, and elegance, and carry strong links to famous Italian industrial districts and makers. They are often connected with the concept of luxury.
Throughout the 2022-23 academic year, the Center for Italian Culture will explore the history of this merchandise mark, the industries and personalities that have driven it, its worldwide cultural impact, and its future, through a series of events including dinners, films and lectures.
"Formaggio Formidabile" with Fred Plotkin on Thursday, April 27
Fred Plotkin, co-author of the just-published Rick Steves Italy for Food Lovers, will lead this guided tasting of classic Italian cheeses at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27 in the main lounge at Hammond Hall. His talk will discuss six Italian cheeses, their history and usage, and how to correctly taste them for maximum pleasure. Ideal wine pairing and sweet or savory accompaniments and a delicious Italian dessert will complete the occasion.
An Olive Oil Dinner with Giuseppe Taibi
The series launched with an olive oil tasting and four-course dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 in the Falcon Hub in Hammond Hall.
The event, featuring Olio Taibi olive oils and a selection of wines from Italy, was hosted by Giuseppe Taibo of Olio Taibi.
The events continued in December with the launch of a documentary film series from and about Italian made goods and products. The film events will include carefully selected feature films as well as rarely-seen short films, featurettes, that will highlight Italian designers, manufacturers and products, as well as their cultural impact.
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 - The Truffle Hunters (2021), Ellis White Lecture Hall, Hammond Hall
Directed by Gregory Kershaw and Michael Dweck.
A handful of quirky old men search for rare, expensive and delicious white Alba truffles deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy. Watch the trailer here.
Featurette: A Private Look into the Life of Carlo Mollino (2017)
Directed by Felipe Sanguinetti
A short documentary about the esteemed but enigmatic architect and designer Carlo Mollino, published in American Vogue, originally commissioned for Art Basel.
Film Screening: Stracci (2021)
The series continued on March 16, with a screening of the documentary film Stracci in Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall.
Stracci is a journey. A documentary that talks about the sustainability of fashion by looking at it through the eyes of those who have always recycled used clothes and transformed them into raw materials. A journey that starts from Prato, the world capital of recycled wool, and goes around the world, to discover the impact on the planet of the excessive consumption to which the world of fashion has educated us.
Following the screening, Associate Professor Kevin McCarthy of the Communications Media Department facilitated a virtual question and answer session with director Tommaso Santi and his co-screenwriter Silvia Gambi.
Luxury Brand Management in Milan
Ten students traveled to Milan, Italy during their Spring Break in March with Professors Renee Scapparone and Jeanne Moore. The Luxury Brand Management Course was taught throughout the Spring 2023 term and had an embedded study abroad to Milan over Spring Break. The course will end with a group presentation to the campus and Center for Italian Culture on April 3.
Students learned about major luxury brands in Italy such as Lamborghini, Prada, Armani and more. The course focuses on how these Italian brands market their products and what type of advertisements they use for targeted audiences.
Students received the Center for Italian Culture Scholarship to help pay for the costs of their study abroad program prior to traveling and had an in-depth look at the "Made in Italy" experience.
What's Authentic? Uncommon Lessons from "Made In Italy"
Professor Elizabeth Krause from the Department of Anthropology at UMass Amherst presented this talk that drew on ethnographic research in the Made in Italy arena across two different sectors - slow figs and fast fashion - to theorize authenticity.
The talk was presented Thursday, March 30 in Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall.