Interview with Riccardo Lattanzi, president of Marchigiani in America (MIA)

Marchigiani in America (MIA) has invited photographers of all ages and level of experience to present their most beautiful images depicting places, traditions, and landscapes of the Marche region for its 2018 photography contest entitled ‘Luoghi e Paesaggi delle Marche‘ (Places and Landscapes of the Marche). The association will select the best 20 shots which will be brought together in an exhibition that will be inaugurated by Italian actor and imitator Neri Marcorè on December 15th in New York.

MIA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and celebrating the Marche region’s culture and traditions. Among its objectives, there is also the creation of links and connections between the Marche Region and the United States. Founded in 2017, it has already organized numerous events, including a conference at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York in collaboration with the Macerata Opera Festival last February; it also took part in the first edition of Italy Run, the Italian race in Central Park, organized last June to celebrate the Italian Republic Day.

“The rich history and culture of the Marche region – says Riccardo Lattanzi, president of MIA – is framed within a great variety of landscapes, including enchanting mountain ranges,  colorful hills, valleys, and beaches. Showing this beauty in the USA is precisely the goal of the photo contest ‘Places and Landscapes of the Marche’, conceived and managed Mia.”

You are president of the Marchigiani in America. What and who is at the origin of this association?
MIA – Marchigiani in America association was founded in New York in 2017 by myself and other professionals from the Marche region who moved to the United States as adults. The 8 founders are currently members of the board of directors and are: Daniele Busca (manager of the Scavolini showroom in New York from Fano), Marta Baldassarri (mechanical engineer from Bologna, with roots in Macerata and Arcevia), Annalisa Guzzini (architect from Recanati), Beatrice Muzi (director of the Italian School in the Greenwich Village from Sant’Elpidio a Mare), Silvia Carlorosi

The founders of Mia Marchigiani in America

(professor of Italian Studies at the City University of New York from Recanati), Lorenzo Cupido (manager at the Prudential financial group from Loreto), Lorenzo Marcelli-Flori (lawyer for the Luxottica group from Jesi) and myself, Riccardo Lattanzi ( professor of radiology and electrical engineering at the New York University, from Porto Sant’Elpidio).
It all began with the “Marche is Good” project, promoted by Confindustria Marche and the Marche Region, which in October 2013 organized dozens of events in New York to raise awareness of the excellences from our region, from pasta manufacturers to shoe makers. Some of us were involved in the project as testimonials, so the events brought us together and we became friends. Thus, in 2014 we started organizing an annual dinner in New York. Guests with origins in the Marche started to join from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and when the number of participants exceeded 50 we decided to create a nonprofit association, MIA, and organize also other types of events to promote the culture and traditions of our region.

You contributed to the promotion of the Marche region also in New York with an important photographic contest. What kind of photos were shot to better represent the territory?
We organized the “Luoghi e Paesaggi delle Marche” (places and landscapes of the Marche) photo contest with the double intent to make MIA known in the Marche, and to make the beauty of Marche known to Americans. People have submitted truly beautiful photos. Some of them capture the typical characteristics of the region, such as the hills with soft lines that reach down to the sea (those that inspired Giacomo Leopardi), or the wonderful landscapes of the Sibillini mountains. Others portray the beaches and the sea, while others still portray historical sites or scenes of life in the Marche. Three professional photographers selected the 50 most beautiful shots that will be part of an online gallery. The MIA board of directors, together with the judges, will choose, among these 50, 20 photos that will be part of a photo exhibition at the Scavolini showroom in Soho. The exhibition will be inaugurated on Saturday, December,15th and the guest of honor of the evening will be the Marche artist Neri Marcorè.

What are the other activities with which you try to promote the Marche region in New York?
In addition to an annual party in the days near the Marche Day (December 10th), we have mainly organized cultural events. For example, we organized a conference on Gioachino Rossini, the famous composer from Pesaro, and one about programs to make opera accessible to people with disabilities, in collaboration with the Macerata Opera Festival. Our association also participated as a group in the first edition of Italy Run, the Italian race in Central Park, organized on the occasion of the Italian Republic Day. We are currently working on a scholarship program to fund students who study Italian in various New York Community Colleges, and who could not otherwise afford the trip, to spend time in the Marche region

Living in NY, what is left of the Marche region?
In New York, the Marche region is very little known. The big brands are present, from Scavolini, Poltrona Frau, and Guzzini for furniture, to Tod’s, Santoni, and Silvano Lattanzi for fashion, but few know that they are from the Marche region. Compared to other regions, there are also fewer typical products. For example, restaurants rarely have wines such as the Verdicchio dei castelli di Jesi, recognized as one of the best white wines in the world. MIA started collaborating with Tipicità, a company that organizes festivals all over the world to promote Marche’s typical products. We would like to help them connect with American consumers. Unfortunately, the thing that I miss the most and can never be exported, are the hill of Marche, their shape, and their colors.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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