The Home of Italian Identity -  the Strength of Workmanship

Padiglione Italia Expo Milano 2015

A Journey through the Exhibition “The Home of the Italian Identity”

A Journey through the Exhibition “The Home of the Italian Identity”
The Home of Italian Identity was not an exhibition but a sensory and emotional project designed to make young Italians aware and proud of the many wonders of their country. We therefore chose to adopt a contemporary language, devoid of any filters or museum conventions; a language based on a range of different perspectives and straightforward concepts, presented in an amusing and enjoyable way. In order to recreate the Italian identity Marco Balich, Artistic Director of the Italian Pavilion, toured Italy together with sociologists Giuseppe De Rita and Marco Bonomi, to show what Italy is like today. Each region presented a worthwhile tale of expertise, one of beauty, and one concerning the future. The Home expressed this potential through technological and provocative displays, and the vital energy of the nursery – Italy’s driving force.
The potential identified brought together under four simple headings many of the contributions which Italy has to offer on the theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”. The “Power of know-how” presented the stories of remarkable men and women capable of making the earth fruitful by loving and respecting it. The “Power of beauty” offered a marvellous journey to experience the “extraordinary panoramas” of Italian landscapes and architectures. The “Power of the future” featured a wonderful Italian garden, with a seed planted by each region – and a story for each seed – so as to turn the Palazzo into the garden of Italian biodiversity. Finally, the “Power of limits” illustrated how obstacles and difficulties can become a driving force for creativity and ingeniousness. In addition to all this, the Home also featured provocative displays such as “The Mediterranean without Italy” and “blind” sensory itineraries, along with artworks and markets: a rich and intriguing exposition that raised many questions and suggested a few answers.The pink section highlighted in map refers to the <b>Power of limits</b>
Sustainability Superheroes
Twenty-two biographical stories that illustrate how the challenge of feeding everyone is inextricably bound to the issue of sustainability. Women and men striving on a daily basis to make their natural environment rich and productive, so as to preserve it as much as possible for future generations. 
Tales of “three-star” chefs in remote areas of Abruzzo intertwine with the stories of those businesswomen who have made Italian liquorice famous throughout the world. But we also find “low key” stories, which turn into highly symbolic narratives: farmers producing outstanding goods in small, secluded plots of land; young “app-makers” who solve waste-disposal problems for major Italian municipalities... With their daily commitment, love of their land and unconditional faith in the future of the country, these individuals  are the “superheroes” of Italy. As in the tradition of comic superheroes, they have here been turned into “action figures”.
Niko Romito - Abruzzo Region
After studying business, Niko took over the family restaurant in a small town in Abruzzo, where his passion for cooking blossomed and he became a self-taught master-chef. Today, the Ristorante Reale is one of the world’s leading restaurants, and the sixteenth-century monastery that houses it also hosts a school for talented youngsters looking to pursue a career in high-end restaurants.
Francesco Cucari - Basilicata Region
This twenty-two-year-old engineering student invented the “Dictionary of Waste”, an app that helps citizens make separate collection as simple and effective as possible. The idea came to him when he was only eighteen years old, a simple device to meet a personal need, and now he runs a successful start-up. The app was used half a million times in 2014, and is available in over seventy Italian municipalities, including Rome.
Harald Gasser - Bolzano and Alto Adige Autonomous Region
Harald grows vegetables according to the principles of permaculture, in a small garden on a steep slope. In spite of his loving care, this rugged plot of land remained unproductive for seven long years. Today, thanks to his endless dedication and without using any chemicals, Harald’s garden produces vegetables of extraordinary quality so coveted by many of Italy’s leading chefs.
Pina Amarelli - Calabria Region
Pina is known as “lady liquorice” – Calabrian liquorice, the finest in the world. Liquorice is the root of a weed that needs to be removed before a plot of land can be cultivated, and is rich in nutritional and medicinal properties. Pina Amarelli turned it into a prized ingredient for chefs worldwide, and became the European leader in the market for this remarkable plant.
Susanna Moccia - Campania Region
The Moccia family makes pasta in Gragnano by combining artisanal techniques and largescale production. Drying techniques, natural ingredients, and the method of extrusion through bronze dies, combined to make an outstanding product. The exceptional quality of Moccia pasta, and the original shapes it comes in, have made it a globally-renowned brand.
Giuseppe Pedroni - Emilia Romagna Region
The story of Modena’s Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a tale of tiny casks in which this exquisite substance – to be savoured drop by drop – takes decades to fully mature. For generations, the Pedroni family has produced the finest vinegars through a combination of traditional techniques, innovation, and entrepreneurial know-how, for a typical local product now renowned and exported worldwide.
Josko Gravner - Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region
On the border between Italy and Slovenia, Josko Gravner travelled back in time to make his exceptional wine. He revived an ancient tradition: ageing wine in buried amphoras, just as the ancient Romans did. The wines made by the “peasant” Josko Gravner – as he likes to call himself – occupy the top spots in global rankings.
Lucia Iannotta - Lazio Region
After completing her university degree, Lucia Iannotta, the daughter and granddaughter of olive growers and oil-producers, decided to take over the family business to create something new, a modern enterprise with an eye on tradition. The family’s olive groves and oil mill, along with the bottling process, are constantly monitored so that the local Itrana olives can fully express their potential.
Ertan Bellolari - Liguria Region
Ertan Bellolari, a native Albanian, arrived in Italy in the year 2000, and received his residence permit two years later. He worked with taggiasca olives for several different oil-producers in the Imperia area. He is now the owner of the Belollari&Figli olive-growing business in Monti a Pontedassio, a small town vaunting two thousand souls near Imperia. He currently markets his olives, but his dream is to “sell my olive oil directly to the consumer”.
Matteo Brambilla - Lombardy Region
Massimiliano and his brother Matteo created a combined vineyard/winery/laboratory where universities and other associations can study and experiment with grapevines: a veritable R&D lab for wine that adheres to the principles of environmental sustainability. The vineyard is based in the Oltrepò Pavese, where the climate and soil quality make the area ideal for winegrowing.
Francesca Petrini - Marche Region
A family of oil-producers, craftsmanship handed down from one generation to the next and enhanced by scientific know-how, centuriesold olive trees growing where the influence of the nearby sea helps reduce the onset of plant diseases: this is the story of a successful business that exports 70% of its product abroad.
Carmelina Colantuono - Molise Region
Carmelina revived the ancient tradition of transhumance. Although no longer profitable and increasingly a thing of the past, this practice is an extraordinary way to re-discover one’s region. These livestock trails re-opened long-abandoned transport routes (the so-called tratturi) and revitalized a social fabric that may no longer exist, but lives on in the collective memories of local communities.
Guido Martinetti - Piedmont Region
Along with his friend and business partner Federico Grom, Guido founded the Grom ice-cream chain. The first outlet was inaugurated in 2003 with the dream of making ice cream “the way it used to be made”, with the finest ingredients and without artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, or emulsifiers. A few years later, they established the Mura Mura organic farm: directly managing a farm is the way to achieve to perfect product. The company’s philosophy is reflected in the Grom Loves World environmental project: it eschews plastic and relies on Mater-Bi, FSC paper, and strictly observes trash separation.
Carmelo Fanizza - Puglia Region
Carmelo is a marine biologist. After working in tropical paradises, he returned home to the Gulf of Taranto, one of Italy’s most built-up areas, but also a hotspot for cetaceans. The problem was finding funds for his expeditions, until he had the idea of combining science and tourism. With their “Researcher for a Day” initiative, Carmelo and his staff have turned tourists into assistant biologists, raising awareness on cetaceans and the local territory, and ensuring funds for their research projects.
Vincenzo Mancino - Rome
Vincenzo’s work pivots on four key concepts: respecting the seasons and weather, shortening the distance between a big city and its countryside, rejecting the globalization and standardization of tastes, and passing down the traditions of one’s own land. In order to do this, for years Vincenzo has been selecting the finest produce from Latium’s countryside, and selling it in his shop in Rome.
Daniela Ducato - Sardinia Autonomous Region
Daniela Ducato won the Euwiin International Award as Europe’s best innovator in green building last November in Stockholm It began as a flash of intuition: transforming the by-products of farm work into building materials. Her emblem is the bird’s nest: a perfect structure that combines minerals, soil, fibres, straw, wool, and much more.
Carla la Placa - Sicily Region
Carla is what is know as a “seed saver”: she belongs to an international network committed to saving the planet’s heritage of seeds and crops. Carla returned to the places of her childhood to grow cereal crops. She has retrieved grains and seeds that risked extinction, and has returned them into the food chain in the form of flours for making bread and pasta.
Petrova Radoslava - Tuscany Region
Bulgarian by birth, Petrova founded Italy’s first cooperative for fisherwomen. They practise sustainable fishing with wide-mesh nets, respecting the life-cycles of the fish they catch. They rely on a short supply chain for marketing their catch, through direct contact with buyers. Their goal is to promote respect for our fisheries and the consumption of “forgotten” seafood.
Andrea Rosani - Trento Autonomous Province
An engineer by trade, Andrea founded Melixa together with a group of colleagues working on precision agriculture. This is a management and control system for apiculture that uses cloudbased hardware and software, making it possible to monitor the bees’ work, and to protect them from threats to their colonies.
Marco Caprai - Umbria Region
Marco is one of the “Lords” of the all-but-extinct Sagrantino grape that was re-discovered in an ancient monastery. The Sagrantino grape has now been revived by a group of enlightened entrepreneurs supported by Italian universities. Not only does Marco Caprai make an excellent, award-winning Sagrantino, but he does so in full compliance with the tenets of sustainability by adopting innovative systems from the vineyard to the cellar.
Lorenzo Cogo - Veneto Region
Lorenzo is a fourth-generation chef and restaurateur. He is the youngest Michelinstarred chef and restaurateur in Italy. His cuisine combines experimentation with a focus on local ingredients. “My mission,” he says proudly, “is to give a voice to the produce of my home region.” He organizes meetings between young chefs from throughout the world in order to exchange know-how and traditions.
Herve Barmasse - Valle d'Aosta Autonomous Region
Hervé is a fourth-generation Alpine guide. He loves climbing solo, and is one of the world’s leading mountain climbers. He opened up new climbing routes on the Matterhorn, the first person to do so since Walter Bonatti. Today, in addition to climbing, he uses cinema and photography to promote the values of mountaineering.
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