News Bites – Rome Elects its first ever female mayor

The latest Italian news this Month – Rome elects it’s first ever lady, Sophia Loren’s dress goes on auction and Keira makes waves in Venice…

Take me home

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Glamour re-captured


Actor Peter Sellers wasn’t the only person who felt hot under the collar when Sophia Loren took off her pink silk dress, leaving her in her underwear,in 1960 film The Millionairess – the scene caused a sensation the world over and helped transform the Italian actress into a global star. Well, that very dress has been unearthed after 56 years and is expected to fetch £10,000 at auction.

Once shooting for the film had wrapped, Loren’s costumes were shared out among the production staff, and it was a young British secretary who was lucky enough to nab the famous salmon day dress – created especially for the movie by French designer Pierre Balmain.

The secretary went on to wear the dress at social functions before putting it into storage. Now, it is due to go on sale at Duke’s Auctioneers in Dorchester, along with other Loren garments obtained by the secretary. Said Duke’s spokesman Antoinette Richards, “Not only are (the garments) beautiful examples of design and tailoring, they’re also extremely important pieces of cinematic history that encapsulate the glamour of the time and the budding celebrity of Loren.”

Keira Knightly graces Venice

Image: IB Times

Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley swapped a sea galley for a water taxi as she became the latest celebrity to enjoy the sights of Venice. The actress and her husband, musician James Righton, looked relaxed as they cruised along the city’s canals taking in the historic architecture – their first romantic break together since the birth of their daughter a year ago.

Venice was actually the second port of call on the couple’s Italian adventure, as they spent a few days in Rome the previous week. They followed up their schmoozy cruise with dinner at the swanky Aman Venice restaurant. Now, that’s what we call la dolce vita!

There’s a first for everything 

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The Eternal City has its first-ever female mayor, Virginia Raggi, of the Five Star Movement (M5S), with nearly 70 per cent of the vote. A civil lawyer by profession, she is also the youngest-ever mayor in the capital’s history.

Her victory was part of a wider success story for M5S in Italy, as the party won in 19 of the 20 towns in which their candidates stood for election.

The party was only founded in 2009, by comedian and blogger Beppe Grillo, and although seen as a protest party at the outset, has steadily gained favour with the electorate. Raggi promises to take a stand on Rome’s major issues, from housing and recycling to public transport, as well as civic corruption.

Walking on water

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The Italian Lakes are some of the most picturesque parts of the world, and around half a million tourists were able to take in the scenery from a different perspective recently – by walking across the surface of the water. The remarkable opportunity came about thanks to an installation by Bulgarian artist Christo.

Lasting 16 days, The Floating Piers saw a two-mile runway, made up of 220,000 polyethylene cubes, stretching across Lake Iseo between the town of Sulzano on the mainland and two small islands. Taking eight months to complete and costing around €15 million (funded by Christo himself), the construction was covered with a special fabric that changed colour from nearly red to gold with the effects of light and humidity. Admission to the installation was free.

However, the 80-year-old artist insisted that the idea behind it wasn’t to bring more visitors to the area. “The project is done for ourselves,” he said. “And if other people like it, it’s almost a bonus.”