If there is a voice that has represents the music of the Italian nation then it has to belong to the operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Born on the outskirts of Modena in 1935 Pavarotti made his debut at the Teatro Reggio Emilia in 1961, and within four years had performed both in the UK and in America. He has been responsible for making opera universally popular as he has shared stages with many different music performers such as “Bono” and the “Spice Girls”. His performance of “Nessun Dorma” at the opening ceremony of the 2006 winter Olympics was his last public performance before he passed away the following year.
Sophia Loren has been the face of many a Hollywood picture especially during the times when she was seen as one of the world’s most beautiful women. Born in Rome in 1934 she relocated to Naples in her early childhood where she was raised by her mother in poverty. At the age of 15 she returned to Rome and started landing roles in Italian cinema. She soon started to be cast in the lead roles and in 1958 she signed a five picture contract with Paramount films in Hollywood. During her career she has won an Oscar for best actress in her performance in “Two Women” in 1962. She has also won a Grammy award and 5 Golden Globes and is acknowledged as one of the top 25 female screen legends in American films.
Italy’s reputation of producing the fastest sports cars has been in no small part as a result of the career of Enzo Ferrari. Born in Modena in 1898 he joined the Alfa Romeo racing team in 1920 and during his career he won many races but became better known for the racing company that he created. Using the symbol of the horse that once decorated the WW1 ace pilot, Francesco Baracca’s plane, Ferrari first started using Alfa Romeo cars. After the Second World War he set up his own factory in Maranello and in 1947 the factory produced its first formula 1 car that went on to win that year’s Rome Grand Prix.
Greater successes followed with Alberto Ascari winning the 1952 and 1953 world driving championship. Ferrari then switch their attentions to roadworthy cars where the rich and famous would queue up to purchase one of the newer models. During their time in Formula 1 the car has won 15 world championships and is the most competitions most successful race team. Gianni Versace is one of Italy’s most successful fashion designers. His clothes are regularly worn by royalty and celebrities around the world, and even to be considered to be at the top of the prestigious Italian fashion industry is an achievement in itself.
Born in 1946 in Reggio di Calabria Versace launched his first clothing line in in 1978 in Milan. His business went from strength to strength with his clothes regularly being worn by Madonna, Elton John and even Princess Diana. In less than 10 years he built an empire worth 807 million dollars before he was murdered in Miami at the age of 50. Versace was seen as the designer who brought fashion to everyday people whereas previously it had been considered to be only affordable to the rich and famous. Many of the people that have emanated from Italy have displayed unique Latin characteristics such as creativity, exuberance and passion. Their presence has marked their personalities and this has been a major contributing factor in their global popularity.