Turin, and other parts of Italy's Piedmont: October 15 - 19
Monday afternoon, Darnella Robertson and I will meet up with Fellows Cristine Almeida, Dawn Ford, and Val Haskell (bios here) at the Hotel Sitea in Turin.
At four, we'll have a three hour guided tour of the city. At 8:30(!) we'll have a working dinner with Piero Gastaldo, the Secretary General of the Compagnia de San Paolo, a private law foundation dating back to the 16th century. The history of this organization is extremely interesting for those of us in the credit industry. The Company of St. Paul started out with a pawnbroking business that used its profits to assist the poor. Over the centuries, this evolved into a large credit institution, one of the largest Italian Banking groups. The charity work continued alongside the evolution of the credit business. In 1991, legislation required the Compagnia to become a foundation, and split its banking activities off to a limited liability company. This bank has now merged to become the national market leader of Italy. The briefing will describe the economic development of Turin.
The first session Tuesday morning, we'll be briefed by the Director of Torino Internazionale, an economic development commission, where we will learn more about Turin's industrial, urban, and territorial transformation.
Then we'll visit the Vice Director of the Istituto Superiore per Sistemi Territoriali e per L'Innovazione, where we'll be treated to a discussion of urban planning and development, and the effort to balance economics, environmental concerns, and the quality of life.
Then we move on to the Caffe Platti for a discussion about transatlantic trends and -- this is Italy, after all -- lunch with Flavio Brugnoli, the Head of Education, Research and Health at Compagnia de San Paolo.
Tuesday afternoon, the Managing Director of the Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, a partnership between technology businesses (Motorola among them) and Politecnico di Torino, will brief us on technology and research issues.
Then we're off to the National Cinema Museum for a tour. I'm interested to see the architecture of this "vertical museum."
Then it's another working dinner at 8:30 p.m., with Paolo Bellino, the Director of Torino Olympic Park.
Wednesday morning, we meet in the hall off the hotel of St. Stephen, and head over to the Piazza della Repubblica to meet with the Director of the Porta Palazzo Project Committee, a non-profit that works with "requalifying" difficult neighborhoods.
Then, we go to Alba, and and have lunch in a "typical restaurant" -- oh, how good it would be if that "typical restaurant" could exist in SW Washington, D.C!!
Wednesday afternoon, we hear a presentation by the President of Gruppo di Azione Locale (Local Action Group?), whose function is "to study, enforce and coordinate initiatives for social, economical, cultural, touristic and environmental development fo the Langhe e Roero area involved in the European project 'Leader Plus.'" I confess I'll have to wait and see what this is all about.
Thursday morning, we head to Turin's City Hall, for a discussion of Turin's cultural resources with Dr. A. Isaia, Manager of Cultural Events, and a conversation with Dr. P. Verri, Director General of the Organizing Committee for 150 years from the Italian Unity (in 2011).
Then we go to the Gelateria Pepino, a historical Cafe, and have a working lunch with Dario Disegni, Head of Culture, Art and Environment Heritage of the Campagnia di San Paolo.
Then we're off to Centro Estero. This is the agency for Piedmont investments, export, and tourism. It aims at international development of the Piedmont region by helping local businesses globalize and attracting foreign investment.
At 6:30, we meet for an apertivo (hooray!) at the historic cafe Baratti & Milano. And at 8pm, we arrive at the Teatro Regio to hear the opera Falstaf (derived from Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor). Oh, my friends, this is tough duty! Having to sit through an opera -- based on Shakespeare -- in Italy!
And then, sadly, Friday morning, we depart. I'm sure we'll all regret that we can't stay longer in Italy.
But on to Budapest!
"...hunt, drink, sing, dance, sail, and dig; and those that would not should be compelled by force."
-- HILAIRE BELLOC