Sunday, September 14, 2014

George Clooney, Florence & the Local Press

George Clooney was in Florence recently to participate in the first-ever 'Celebrity Fight Night.'
He along with celebrity peers such as Lionel Richie, Sophie Loren, multiple Grammy award winner David Foster, and of course, Andrea Boccelli, made guest appearances at a number of events designed to raise money for the Muhammed Ali Parkinson Center.

Blue bloods and fashion designers of Florentine high society were the hosts,
opening palaces and museums.
As for what the Florentine in the street thought of the event,
gentle readers only needed to take a look at the headlines of the local newspapers.

Clooney of course was accompanied by his fiancée Amal Alamuddin
the "signora," or lady in the above title from the Florence edition of La Repubblica.
Despite my fluent Italian, I needed to check the work "delirio" out.
This is what I found, "stato di esaltazione, fanatismo" (an exalted state or
fanatasism) translating correctly to "frenzy or fury."
Taken literally, the headline says that the city was in a state of delirium for Clooney and lady.
Or, in simple English, Clooney's local fans, the entire population of Florence,
was overcome with excitement.

Interestingly enough, the Florence edition of Corriere della Sera, the Corriere Fiorentino, flipped the order of the day's two main stories:  local soccer first, then Clooney.
Again, the Corriere reported that the local residents were deliriously happy by Clooney's visit
(Firenze in Delirio).
La signora (Amal), is mentioned as Clooney's "girlfriend," which, despite the similarity to "fiancée," is the correct translation of "fidanzata" from Italian into English.

Below is the front page of the most local of the local Florence newspapers, La Nazione.
Surprisingly, unlike the competitors, no mention at all of the local soccer team, La Fiorentina; "rificolona," is a local annual festivity, for which according to La Nazione, thousands of people crowded into the local squares (migliaia in piazza).

Clooney is again the top story, even if alluded to indirectly.  The first line says that there was a VIP party in Palazzo Vecchio (a medieval building with tower home to Florence's City Hall)
and, once again, there was an outpouring of emotion from fans bordering on hysteria (delirio).

Undoubtedly not for city mayor Dario Nardella, but but for George Clooney who took the mike to announce that he had met his bride-to-be in Italy, and that they would tie the knot in Italy,
in Venice.
The mayor expressed his disappointment -- and the city's -- that Florence was not to be the venue for the wedding--if not the century--of the decade.

As those who travel to Italy know, the front pages of the local papers are displayed next to newsstands to inform and to entice people to buy and learn the details.
 I saw these three front pages side by side, united by the Clooney
story and the agreement that emotion surrounding his visit was at fever pitch.
No mention anywhere of how much money was raised.

In all my years as a English language reporter in Florence, I had never seen before 
unanimous agreement among competing mastheads of major news outlets.  Unimaginable.
That is what an American movie superstar in odore di nozze (so close getting married that 
the excitement is palpable) can accomplish.

Along the lines of Tyrone Power in Rome and Grace Kelley in Montecarlo.
For a day, we had George Clooney, and high hopes...
 Reporting live from Beautiful Florence
                                  -- Rosanna