In March, member Betty Donellan gave a presentation on Easter traditions – La Settimana Santa – in Italy. She had travelled some time ago to Italy, taking lots of photos along the way, and she decided to share those with us. Beginning in Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy and ending in Malta, she guided us through photos of Holy Week activities dating back to the 16th century, including processions of men carrying wooden crosses, large statues and iconic images, and accompanied by others dressed as Roman legionaries.
In April, member Gloria Benedict gave a presentation on the history of Italian fashion. We learned that it was men who started the fascination with fashion with the wearing of togas! She described the competition between Paris and Milan over the years as the capitol of fashion, and we learned of the bitter rivalry between designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. Schiaparelli worked with artist Salvador Dali, and created some intriguing designs, including a hat in the shape of a shoe!
This is the time of year when IIAA awards scholarships to students of Italian at the University of Houston.
This year we gave awards of $1000 to two students with an interest in Italian language and culture, and the possibility of working or living in Italy after their studies. The scholarship is named in honor of Claude Sonsino, who was very active in Italy in America, and helped the club in many ways. In fact, Sonsino was an advocate for Italian immigrants to Houston for many years, raising money and offering a helping hand wherever he could.
We also have some new members this spring – check out our website and see if you’d like to be one of them by check the Club Page on ICCC Website for information about IIAA and join us!