Il Grande Sorriso
When I was 4, my parents enrolled me into the International School of Turin. I started learning English and continued through the end of high school, when my dad encouraged me to apply to a top US college. I thought, “why not…” After completing my degree at Cornell, I’ve worked in NYC for five years.
I moved to NYC in 2011 and began my career at the real-estate private-equity firm Lone Star, where I continue to grow. For fun, I practice some sports (including, recently, pilates and an interesting form of dance), explore melodic deephouse music, enjoy good food, and watch Juventus. (A typical Sunday afternoon: game & pizza at Ribalta). I sail when I can; I grew up in the cold but fare better in the warm weather, especially in the water. I try to spend quality time with friends, who have become my family away from Italy. When I take vacations, I usually go back to Italy to visit the family but also try to squeeze an occasional long weekend in the Caribbean to escape the long NYC winter.
Although NYC was my end goal, I knew that I had to earn a good degree so that I could land a good job in Manhattan. Four years at Cornell in Ithaca, NY, paved the way. NYC had been in my dreams since I was a kid. Having visited several times as a tourist, I wanted to live here. I knew that I’d find smart and ambitious people to challenge me—and a diverse community to immerse myself in (even though, I must admit, I spend most of my free time with fellow Italians).
My perception of NYC has changed from when I first visited as a tourist (almost 10 years ago) to when I started living on my own in 2012. From being a magical place I dreamed about, NYC became a concrete reality I dealt with on a daily basis. Here are two of my best memories, as I went from being a tourist to being a citizen of Manhattan.
In the fall of 2008, I met my father in the city to get a break from my studies at Cornell (and from Ithaca’s premature winter). At the popular Broadway show “Mamma Mia,” I remember singing along to Abba’s song “Dancing Queen.” At the time, I identified with the song’s subject: I was “young and sweet, only seventeen!”—and, just like today, I loved to dance. Enthusiastic, impressionable, filled with optimism, and naive, I thought that New York offered excitement and untold opportunity. (And I had no idea this city would become my home in my 20s).
In the fall of 2012, a year after I had moved to Manhattan, I went for an evening run after work in Central Park. Although I was alone and far from Turin, where I had been born and raised, I felt at home in NY for the first time. I decided to share the moment by taking my first three shots on Instagram: images that depicted Gotham-esque streets and the NY skyline rising across the reservoir (note: to date, those images that I posted received not even one “Like”). The lyrics of “Mamma Mia” that had reminded me of Italy four years earlier had turned into urban rap lyrics of Jay Z: “Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back, for foreigners it ain’t fair they act like they forgot how to add!” I felt energized, positive, and ready to tackle any challenge. That’s when I realized that, despite the distance from family and the tough path ahead, New York City was my new home.
Union Square—these sculptures represent a form of art I like. The circular one is especially intriguing as the separate ends of the circle break its infinite pattern, giving a different meaning to the shape.
Hudson River—in Italy, I practiced sailing and swimming regularly. Running along the Hudson reminds me of the hobbies I used to pursue back home and miss the most here.
I support ItaliaNY.us because people should be aware of the many talented individuals who have left Italy to become even greater. I’m honored to be part of this project: I’m still a young professional—with a lot yet to learn.
I’m pleased that people associate me with Italy, and I consistently do my best to transmit my appreciation for Italian culture. When I speak about Italy, my eyes widen, my facial muscles involuntarily activate, and my big smile naturally unfurls—hence, the title of this portrait interview.