Italy

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Overview

Occupying a 700-mile peninsula in the Mediterranean, Italy is shaped like a boot, with Sicily at the toe. The country shares boundaries with France, Switzerland, Austria and Yugoslavia. Although originally settled by the Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans, Italy was eventually united after the Renaissance in 1861. From 1870 to 1922, Italy existed as a constitutional monarchy and sided with the Allies in World War I. However, World War II brought fascism and an alliance with Nazi Germany under Benito Mussolini. After the Axis Powers were defeated, the Italian monarchy was ended, and the country’s borders adjusted as part of the peace treaty. Since the 1950s, Italy has made significant strides in joining the European community of nations, joining NATO in 1950 and allying itself with the United States. Although the Italian government has suffered from violence and corruption, not to mention influence from organized crime, the country instituted reforms during the 1990s, only to fall again into corruption when Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was indicted on charges stemming from tax evasion, bribery and antitrust violations in 2004. More than 15 million Americans have family roots in Italy.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Italy’s 700-mile-long peninsula juts out of the European heartland into the Mediterranean like a long leg wearing a high-heeled boot, with the island of Sicily at its toe. The south slope of the majestic Alps is Italy’s, forming the western boundary with France, the northern boundary with Switzerland, Austria, and the eastern boundary with Yugoslavia. Italy includes Sicily, Sardinia, and many smaller islands, notably Elba (where Napoleon was exiled), Capri, and Ischia Vatican City (the Papal State in Rome) and San Marino (oldest republic in the world) are independent enclaves within Italy. Scenic beauty is diverse, from the vast, fertile Po Valley, picturesque lakes, and Alps in the north to aridity and expanses of hill country in the south, to green, undulating hills in Umbria and Tuscany, to the rugged landscape of the Apennines running the length of the peninsula and forming a spiny backbone. Italy’s mountainous character (nearly 80%) has bred regionalism, which has long influenced political and economic developments.

 
Population: 58.1 million
 
Religions: Roman Catholic 87%, other Christian 2.6%, Muslim 2.3%, Jewish 0.1%, non-religious 8%. About 20% of Catholics regularly attend church services.
 
Ethnic Groups: Italian, German, French, Slovenian, Albanian, Greek.
 
Languages: Italian (official) 94.8%, Lombard 15.2%, Napoletano-Calabrese 12.1%, Sicilian 4.8%, Piedmontese 5.3%, Venetian 3.8%, Emiliano-Romagnolo 3.4%, Ligurian 3.3%, Sardinian (Logudorese, Campidanese, Gallurese, Sassarese) 3.1%, Friulian 1.4%, German 0.4%, Bavarian 0.4%, French 0.2%, Slovenian 0.2%, Franco-Provençal 0.1%, Arbëreshë Albanian 0.1%, Romani (Balkan, Sinte, Vlax) 0.04%, Catalan 0.03%, Croatian 0.006%, Cimbrian 0.004%. There are 33 living languages in Italy.

 

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History
During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Greeks settled the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula. During that period, Etruscans and Romans occupied the central and northern mainland. 
 
By the 3rd century BC, Italy’s neighboring island came under Roman control, and by the 1st century AD, the Roman Empire controlled much of the Mediterranean world. But by the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire collapsed, and both the peninsula and islands were subjected to a series of invasions. There was little political unity and soon the country was divided into an ever-changing succession of small states, principalities and kingdoms, many of which were subject to foreign occupation and imperialism.
 
Meanwhile, the Popes of Rome controlled the central part of Italy and often did political battle with the Holy Roman Emperors, who claimed Italy.
 
During the 11th century, northern and central Italian cities were prosperous under the influence of the Renaissance. The Renaissance began in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. During this time, literary achievements of writers such as Petrarch, Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Balsassare Castiglione began to influence the country’s subsequent culture. In addition, paintings, sculpture and architecture enjoyed lasting advancements. Artists thriving during this period included Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Fra Angelico, and Michelangelo. The Renaissance helped to mitigate the effects of the ongoing political rivalries, and although Italy’s influence declined after the 16th century, it helped to further the cause of Italian nationalism.
 
The movement to unify Italy led to most principalities coming together, except for Rome, in the 1860s. In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy was proclaimed King of Italy. In 1870, Rome was incorporated into the country, and from 1870 to 1922, Italy existed as a constitutional monarchy with a parliament elected under limited suffrage. The Roman Catholic Church’s temporal powers ended at this time.
 
At the same time, the musical influence of composers such as Monteverdi, Palestrina, and Vivaldi, and the opera of artists such as Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini, became established. 
 
During World War I, Italy ceased its alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. In 1915, Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies. After the war was over, Italy received some territory that had belonged to Austria, along the country’s northeast frontier. In 1922, Benito Mussolini came to power and quickly eliminated political parties, limited personal freedoms, and installed a fascist dictatorship called the Corporate State. By the same token, the king remained head of state, if in name only.
 
In 1929, under the Lateran Pacts that were subsequently confirmed by the country’s constitution, Vatican City was recognized as an independent, sovereign entity.
 
In 1940, Mussolini allied Itaaly with Nazi Germany and declared war on the United Kingdom and France, and by 1941, Italy had declared war on the United States and the Soviet Union as well, as part of the Axis Powers. When the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943, the Italian king dismissed Mussolini and appointed Marshal Pietro Badoglio as premier.
 
The Badoglio government quickly declared war on Germany, but German forces soon occupied the country and freed Mussolini. Mussolini led a brief regime in the northern party of the country, but an anti-fascist movement gained in strength during the last two years of the war. Although they mostly harassed German troops before they were driven out of the country in April 1945, they also helped to depose Mussolini. 
 
In 1946, a plebiscite ended the monarchy, and a constituent assembly was elected to draw up plans for the republic. The 1947 peace treaty adjusted slightly Italy’s border with France, the eastern border area was transferred to Yugoslavia (becoming known as Zone B), and the area around the city of Trieste was made a free territory (which was designated as Zone A). Italy relinquished its overseas territories and certain Mediterranean islands.
 
During the 1950s, Italy became a member of NATO and an ally of the United States. This helped to repair damaged relations and revitalize the Italian economy under the Marshall plan.
 
In 1954, this free territory, which had remained under the administration of US and UK forces, was divided between Italy and Yugoslavia, along a zonal boundary. In 1977, this arrangement was made permanent with the Treaty of Osimo, signed by the Italian and Yugoslavian governments. Currently, this treaty is under discussion among the governments of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
 
During the late 1960s, Italy experienced a wave of bombings and violence, and the 1970s and early 1980s came to be known as the anni di piombo, or “lead years.” These bombings were attributed to far-right, far-left and secret service actions. In December 1970, a coup, called the Golpe Borghese, failed to take power. Christian Democrat (DC) politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades, a paramilitary group, on March 16, 1978, the day of the historic compromise with the Italian Communist Party (PCI). This compromise ensured that the PCI would return to government for the first time since 1947. Moro’s body was found on May 9 in via Caetani in Rome.
 
During the 1980s, for the first time, Italy’s government was governed by a republican and a socialist, rather than a member of the DC. In 1984, Italy and the Vatican updated several provisions of the 1929 accords. At this time, Roman Catholicism was made the formal state religion of Italy.
 
From 1992 to 1997, Italy faced many changes as voters wearied of corruption, debt and the influence of organized crime. Demanding political, economic and ethical reforms, they used the 1994 elections to sweep media magnate Silvio Berlusconi (leader of “Pole of Freedoms” coalition, which included Forza Italia, the regionalist far-right “Lega Nord” party and the far-right Alleanza Nazionale) into office as prime minister. But after just a few months, his government collapsed because the Northern League split from the coalition.
 
A technocratic cabinet led by Lamberto Dini was supported by the left-wing parties and the Northern League. This lasted until Romano Prodi’s new center-left coalition won the 1996 general election.
 
In 2001, the center-right took power and Berlusconi was able to remain in power for the complete five-year mandate, despite the government’s reshuffle. However, the 2006 elections returned Prodi to power with a slim majority. His government hung on for two years, until Berlusconi was reelected in 2008. 
 
History of Italy (Wikipedia)
Italian History Index (World Wide Web Virtual Library)
History of Italy (History World)
History of Accordians in Italy (by Beniamino Bugiolacchi, Accordians Worldwide)

 

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Italy's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Italy

 

A number of Italian explorers employed by foreign nations played a role in the early voyages to America, namely Christopher Columbus (a Genoese sailor financed by Spain) and Amerigo Vespucci, who lent his name to two of the world’s continents. A few artisans and skilled craftsmen from the north of Italy immigrated during the American Revolutionary era, but the total population remained small until mass migrations began in the 1880s. 
 
Although millions of Italians lived in New York City by the turn of the 20th century, the Italian population in 1860 numbered only 2,805. From 1876-1924, 4.5 million Italians arrived in America, with 2 million coming between 1901 and 1910 alone. This massive immigrant wave, mostly composed of young, single men from the southern regions of Italy, represents only a third of the total number of Italian emigrants during this period, most of whom moved to other parts of Europe or South America. Before women and families began arriving after 1910, about half of these migrant workers eventually returned to their old villages in Italy.
 
The massive influx of Italians coincided with a racist nativist movement, which branded immigrants from Southern Europe as inferior. The proliferation of “Little Italys” throughout the Northeast simultaneously elicited criticism of Italians as clannish and un-American, while the increased tension drew Italian communities even tighter together. One particularly dark manifestation of this widespread discrimination was the lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans in March 1891.
 
With the turn of the century, the Little Italys scattered throughout the urban centers of America flourished, as Italians celebrated their culture through Italian-language newspapers, theaters, churches, and social clubs. Although many Italians attempted to fully retain their cultural heritage, particularly strong American traditions often replaced Italian practices: Italian Americans began to celebrate Christmas on December 25, instead of January 6, the day of Epiphany.
 
Italy’s alliance with the United States during World War I promoted increased acceptance of Italian Americans, although the infamous prominence of Italian gangsters like Al Capone during the prohibition years reinforced nativist stereotypes of Italians as a dangerous, radical people. These doubts were put to rest when Italy declared war on America in 1941 and 500,000 Italian Americans responded by joining the US armed services. 
 
As mass consumerism pervaded the country in the postwar years of economic expansion, American-style individualism superseded traditional Italian-American focus on family and the community, and Italians became noticeably more integrated into the American milieu. 
 
Milestones of the Italian-American Experience (National Italian American Foundation)
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Current U.S. Relations with Italy

The United States enjoys warm relations with Italy. Italy is a leading trade partner with the US, and the two countries are NATO allies. Additionally, the United States and Italy cooperate in regional organizations. In recent years, Italy and the United States have worked together on NATO and UN missions, as well as with assistance to Russia and the New Independent States; Lebanon; the Middle East peace process; multilateral talks; Somalia and Mozambique peacekeeping; and combating drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, and terrorism. The US and Italy also cooperate on major economic issues, such as the G-8 Summit.

 
As a result of bilateral NATO agreements, Italy hosts US military forces at Vicenza and Livorno (army); Aviano (air force); and Sigonella, Gaeta, and Naples—home port for the US Navy Sixth Fleet. Currently, there are approximately 13,000 military personnel stationed in Italy. Italy also hosts the NATO Defense College in Rome.
 
According to the 2000 US Census, 15,723,406 people identified themselves as being of Italian ancestry. The states claiming the largest Italian populations are New York (2.7 million), New Jersey (1.5 million), California (1.5 million), Pennsylvania (1.4 million), Florida (1 million), Massachusetts (0.7 million), and Illinois (0.7 million).
 
In 2006, 2,588,120 Americans visited Italy. The number of American tourists in Italy has increased significantly since 2002, when 1,498,380 Americans traveled to Italy.
 
In 2006, 532,829 Italians visited America. Tourism has grown gradually but consistently since 2002, when 406,160 Italians came to America.
 
US-Italy Relations (United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy)
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Where Does the Money Flow

Through October 2008, Italy was the US’s 14th largest trading partner, with total bilateral trade of $44.4 billion ($13.3 billion in exports to Italy and $31.1 billion in imports from Italy). The US’s $17.7 billion deficit with Italy through October 2008 was consistent with the $20.9 billion deficit registered in 2007.

 
Between 2003 and 2007, US imports from Italy were dominated by wine and related products, which increased from $942 million to $1.3 billion; other petroleum products, which moved up from $482 million to $1.54 billion; other industrial machinery, up from $1.12 billion to $1.92 billion; footwear of leather, rubber, or other materials, which averaged $1 billion annually; and clocks, portable typewriters, other household goods, moving up from $886 million to $1.47 billion.
 
Top US exports to Italy during the same period included pharmaceutical preparations, increasing from $1.054 billion to $1.114 billion; precious metals (other), moving up from $769 million to $1 billion; and parts for civilian aircraft, up from $311 million to $519 million.
 
US exports on the decline includedcivilian aircraft, moving down from $255.8 million to $97 million, and fuel oil, decreasing from $150 million to $81.3 million.
 
US foreign direct investment in Italy at the end of 2006 exceeded $28.9 billion.
 
In 2007,the US sold $519.8 million of defense articles and services to Italy. The US does not give aid to Italy.
 
 
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Controversies

J. Paul Getty Museum Embroiled in Antiquities Controversy

In 2006, controversy arose when the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles was accused of stealing antiquities from Italy. The museum eventually agreed to return the disputed works and change its acquisition policy and buy only works that have been in the US for at least 36 years or works that have been legally exported. Former Getty curator Marion True had been embroiled in the controversy for more than a year and was brought up on charges in Rome for obtaining the art illegally. She has denied these claims.
 
CIA Spies Live It Up During Kidnapping Mission
In June 2005, it was revealed that 19 American intelligence personnel, sent to capture a radical Islamic preacher in Milan in 2003, had stayed at some of the finest hotels in Milan, sometimes for as long as six weeks, and rung up tabs as high as $500 per day on fake Diners Club accounts. After they abducted their target and flew him to Cairo, some stayed on, enjoying long weekends in Venice and Florence before leaving the country. Italian officials were outraged by the apprehending of the cleric (they were not notified by American intelligence), and demanded that the 19 operatives be bought back to Italy to face kidnapping charges. The Italian prosecutors has no trouble tracing the movement of these agents, who left a paper trail of electronic records, and phone records of calls made from unsecured phones in hotel rooms.
Italians Detail Lavish CIA Operation (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post)
 
Italian Intelligence Officer Killed by US Fire
In March 2005, an Italian intelligence officer was killed by US fire in Iraq while escorting an ex-hostage to freedom. Nicola Calipari was shot as he headed to Baghdad airport after securing the release of Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist who had been held captive for a month after her abduction. Sgrena said Calipari died while trying to shield her with his body. Sgrena rejected the US military’s account of the shooting, claiming that American soldiers gave no warning before they opened fire. President George W. Bush called Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to offer his apology and pledge a full investigation. In the wake of the incident, Italy’s spy chief, Nicolo Pollari, was replaced. Twenty thousand mourners turned out for Calipari’s funeral. In October 2007, Mario Lozano, the US solider accused of killing Calipari was acquitted by an Italian judge.
Italy Mourns Slain Intel Agent (Associated Press)
 
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Human Rights

The 2007 State Department human rights report stated that problems involving lengthy pretrial detention, excessively long court proceedings, violence against women, trafficking in persons, and abuse of Roma remained problems.

 
There were reports that police occasionally used excessive force against persons, particularly Roma and immigrants, detained in connection with common criminal offenses or in the course of identity checks.
The government has mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. There were no reports of impunity involving the security forces during the year. Long delays by prosecutors and authorities in completing investigations of some cases of alleged abuse undercut the effectiveness of mechanisms to investigate and punish police abuses.
 
There were some reports of judicial corruption. On May 9, 2007, the Guardia di Finanza arrested two magistrates of the Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court, Lanfranco Balucani and Vincenzo Maccarrone, for corruption in Perugia. Prosecutors accused them of multiple violations of rules of procedure, including jury tampering, in an attempt to unduly influence the investigations of two entrepreneurs who rewarded them with gifts.
 
In February 2006 Amnesty International released a report on the rights of migrants and asylum-seeking minors, that highlighted 890 allegations that unaccompanied children were confined in temporary detention centers in unhygienic and unsuitable conditions. Approximately 1,300 minors reached Sicily in 2006, compared to 1,600 in 2005. The top three countries of origin were Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, and a high percentage of them were unaccompanied. Other teenagers came from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Lebanon.
 
Violence against women, including spousal abuse, remained a problem. ISTAT, the official Italian government statistical agency, reported that 6.7 million women aged 16 to 70, or 31.9% of all women, had been victims of violence at least once in their lives. Five million women were victims of sexual violence and one million of rape or attempted rape.
 
Illegal immigrant child laborers from northern Africa, the Philippines, Albania, and China continued to enter the country. Italy was a destination and transit country for trafficked persons. Immigrants, mostly from Nigeria, North Africa, and Eastern Europe, played a major role in trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, both as traffickers and victims, although citizens were also involved. NGOs estimated that the vast majority of prostitutes in the country were immigrants, primarily from Nigeria (35% of the total), Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova.
 
There continued to be reports that police mistreated Roma. The NGO Opera Nomadi reported cases of discrimination, particularly with regard to housing and evictions, deportations, and efforts by the government to remove children for their protection from Romani parents.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Included among the more illustrious U.S. ambassadors to Italy are William Waldorf Astor who, five years later (1890), inherited the largest fortune in the United States; Ellsworth Bunker, who later served as ambassador to South Vietnam during most of the Vietnam War (1967-1973); Claire Boothe Luce, playwright, journalist and member of the House of Representatives  (1943-1947); and John Volpe, governor of Massachusetts and Secretary of Transportation under Richard Nixon.

 
Hezekiah Gold Rogers
Appointment: [Jun 5, 1840]
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 15, 1840
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Nov 22, 1841
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under Two Sicilies and Holy See for other US diplomatic representation in the Italian peninsula. Commission not of record, but enclosed with an instruction of this date.
 
Ambrose Baber
Appointment: Aug 16, 1841
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 1, 1841-Jan 10, 1844
Termination of Mission: Presented recall on or shortly before Jan 10, 1844
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under Two Sicilies and Holy See for other US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
Robert Wickliffe, Jr.
Appointment: Sep 22, 1843
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 10, 1844
Termination of Mission: Left post late in 1847
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jun 14, 1844. Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under Two Sicilies and Holy See for other US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
Nathaniel Niles
Appointment: Jan 4, 1848
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 28, 1848
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 20, 1850
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under two Sicilies and Holy See for US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
William B. Kinney
Appointment: Apr 22, 1850
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 21, 1850
Termination of Mission: Transmitted recall by note, Oct 8, 1853
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under two Sicilies and Holy See for US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
Richard K. Meade
Appointment: May 24, 1853
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; declined appointment. Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under two Sicilies and Holy See for US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
John M. Daniel
Appointment: Jul 23, 1853
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 10, 1853
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Minister Resident
Note: Nominated Feb 25, 1856, to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary; nomination withdrawn before the Senate acted upon it. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 8, 1854.
John M. Daniel
Appointment: Jun 29, 1854
Presentation of Credentials: On or shortly before Sep 4, 1854
Termination of Mission: Went on leave as of Jan 10, 1861.
 
George P. Marsh
Appointment: Mar 20, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 23, 1861
Termination of Mission: Died at Vallombrosa, Jul 23, 1882
Note: Moved the US Legation from Turin to Florence in 1865 and from Florence to Rome in 1871.
 
William Waldorf Astor
Appointment: Aug 4, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 21, 1882
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Mar 1, 1885
 
Anthony M. Keiley
Appointment: Apr 2, 1885
Note: Took oath of office, but did not proceed to post, the Government of Italy having objected to his appointment.
 
John B. Stallo
Appointment: Jun 17, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 27, 1885
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Jun 6, 1889
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 13, 1886.
 
Albert G. Porter
Appointment: Mar 13, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 6, 1889
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 9, 1892
 
William Potter
Appointment: Nov 15, 1892
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 28, 1892
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 8, 1894
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 8, 1982.
 
James J. Van Alen
Appointment: Oct 20, 1893
Note: Declined appointment.
 
Wayne MacVeagh
Appointment: Dec 20, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 11, 1894
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 4, 1897
 
William F. Draper
Appointment: Apr 5, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 29, 1897
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 5, 1900
 
Roger Wolcott
Appointment: Jul 28, 1900
Note: Commissioned during a recess of Senate; declined appointment.
 
George V. L. Meyer
Appointment: Dec 14, 1900
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 4, 1901
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 1, 1905
 
Henry White
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 16, 1905
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 26, 1907
 
Lloyd C. Griscom
Appointment: Dec 19, 1906
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 17, 1907
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 14, 1909
 
John G. A. Leishman
Appointment: Apr 1, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 4, 1909
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 7, 1911
 
Thomas J. O’Brien
Appointment: Aug 12, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 13, 1911
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 17, 1913
 
Thomas Nelson Page
Appointment: Jun 21, 1913
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 12, 1913
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 21, 1919
 
Robert Underwood Johnson
Appointment: Feb 18, 1920
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 22, 1920
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 20, 1921
 
Richard Washburn Child
Appointment: May 26, 1921
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 28, 1921
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1924
 
Henry P. Fletcher
Appointment: Feb 19, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 2, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1929
 
John W. Garrett
Appointment: Sep 11, 1929
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 20, 1929
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, May 22, 1933
 
Breckinridge Long
Appointment: Apr 24, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: May 31, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 23, 1936
 
William Phillips
Appointment: Aug 4, 1936
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 4, 1936
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 6, 1941
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 23, 1937.
 
Note: George Wadsworth was serving as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim when Italy declared war on the United States, Dec 11, 1941.
 
Alexander C. Kirk
Appointment: Dec 8, 1944
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1945
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 5, 1946
 
James Clement Dunn
Appointment: Jul 25, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 6, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 17, 1952
 
Ellsworth Bunker
Appointment: Mar 13, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: May 7, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 3, 1953
 
Clare Boothe Luce
Appointment: Mar 2, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: May 4, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 27, 1956
 
James David Zellerbach
Appointment: Nov 24, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 6, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 10, 1960
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1957.
 
G. Frederick Reinhardt
Appointment: Apr 6, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 17, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 3, 1968
 
H. Gardner Ackley
Appointment: Mar 15, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 3, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 27, 1969
 
Graham A. Martin
Appointment: Sep 26, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 30, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 10, 1973
 
John A. Volpe
Appointment: Feb 2, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 6, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 24, 1977
 
Richard N. Gardner
Appointment: Mar 16, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 21, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 27, 1981
 
Maxwell M. Rabb
Appointment: Jun 20, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 1, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 3, 1989
 
Peter F. Secchia
Appointment: Jun 23, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1993
 
Reginald Bartholomew
Appointment: Sep 16, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 14, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 28, 1997
 
Thomas Foglietta
Appointment: Nov 12, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 11, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Melvin F. Sembler
Appointment: Nov 16, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 10, 2001
Termination of Mission: Jul 24, 2005
 
Ronald Spogli
Appointment: Jul 9, 2005
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 8, 2005
Termination of Mission:
Note: Commissioned to San Marino Nov 22, 2006
 
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Italy's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Bisogniero, Claudio

Claudio Bisogniero, who has been posted to the U.S. on two previous occasions, officially took the reins as Italy’s ambassador to the U.S. on February 6, just in time to coordinate the visit to Washington of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who will arrive on February 9. The previous ambassador, Giulio Terzi, was called back to Italy to serve as foreign minister after the forced resignation of the nation’s controversial prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

 
Born in Rome on July 2, 1954, Claudio Bisogniero earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Rome in 1976, and served as an officer in the Italian Army in 1976 and 1977. He then entered the Italian Foreign Service in May 1978. For his first overseas posting, Bisogniero served as first secretary for economic and commercial affairs at the Italian embassy in Beijing, China, from September 1981 to 1984.
 
From 1984 to 1989 he served at the Permanent Mission of Italy to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, where he focused on disarmament issues and also served as a delegate to the Senior Political Committee. Returning to Rome in 1989, Bisogniero joined the Office of the Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic, where he remained until 1992. There he dealt with international issues relevant to Italian President Francesco Cossiga.
 
In late 1992 Bisogniero was posted for the first time to the U.S., to serve as first counselor for economic and commercial affairs at the embassy in Washington, D.C., with special focus on financial issues, the IMF and World Bank, and defense industry co-operation. After four years in Washington, he moved 225 miles north to serve at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in New York, with primary responsibilities for political affairs and UN reform. Bisogniero served there from 1996 to 1999, when he returned to Rome to serve at the Foreign Affairs Ministry for the next 8 years.
 
From 1999 to 2002, he served in the Personnel Department and later at the Office of the Secretary General, as direct collaborator with the Secretary General. In February 2002 Bisogniero was appointed deputy director general for political multilateral affairs, responsible for NATO, the United Nations, G8, disarmament, OSCE, anti-terrorism and human rights issues. In June 2005 he became director general for the Americas, with responsibility for the relations with the nations of the Western Hemisphere, including the U.S. In October 2007 Bisogniero was named NATO Deputy Secretary General, serving in Brussels until late 2011, when he was named ambassador to the U.S.
 
Bisogniero and his wife, Laura Denise, have a daughter and a son. His stated hobbies and personal interests include classical music, reading, sailing and flying. Since 2008, he has been a member of the Italy-USA Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Rome, Italy, established to promote friendship between Italians and Americans, as well as American culture in Italy.
 

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Italy's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Italy

Phillips, John
ambassador-image

The new ambassador to Italy and the micro-state of San Marino is an Italian-American public interest attorney who owns a villa in Tuscany and has visited Italy “more than 50 times in the last decade.” John R. Phillips, whose nomination was confirmed by the Senate along with several others on August 1, succeeds David Thorne, who had served in Rome since August 2009.

 

Born in late 1942 and raised 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Leechburg, Pennsylvania (1950 pop.: 4,042), which he has described as “a bustling steel and coal-mining area [with] a lot of jobs. I walked to school and you knew everybody.” His paternal grandfather, Angelo Filippi, emigrated from the Friuli region of Italy to Pennsylvania, where he met his wife Lucy Colussy, also from Friuli. At his Senate hearing, Phillips said he regretted that the family name, Filippi, had been Americanized to Phillips. According to his aunt, Edna Logero, the name changed when her older brother William first went to school and the “teacher said Phillips was more American. My dad was furious over that.” William, who grew up to become Phillips’ father, later owned a Ford dealership in Leechburg.

 

John Phillips graduated Leechburg High School in 1960, and after a two-year hitch in the military, earned a B.A. in Government and International Studies at Notre Dame University in 1966 and a J.D. at the University of California Law School, known as Boalt Hall, in 1969. Showing early on the sense of humor he has become known for, while at Notre Dame he ran for class president with the slogan, “Phillips 66.”

 

After law school, Phillips joined the Los Angeles mega-law firm of O’Melveny & Meyers as an associate. He left after two years to co-found one of the first Ford Foundation funded public interest law firms--the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles, which focused on environmental, civil rights, corporate fraud and other issues. Phillips served as its co-director for 17 years, from 1971 to 1988. From 1984 to 1986, Phillips played a role in urging Congress to revise the False Claims Act by strengthening provisions that allow whistleblowers to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government against persons or corporations that are defrauding the government. The amendments went into effect in 1986.

 

In 1988, Phillips founded his own law firm, Phillips & Cohen, based in Washington, DC, to specialize in whistleblower cases. At his Senate confirmation hearing, Phillips testified that his firm had helped recover $55 billion from companies that were defrauding the government. The National Law Journal has included him on several of its “100 most influential lawyers in America” lists. Phillips retired from his firm this year in order to accept the posting to Italy.

 

From 1988 to 1993, Phillips was an appointed member of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He was also appointed, in 1997, by President Bill Clinton to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, of which President Obama named Phillips chair in 2009.

 

Phillips is the founder of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit that promotes the use of the False Claims Act and its qui tam provisions to fight fraud against the government, and served on its board of directors until 2013.

 

In 2001, Phillips bought and over eight years restored and redeveloped the ruined remains of an abandoned, 13th century Tuscan farming village named “Borgo Finoccchieto.” It now consists of a luxurious boutique hotel, five buildings on six acres surrounded by farmlands that can accommodate up to 44 guests for weddings, events and retreats. “By living there and getting to know the people, I know it very well,” he said.

 

A lifelong Democrat, Phillips has donated more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations over the years, including $106,000 to the Democratic National Committee and $9,600 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

 

John Phillips has been married more than 40 years to Linda Douglass, a former ABC correspondent who was a campaign spokeswoman for Barack Obama in 2008, helped organize his first inauguration, and served as director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform from 2009 to 2010. They have a daughter, Dr. Katie Byrd, who is an emergency room physician at George Washington University Hospital.

-Matt Bewig

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Leechburg Native Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Italy (by Debra Duncan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

Ambassador to Italy proud of Leechburg roots, Italian heritage (by Brian C. Rittmeyer, Valley News Dispatch)

John R. Phillips is the New US Ambassador to Italy (by Giulia Madron, i-Italy)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Italy

Spogli, Ronald
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Ronald P. Spogli has served as the United States Ambassador to Italy and San Marino since August 10, 2005. Born in Los Angeles in 1948, Spogli graduated from Stanford University with an AB in History in 1970 and went on to receive his MBA in 1975 from Harvard University, where he was a classmate of future president George W. Bush.
 
Between 1968 and 1973, Spogli spent nearly three years in Italy working on various activities sponsored by Stanford University. From September 1968 to March 1969, he studied at Stanford’s Florence campus. From June 1970 to July 1971 he was the assistant to the Directors of the Florence program. From June 1972 until August 1973, Spogli was lead researcher for a project studying the social impact of labor migration from Southern Italy to the Italian industrial north.
 
After working as a managing director of the investment banking division at Dean Witter Reynolds, in 1983, together with Bradford M. Freeman, Spogli founded Freeman Spogli & Co., one of the leading private equity investment firms in the United States. Since its founding, it has invested in 36 companies worth more than $12 billion. Spogli has also served on the board of directors of more than twenty different companies.
 
Since 2001, he has been a member of Stanford’s Overseas Studies Council, a faculty/alumni body that advises on Stanford’s International studies programs. In 2000, he became a member of the Board of Visitors of Stanford’s Institute for International Studies, the University’s primary forum for interdisciplinary research on key international issues and challenges.
 
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Spogli to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship board .
 
Spogli has donated $528,316 to various Republican candidates and causes, including Norm Coleman, Mitt Romney, Arizona Republican Party, Billy Tauzin, George W. Bush, and Pete Wilson. He also gave $1,000 to Joe Biden in 1996.
 

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Overview

Occupying a 700-mile peninsula in the Mediterranean, Italy is shaped like a boot, with Sicily at the toe. The country shares boundaries with France, Switzerland, Austria and Yugoslavia. Although originally settled by the Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans, Italy was eventually united after the Renaissance in 1861. From 1870 to 1922, Italy existed as a constitutional monarchy and sided with the Allies in World War I. However, World War II brought fascism and an alliance with Nazi Germany under Benito Mussolini. After the Axis Powers were defeated, the Italian monarchy was ended, and the country’s borders adjusted as part of the peace treaty. Since the 1950s, Italy has made significant strides in joining the European community of nations, joining NATO in 1950 and allying itself with the United States. Although the Italian government has suffered from violence and corruption, not to mention influence from organized crime, the country instituted reforms during the 1990s, only to fall again into corruption when Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was indicted on charges stemming from tax evasion, bribery and antitrust violations in 2004. More than 15 million Americans have family roots in Italy.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Italy’s 700-mile-long peninsula juts out of the European heartland into the Mediterranean like a long leg wearing a high-heeled boot, with the island of Sicily at its toe. The south slope of the majestic Alps is Italy’s, forming the western boundary with France, the northern boundary with Switzerland, Austria, and the eastern boundary with Yugoslavia. Italy includes Sicily, Sardinia, and many smaller islands, notably Elba (where Napoleon was exiled), Capri, and Ischia Vatican City (the Papal State in Rome) and San Marino (oldest republic in the world) are independent enclaves within Italy. Scenic beauty is diverse, from the vast, fertile Po Valley, picturesque lakes, and Alps in the north to aridity and expanses of hill country in the south, to green, undulating hills in Umbria and Tuscany, to the rugged landscape of the Apennines running the length of the peninsula and forming a spiny backbone. Italy’s mountainous character (nearly 80%) has bred regionalism, which has long influenced political and economic developments.

 
Population: 58.1 million
 
Religions: Roman Catholic 87%, other Christian 2.6%, Muslim 2.3%, Jewish 0.1%, non-religious 8%. About 20% of Catholics regularly attend church services.
 
Ethnic Groups: Italian, German, French, Slovenian, Albanian, Greek.
 
Languages: Italian (official) 94.8%, Lombard 15.2%, Napoletano-Calabrese 12.1%, Sicilian 4.8%, Piedmontese 5.3%, Venetian 3.8%, Emiliano-Romagnolo 3.4%, Ligurian 3.3%, Sardinian (Logudorese, Campidanese, Gallurese, Sassarese) 3.1%, Friulian 1.4%, German 0.4%, Bavarian 0.4%, French 0.2%, Slovenian 0.2%, Franco-Provençal 0.1%, Arbëreshë Albanian 0.1%, Romani (Balkan, Sinte, Vlax) 0.04%, Catalan 0.03%, Croatian 0.006%, Cimbrian 0.004%. There are 33 living languages in Italy.

 

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History
During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Greeks settled the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula. During that period, Etruscans and Romans occupied the central and northern mainland. 
 
By the 3rd century BC, Italy’s neighboring island came under Roman control, and by the 1st century AD, the Roman Empire controlled much of the Mediterranean world. But by the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire collapsed, and both the peninsula and islands were subjected to a series of invasions. There was little political unity and soon the country was divided into an ever-changing succession of small states, principalities and kingdoms, many of which were subject to foreign occupation and imperialism.
 
Meanwhile, the Popes of Rome controlled the central part of Italy and often did political battle with the Holy Roman Emperors, who claimed Italy.
 
During the 11th century, northern and central Italian cities were prosperous under the influence of the Renaissance. The Renaissance began in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. During this time, literary achievements of writers such as Petrarch, Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Balsassare Castiglione began to influence the country’s subsequent culture. In addition, paintings, sculpture and architecture enjoyed lasting advancements. Artists thriving during this period included Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Fra Angelico, and Michelangelo. The Renaissance helped to mitigate the effects of the ongoing political rivalries, and although Italy’s influence declined after the 16th century, it helped to further the cause of Italian nationalism.
 
The movement to unify Italy led to most principalities coming together, except for Rome, in the 1860s. In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy was proclaimed King of Italy. In 1870, Rome was incorporated into the country, and from 1870 to 1922, Italy existed as a constitutional monarchy with a parliament elected under limited suffrage. The Roman Catholic Church’s temporal powers ended at this time.
 
At the same time, the musical influence of composers such as Monteverdi, Palestrina, and Vivaldi, and the opera of artists such as Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini, became established. 
 
During World War I, Italy ceased its alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. In 1915, Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies. After the war was over, Italy received some territory that had belonged to Austria, along the country’s northeast frontier. In 1922, Benito Mussolini came to power and quickly eliminated political parties, limited personal freedoms, and installed a fascist dictatorship called the Corporate State. By the same token, the king remained head of state, if in name only.
 
In 1929, under the Lateran Pacts that were subsequently confirmed by the country’s constitution, Vatican City was recognized as an independent, sovereign entity.
 
In 1940, Mussolini allied Itaaly with Nazi Germany and declared war on the United Kingdom and France, and by 1941, Italy had declared war on the United States and the Soviet Union as well, as part of the Axis Powers. When the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943, the Italian king dismissed Mussolini and appointed Marshal Pietro Badoglio as premier.
 
The Badoglio government quickly declared war on Germany, but German forces soon occupied the country and freed Mussolini. Mussolini led a brief regime in the northern party of the country, but an anti-fascist movement gained in strength during the last two years of the war. Although they mostly harassed German troops before they were driven out of the country in April 1945, they also helped to depose Mussolini. 
 
In 1946, a plebiscite ended the monarchy, and a constituent assembly was elected to draw up plans for the republic. The 1947 peace treaty adjusted slightly Italy’s border with France, the eastern border area was transferred to Yugoslavia (becoming known as Zone B), and the area around the city of Trieste was made a free territory (which was designated as Zone A). Italy relinquished its overseas territories and certain Mediterranean islands.
 
During the 1950s, Italy became a member of NATO and an ally of the United States. This helped to repair damaged relations and revitalize the Italian economy under the Marshall plan.
 
In 1954, this free territory, which had remained under the administration of US and UK forces, was divided between Italy and Yugoslavia, along a zonal boundary. In 1977, this arrangement was made permanent with the Treaty of Osimo, signed by the Italian and Yugoslavian governments. Currently, this treaty is under discussion among the governments of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
 
During the late 1960s, Italy experienced a wave of bombings and violence, and the 1970s and early 1980s came to be known as the anni di piombo, or “lead years.” These bombings were attributed to far-right, far-left and secret service actions. In December 1970, a coup, called the Golpe Borghese, failed to take power. Christian Democrat (DC) politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades, a paramilitary group, on March 16, 1978, the day of the historic compromise with the Italian Communist Party (PCI). This compromise ensured that the PCI would return to government for the first time since 1947. Moro’s body was found on May 9 in via Caetani in Rome.
 
During the 1980s, for the first time, Italy’s government was governed by a republican and a socialist, rather than a member of the DC. In 1984, Italy and the Vatican updated several provisions of the 1929 accords. At this time, Roman Catholicism was made the formal state religion of Italy.
 
From 1992 to 1997, Italy faced many changes as voters wearied of corruption, debt and the influence of organized crime. Demanding political, economic and ethical reforms, they used the 1994 elections to sweep media magnate Silvio Berlusconi (leader of “Pole of Freedoms” coalition, which included Forza Italia, the regionalist far-right “Lega Nord” party and the far-right Alleanza Nazionale) into office as prime minister. But after just a few months, his government collapsed because the Northern League split from the coalition.
 
A technocratic cabinet led by Lamberto Dini was supported by the left-wing parties and the Northern League. This lasted until Romano Prodi’s new center-left coalition won the 1996 general election.
 
In 2001, the center-right took power and Berlusconi was able to remain in power for the complete five-year mandate, despite the government’s reshuffle. However, the 2006 elections returned Prodi to power with a slim majority. His government hung on for two years, until Berlusconi was reelected in 2008. 
 
History of Italy (Wikipedia)
Italian History Index (World Wide Web Virtual Library)
History of Italy (History World)
History of Accordians in Italy (by Beniamino Bugiolacchi, Accordians Worldwide)

 

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Italy's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Italy

 

A number of Italian explorers employed by foreign nations played a role in the early voyages to America, namely Christopher Columbus (a Genoese sailor financed by Spain) and Amerigo Vespucci, who lent his name to two of the world’s continents. A few artisans and skilled craftsmen from the north of Italy immigrated during the American Revolutionary era, but the total population remained small until mass migrations began in the 1880s. 
 
Although millions of Italians lived in New York City by the turn of the 20th century, the Italian population in 1860 numbered only 2,805. From 1876-1924, 4.5 million Italians arrived in America, with 2 million coming between 1901 and 1910 alone. This massive immigrant wave, mostly composed of young, single men from the southern regions of Italy, represents only a third of the total number of Italian emigrants during this period, most of whom moved to other parts of Europe or South America. Before women and families began arriving after 1910, about half of these migrant workers eventually returned to their old villages in Italy.
 
The massive influx of Italians coincided with a racist nativist movement, which branded immigrants from Southern Europe as inferior. The proliferation of “Little Italys” throughout the Northeast simultaneously elicited criticism of Italians as clannish and un-American, while the increased tension drew Italian communities even tighter together. One particularly dark manifestation of this widespread discrimination was the lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans in March 1891.
 
With the turn of the century, the Little Italys scattered throughout the urban centers of America flourished, as Italians celebrated their culture through Italian-language newspapers, theaters, churches, and social clubs. Although many Italians attempted to fully retain their cultural heritage, particularly strong American traditions often replaced Italian practices: Italian Americans began to celebrate Christmas on December 25, instead of January 6, the day of Epiphany.
 
Italy’s alliance with the United States during World War I promoted increased acceptance of Italian Americans, although the infamous prominence of Italian gangsters like Al Capone during the prohibition years reinforced nativist stereotypes of Italians as a dangerous, radical people. These doubts were put to rest when Italy declared war on America in 1941 and 500,000 Italian Americans responded by joining the US armed services. 
 
As mass consumerism pervaded the country in the postwar years of economic expansion, American-style individualism superseded traditional Italian-American focus on family and the community, and Italians became noticeably more integrated into the American milieu. 
 
Milestones of the Italian-American Experience (National Italian American Foundation)
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Current U.S. Relations with Italy

The United States enjoys warm relations with Italy. Italy is a leading trade partner with the US, and the two countries are NATO allies. Additionally, the United States and Italy cooperate in regional organizations. In recent years, Italy and the United States have worked together on NATO and UN missions, as well as with assistance to Russia and the New Independent States; Lebanon; the Middle East peace process; multilateral talks; Somalia and Mozambique peacekeeping; and combating drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, and terrorism. The US and Italy also cooperate on major economic issues, such as the G-8 Summit.

 
As a result of bilateral NATO agreements, Italy hosts US military forces at Vicenza and Livorno (army); Aviano (air force); and Sigonella, Gaeta, and Naples—home port for the US Navy Sixth Fleet. Currently, there are approximately 13,000 military personnel stationed in Italy. Italy also hosts the NATO Defense College in Rome.
 
According to the 2000 US Census, 15,723,406 people identified themselves as being of Italian ancestry. The states claiming the largest Italian populations are New York (2.7 million), New Jersey (1.5 million), California (1.5 million), Pennsylvania (1.4 million), Florida (1 million), Massachusetts (0.7 million), and Illinois (0.7 million).
 
In 2006, 2,588,120 Americans visited Italy. The number of American tourists in Italy has increased significantly since 2002, when 1,498,380 Americans traveled to Italy.
 
In 2006, 532,829 Italians visited America. Tourism has grown gradually but consistently since 2002, when 406,160 Italians came to America.
 
US-Italy Relations (United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy)
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Where Does the Money Flow

Through October 2008, Italy was the US’s 14th largest trading partner, with total bilateral trade of $44.4 billion ($13.3 billion in exports to Italy and $31.1 billion in imports from Italy). The US’s $17.7 billion deficit with Italy through October 2008 was consistent with the $20.9 billion deficit registered in 2007.

 
Between 2003 and 2007, US imports from Italy were dominated by wine and related products, which increased from $942 million to $1.3 billion; other petroleum products, which moved up from $482 million to $1.54 billion; other industrial machinery, up from $1.12 billion to $1.92 billion; footwear of leather, rubber, or other materials, which averaged $1 billion annually; and clocks, portable typewriters, other household goods, moving up from $886 million to $1.47 billion.
 
Top US exports to Italy during the same period included pharmaceutical preparations, increasing from $1.054 billion to $1.114 billion; precious metals (other), moving up from $769 million to $1 billion; and parts for civilian aircraft, up from $311 million to $519 million.
 
US exports on the decline includedcivilian aircraft, moving down from $255.8 million to $97 million, and fuel oil, decreasing from $150 million to $81.3 million.
 
US foreign direct investment in Italy at the end of 2006 exceeded $28.9 billion.
 
In 2007,the US sold $519.8 million of defense articles and services to Italy. The US does not give aid to Italy.
 
 
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Controversies

J. Paul Getty Museum Embroiled in Antiquities Controversy

In 2006, controversy arose when the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles was accused of stealing antiquities from Italy. The museum eventually agreed to return the disputed works and change its acquisition policy and buy only works that have been in the US for at least 36 years or works that have been legally exported. Former Getty curator Marion True had been embroiled in the controversy for more than a year and was brought up on charges in Rome for obtaining the art illegally. She has denied these claims.
 
CIA Spies Live It Up During Kidnapping Mission
In June 2005, it was revealed that 19 American intelligence personnel, sent to capture a radical Islamic preacher in Milan in 2003, had stayed at some of the finest hotels in Milan, sometimes for as long as six weeks, and rung up tabs as high as $500 per day on fake Diners Club accounts. After they abducted their target and flew him to Cairo, some stayed on, enjoying long weekends in Venice and Florence before leaving the country. Italian officials were outraged by the apprehending of the cleric (they were not notified by American intelligence), and demanded that the 19 operatives be bought back to Italy to face kidnapping charges. The Italian prosecutors has no trouble tracing the movement of these agents, who left a paper trail of electronic records, and phone records of calls made from unsecured phones in hotel rooms.
Italians Detail Lavish CIA Operation (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post)
 
Italian Intelligence Officer Killed by US Fire
In March 2005, an Italian intelligence officer was killed by US fire in Iraq while escorting an ex-hostage to freedom. Nicola Calipari was shot as he headed to Baghdad airport after securing the release of Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist who had been held captive for a month after her abduction. Sgrena said Calipari died while trying to shield her with his body. Sgrena rejected the US military’s account of the shooting, claiming that American soldiers gave no warning before they opened fire. President George W. Bush called Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to offer his apology and pledge a full investigation. In the wake of the incident, Italy’s spy chief, Nicolo Pollari, was replaced. Twenty thousand mourners turned out for Calipari’s funeral. In October 2007, Mario Lozano, the US solider accused of killing Calipari was acquitted by an Italian judge.
Italy Mourns Slain Intel Agent (Associated Press)
 
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Human Rights

The 2007 State Department human rights report stated that problems involving lengthy pretrial detention, excessively long court proceedings, violence against women, trafficking in persons, and abuse of Roma remained problems.

 
There were reports that police occasionally used excessive force against persons, particularly Roma and immigrants, detained in connection with common criminal offenses or in the course of identity checks.
The government has mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. There were no reports of impunity involving the security forces during the year. Long delays by prosecutors and authorities in completing investigations of some cases of alleged abuse undercut the effectiveness of mechanisms to investigate and punish police abuses.
 
There were some reports of judicial corruption. On May 9, 2007, the Guardia di Finanza arrested two magistrates of the Court of Cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court, Lanfranco Balucani and Vincenzo Maccarrone, for corruption in Perugia. Prosecutors accused them of multiple violations of rules of procedure, including jury tampering, in an attempt to unduly influence the investigations of two entrepreneurs who rewarded them with gifts.
 
In February 2006 Amnesty International released a report on the rights of migrants and asylum-seeking minors, that highlighted 890 allegations that unaccompanied children were confined in temporary detention centers in unhygienic and unsuitable conditions. Approximately 1,300 minors reached Sicily in 2006, compared to 1,600 in 2005. The top three countries of origin were Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, and a high percentage of them were unaccompanied. Other teenagers came from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Lebanon.
 
Violence against women, including spousal abuse, remained a problem. ISTAT, the official Italian government statistical agency, reported that 6.7 million women aged 16 to 70, or 31.9% of all women, had been victims of violence at least once in their lives. Five million women were victims of sexual violence and one million of rape or attempted rape.
 
Illegal immigrant child laborers from northern Africa, the Philippines, Albania, and China continued to enter the country. Italy was a destination and transit country for trafficked persons. Immigrants, mostly from Nigeria, North Africa, and Eastern Europe, played a major role in trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, both as traffickers and victims, although citizens were also involved. NGOs estimated that the vast majority of prostitutes in the country were immigrants, primarily from Nigeria (35% of the total), Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova.
 
There continued to be reports that police mistreated Roma. The NGO Opera Nomadi reported cases of discrimination, particularly with regard to housing and evictions, deportations, and efforts by the government to remove children for their protection from Romani parents.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Included among the more illustrious U.S. ambassadors to Italy are William Waldorf Astor who, five years later (1890), inherited the largest fortune in the United States; Ellsworth Bunker, who later served as ambassador to South Vietnam during most of the Vietnam War (1967-1973); Claire Boothe Luce, playwright, journalist and member of the House of Representatives  (1943-1947); and John Volpe, governor of Massachusetts and Secretary of Transportation under Richard Nixon.

 
Hezekiah Gold Rogers
Appointment: [Jun 5, 1840]
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 15, 1840
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Nov 22, 1841
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under Two Sicilies and Holy See for other US diplomatic representation in the Italian peninsula. Commission not of record, but enclosed with an instruction of this date.
 
Ambrose Baber
Appointment: Aug 16, 1841
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 1, 1841-Jan 10, 1844
Termination of Mission: Presented recall on or shortly before Jan 10, 1844
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under Two Sicilies and Holy See for other US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
Robert Wickliffe, Jr.
Appointment: Sep 22, 1843
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 10, 1844
Termination of Mission: Left post late in 1847
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jun 14, 1844. Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under Two Sicilies and Holy See for other US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
Nathaniel Niles
Appointment: Jan 4, 1848
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 28, 1848
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 20, 1850
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under two Sicilies and Holy See for US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
William B. Kinney
Appointment: Apr 22, 1850
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 21, 1850
Termination of Mission: Transmitted recall by note, Oct 8, 1853
Note: Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under two Sicilies and Holy See for US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
Richard K. Meade
Appointment: May 24, 1853
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; declined appointment. Commissioned to Sardinia (capital at Turin). See under two Sicilies and Holy See for US diplomatic representative in the Italian peninsula.
 
John M. Daniel
Appointment: Jul 23, 1853
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 10, 1853
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Minister Resident
Note: Nominated Feb 25, 1856, to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary; nomination withdrawn before the Senate acted upon it. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 8, 1854.
John M. Daniel
Appointment: Jun 29, 1854
Presentation of Credentials: On or shortly before Sep 4, 1854
Termination of Mission: Went on leave as of Jan 10, 1861.
 
George P. Marsh
Appointment: Mar 20, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 23, 1861
Termination of Mission: Died at Vallombrosa, Jul 23, 1882
Note: Moved the US Legation from Turin to Florence in 1865 and from Florence to Rome in 1871.
 
William Waldorf Astor
Appointment: Aug 4, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 21, 1882
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Mar 1, 1885
 
Anthony M. Keiley
Appointment: Apr 2, 1885
Note: Took oath of office, but did not proceed to post, the Government of Italy having objected to his appointment.
 
John B. Stallo
Appointment: Jun 17, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 27, 1885
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Jun 6, 1889
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 13, 1886.
 
Albert G. Porter
Appointment: Mar 13, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 6, 1889
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 9, 1892
 
William Potter
Appointment: Nov 15, 1892
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 28, 1892
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 8, 1894
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 8, 1982.
 
James J. Van Alen
Appointment: Oct 20, 1893
Note: Declined appointment.
 
Wayne MacVeagh
Appointment: Dec 20, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 11, 1894
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 4, 1897
 
William F. Draper
Appointment: Apr 5, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 29, 1897
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 5, 1900
 
Roger Wolcott
Appointment: Jul 28, 1900
Note: Commissioned during a recess of Senate; declined appointment.
 
George V. L. Meyer
Appointment: Dec 14, 1900
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 4, 1901
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 1, 1905
 
Henry White
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 16, 1905
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 26, 1907
 
Lloyd C. Griscom
Appointment: Dec 19, 1906
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 17, 1907
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 14, 1909
 
John G. A. Leishman
Appointment: Apr 1, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 4, 1909
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 7, 1911
 
Thomas J. O’Brien
Appointment: Aug 12, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 13, 1911
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 17, 1913
 
Thomas Nelson Page
Appointment: Jun 21, 1913
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 12, 1913
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 21, 1919
 
Robert Underwood Johnson
Appointment: Feb 18, 1920
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 22, 1920
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 20, 1921
 
Richard Washburn Child
Appointment: May 26, 1921
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 28, 1921
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1924
 
Henry P. Fletcher
Appointment: Feb 19, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 2, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 3, 1929
 
John W. Garrett
Appointment: Sep 11, 1929
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 20, 1929
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, May 22, 1933
 
Breckinridge Long
Appointment: Apr 24, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: May 31, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 23, 1936
 
William Phillips
Appointment: Aug 4, 1936
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 4, 1936
Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 6, 1941
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 23, 1937.
 
Note: George Wadsworth was serving as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim when Italy declared war on the United States, Dec 11, 1941.
 
Alexander C. Kirk
Appointment: Dec 8, 1944
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 8, 1945
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 5, 1946
 
James Clement Dunn
Appointment: Jul 25, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 6, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 17, 1952
 
Ellsworth Bunker
Appointment: Mar 13, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: May 7, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 3, 1953
 
Clare Boothe Luce
Appointment: Mar 2, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: May 4, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 27, 1956
 
James David Zellerbach
Appointment: Nov 24, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 6, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 10, 1960
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1957.
 
G. Frederick Reinhardt
Appointment: Apr 6, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 17, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 3, 1968
 
H. Gardner Ackley
Appointment: Mar 15, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 3, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 27, 1969
 
Graham A. Martin
Appointment: Sep 26, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 30, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 10, 1973
 
John A. Volpe
Appointment: Feb 2, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 6, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 24, 1977
 
Richard N. Gardner
Appointment: Mar 16, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 21, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 27, 1981
 
Maxwell M. Rabb
Appointment: Jun 20, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 1, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 3, 1989
 
Peter F. Secchia
Appointment: Jun 23, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1993
 
Reginald Bartholomew
Appointment: Sep 16, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 14, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 28, 1997
 
Thomas Foglietta
Appointment: Nov 12, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 11, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Melvin F. Sembler
Appointment: Nov 16, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 10, 2001
Termination of Mission: Jul 24, 2005
 
Ronald Spogli
Appointment: Jul 9, 2005
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 8, 2005
Termination of Mission:
Note: Commissioned to San Marino Nov 22, 2006
 
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Italy's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Bisogniero, Claudio

Claudio Bisogniero, who has been posted to the U.S. on two previous occasions, officially took the reins as Italy’s ambassador to the U.S. on February 6, just in time to coordinate the visit to Washington of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who will arrive on February 9. The previous ambassador, Giulio Terzi, was called back to Italy to serve as foreign minister after the forced resignation of the nation’s controversial prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

 
Born in Rome on July 2, 1954, Claudio Bisogniero earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Rome in 1976, and served as an officer in the Italian Army in 1976 and 1977. He then entered the Italian Foreign Service in May 1978. For his first overseas posting, Bisogniero served as first secretary for economic and commercial affairs at the Italian embassy in Beijing, China, from September 1981 to 1984.
 
From 1984 to 1989 he served at the Permanent Mission of Italy to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, where he focused on disarmament issues and also served as a delegate to the Senior Political Committee. Returning to Rome in 1989, Bisogniero joined the Office of the Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic, where he remained until 1992. There he dealt with international issues relevant to Italian President Francesco Cossiga.
 
In late 1992 Bisogniero was posted for the first time to the U.S., to serve as first counselor for economic and commercial affairs at the embassy in Washington, D.C., with special focus on financial issues, the IMF and World Bank, and defense industry co-operation. After four years in Washington, he moved 225 miles north to serve at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in New York, with primary responsibilities for political affairs and UN reform. Bisogniero served there from 1996 to 1999, when he returned to Rome to serve at the Foreign Affairs Ministry for the next 8 years.
 
From 1999 to 2002, he served in the Personnel Department and later at the Office of the Secretary General, as direct collaborator with the Secretary General. In February 2002 Bisogniero was appointed deputy director general for political multilateral affairs, responsible for NATO, the United Nations, G8, disarmament, OSCE, anti-terrorism and human rights issues. In June 2005 he became director general for the Americas, with responsibility for the relations with the nations of the Western Hemisphere, including the U.S. In October 2007 Bisogniero was named NATO Deputy Secretary General, serving in Brussels until late 2011, when he was named ambassador to the U.S.
 
Bisogniero and his wife, Laura Denise, have a daughter and a son. His stated hobbies and personal interests include classical music, reading, sailing and flying. Since 2008, he has been a member of the Italy-USA Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Rome, Italy, established to promote friendship between Italians and Americans, as well as American culture in Italy.
 

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Italy's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Italy

Phillips, John
ambassador-image

The new ambassador to Italy and the micro-state of San Marino is an Italian-American public interest attorney who owns a villa in Tuscany and has visited Italy “more than 50 times in the last decade.” John R. Phillips, whose nomination was confirmed by the Senate along with several others on August 1, succeeds David Thorne, who had served in Rome since August 2009.

 

Born in late 1942 and raised 35 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Leechburg, Pennsylvania (1950 pop.: 4,042), which he has described as “a bustling steel and coal-mining area [with] a lot of jobs. I walked to school and you knew everybody.” His paternal grandfather, Angelo Filippi, emigrated from the Friuli region of Italy to Pennsylvania, where he met his wife Lucy Colussy, also from Friuli. At his Senate hearing, Phillips said he regretted that the family name, Filippi, had been Americanized to Phillips. According to his aunt, Edna Logero, the name changed when her older brother William first went to school and the “teacher said Phillips was more American. My dad was furious over that.” William, who grew up to become Phillips’ father, later owned a Ford dealership in Leechburg.

 

John Phillips graduated Leechburg High School in 1960, and after a two-year hitch in the military, earned a B.A. in Government and International Studies at Notre Dame University in 1966 and a J.D. at the University of California Law School, known as Boalt Hall, in 1969. Showing early on the sense of humor he has become known for, while at Notre Dame he ran for class president with the slogan, “Phillips 66.”

 

After law school, Phillips joined the Los Angeles mega-law firm of O’Melveny & Meyers as an associate. He left after two years to co-found one of the first Ford Foundation funded public interest law firms--the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles, which focused on environmental, civil rights, corporate fraud and other issues. Phillips served as its co-director for 17 years, from 1971 to 1988. From 1984 to 1986, Phillips played a role in urging Congress to revise the False Claims Act by strengthening provisions that allow whistleblowers to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government against persons or corporations that are defrauding the government. The amendments went into effect in 1986.

 

In 1988, Phillips founded his own law firm, Phillips & Cohen, based in Washington, DC, to specialize in whistleblower cases. At his Senate confirmation hearing, Phillips testified that his firm had helped recover $55 billion from companies that were defrauding the government. The National Law Journal has included him on several of its “100 most influential lawyers in America” lists. Phillips retired from his firm this year in order to accept the posting to Italy.

 

From 1988 to 1993, Phillips was an appointed member of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He was also appointed, in 1997, by President Bill Clinton to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, of which President Obama named Phillips chair in 2009.

 

Phillips is the founder of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit that promotes the use of the False Claims Act and its qui tam provisions to fight fraud against the government, and served on its board of directors until 2013.

 

In 2001, Phillips bought and over eight years restored and redeveloped the ruined remains of an abandoned, 13th century Tuscan farming village named “Borgo Finoccchieto.” It now consists of a luxurious boutique hotel, five buildings on six acres surrounded by farmlands that can accommodate up to 44 guests for weddings, events and retreats. “By living there and getting to know the people, I know it very well,” he said.

 

A lifelong Democrat, Phillips has donated more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations over the years, including $106,000 to the Democratic National Committee and $9,600 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

 

John Phillips has been married more than 40 years to Linda Douglass, a former ABC correspondent who was a campaign spokeswoman for Barack Obama in 2008, helped organize his first inauguration, and served as director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform from 2009 to 2010. They have a daughter, Dr. Katie Byrd, who is an emergency room physician at George Washington University Hospital.

-Matt Bewig

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Leechburg Native Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Italy (by Debra Duncan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

Ambassador to Italy proud of Leechburg roots, Italian heritage (by Brian C. Rittmeyer, Valley News Dispatch)

John R. Phillips is the New US Ambassador to Italy (by Giulia Madron, i-Italy)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Italy

Spogli, Ronald
ambassador-image

Ronald P. Spogli has served as the United States Ambassador to Italy and San Marino since August 10, 2005. Born in Los Angeles in 1948, Spogli graduated from Stanford University with an AB in History in 1970 and went on to receive his MBA in 1975 from Harvard University, where he was a classmate of future president George W. Bush.
 
Between 1968 and 1973, Spogli spent nearly three years in Italy working on various activities sponsored by Stanford University. From September 1968 to March 1969, he studied at Stanford’s Florence campus. From June 1970 to July 1971 he was the assistant to the Directors of the Florence program. From June 1972 until August 1973, Spogli was lead researcher for a project studying the social impact of labor migration from Southern Italy to the Italian industrial north.
 
After working as a managing director of the investment banking division at Dean Witter Reynolds, in 1983, together with Bradford M. Freeman, Spogli founded Freeman Spogli & Co., one of the leading private equity investment firms in the United States. Since its founding, it has invested in 36 companies worth more than $12 billion. Spogli has also served on the board of directors of more than twenty different companies.
 
Since 2001, he has been a member of Stanford’s Overseas Studies Council, a faculty/alumni body that advises on Stanford’s International studies programs. In 2000, he became a member of the Board of Visitors of Stanford’s Institute for International Studies, the University’s primary forum for interdisciplinary research on key international issues and challenges.
 
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Spogli to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship board .
 
Spogli has donated $528,316 to various Republican candidates and causes, including Norm Coleman, Mitt Romney, Arizona Republican Party, Billy Tauzin, George W. Bush, and Pete Wilson. He also gave $1,000 to Joe Biden in 1996.
 

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