Snapshots From The Lives Of Italians In Romania

The Ararat Publishing House published late last year a sentimental book entitled "Stories' from the lives of Italian ethnics in Romania". I have known its author, Modesto Gino Ferrarini, for a long time, ever since our young days as journalists. Although he has been a sports journalist with Romania Libera all his life, I met him in the editorial office of Informatia Bucurestiului. This Italian ethnic did everything in his power, after 1990, to have his beloved Italians acknowledged as national minority, entitled to representation in the Romanian Parliament. He also started the first Italian newspaper in this country, Di nuovo insieme, and in 1992 founded the Italian Union in Bucharest, whose chairman he remains to this day. The book is, par excellence, the creation of a journalist, a passionate researcher of documents, places, personalities and ordinary people. It benefits from a warm preface signed by Prof. Mircea Grosaru, representative of the Italian minority in the Chamber of Deputies. If you go through the 200 pages of the book, looking at the early 20th century photographs, you become familiar with scenes from the lives of the Italians – mostly builders – who came to live on Romanian territory at the end of the 19th century, as well as their offspring, who are still living on these lands. Modesto Gino Ferrarini did not fail to make reference, in his book, to Italian-descended personalities in the fields of science and arts, like the renowned surgeon Alexandru Pesamosca, or the remarkable theatre director Sorana Coroama-Stanca. He draws a most admiring portrait of some celebrated figures in the field of Italian studies, such as George Lazarescu – "a distinguished university professor, more Italian than many… Italians," or the departed Alexandru Balaci, member of the Romanian Academy. A very emotional episode in the book tells of the tragic plight of the Italian church in Bucharest under communism, as well of some of the priests, who were sentenced to long years' imprisonment. Equally impressive are the accounts on the Greci village, where 400 Italians are currently living, and Craiova, where there is a "Dante Aligheri" local committee. We could not possibly omit the chapters dedicated to important buildings erected by Italian constructors (the Cantacuzino Palace on Victoriei Road, the headquarters of the State Savings Bank, the main Post Office building, today home of the History Museum, etc.), or to important Italian sculptors who used to work in Romania. It is with special warmth that he evokes the figure of architect and musician Enrico Fancinotti, as well as of many ordinary people. The entire book, capable of arousing the interest of any reader, betokens the commitment of its author, Modesto Gino Ferrarini, to the Italian ethnic group which he proudly represents, and his desire to bring to public attention extraordinary or else everyday deeds from the life of a community which has managed to preserve its identity. Di nuovo insieme, a magazine published by the Association of Italians in Romania

by Eugen Comărnescu