Articles by: Sara Krevoy

  • Photo courtesy of: Margherita Mirabella
    Life & People

    Celebrating Love, Life and Loss with Annalisa Menin

    The mood was warm and affectionate at the Valentino store on Fifth Avenue Tuesday evening (Nov. 14), as guests filtered in for a special event at the luxury designer showroom. Annalisa Menin, woman of the hour, greeted her guests individually with a tender embrace, and the classic double-kiss on the cheek.

    The occasion was the launch of Menin’s book My Last Year in New York (Il Mio Ultimo Anno a New York), co-written with Milanese author and ghostwriter Susanna de Ciechi. Inspired profoundly by Menin’s venture to the United States from Italy, the novel takes readers on a journey through the devastations and successes accompanying her pursuit of a modern-day “American Dream.”

    For Menin, this date, Nov. 14, holds a double-significance. It is her birthday, but that is not why she chose to inaugurate the book this day.

    On Menin’s 30th birthday, her beloved husband Marco organized a surprise party for his wife, even though he had fallen very ill by that time. Blowing out the candles on her cake, Menin recalls she wished for Marco to get well, a sentiment she now has tattooed on her right forearm. Her wish never came true, as Marco passed away the next day.

    Now, four years later, Menin describes her desire to share her and Marco’s story as more of a compelling feeling than a decision:

    “For me, the reason why I did all of this is, even when I’m 50 or 60 years old, I want to be able to go back and open my book and read it and say ‘This is me. This happened to me.’ I think that not everyone is lucky to have one big love in life. I was lucky to find him when I was 26, and I feel very blessed with it. I have this necessity to put in writing. This way, I know that it’s there, I know that it happened. This is my story.”

    Getting to Know the Story:

    Zarifa Maria Garofalo, Menin’s U.S. publicist, introduced a presentation of the book to a crowd gathered around a table where Menin, De Ciechi and journalist Francesca di Matteo were seated. Dozens of copies of the novel were displayed on the shelves behind them.

    “I have to say, after reading this book my first impression of Annalisa was confirmed,” she said, “I saw her as a powerful woman, strong and full of energy,” she continued, “I will never forget that moment she was there in that white dress, with a beautiful smile and this powerful story.”

    The event gathered the blogger (who navigates between the worlds of fashion, finance and real estate) and her guests in the precise place where her New York narrative began.

    Eleven years ago, Annalisa Menin left her hometown of Venice, Italy for an opportunity to take an internship with the fashion company Valentino in New York City, one that would change the course of her life. It was there that, the day after she landed, she met the love of her life, Marco, an Italian immigrant from Fano who had been working at Valentino for a while.     

    My Last Year in New York is a story about immigration, about generational contrast, it’s a story about loss and rebirth, and most of all, it’s a story of love,” Menin revealed as she began addressing the crowd.

    As the author continued presenting her book by introducing the character of Marco, a youthful, male voice could be heard from the back of the room as a man emerges from the audience asking, “Listen Anina, how about trying having a baby?”

    He is actor Dennis Puglisi, and as he is joined downstage by fellow actress Claudia de Candia, the two reenacted a scene from the novel as young Marco and Annalisa. Throughout the presentation, they wove in and out of the storyline, with Menin filling in the blanks as a narrator in between.

    The final scene they performed almost brought Menin to tears. But she courageously held together for the following Q&A session with her co-author Ciechi, moderated by Di Matteo.

    Concluding the evening's formalities, Menin thanked the audience and a list of contributors to her project. De Ciechi also offered her own inventory of thank yous. This opened up the rest of the night for book-signing. Guests formed a long line holding copies of My Last Year in New York, of which prints in both languages were available for purchase.

    The event also signaled the release of My Last Year in New York on Amazon. All proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the charity initiative Remembering Marco, created by Menin in memory of her late husband. It is a program that annually grants a scholarship to a talented student from the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Italy to provide them with a 6-month internship at Valentino’s corporate office in New York City.

    “Let’s definitely celebrate my birthday, but I think tonight is all about Marco,” Menin said lovingly.

    What's Next?

    The novel draws its title from a question she has been grappling with for some time since her husband’s death: should she stay in New York, or should she go? Though she has now spent two "last years" in New York, it is an affirmation that Menin believes allows her to live each year in the city as her best.

    "The person who narrates this story and puts herself so much out there," said Ciechi as she recounted why, in the end, she decided to take on ghostwriting the novel with Menin, "begins again with a fresh start when she arrives at the last page of the book. I then asked myself: What could happen next?" 

    No matter where Menin ends up, she says, she has among some of Marco’s belongings a single pair of shoes. That way, she feels, “[they] can keep walking together even though he is not here anymore.”


  • From the presentation at the ENIT headquarter inside the Italian Cultural Institute New York.
    Facts & Stories

    Alitalia Flies to New Heights This Winter

    On Thursday, November 190, ENIT (Ente Nazionale Italiano per il turismo), the Italian National Agency for Tourism, organized a presentation regarding Alitalia, Italy’s flag aircraft carrier. The event, which offered breakfast catered by Piccolo Cafe, was held at ENIT’s New York headquarters inside the Italian Cultural Institute building.

    During the morning’s reception, recently instated Alitalia’s Chief Commercial Officer Fabio Maria Lazzerini, addressed the crowd, updating them on some of the airline’s latest statistics and improvements. 

    “[Alitalia] is a company which went through–it is useless to neglect or to hide–some troubled times. But the company is now operating business as usual, actually I would say better than the usual,” Lazzerini started.

    And the numbers don’t lie. The presentation revealed that Alitalia’s punctuality index was reported at more than 80 percent for this year, ranking the airline as third in Europe and 10th worldwide in this category. Additionally, the customer service index was recorded at close to 90 percent, and indication that the company’s investments in this sector are paying off. Part of this initiative, as Lazzerini explained, is a phone application that allows administrators to view data from customer satisfaction surveys filled out by flyers.    

    Alitalia is Italy’s largest airline, transporting about 20-22 million passengers yearly to 26 domestic and 68 international destinations as of August 2017. The airline is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, as well as the Transatlantic Joint Venture (which includes Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines). Alitalia also collaborates with Etihad Airways Partners, such as Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Etihad Airways and Jet Airways, to offer customers additional choices and benefits.

    Alitalia’s New Developments:

    As part of the 2017-2018 winter schedule, which began a few weeks ago, Alitalia will service 74 destinations–20 Italian and 54 worldwide. These include the recently inaugurated Rome-New Delhi and Rome Malé (in the Maldives) connections. Alitalia also provides service to Seoul, Santiago (Chile), Beijing and Havana, all of which have been added over the last two years.                          

    Since May 2017, Alitalia has been operating under extraordinary administration, which is the equivalent of US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This action is motivated by two principal goals: “to ensure that Alitalia continues to operate at full capacity” and “to find new investors,” the company stated.                

    As part of developments, Alitalia is putting a focus on the American market. The airline has decided to extend the direct connection from Los Angeles to Rome into the winter season, the only nonstop flight between the West Coast and Italy. This route will join the other US connections in New York (to Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa), Boston (to Rome) and Miami (to Rome). In the summer, Alitalia offers daily service from Chicago O’Hare to Rome Fiumicino. As for the rest of North America, the airline provides destinations in Toronto and Mexico City.            

    Also designed particularly for the US market is a stopover product in development, which will allow passengers arriving at Rome Fiumicino to spend a couple of days in the city before departing to their destinations, Lazzerini announced. Upon arriving at the Rome hub, visitors arriving from the US will have access to easy connections to 40 cities in Italy, Europe, North Africa and Asia, with the assistance of Transit Team members.

    Traveling “Italian-Style:”

    As the event continued, Lazzerini spoke on innovations the airline is implementing to benefit all of its customers. Alitalia is associating with some of the top Italian brands in order to create a consumer experience that is more and more Italian. The experience begins upon entering the aircraft, on which the cabin has been entirely stylized “to reflect Italian elegance.” Guests seated in ‘Magnifica’ business class enjoy reclining leather seats by luxury Italian interior design brand Poltrona Frau.  

    Other ‘Made in Italy’ amenities include an award-winning onboard dining menu featuring some of the country’s best regional quality dining, alongside fine Italian wines such as Ferrari Trento DOC Prosecco. This season, the CCO revealed, the cuisine highlights specialties from the island of Sardinia. Passengers can eat at their leisure with Alitalia’s new ‘dine anytime’ service, and follow up their meals with espresso from the famous Lavazza brand.                   

    Alitalia will also provide Wi-Fi connectivity on the aircraft so that customers can make phone calls, surf the Internet and send e-mails.              

    Part of this initiative is a new advertisement campaign featuring airport gates that open up to Italian landscapes, providing a open window to natural beauties and towns throughout the country. The images are arranged to promote the idea of Alitalia as “the gate to Italy.”

    “Our main message is to tell people: as soon as you board on our flights, you are already in Italy. You don’t need to wait six, eight, nine hours to feel in Italy. You feel in Italy when you board, and then when you land of course even more,” said Lazzerini.

    For more info visit the Alitalia website here >>