New RAI Docufilm to Debut in New York on the 500th Anniversary of the Arrival of Renaissance Navigator Giovanni Da Verrazzano

Apr 16, 2024 2024

A new and revealing documentary about the life of the 16th century Italian explorer Giovanni Da Verrazzano will make its debut in New York City on April 17th. The film will be shown on the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Da Verrazzano’s ship, in what is now New York Harbor, on April 17, 1524.

The film "Giovanni Da Verrazzano: From the Renaissance to New York City" will be shown at a special screening at The Paley Center at an event that will feature senior Italian politicians, executives from the National Italian American Foundation, and the director, Giuseppe Pedersoli. The preview is being organized in cooperation with the National Italian American Foundation and other U.S. and Italian institutions.

The hour-long docufilm was shot almost entirely in Tuscany. It contains dramatic re-enactments starring Carlo Pedersoli Jr. as Da Verrazzano and features actor Neri Marcoré as Narrator, It will be broadcast in Italy soon on the Rai 3 channel. The film’s director is Giuseppe Pedersoli and its Executive Producer is Alan Friedman. The Rai Producer is Gianluca Casagrande.

Although the story told in the film is five hundred years old, the film contains some revealing insights, and an historical scoop. The film shows that Da Verrazzano was in many ways more important than Christopher Columbus, because he actually set foot in North America, and mapped the entire East Coast of North America from North Carolina up to Newfoundland, whereas Columbus stayed in the Caribbean.

The film also contains a section dedicated to Da Verrazzano’s interactions with the indigenous peoples of North America that he encountered along the way. We discover that unlike the Spanish conquistadors, Da Verrazzano had uniformly friendly relations with the tribes he met along the Eastern Coast of North America, and treated them with respect and admiration. He spent two weeks happily trading goods, dining together, and learning about the ways of the indigenous people of Narragansett, in what is today Rhode Island.

Thanks to the work of Florentine archivist Marco Calafati, the film reveals for the first time on camera the original March 1523 loan documents from the Gondi Bank, found in the family’s archives. These pages confirm the investment of 700 scudos in the Da Verrazzano voyage. This initial funding, together with Antonio Gondi’s personal interventions, would prove decisive in getting the King of France to approve the voyage.

Giovanni Da Verrazzano: From the Renaissance to New York City was made in collaboration with RAI Documentaries, and with the contribution of the National Committee on Anniversaries of the Presidenza del Consiglio, the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Region of Tuscany, the National Italian American Foundation, the Italian American Forum, Acsi, and Stefano Ricci SpA.

EVENTS:

On April 17 2024, in New York, there will be a private screening of the film at The Paley Center, thanks to the generous support of the National Italian American Foundation, the Italian Cultural Institute, Stefano Ricci Spa, and Acsi.

On April 23, 2024, in Florence, there will be a VIP preview in the Salone dei 500 of the Palazzo Vecchio, and a Gala Dinner to follow at Palazzo Gondi. With our thanks for the generous support of the Palazzo Gondi, the Fondazione CR Firenze, the U.S. Department of State, and Acsi.

On April 24, 2024, in Florence, the Governor of Tuscany, Eugenio Giani, will join General Massimo Panizzi, the Commander of the Italian Military Geographic Institute, and Daniela Ballard, US Consul-General in Florence, for the opening of an exhibit dedicated to the influence of Giovanni Da Verrazano on world cartography from the 1300s to the 1500s. With the contribution of the National Committee on Anniversaries of the Presidenza del Consiglio, the Region of Tuscany, the Italian Military Geographic Institute, and the Fondazione CR Firenze.

SOURCE: NIAF

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