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Event Details

Mon, June 19, 2023

19:00 – 23:00

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italy


Evening screening of Tea with Mussolini, preceded by the opening of the exhibition The Milieu at Villa La Pietra in the 1920s-1930s and a conversation.



7:00 PM – Inauguration exhibition: The Milieu at Villa La Pietra in the 1920s -1930s. Fashion, Paintings, and Photography from the Acton Mitchell Family (19 June – 28 September 2023), curated by Francesca Baldry and Claudia Beyer.

8:00 PM – Discussion on the lives of expatriates in fascist Italy in the 1920s and the 1930s.

Guest speakers: Larry Wolff (Co-Director, NYU Florence), Francesca Baldry (Acton Collection Manager), Caterina D’Amico (Director Zeffirelli Museum), Rossella Catanese (NYU Florence Lecturer)

8:45 PM – Light dinner

9:30 PM – Outdoor screening of Tea with Mussolini


(Bannner images, left to right: Portrait by William Acton, oil on canvas, 1930s, Acton Collection; Actress Cher in the movie “Tea with Mussolini”, courtesy of Fondazione Zeffirelli; Callot Soeurs evening gown, 1932, Acton Collection)


Featured Biographies

Francesca Baldry


Before joining NYU Florence, Francesca Baldry has taught art history and museology for many American Study Abroad Programs, she worked in English museums (Dulwich Picture Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum in London) and she collaborated with the Italian State Soprintendenza, for exhibitions and catalogue entries. Her publications focus on 19th and 20th c. Anglo-American Collecting, History of Conservation, Renaissance Art Media, Tapestries, History of Photography, Preventive Conservation, House Museums’ history and management. At Villa La Pietra, Baldry’s major responsibility is the exploration of the Acton Collection as a didactic and open laboratory for students, and the preservation of the indoor and outdoor collections within their historical context. Since 2019 she is co-directing with Scott Palmer the digitization of The Acton Photograph Archive. In 2023 she curated the online exhibition “L’esperienza del viaggio e la costruzione del Giardino: ricerche nelle raccolte fotografiche e librarie di Villa La Pietra” and the forthcoming exhibition in the Villa  “The Milieu at Villa La Pietra in the 1920s – 1930s. Fashion, Painting and Photography from the Acton Mitchell Family” (June 19 – September 2023).

Rossella Catanese


Rossella Catanese is a Research Associate at the University of Tuscia (Viterbo). Previously, she has been Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Udine, and IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca. Among her collaborations, Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Milan – Bicocca. Her publications focus on film restoration, film history, experimental film, Futurism and avant-garde: her books include the monograph Lacune binarie. Il restauro dei film e le tecnologie digitali (Bulzoni, 2013), and the edited collections Futurist Cinema. Studies on Italian Avant-garde Film (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and From Sensation to Synaesthesia in Film and New Media, co-edited with Francesca Scotto Lavina and Valentina Valente (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019).

Caterina D'Amico


Born in Rome in 1948, daughter of Fedele d’Amico (music critic and historian) and Suso Cecchi d’Amico (screenwriter), Caterina read Philosophy at Rome’s University and Social Sciences at University of East Anglia (GB).
From 1972 to 1976 she has directed a Theatre Company that has produced sixteen plays in Rome; from 1974 to 1980 she has worked at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto (Italy) and Charleston (USA), alternatively in the technical and in the artistic departments. Between 1974 and 1980 she has been assistant director for twelve productions of plays and operas in Italy and USA.
Since 1976 she has conceived, realised and designed over fifty Exhibitions on themes related to performing arts, and has written and directed several TV programs, among which portraits of performing artists.
For 20 years she has been Dean of the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (1988-1994, 1999-2007, 2013-2018).
Between 1996 and 2000 she collaborated with Martin Scorsese throughout the making of the documentary My voyage to Italy on the history of Italian Cinema.
In 1998 she was a founding member of the Foundation “Théatre des Italiens”, based in Rome and Paris, that she chaired until 2002. From July 2007 to July 2010 she was CEO of RAI Cinema. From 2011 to July 2014 she was the Artistic Director of Rome’s Casa del Cinema. From 2013 to 2016 she was President of Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica Silvio d’ Amico. Since 2018 she is Director of the Zeffirelli Museum and Archive in Florence; at the same time she is in charge of the Archives of Luchino Visconti, Piero Tosi and Vera Marzot, kept in Rome at the Istituto Gramsci.

Larry Wolff


Larry Wolff is Julius Silver Professor of History at NYU and co-director of NYU Florence. His most recent book is The Shadow of the Empress: Fairy-Tale Opera and the End of the Habsburg Monarchy (2023), and his other books include Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment (1994), Paolina’s Innocence: Child Abuse in Casanova’s Venice (2012), and The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016). He writes frequently about opera, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.