Winter 2014 web

Page 1


The American International Club of Rome Tel. 06-45447625 Fax 06-97254122

Board of Directors 2013/2014 Honorary President John R. Phillips U.S. Ambassador to Italy and to the Republic of San Marino Honorary Vice President David J. Lane Ambassador of the United States to the UN Agencies in Rome Officers President: Debra Biagini Vice President: Franco Spicciariello Treasurer: Carol Markino Secretary: Kathy Araco Board Members Alexia Maria di Fabio L. Chris Curry Loretta Dusini Marco Elser Scotti Rhodes Martha Scherr AICR Legal Advisor Argia Bignami AICR News Editor Kathy Araco AICR News Production Alessandro Carafa Jacobini Club Manager


Communications Nina Farrell

contents 3 Editor’s Letter 5 Club News 5 New Members 6 Upcoming Events 7 Member Profile: Rebecca Spitzmiller 10 Interview with Chris Lebenzon 14 Finance: Tax Law Changes for US Expats 17 Delizie Gastronomiche del Lazio 18 Proust Questionnaire: Conchita Vecchio 20 Short List: What’s hot now! 22 Discounts 23 AICR Business Members Cover photo by Andrea Lavatore. All articles are based on the information obtained at the time of their writing. Please contact us if you would like to add anything from your experience with AICR.

editor’s letter Making resolutions is a great way to begin the new year, yet it takes time and effort to fulfill them and that’s not always easy. So this year, let’s commit to seeing them through by dedicating more time to our resolutions and also making new ones which benefit others. Giving back to our community, club, friends, family and strangers – coming together for a greater good – changes lives and brings happiness to you and everyone around you. It doesn’t really matter what you do…what’s important is getting involved. Just like fellow member Rebecca Spitzmiller, who created the association Retake Roma. Read all about this inspiring woman and her initiative, in the remarkable member’s profile written by Danielle DeVine. Inspiring others is a great gift and so is entertaining them, and when you can do both through your career it’s an amazing accomplishment. Here is a man that after all these years, is still making a difference: Chris Lebenzon, one of Hollywood’s most talented and famous film editors. We have this great scoop thanks to Alexia Di Fabio, who interviewed him and wrote this wonderful article. The financial column, written by Tina Salandra, is very informative and will surely clear up any doubts about the 2013 tax changes and their impact for expats. Don’t forget to read our Proust which features Conchita Vecchio, a member since 2010. Check out Danielle DeVine’s Delizie column for a “yummy” pizzeria review and my What’s Hot Now List. Thus go on and enjoy your reading. Kathy Araco AICR News Editor P.S. If you are interested in contributing to the AICR News & Magazine as a writer, please contact me.

club news Board Observers We would like to welcome Fabio Ferrari and Conchita Vecchio as new AICR Board of Directors Observers. They are filling the two vacant positions on the Board. AICR Photographer We would also like to welcome new Business member and photographer Mara Gulizia. Mara will be taking photos during some of our upcoming events and Happy Hours. If you see her, introduce yourself and say “cheese”! Check out her website too; Aperi-Art at Creta Rome A huge thank you to our wonderful hosts Lori-Ann Touchette and Paolo Porelli of c.r.e.t.a rome. They made the most amazing dinner for us, provided great wine and creative inspiration for painting our ceramics. A fantastic evening in their chic studio which I hope we can repeat! View the entire album of photos on Facebook or a few of them on our site. Facebook Like us on Facebook and if you see yourself in a photo, tag yourself! AICR Groups Many have proposed suggestions to the management and board for event ideas you have. If AICR is not able to organize them on behalf of the Club, you are more than welcome to form a Group within the Club. Post your suggested proposal in the Members Only section, which then will be distributed to members every Friday. Any questions? Ask the office.

aicr new members Please join us in welcoming the following new members: Mara Gulizia

Photographer Mara Gulizia Photography

Laurence Martin

Head of the International Affairs Dept. Confitarma

Third Party Advertisers - Disclaimer of Warranties and Limitation of Liabilities The American International Club of Rome (“AICR”) is not responsible for examining or evaluating the offerings of any businesses or individuals who place advertisements or articles in the AICR newsletter, magazines or website. We have no control over and do not endorse any services or products nor guarantee the quality, safety, or legality of items advertised, nor the truth or accuracy of content or listings provided by such third party advertisers. AICR is not and will not be a party to, or responsible for, any transaction concerning products and services advertised. Any agreement entered into shall be between you and the third party advertiser providing the goods and/or services only. In no event shall AICR be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortuous action, arising out of or in connection with any agreement you may enter into with a third party advertiser. If you decide to purchase or use the products and/or services of third party advertisers, you do so entirely at your own risk. AICR News - Winter 2014


upcoming events Craft Beer Tasting with Katie Parla March 27th, 7 p.m. Open Baladin Limited spaces, advance reservations and payment is required. First Friday Happy Hour April 4th, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Hotel Boscolo Palace, via Veneto 70 “Second� Friday Happy Hour May 9th, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Hotel Art, via Margutta 56

member profile Member Profile: Rebecca Spitzmiller by Danielle De Vine Rebecca Spitzmiller is the kind of woman than inspires one to make New Year’s Resolutions. As the fiery founder of the civic-pride movement Retake Roma, she is known in the expat community for her passionate devotion to getting and keeping Rome clean, as well as her seemingly endless energy when it comes to altruistic causes of all sorts. However, she is quick to dismiss any accolades with her typical modesty: “Retake Roma is not about me. Anyone can participate and there is no cult of the personality.” Charity, in her case, truly began at home, as the whole Retake Roma movement came into being when the scaffolding in her apartment building’s inner courtyard began to attract graffiti tags. The other residents seemed resigned to it and Rebecca’s pleas to the condominium association were met with a €10,000 cleaning estimate. With years of construction work predicted, and new tags appearing on a daily basis, Rebecca could no longer bear doing nothing, so one day, accompanied by her 14-year-old son, she donned a pair of plastic gloves, got out a ladder, and armed herself with “Fornet” oven cleaner. One week of 2-hour daily scrubbing sessions later, she and her son had successfully removed the tags, and at the mere cost of €45. Buoyed by the satisfaction of her own take-action operation, Rebecca met with friends including Paola Carra, Lori Hickey and Anita Garibaldi in December 2009, and Retake Roma was officially born. Fellow indefatigable AICR member Lori Hickey was thus a co-founder, and it was her idea to launch the very first Retake Roma outing on March 17th 2010 at Villa

Borghese. Meetings were held with AMA and Rome’s historical center councilor, and on that spring morning, beginning at 6:30 a.m. with the arrival of the first AMA trucks and early-bird volunteers, Retake Roma’s cleanup began. By the end of the day, more than 200 people had participated, and since that auspicious beginning, Retake Roma has enlisted volunteers of all ages and nationalities, even converting former “writers” (taggers) to design art projects in place of vandalistic graffiti. The movement has been covered by Italian and international press, including RAI, CNN, Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, has inspired similar movements in Florence, Milan and Umbria, and has been adopted by various local and international schools in Rome. Such an endeavor is not without obstacles, and Rebecca encountered several along the way. The first was simply the indifference and resignation to the status quo that often seems to create a self-imposed blindness to the actual vandalism or littering. “I would ask local shopkeepers in my neighborhood why they didn’t do something about the tags on their storefronts and they

AICR News - Winter 2014


member profile would ask me ‘What tags?’ Even, ‘What swastika?’ They were so used to it that they literally didn’t see it anymore.” Another potential stumbling block proved to be the culturally-instilled mentality of a society that traditionally views government institutions with great mistrust. Rebecca was made aware of this when one of the most ardent members of Retake Roma, an Italian friend, upon hearing that they were set to meet with city officials, told her “I hope they don’t steal our ideas.” Laughing at the recollection, Rebecca says “I told her ‘I hope they do!’ It’s not about us versus the government; we want to work on this together. We hope they take all our ideas and run with them.” But perhaps the most shocking hindrance in making a change was the attitude of some of the young graffiti makers’ parents. “One mother accompanied her daughters and

even held their spray paint cans for them. When I asked her why, she said, ‘Well, if I didn’t, the police might have arrested them.’ ” Rebecca, who is fond of quoting Alexis de Tocqueville (“associations are the essence [...] of civil society [...]. It is this inclination to contribute to the public good […] that prevents free peoples from degenerating into a morass of selfishness [...] associations and their service must be encouraged through education and public campaigns”), decided to take those cultural differences and use them as an opportunity to start a dialogue on what it means to be a citizen and an empowered member of society. She started at her son’s local high

3 Expatriate American Tax | Via Leonina 41, Roma 00186 | US Tel. +1 212-777-0807 | US Fax +1 212-242-2820

member profile

school, Cristo Re, tackling the tags on the church of Sant’Emerenziana. Not only were the students exposed to new ways to thinking about citizenship and personal empowerment, but the involvement of Giuseppe Garibaldi’s great grand-daughter Anita Garibaldi and the Giuseppe Garibaldi Foundation proved to be a way to engage them in discussions about what it means to be a hero. Is one born a hero or does one become one? What does it mean to be a hero in everyday life? Rebecca still remembers the response of one of the young men present: “ESSERE UN EROE VUOL DIRE FARE LA COSA GIUSTA FINO IN FONDO.” The same young man had started out as one of the principal troublemakers, but by the end of their time together he was offering to carry Rebecca’s bag for her. Although she is perhaps best known for her work with Retake Roma, Rebecca is also a law professor and an artist, and it is those passions for justice and aesthetics that culminated in Retake Roma. Her home is testament to her artistic talents, with reminiscent Cezanne still life paintings done as a young girl, to interiors bearing the influence of the impressionists, all the way through an impressive abstract piece called “Labors of Love,” which contains objects from various aspects of her life and interests. Born to an artist mother who “taught me about the golden section from a young age,” Re-

becca seemed destined to a life devoted to art and teaching it. But after risking burnout as a middle school art teacher, a judge friend of the family encouraged her to take the LSAT, even offering to pay the test fee, and that began her career in law. It was in fact law that brought her to Italy, albeit indirectly. While studying comparative law in Heidelberg, Rebecca was reluctantly persuaded to join a friend on a trip to Florence, and while eating a budget lunch on a park bench there after having seen the David at the Accademia, Rebecca met the man who became her husband. It was a love that almost never happened, as on their second date, and Rebecca’s last day in Florence, he didn’t show up at the agreed upon time, and, unused to the vagaries of Italian traffic, after a few moments Rebecca gave up and left. It was only back in Heidelberg, where the university fielded many a call from Rome, that Rebecca was summoned to the university offices and told that a certain army doctor was looking for her. That was Gianni, the young man in Florence who had determined to find her in the age before cell phones and the Internet. Twenty-eight years later, and a college age son together, they are still blissfully happy, as evidenced by the smile when Rebecca answers what, or rather who, brought her to Rome. Dressed for our meeting in head to toe navy with a turquoise necklace that catches her eyes, she projects authority, casual elegance and a hint of artistic flair. Like other teachers and leaders who are able to stimulate and motivate, she has the rare ability to energize her audience while simultaneously transmitting a core serenity. As she says herself, her goals for her own students are the same as the Retake Roma motto: “Wake up, speak up, and clean up.”

AICR News - Winter 2014


inter view with chris lebenzon A Roman talk with Hollywood “Top Gun”, Chris Lebenzon by: Alexia Maria Di Fabio

“I just try to put myself in the place of a viewer.” (Chris Lebenzon) If ever there was a symbol that loudly and visibly spells America both inside and beyond its boundaries, surely it must be Hollywood: Hollywood intended as the quintessential definition of cinema, as the dream-machine, the factory where all works of imagination are materialized and brought to life onscreen through the Seventh Art. For many of us, the love affair with Hollywood (and cinema in general) starts early on. As an Italian (and a Roman), one might also say the tradition runs in our DNA, given the past of Cinecittà. Let’s face it, some movies, aside from setting the mood for entire generations (like “Top Gun” in the Eighties and more recently “Alice in Wonderland”, just to mention two), also deliver a parallel way of looking at reality, representing altogether the director’s vision. In fact, a director’s body of work, on a more general and technical note, sets out to divulge his personal style. While onscreen, his vision can occasionally be determined by a particular –and recurring– choice of “stars”, there is always more than meets the eye. Off-screen and behind the scenes, the director’s team –or crew– is also fundamental in purporting this vision. An important partnership within the crew, overlooked by the inexperienced “lay” eyes, is the one between the director and the editor. Little is known about editors, however it is their bravura and sensibility what ultimately create the final connection between the director and the viewer, more specifically, between the director’s original 10

intentions or message and the viewer’s comprehension and enjoyment of the film. Against this introductory backdrop, it is no coincidence that films such as “Top Gun” and “Alice in Wonderland” were mentioned. As much as they may seem different (and they are!), the former was directed by Tony Scott whereas the latter by Tim Burton, nonetheless they were edited by the same person: Chris Lebenzon, A.C.E. (American Cinema Editor). Although Mr. Lebenzon has edited almost 40 feature films during the course of his career –a career which began in the late seventies– for the sake of brevity he has agreed to share details of precisely these two very important partnerships (with directors Tony Scott and Tim Burton), not before giving us a few biographical highlights that led him to be a twice-nominated Academy-Award editor and the recipient of the Eddie Award in 2007 and 2010. Mr. Lebenzon, many of us decide during childhood what we want to be when we grow up. In your case, did you always want to be an editor? I didn’t always want to be an editor. In fact, like most people I didn’t even know what editors do. In the 70s my older brother knew the filmmakers of the movie Woodstock.

The American International Club of Rome

inter view with chris lebenzon They were hoping to make a movie on the American Revolution to coincide with America’s Bicentennial in 1976. They needed a young assistant, so I left art school and moved to L.A. The director owned the first flatbed editing machine. I would play on the machine threading up 16 mm outtakes. It was my first exposure to a professional editing system and I was naturally drawn to it. They never made the movie, but I met an editor while living at the house who offered me a position on a different project and haven’t looked back since. What is the goal of an editor, in your opinion? The goal is to realize the director’s vision. I’ve learned that sometimes there is no vision, especially with less experienced directors. In that case, my job is to craft a movie that works. And works on different levels. Hopefully, when we’re finished, the people who made the movie are happy on an artistic level. And the studio is happy on a commercial level. There are many considerations when editing a movie but first and foremost I try to put myself in the place of a viewer, of an audience member. I see all the footage and with it all the possibilities, and it’s easy to get lost in the process. So I try to remain fresh and bring no preconceptions to the experience of reacting to the footage. If I‘m editing with that mindset, I automatically make the story clear and concise. This brings us to my next question: How did you and Tony Scott come together? My longtime friend, Billy Weber, was hired by Jerry Bruckheimer to edit “Top Gun” together. I had just finished “Weird Science”, which Tony loved. Billy wanted help editing and brought me one morning to Tony’s hotel. His hand was bandaged up. He said

he had been in a fistfight the night before. I wasn’t sure if this would be a fruitful collaboration. But we hit it off right away and collaborated on 10 movies together over the next 25 years. Let us talk a bit about “Top Gun”, now. A subject, which I am sure, will interest many readers of my generation and beyond… In hindsight, what was it like being part of such a “cult” movie? What did a typical workday feel like? There were no typical days. Every day was like a rollercoaster. When the crew moved to Nevada to shoot the aerial scenes, we were buried in footage because of all of the cameras filming the jets. Even the pilots had cameras filming out the window. So Billy and I made select rolls from all of the flying footage. We assembled the aerial scenes from those select rolls and cut them to rock-and-roll music to get the feel of the pace. Those scenes became the basis of the action. Then the actors in the cockpit were filmed. The dialogue was added later with

AICR News - Winter 2014


inter view with chris lebenzon the help of naval advisors. Because the actors wore masks, we could put any dialogue we wanted over the pilots. So in that way we could tell any story we wanted. The hard part was cutting the aerial scenes in a way to reflect the ever-changing story. On this note, is having a lot of material to choose from a blessing or a curse? It can be a curse because you have to find the story in the material, and if it’s not there, it’s much harder. It can be a blessing as well if you’re wanting to create pace, because in pace you need a lot of angles. Tony Scott would put cameras up everywhere. It was much better for his style of picture because he didn’t want you to draw breath, he didn’t want the audience to ever relax. He just kept driving home the excitement level. That shooting style would not benefit all movie genres. I doubt that romantic comedies would benefit from so many angles. Performance is more important. But in action movies, you want to create a sense of excitement and you need the angles to do it. Going back to Top Gun, in the 2004 behind-the-scenes documentary “Danger Zone”, Billy Weber reveals a shocking detail: the love scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis was shot after the movie was finished, as an afterthought. (Tony Scott himself agreed that the sensual aspect between the two protagonists was needed to complete the overall story.) Although both actors were working on other projects, they returned to shoot the missing scene, and Bob Badami, the music editor, tucked in the song “Take My Breath Away.” Considering that music is another very important element contributing to a movie’s overall final appearance and success, could you share your side of the story? 12

After a long day editing, Billy and I would assemble with Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (the producers), Tony (Scott) and Bob (Badami) at the composer, Harold Faltermeyer’s studio. We would listen to Harold’s music cues and then the music producer Giorgio Moroder would provide demos of songs to place on different scenes to judge how the scenes would play. It was at that studio that the soundtrack came together. The love scene between Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise was an afterthought. We also needed an additional scene to make Tom Cruise’s character more likable. In early cuts, his character came across as self-centered and unlikable. So we filmed a scene in “Goose’s” (Anthony Edwards) room that softened his character and made him more vulnerable. Of course, the movie turned out to be a great success, so much so that it stayed in theaters for a year. Any considerations on “Top Gun” becoming the hit that it was (and still is, for those of us who are nostalgics)? It was a great feeling to see the long lines and that it kept playing in theaters forever. It didn’t open like blockbuster movies do now, with huge numbers… it just steadily played throughout the whole summer. Wherever I would travel, “Top Gun” songs were on the radio. Now, back to more recent times. When and how exactly did you start collaborating with Tim Burton? I had finished a movie with a director who knew Tim’s producer. That producer called me in for an interview with Tim. So I went in to talk to him. I had always admired his films for their originality.

The American International Club of Rome

inter view with chris lebenzon I think my favorite was “Ed Wood” (Burton). It represented my first black-and-white effort. We edited the movie in New York in the winter. It was very soothing to go from a record cold winter in New York to the comfort of black-and-white imagery on such an off-beat subject. Plus I missed a giant earthquake that hit Los Angeles while I was there! How do you ultimately approach an edit?

How was it like editing with Tim Burton? He is a very instinctive guy, so maybe he thought we’d get on in the editing room pretty well. He’s also the kind of director that doesn’t micro-manage, he doesn’t sit behind me at the computer and say “try this, try that, do this, do that”… he keeps a very broad view of the world and of the movie. A lot of directors get very lost in the detail, and they’re overworking the minutiae of the movie, which sometimes can put the big picture at risk. Tim’s dailies always surprise me with their originality. He is also the kind of person that makes people want to help him in any way possible. Of all the movies done with Scott and/or Burton, do you have any favorite(s) and why?

What I found is that my first instincts are usually the best. I think in life that’s true as well. If you second-guess yourself, sometimes bad decisions are made. I just start with what I think is the best performance in a pattern that best tells the story and work as fast as I can relying on first instincts. Then I’ll go back and wander through the material adding beats that I like. Every scene is different, every movie is different, and every studio is different but my approach is always the same. Last but not least, are there any other funny and/or interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes (involving not only the directors, but also producers and/or the stars themselves) that you would care to share? I have many behind-the-scenes anecdotes involving directors, producers and stars… but none are suitable for printing! If I shared them I would never work again!!!

At present, Mr. Lebenzon is working on the much awaited Disney live-action motion picture, “Maleficent”, scheduled for release in May 2014 and starring Angelina Jolie in the eponymous role of the wicked witch from “Sleeping Beauty.” Tim Burton was to originally direct it, yet he pulled out to focus on some of his other projects. He is being replaced by two time (consecutive) Academy Award Winner, Robert Stromberg. Given these wonderful premises, and in particular after the reassuring insights provided by Mr. Lebenzon, as anxious viewers we can only thrive on anticipation, confident that the “old” movie magic will happen all over again when we flock to the movie theaters next spring! AICR News - Winter 2014


finance “ObamaCare”, FBAR, “FiscalCliff”, DOMA, FATCA, … ARE YOU READY? by Tina Salandra, CPA

What Tax Law Changes mean for US Expat. Although the US Congress seems to change some aspects of the US tax law every year, for 2013 tax return filings there are more significant changes than usual. Changes include: the new Medicare tax as a result of The Affordable Care Act a/k/a ObamaCare, the final end of the 2001 tax cuts which created the infamous “Fiscal Cliff” tax rates, and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Plus new Estate and Gift Tax exclusions. For 2014, the implementation of the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) requires foreign banks and investment institutions to report information on US account holders. In addition, stronger Italian tax initiatives may affect US expatriate residents in Italy. All of which make living and working abroad more complex from a tax standpoint. Expats often have limited access to US tax professionals, and therefore can be at a disadvantage in being up to date on changes and how it pertains to them. The following is an overview for Americans living and working abroad. US Citizens and residents are subject to tax on global income. However, US Expatriates can offset their US tax liability in 3 ways: 1) Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: In 2013, this exemption was increased to $97,600 2) Housing Exclusion: For 2013, qualified housing expenses in excess of $15,616 per year may be deductible from your wages or self-employment income. 3) Foreign Tax Credit: Tax paid to another country on wages or investment income can be deducted against your US tax on that same income. Social Security Tax: The taxable ceiling for Social Security Tax in 2013 increased to $113,700, up from $110,100 in 2012. 14

Therefore, if you are self-employed or work for a US based company, you will be subject to the increased tax in 2013 on your earned income abroad. However, if you contribute to the social pension system of the foreign country you live in (i.e. Italy), you will not usually have to pay any US Social Security Tax. ObamaCare: New for 2013, an additional 3.8% Medicare Tax will be applied to investment income if your Adjusted Gross Income exceeds $200,000 for Single filers, and $250,000 for Married Joint filers, but only $125,000 for Married Filing Separate. Consequently, many more US expatriates may be subject to this tax because their spouse is a non-US Citizen/Resident and therefore they cannot file as Married Joint. Investment income defined under ObamaCare includes: Interest, Dividends, Capital Gains, and Rental Property profits. It does however exclude retirement income and Social Security benefits. In addition, an extra 0.9% Medicare tax will be applied to wages and/or self-employment income in excess of the aforementioned thresholds. “Fiscal Cliff” Tax Rates: A much publicized increase early in 2013, premium tax rates apply to individuals earning more than $400,000 or married couples earning more than $450,000. The higher rates apply whether the income is from wages, investments, or capital gains. The 2013 “Fiscal Cliff” tax rate is 39.6% plus another 3.8% Healthcare Reform Tax for a combined US tax rate of 43.4%. US Tax rates have not been this high in more than 25 years! For US expatriates, the higher US tax rates begin to rival Italy and other Western European countries. Long-Term Capital Gains: For 2013, if your taxable income is in excess of the $200,000/ 250,000 ObamaCare thresholds, your effective Long-Term Capital Gains tax rate increases to 18.8%. Further, if your income is in excess of the $400,000 / $450,000 Fiscal Cliff floor, your effective tax on Long-Term Capital Gains leaps to almost 24% (20% new

The American International Club of Rome

finance tax rate plus 3.8% Medicare increase). This applies to US or foreign investment gains from the sale of stocks, bonds, real estate, partnership equity or corporate ownership, and your own home! Estate and Gift Tax: l 2013 exclusion amount is now set at $5,250,000 per person. This exclusion was set to drop to only $1,000,000 in 2013, instead the it was not only increased but will be indexed for inflation each year going forward. (ex. 2014 exclusion is $5,340,000) l The annual Gift Exclusion per person per year was increased to $14,000 in 2013, up from $13,000 the prior year. l 2013 Gift Exclusion for gifts to a non-UScitizen spouse is increased to $143,000 per year. Gifts of cash or other assets to a U.S. spouse are unlimited (not subject to Gift Tax law.) DOMA: As of July 2013 The Defense Of Marriage Act is ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. This means that married samesex couples will be recognized as married by the US government, and therefore entitled to all the same benefits as other married couples. This includes application for US immigration status for a non-US spouse wed to a US citizen in any country outside the US that recognizes same-sex marriage. In addition, married same-sex couples who were married in a prior year, may file Amended tax returns up to 3 years back, if filing as Married Joint will result in a tax benefit. FBAR: Foreign Bank Account Reporting requires US citizens/residents to report all foreign bank accounts that had $10,000 or more at any time during the year. This includes accounts jointly held with a non-US spouse. Though FBAR is not a new US tax initiative, it is being more widely enforced in the past few years. US expatriates are an audit target because the IRS can easily audit US tax returns with foreign addresses, assuming a US person who lives and works outside the US, will likely have a bank account in the country they live in.

FACTA: The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requires US taxpayers with foreign financial assets to report these on special form with their tax return. Such financial assets include non-US: Stocks, Bonds, ownership in a non-US Partnership or Corporation, non-US Pension plan assets, and certain Life Insurance plans. FATCA excludes reporting of your foreign based home or rental property. In addition, FATCA requires non-US banks and investment institutions to report on US account holders. In turn, US financial institutions are required to report US accounts held by nonresidents and to withhold US tax related to US source income. Italian Tax Initiative: The Italian tax authority seeks to impose stronger enforcement in requiring Italian Residents to disclose income earned globally, and consequently pay Italian tax on income earned outside the country if you are a resident of Italy. In the past, this rule focused on Italian citizens, but the Italian government seeks to include all residents of Italy. This is significant for US expatriates living in Italy that may maintain a business, investments or rental property in the US or elsewhere. Italian participation in FATCA, may provide more information to the Italian tax authorities regarding Italians with financial assets in the US. If you and your Italian spouse jointly own ‘financial assets’ in the US, this may be reported to Italy under the new FATCA agreement. The aforementioned tax law changes are by no means all encompassing, but intended to highlight the changes that may most affect US Expatriates living and working abroad. You should contact a US Certified Public Accountant that specializes in expatriate tax preparation before filing your 2013 US income tax return. If you have questions about US Tax law you may contact:

AICR News - Winter 2014


delizie gastronomiche del Lazio Pizzeria review: La Fraschetta by Danielle DeVine

Stepping into La Fraschetta feels both like traveling back in time and arriving on a movie set; dimly lit cavernous walls and the fiery oven give the feel of an old almost Caravaggesque tavern, and the hundreds of garlic cloves hanging from the ceiling with baskets serving as lampshades endow the space with a real old style trattoria feel. The restaurant is divided into two spaces by the wood burning oven, with a cozier space perfect for more intimate meals near the entrance, and the much more expansive space in the back, perfect for larger groups an family meals. Although the decor is kitsch enough to arouse suspicions that you have entered the classic tourist trap, La Fraschetta serves up some of Rome’s best pizza, made by one of the only women pizza makers in the Eternal City. The clientele is a mixture of about 60% Roman and 40% foreigners, but the majority are locally based returning customers. If you plan on going on a Saturday night, call to reserve, as the line has been known to spill out not just onto the sidewalk, but even onto the street. The most popular pizza choice of Italian diners is the Margherita and the Napoli, while the international customers make the Capricciosa their most requested. If you go in the next few weeks, you will be sorry if you don’t try the mouthwatering pizza with porcini mushrooms. There are also some tasty combinations such as tuna and onion. All of the pizza is outstandingly sog-resistant. Pizza is not the only fare on the menu, and the fried appetizers are irresistible, in particular the baccalà and the fiori di zucca. Other scrumptious dishes include the many Roman pastas, from the matriciana (the head waiter’s personal favorite) to the cacio e pepe. The house wine is quite good, and one can look forward to the coming months when the Fraschetta’s famous pere cotte reappear on the dessert menu. Founded in 1974 by three partners in the restaurant business, La Fraschetta has remained true to its original founding spirit if friendship, and staff are so unfailingly friendly and helpful and take such a genuine interest in their customers, that one could almost be forgiven for thinking they must be the establishment owners themselves. For a great pizza and a warm and convivial atmosphere, don’t hesitate to try the enduring, endearing, deliberately oldlooking but 39 years young La Fraschetta. LA FRASCHETTA VIA SAN FRANCESCO A RIPA 134 (Trastevere) opening hours : open every night for dinner TEL 06-5816012

AICR News - Winter 2014


proust questionnaire AICR Proust Questionnaire with Conchita Vecchio Conchita Vecchio defines herself as “a writer, educator, and tourism entrepreneur” (in this precise order). She has lived in Italy for over 25 years and currently resides in the land of her forebears, Sicily. What is your idea of perfect happiness? As my grandmother used to say, those who are happy are crazy, meant in the Pirandellian sense, as if only fools can believe to attain perfect happiness. I’d say so long as I’ve got my health and likewise for my loved ones, then that makes me happy. That, and also traveling around Europe for concerts! What is your greatest fear? Having to depend on others due to physical or mental incapacity. Which living person do you most admire? Condoleezza Rice. Who are your favorite writers? I’d need three pages for that! Iris Murdoch, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth, Saki, John Fowles, Edith Wharton, John Julius Norwich...I need to stop now! (Laughs) Which talent would you most like to have? William F. Buckley, Jr.’s command of the English language. That, and banishing the word “procrastination” from my vocabulary! 18

The American International Club of Rome

proust questionnaire What is your most treasured possession? My life. When and where were you happiest? If you have to crystallize happiness in the past, it means that your present is less than satisfactory. We should embrace each day and what comes with it. That said, I’d say I was happiest as a carefree teenager in the 80s in New York. Going to high school in Greenwich Village was the experience of a lifetime - I don’t think many kids can say they saw Keith Haring at work while exiting the subway, or going on school trips at the Metropolitan Opera House and meeting Luciano Pavarotti backstage. Now it’s all changed; it’s lost so much of its rawness and authenticity. What is your most marked characteristic? I’m terrible at being poker faced - my feelings immediately transfer to my facial expressions! What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being able to leave the house without a stitch of makeup and not scare the neighbors! Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Charlie Brown.

short list Short List - What’s hot now! by Kathy Araco

Movie: Noah. Darren Aronofsky’s vision sees Noah interpreted by the Academy Award winner Russell Crowe starring alongside other big Hollywood names like Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, Ray Winstone, Nick Nolte just to name a few. Brave enough to take on a biblical myth, the Black Swan director has been fascinated with the figure of Noah since he was thirteen and actually based the film on the graphic novel Noé: Pour la cruauté des hommes he co-wrote with Ari Handel and published in 2011. Describing a time when barbarism and warfare ravaged the land, Noah is seen as “the first environmentalist” to recognize the importance of caring for the world. Making this film must have been a real challenge – above all the special affects will surely be worth seeing, like the creation of CGI1 fantastical animals which are said to be some of the most complex digital shots rendered by ILM to date. Album: High Hopes. Bruce Springsteen is considered a legend of American music. He has earned numerous awards for his work, including twenty Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award and being in the Rock & Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. After reaping huge success with his previous album Wrecking Ball, the Boss is back with High Hopes, his new eighteenth studio album. This is also his first album collection of cover songs previously preformed live, offcuts and new reinterpretations of formerly recorded songs. Backing him up is the E Street Band, including appearances from the late Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici. This is an album all fans will surely appreciate. Website: Obsessed by the latest technology? Unable to decide which is the best product on the market to get your money’s worth? Seeking advice from a reliable source and don’t know who to turn to? Well, rest assure that they have done their homework, for each product undergoes thorough research and testing before being selected and reviewed in detail. So on the website you’ll find an extensive list of the best technology available today among laptops, smartphones, tvs, tablets, cameras, computers, printers, scanners, headphones and so much more. All divided into easy accessible categories to readily help you find what you’re looking for. Besides, via email request, they’ll also help you find gadgets that are not listed. Isn’t that great? 1

Computer generated imagery.


The American International Club of Rome

short list DVD: Frozen. Although this Walt Disney Animation Picture offers a wonderful entertainment for the whole family, this one’s for the kids. Loosely based on the tale of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, the plot revolves around two sisters: the princess of Arendelle Anna (voice of Kirsten Bell) and the Snow Queen Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel). Their kingdom is trapped in an endless winter, hence the title plays on the level of ice and snow, but also on the siblings’ frozen relationship and the frozen heart that has to be thawed. In terms of numbers, its huge box office profit is unbelievable. The movie has already cashed in a total of $913 million worldwide since its release on Nov. 27, 2013 and its success doesn’t stop here. Praised for its visuals, themes, musical numbers, screenplay and voice acting, this Disney winter tale musical has already won many awards among which Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globe Awards, Annie Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards, where it also won Best Original Song for “Let It Go”. All the songs, written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, play an important part in creating the legendary “Disney magic” we all fall in love with. Book: The Invention of Wings. Selected by Oprah as her newest book club read, this brilliant masterpiece about one of the most devastating pages of American history, takes on both slavery and feminism. The novel is exquisitely written by Sue Monk Kidd and is seen through the eyes of women who struggle for liberation, empowerment, and expression. In an age of slavery, two women fight for their “wings”. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women’s rights. Although it’s listed as fiction, much of it is actually historically based for it was inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimk and her sister, who in the years prior to the Civil War, bravely travelled the country to speak out against slavery at a time when women didn’t have the right to speak at all. Classics: Tribute to Shirley Temple Black (Apr.23 1928 - Feb.10 2014). As one of Hollywood’s youngest stars, Shirley Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three. Stand Up and Cheer!, Little Miss Marker, Bright Eyes, The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Curly Top, Wee Willie Winkie and Heidi are her most famous films. From 1935 to 1939 she was the most popular movie star in America, with Clark Gable a distant second. She received more mail than Greta Garbo and was photographed more often than President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her sparkling and sunny personality uplifted spirits during the Depression years and her movies were seen as generating hope and optimism. As a teen, her box office popularity declined, so she left the film industry to pursue a career in politics, becoming the United States Ambassador to Ghana first and then to Czechoslovakia. Although her Hollywood career was short and intense, it left an indelible mark. She sang and tapped her way into the hearts of Americans with her charm. Her signature song “On the Good Ship Lollipop” is a classic. She received many awards and honors and will always be remembered dearly and with affection. AICR News - Winter 2014


aicr silver business members & discounts

Discounts and listings from our Silver Business Members. Take advantage of important discounts at many local businesses, thanks to your AICR Membership. Ciao Italia, Italian language and cultural center. Intensive/Non intensive courses. Day/Evening – Small groups CILS/CELI exam preparation. Courses at home/office. From Sept 16th, Extensive course (E2): Monday-Wednesday 6:30p.m.-8:20p.m. 150 euro per month + registration fee Tel. 064814084 Via Delle Frasche 5, (Via Nazionale) Metro B-Stop Cavour Order personalized floral designs by DebraFlower for that special touch and have them delivered free (Rome and within 5 km. outside Raccordo). Weddings! Events! Parties!,,, 10% Discount off Intensive Italian Courses (60 hours) Koiné - Italian Language Centre. Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 48., Catering services: International cuisine – Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Moroccan, Middle Eastern, Mexican and European... Cooking classes for adults and children. Food tours. Contact Francesa Flore of La Luna nel Piatto Tel. 339 6230393, C.R.E.T.A. rome: Ceramics, Residencies, Exhibitions, Teaching & the Arts: 10% discount on ceramic courses for children. 10% discount on creative, relaxed ceramic courses for adults.;; via dei Delfini 17 Tel. 347 8024581


The American International Club of Rome

aicr business members AICR thanks our Business Members who provide benefits for AICR members and support the Club.


Bellezza Totale

Marymount International School

Tel. 06 6830 7238 Via della Vite 21/B - 00187 Rome

Tel. 06 36 29 101 Fax: 06 36 30 1738 Via di Villa Lauchli 180 - 00191 Rome Platinum

Avis Autonoleggio - Rent a Car

Italian Headquarters: Viale Carmelo Bene 70, 00139 Rome Reservations: Call Center: 199 100 133 (Outside Italy + 39 06 45 21 08 391) Quote Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number W465200

Rome International School

Tel. 06 84482650/1

St. John’s University

Via Marcantonio Colonna, 21A Rome Italy 00192 Tel. 06-393842 or Toll Free Number in Italy: 800 971736 Fax: +39 06 39384200 US Tel: +1 (212) 815-9216 Ext. 2


Expatriate American Tax US Tel +1 212-777-0807 Italy: 347-328-4339 US Fax +1 212-242-2820 Via Leonina, 83 - Roma, IT 00184

Koiné - Italian Language Centre

Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 48 - 00184 Roma Phone (+39) 06.96038365

NOI Salon

Rome: Piazza del Popolo 3 - Tel. +39 06 3600 6284 - Naples: Vicoletto Belledonne 9 - Tel. +39 081 405 457 -

AICR past events photos

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.