Carmel Rotary and the City of Carmel to Host Arte d’Italia

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January 2023

It is with great pleasure that Carmel Monthly is featuring world-renowned pianist and Deputy Mayor Francesco Attesti of Cortona, Italy. Attesti is considered one of the finest interpreters of the Romantic and early Twentieth Century Repertoire, and he is scheduled to perform at the Palladium alongside the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and will also be performing at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in February.

Carmel Arte d’Italia

Upon Attesti’s arrival to Carmel, Indiana, the Carmel Rotary and the City of Carmel will host an authentically Italian experience — Arte d’Italia — on February 17 and 19, 2023, during the Celebration Launch Weekend for Carmel’s sister-city relationship with Cortona, Italy. Proceeds from the events will benefit the many local organizations and projects in Carmel that the Rotary Club of Carmel supports throughout the year.

Purchase your tickets for the show at the Center for the Performing Arts or indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime, VIP opportunity to witness an artist and his craft while partaking in an authentically Italian meal featuring wines directly imported from Cortona.

For more information, visit

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17th, 5:30 p.m.

Black-tie, Cortona-inspired Dinner and Jazz Concert

Featuring the AB&C Trio from Cortona, Italy, at Feinstein’s Cabaret Club at Hotel Carmichael

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19th, 7 p.m.

World-renowned pianist Francesco Attesti of Cortona, Italy, performs at the Palladium with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra in a program including works of Rossini, Copland and Grieg. Following the concert is an “Elegantly Italian” VIP dessert reception in Hotel Carmichael’s Cole Porter Ballroom, featuring Italian-inspired desserts, coffees and liqueurs.

A Brief Overview of a Sister City’s Purpose

You may have read in our June 2022 issue of Carmel Monthly our story on the city of Carmel’s announcement of a new Sister City relationship with the city of Cortona, Italy, making that official foreign agreement the fourth international Sister City for the city of Carmel.

In that article, we spoke with Mayor Jim Brainard about the purpose of Sister Cities, and he shared with us a little more about the ancient and beautiful town of Cortona.

According to Brainard, the City of Carmel — and any city or town that is a member of Sister Cities International — benefits from the promotion of international goodwill, the student educational exchanges and expanded business relationships between the Sister Cities and their respective nations.

Brainard views the recent agreement that he recently signed, along with Cortona Mayor Luciano Meoni in Italy, as an effort to “encourage global community.”

In anticipation of Cortona Deputy Mayor Francesco Attesti’s impending visit and artistic performance in Carmel, Brainard said, “Sister cities are important [relationships] for all cities, I think. This is a beautiful part of Italy … a historic city that predates the Romans, back to the times of the Etruscans. It is a medieval city — an excellent example of medieval architecture that is still existing in the world.”

Brainard added, “If you remember the film, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun,’ it was filmed in Cortona. Sister Cities exist because it is so important to give opportunities to students, adults and cultural organizations so that they can learn from each other’s experiences and cultures. Those experiences enrich our city and hopefully will enrich the people of Cortona as well.”

It has been a goal of Brainard’s to put Carmel, Indiana, on the global map for its advocacy of the arts and culture in addition to its ability to build a sustainable city for the present and its future. When asked if he is proud to host a world-class musician who also happens to be a statesman for a foreign country, Brainard replied, “It is an example of some of the best that Carmel has to offer people that live here, to our business community, as well as for our visitors. I believe that Carmel can compete for a high quality of life with the best cities anywhere in the world. This event will be one that people here and those who are visiting from abroad will remember for a long time.”

An Opportunity for Stakeholders to Shine

Hotel Carmichael General Manager Jamie Hopwood and Carmel Symphony Orchestra Artistic Director Janna Hymes weighed in on this spectacular opportunity to showcase some of Carmel’s finest and most beautiful venues and organizations.

“We are delighted to welcome Francesco Attesti to Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael,” Hopwood expressed. “Our Chef, Jason Crouch, and his team [have] curated an amazing menu focused on the rich culinary influence found in this region of Italy. Having a sister city and bringing these experiences to our residences here in Carmel allow people to experience Italy without leaving our own town. We are excited to be part of this collaborative event lead by the [Carmel] Rotary and excited to bring another songbook experience to our fans.”

Just as Attesti expressed his enthusiasm for performing with CSO and Maestra Hymes, Hymes spoke about what the upcoming performance means to her and the members of CSO.

“Francesco is so excited, we Zoomed with him twice,” Hymes shared. “He is a very well-respected not only politician but also a concert pianist. So, when we were approached about doing a concert with him, we designed a whole new program, and I thought it would be nice if we featured Italian and American pieces to show the collaboration that we’re doing. And to perform these with this Italian pianist along with an American orchestra is a wonderful combination and he loved the idea!”

Strengthening Diplomacy through Art and Culture

Attesti became Deputy Mayor in 2019 and Counsellor of Culture and Tourism for Cortona, an interesting path for a world-renowned musician. We had the great privilege of speaking with Attesti about how he is using his political position to increase cultural awareness of not only his city of Cortona and the country of Italy but to enhance the economic development of his city by strengthening relationships with countries like America and cities such as Carmel, Indiana.

“I travel the world [as a performer and as Deputy Mayor] to be connected with several cultural institutions, universities and foundations for music and culture,” Attesti shared. “This position allows me to improve the cultural and touristic revenue for my city. It is a very complicated mission because Cortona is quite known worldwide, and so what we are trying to do is bring a better kind of tourism experience so that people stay longer than a few hours and maybe in the future will stay for a longer period of time. We are using new technologies and social media [to promote Cortona], and we are the first Tuscany town that does its own TikTok page! We also have Instagram and of course Facebook to promote Cortona through upscale cultural events. These could be exhibits, concerts and conferences — inviting important guests from different sectors and from businesses all over the world.”

Carmel Arte d’Italia

The Deputy Mayor of Cortona proudly shared that his city is known for its many festivals that celebrate the various facets of Tuscan life in a modern era.

“We have several festivals — all different from each other,” Attesti expressed. “The festivals start from June and go through the end of summer, so into September, October. We have all the history; we have all the culture and the heritage. And we have museums, and we have wonderful buildings from medieval and renaissance times, the Roman time and so on. And then we have good food and wine, which is what we are known for!”

When asked what Attesti hopes to accomplish in this special visit to Carmel, he replied, “I see that Carmel is a very good opportunity for both cities to benefit from each other from our different experiences. I’m sure we can learn [from Carmel] how to grow businesses [economic sustainability], and maybe we can suggest some solutions to increase tourism and cultural life [in Carmel]. We lack resources, especially economic resources, because our [Italian] system is a little bit more complicated and our legislation is different than yours — especially with tax deductions. That is a big obstacle and problem for us when we approach our sponsors for cultural activities. I know very well how it works for you [Americans], and it is a wonderful system.”

Music is a Universal Language

Attesti has a penchant for all kinds of music and has been growing his passion for music since the age of 6. Although he is, of course, classically trained, Attesti enjoys a myriad of genres and will be performing with his trio, the Jazz Ensemble AB&C Trio of Cortona, Italy, at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael.

Attesti spoke with exuberance about performing timeless and beautiful classical works with CSO at the Palladium. With as much excitement, Attesti spoke about performing with his trio from Cortona in an even more intimate setting at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael.

“I am sure these will be great evenings of friendship and music,” Attesti stated. “I always say that music is the only language where, without saying anything, everyone in the world can understand you. My trio is a small formation of three musicians: piano, drums and double bass. We revisit the classical [pieces] in a different and modern way. It’s just my approach and is a project that I’ve wanted to realize since I was about 20 [years old] and started to do it only 4–5 years ago. It is very nice and very lively. I have a feeling that the public will be moved by it. Everybody knows the tunes that we are playing, but we present it in a very different style. You will see what we do in our performance!”