Just the other night, I happened upon the Netflix program Master of None, written and acted by Aziz Ansari.
Generally, when I see Italy depicted by the English or American media, my first reaction is to shrink and wince, expecting the worst generalizations imaginable expressed in an awful Italian.
Instead, I discovered the Italian episodes to be delightful; Aziz Ansari clearly has done his Italian homework and the Italian actors in the cast are all wonderfully endearing. Cultural subtleties, such as stereotypically unhelpful Carabinieri; unadorned, paint-chipped stairwells; simplicity in food, wine and socialization, and the natural beauty of the regions discovered (Modena, in Emilia Romagna, and Pienza in Tuscany), are all covered with a light touch and lots of research.
Me thinks Ansari really did, at one point, run off to Modena to learn to make tortellini with Francesca’s nonna and has been waiting for a good excuse to get back ever since! The gliding ease with which he identifies, describes and depicts the nuances of contemporary Italy reveal a “global” citizenship and comfort with the unknown which we at Arcadia attempt to foster in our students.
One thing is certain: for Master of None fans out there among US college and university students, Dev’s Italy is our Italy. When you come to study with Arcadia in Italy, you, too, will be saying “Allooora” and making tortellini just like he does!