Simona Ventura is an icon of Italian television who started out on Rai Uno's Domani Sposi with Giancarlo Magalli and translated her love of sport into a successful career as a correspondent during events like World Cup Italia '90 and the Barcelona Olympics. Ventura has participated in such popular shows as Domenica In, Quelli che il calcio..., the Sanremo Festival and L'Isola Dei Famosi. "I love the United States, I consider it the country of freedom, meritocracy and creativity," Ventura says, eyes shining when she speaks of her relationship with the U.S.
"It's a place that makes me happy and increases my vitality," Ventura adds, as if she weren't already enthusiastic enough. Simona is in fact full of optimism and is looking forward to a new season of Quelli che il calcio..., the football program that she has hosted on Sunday afternoons for the last ten years on RAI-2. The very popular Italian presenter sat down to speak to LifeInItaly about her love for America and its television, her programs on Italian television and her goals for the future, as well as fashion, soccer and her relationship with ex-husband Stefano Bettarini.
How long have you been nurturing this passion for the USA?
For a long time. I have two homes there: one in New York and another one in Miami, but this year I spent my holiday in Los Angeles, a city where people live well because the local administration is very efficient and there are good schools. Even the air seems cleaner than in Italy.
What other cities do you favour?
New York, of course, even if it is a tough city, especially for children. Then I love Chicago, which is fantastic in terms of both urban structure and monuments.
Are you planning a TV career in the US?
Yes, I have been working on this project for a while. I would like to be behind the cameras, as the curator and producer of programs. I would also be very willing to do some internships at major television networks to understand how they work. Then my dream is to design a program dedicated to nostalgia and make it an entirely American production.
But there must be something that you don't like about America...
Yes some exaggerations and the excessive competition.
What do you think of President Obama ?
All the best. He's a great statesman and is doing wonderful things.
Why have you adopted a Forties-inspired hairstyle and type of dress?
I wanted to take inspiration from the Liberation period. I think it was a great time of exciting expectations and hope.
What are the novelties about your new program?
We will be cooperating with RAI International and Rai.net. Our team features the journalist Amedeo Goria, Daniele Battaglia, winner of the last edition of L'Isola dei Famosi, and the comedienne Virginia Raffaele.
How are you approaching Quelli che il calcio...?
We follow the A-series football championships (the major league championships) with interviews, commentary, "raids" on football fields and always with our style, which combines technical skills and irony and should be taken as an example by many fans, because football is also fun and it shouldn't be taken so seriously.
In this current edition you share hosting duties with your ex-husband Stefano Bettarini, what is your relationship like now?
After a period of misunderstanding we have found balance, we are friends and colleagues and certainly we will have a lot of fun.
What do you think about the text messages which were sent to your programme last year and the scandal that blew up because some of them were sent by Mafia bosses?
I myself was really astonished when it happened, I thought that prisoners were not allowed to watch TV. I must say that they were also lucky because we received approximately 5,000 to 6,000 texts on every episode and only a few of them were chosen: I wonder how they could be certain that we would choose theirs.
Who are the personalities that you hope will be successful during the Italian championship this year?
Rafah Benitez, the coach of Inter, I hope that he is as good as Mourinho, the former coach. But I would suggest that he think about dressing better because we are in Italy and we value our look.
What are your wishes for LifeinItaly?
To continue to achieve more important goals and to reflect the right image of Italy, which is the most beautiful country in the world.
About Simona Ventura
Born in Bologna on April 1, 1965, Ventura immediately showed a passion for three things: fashion, sports and music. The young Ventura won several beauty competitions and represented Italy in the Miss Universe competition in 1988.
Simona Ventura began her television career in 1988 on Raiuno and was immediately successful hosting both music programs like Festivalbar, Music Farm, Sanremo 2004 and X Factor and reality shows like L'Isola dei Famosi. Of course, Ventura has also been hosting Quelli che il calcio... since 2001.
So far Simona Ventura has won 9 Telegatti (TV awards) and several Premi Regia Televisiva (TV Direction awards).
In 2010 Ventura introduced her own personal web television, which was met with great excitement by her fans.
By: Massimiliano Chiavarone