The Italian from Hong Kong who, if elected, could change the image of Italians abroad
Angelo Paratico, running for the Senate in the centre-right coalition formed by the parties known as Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d’Italia
For the fourth time – the first was in 2006 – Italian citizens living in Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania are voting to elect two members of the Italian Parliament, one in the House of Deputies and one in the Senate.
Voting is not compulsory and statistical data show that a relatively small minority of those entitled to vote (who must be of at least 18 years of age and are listed in the civic registry of Italian Consulates in their areas of residence) return their postal ballot papers.
The winners of the previous polls were all candidates of the Partito Democratico (Democratic Party) and possibly this trend will be confirmed but a different outcome, this time, cannot be altogether excluded. The only certainty is that the result will be determined by constituency in Australia which comprises by far the largest number of voters.
Amongst the candidates, one stands out as a remarkably cultivated and educated man. His name is Angelo Paratico and he is running for the Senate in the “Salvini-Berlusconi-Meloni” ticket, that is the centre-right coalition formed by the parties known as Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d’Italia. He has been living in Hong Kong with his wife Donatella and their two children since 1983, and has earned his living as a representative of a major Italian textile brand. At the same time he has devoted himself to classical and humanistic studies becoming the author of a few historical novels as well as non-fiction books about intriguing topics. One in particular has been attracting a lot of interest worldwide as it deals with a bizarre conjecture concerning Leonardo da Vinci’s mysterious mother.
According to Angelo Paratico’s book – titled the "Leonardo Da Vinci. A Chinese Scholar Lost in Renaissance Italy" – the Florentine genius was most likely conceived out of a casual sexual encounter between his father and a domestic Chinese slave. The book was published in 2014 and the news of this thesis went viral around the world causing a storm on the media, with all the major newspapers publishing articles and his author being interviewed by BBC, CNN, Russian, Italian and Spanish television.The role of the few parliamentarians elected outside Italy has proven to be totally immaterial to any tangible purpose. They represent just a token recognition of the sizeable number of Italian citizens living abroad and as such they should at least be individuals with some distinct merits or achievements. Nonetheless those elected so far do not seem to have fallen under this category. They were simply people who were able to get large number of votes through their social connections and politicking skills and once elected they vanished into the privileges and comforts of anonymous Italian parliamentary life.
On account of his scholarly achievements, Angelo Paratico would be a deserving member of the Italian Senate. He would change the image of Italians abroad projecting the idea that we are not just hard-working people with little if any cultural and intellectual refinement. For the first time one of us would embody in the Italian Parliament the true spirit that links us to out country of origin: its immense contribution to the western civilization and its crucial role in ensuring that it will survive the massification of culture being brought about by an increasingly globalized economy.
Angelo Paratico has recently visited Australia and he was able to meet quite a few Italian compatriots around this country. The climax of his visit was a convivial party hosted by his long-standing friend and chairman of Fila Sportwears Australia, Silvano Merlatti, in his Caulfield residence.
An art connoisseur and well-read expatriate himself, Silvano Merlatti, was happy to gather around Angelo Paratico a good number of Melburnians of Italian background who had the opportunity of enjoying his company and admiring his considerable knowledge of humanities.