An interview with Clarissa Burt

Clarissa, you came to Italy in the wonderful 80's and you lived intensely those years between the Milanese fashion catwalks and film studios in Rome. What memories do you have of those times?

Well, they were simply the greatest years of my life! Arriving as a young girl in the most beautiful country in the world with the most welcoming people on the planet made the decision to live in Italy for 30 of my 60 years a very easy one!

On more than one occasion you have expressed a lot of admiration for southern Italy, especially Sicily...

Oh, yes! I remember coming to la Sagra della Mandorla in Agrigento in the early 90's when I was working with Raffaella CarrĂ  in Ricomincio da Due on RAI Due. There were something 150,000 people there. When I came on stage the people roared so loudly I almost had to cover my ears! So much love and affection Sicily is unico!

Your book 'Italiana, la cucina naturale senza glutine', written with Rita Romano, has become a best seller in the United States and since a few days is also available in Italian bookstores in our language. Can you tell us more about it?

Sure! I have had many difficulties with gluten intolerance over the years especially eating pizza, pasta, and pane! Rita Romano is a very famous Italian chef that lives in my town of Phoenix, Arizona and asked to do a project with me. I immediately said, "Let's do a gluten-free" recipe book", and the rest is history!

You've been coming back to the United States for some years now and you live in Phoenix, Arizona, where you've become a businesswoman. Often you have to relate American entrepreneurs with Italy and in October you will bring some American entrepreneurs to Italy for a mission to attract investment. What are the main differences between the American concept of business and the Italian one?

Well, in my opinion, there are no real differences when people are in business for themselves. Entrepreneurs (imprenditori) work 24/7 and are never controlled by time. There is something that drives a person that is in business for themselves that makes them get up in the morning and affront the day sometimes against all odds. The difficulties are many but the passion for the work they do is one an one only!

Returning to the South of Italy and Sicily you love so much, what would you suggest to public administrators who want to grow tourism in these areas?

Global promotional efforts are key. Social media is also extremely important. Contests for the young ...maybe invite those visiting Sicily to create a video, upload it and the person who 'captures' best the spirit, history and beauty of Sicily will win a trip for two to come back and visit. Something along those lines...just a thought.

Among the many projects you have launched in recent times, there is the "In the Limelight Magazine", a magazine in electronic format with many ideas and news for your fans. How did this idea come about?

In the Limelight Magazine is part of the trifecta of the multi-media platform I have created. The video, podcast and magazine portal is a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services with articles on how to look good, feel good, be good and live a greater good.

Even if you're a bit away from Italy, the Italians still remember you and you're very popular, do you want to say something to your Italian fans?

Amici Italians...You are always in my heart, thoughts and prayers, and please, don't forget, that I, too, am an Italian citizen!!!!

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