Summer Trip to Ireland for Students

Kind people

“One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.”

— Edith Wharton

Commedia dell'Arte

Celebrating Commedia dell’Arte and Commedia dell’Arte Day

Commedia dell’Arte Day


Commedia dell'Arte

Commedia dell’Arte Day is celebrated on February 25th each year. The Commedia dell’Arte Day is promoted by the Italian Cultural Association SAT. All over the world on February 25th there will be performances, concerts, workshops and lectures as people join together to celebrate Commedia dell’Arte and its origins.

For those of you unfamiliar with Commedia dell’Arte, here is a brief explanation into this interesting type of theatre.

The Beginnings of Commedia dell’Arte

Commedia is an improvised type of popular comedy that was born in Italy in the 16th–18th centuries and is based on stock characters. Actors adapted their comic dialogue and action according to a few basic plots (love, jealousy, money) and to issues at that time (most are still relatable).

Many Commedia actors traveled in troupes throughout Italy in the 16th century. They performed on temporary stages, mostly in city streets, but occasionally even in court venues. The better troupes—notably Gelosi, Confidenti, and Fedeli—performed in palaces and became internationally-known. Music, dance, and witty dialogue, contributed to the comic effects. It spread throughout Europe, with many of its elements leading into present-day theater.


Performances were based on a scenario which was a basic plot, often a familiar story, upon which the actors improvised their dialogue. Therefore actors were at liberty to tailor the performance to their audience, allowing for sly commentary on current politics and bawdy humor that would otherwise be censored. Sometimes using sexually challenging language and physical comedy, Commedia poked fun at elements of society’s respectable values by means of exaggerated styles and insightful character traits.

Though humor and jokes were the main part, Commedia dell’Arte was a very disciplined art which required both virtuosity and a strong sense of team playing. The unique talent of Commedia actors was to improvise comedy around a pre–established scenario. Playing off each other, or the audience, the actors made use of the lazzi (special rehearsed routines that could be inserted into the plays at convenient points to heighten the comedy), musical numbers, and impromptu dialogue to vary what happened on stage.

Sets and Props

There were no elaborate sets in Commedia. The stage was simple, rarely anything more than one market or street scene. Instead, they made great use of props including animals, food, furniture, and weapons. The character Arlecchino bore two sticks tied together, which made a great noise on impact. This gave birth to the word “slapstick.”

Commedia dell'Arte


The use of masks was important in the development of this type of theatre. Masks required the actors to “act” in other ways through their body expressions. They combined acrobatics, dance and stage combat into their acts.


Commedia dell’Arte actors represented fixed social types seen in Italian culture. For example, there were foolish old men, devious servants, and egotistic military officers. Each stock character of Commedia evolved a distinct set of attributes—characteristic speech, gestures, props, and costume—that became standard to the portrayal of the character and still remains today.

The Audience

Performances were accessible to all social classes. Language was no barrier because of their skillful mime, stereotyped stock characters, traditional lazzi’s (signature stunts, gags and pranks), masks, broad physical gestures, improvised dialogue and clowning they became widely accepted wherever they traveled.

The style and formula of Commedia dell’Arte survives to this day by continuing the tradition as an artistic institution where gifted actors create some of the most memorable, historic physical characters the theatre has ever seen. It is from the Commedia world where such characters as Arlechinno (Harlequin), Columbina, Pulcinella (Punch), The Doctor, The Captain and Pantalone emerged to reign in theatre for centuries.

Go Inspired offers a 3-week Commedia dell’Arte workshop in Florence, Italy each summer. The course is taught by 2 professional Commedia dell’Arte actors.

The course in 2014 begins June 30-July 18. It is Monday-Friday, 4 hours a day with weekends free to explore Tuscany. The cost is 2225 Euros with housing included. For more information, please check out our website at: Commedia dell’Arte Workshop with Go Inspired


Information for this article was taken from the following sites:

Bethel Library

A glimpse at Bethel, Connecticut – A Summer Program for teens

Explore a quaint town in New England called Bethel

This year, for the first time, Go Inspired will be having a summer program in Bethel, Connecticut. The owner of Go Inspired, Margo Kopec, is a Bethel native and she thought it would be a great place to have a summer program.

Bethel, Connecticut

Margo has had the opportunity to live in other countries which is why she thinks having students from abroad come to Bethel during the summer is a perfect match.

According to Margo, “Bethel is a perfect place to have students get to know a side of American life. It has a great downtown area and wonderful local restaurants and ice cream shops. Plus it is close to New York City and Boston so it’s an ideal location.” Margo says another great thing about Bethel is the school complex and all the fields in one area. She adds, “Not many places, especially in Europe, have a lot of fields in one area and this is great for the kids coming from Europe”.

Some facts about Bethel, Connecticut:

  • Bicycle manufacturer Cannondale  and battery manufacturer Duracell are headquartered in Bethel.
  • Actress Meg Ryan was raised in Bethel.
  • P. T. Barnum (1810–1891) was born in Bethel at 55 Greenwood Avenue. He expanded the home during his youth after a fire destroyed the front of the building. He is famous for founding the circus.

The following movies were filmed in Bethel:

  • The Entrepreneurs (2008)
  • Revolutionary Road (2008)
  • Rise of the Dead (2007)
  • Other People’s Money (1991)
  • The Case of the Cosmic Comic (1976)
  • Rachel, Rachel (1968)
Bethel Library (Courtesy of JCJ Architecture)

(Picture Courtesy of JCJ Architecture)

Bethel was first settled around 1700. The first houses built in Bethel were in the 1730s or 1740s. As of 2010, there were over 18,000 people living in Bethel. Margo highlights that Bethel has great neighborhoods where kids can play outside, a local grocery store (supermarket), wonderful cafes and bakeries as well as many delicious restaurants (Italian, Chinese, French, American, etc.)

“I am excited and proud to share Bethel with our European participants. Bethel was my home for the first 18 years of my life and after traveling to various countries, I know what special attributes it has and I know our participants will enjoy their time here”.

Go Inspired’s summer program for students ages 12-17 will take place June 30-July 25, 2014. If you would like to be a host family, please contact us. More information can be found here:

Sycamore Restaurant in Bethel, CT

(Courtesy of Matthew Rose Real Estate)

Ferragamo's Rainbow Sandal

Studying Ferragamo in Italian Interior Design Workshop

Studying Salvatore Ferragamo with Italian Design Workshop in Florence, Italy

Go Inspired’s Italian Interior Design workshop in Florence, Italy each summer gives participants an inside view into the art of Italian Design. Italian Design cannot be talked about without mentioning the famous Salvatore Ferragamo. Studying Ferragamo’s influence is a must when looking at Italian Design.

Has anyone made you a pair of shoes? What about your brother making you a pair of shoes? Well if you were Salvatore Ferragamo’s sibling, you would have said “yes” to both of those questions!

The Beginning…

Born in 1898 as the 11th of 14th children,  Salvatore Ferragamo discovered his calling early. His path in the world of fashion  began when he made his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 for his sisters’ confirmation (what brother does that these days?). Having a passion for shoes, he studied shoemaking in Naples. After his studies he opened a small shop in his parents’ house. But in 1914, he moved to Boston to be with his brother. The visionary that he was, Ferragamo conviced his brothers to move to California.

He found success when he opened a shop that repaired shoes and customized shoes. Celebrities fell in love with his shoes which led him to designing footwear for the cinema. He was knows as the “shoemaker to the stars”. While many would feel complete with this given title, Ferragamo wanted to work on improving his designs as they were pleasing to the eye but hurting the foot. So he studied anatomy, chemical engineering and mathematics at the University of Southern California with the goal of improving his designs.

After thirteen years in the US, Ferragamo left and  returned to Italy, a place that was filled with traditionally skilled craftsmen.  He set up in Florence and during this time, he made shoes for the wealthiest and most powerful women of that age. He also concentrated his efforts in experimenting with design, applying for patents for ornamental and utility models and some related inventions. From 1929-1936, he made his most celebrated designs like the ‘wedges’. In the period post war, Ferragamo’s shoes were the symbol of Italy’s renovation. He invented  the stiletto heels which were worn by Marilyn Monroe and the famous gold sandals. He also used several innovative materials like wood, cork, metal wire, felt, candy wrappers and glass-like synthetic resins to make shoes.

His designs were art, some strange and others traditionally elegant, but they were  inspirations to other footwear designers of his time and beyond. At the age of 62, Salvatore Ferragamo died.  The Ferragamos Salvatore company, now an Italian luxury goods company,  has expanded its operations to include luxury shoes, bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes and a clothing line. At his death his wife Wanda and later their six children (Fiamma, Giovanna, Fulvia, Ferruccio, Massimo and Leonardo) ran the Ferragamo company.  Its headquarters are in Florence, Italy.

Salvatore Ferragamo’s Legacy Continues

Now there is a museum dedicated to Ferragamo’s life and work which is in the Palazzo Spini Feroni which serves as an inspiration for present and future designers. Each year there is a different exhibition showcasing different elemensts of his work. Beginning April 19th, a new exhibit titled “The Amazing shoemaker” will look at the world of fairy tales “in which adults and children continue to experience reality in its many and varied statements through the mechanisms of fantasy and transfiguration”.  This exhibit will look at fairy tales through modern eyes. ” As if now, more than ever, there was the need to address through the paths mysterious fantasy and dream the solutions, the answers to the set of moral questions, doubts and problems that plague our times. It is in times of crisis that presents itself increases the need to fantasize with imagination and overcome obstacles and fears. It is a universal necessity since this instinct is paramount. That is why fairy tales are considered inexhaustible reservoir of our archetypes, of our primitive experiences”.

A highlight and important part of the Italian Interior Design Workshop in Italy is the exploration of Salvatore Ferragamo’s works of art. Participants will have a chance to have a special guided tour in his museum to carefully explore his style and his designs.

The Italian Interior Design workshop in Florence, Italy is 3-weeks from June 30-July 18th. Participants will work 4 hours a day and have a chance to explore Florence and Tuscany in their free time.

The cost is 2300 Euros which includes accommodation and the workshop. For more information on this Italian Interior Design workshop, check out

Italian Interior Design Workshop in Italy

Information taken from