Che bella festa: Italian art award launches in London

La Bella Italia a Londra...Italian dignitaries and UK art stars descended on the Royal Horseguards hotel in Whitehall, London, last night for the inaugural Accademia Apulia photographic award. Over 300 participants entered the competition with three finalists selected by an international panel of esteemed judges (including an editor-at-large of The Art Newspaper). Matteo Sandrini was crowned overall winner for his striking composite images of the inhabitants of Brescia, bagging a £1,000 cash prize (fellow entrants Alex Boyd and Stefano Morelli just missed out on the main prize). The Mayor of Westminster, Judith Warner, wowed the crowd (including Giuseppe Lovascio, the Mayor of Conversano in Apulia) with her impressive Italian pronunciation while the throng of swanky luminaries included Accademia Apulia patron Nancy Dell'Olio, seen poring over the eye-catching photographic pieces. The Italian lawyer, socialite and charity campaigner revealed that she's an avid art collector, with a penchant for East End art spaces, especially Posted (a temporary exhibition space housed in a former post office in east london). Representatives from Bari also revealed that the southern Italian city is European Capital of Culture candidate for 2019. Prize sponsors include the legal and tax offices of Belluzzo & Associati, the Gattarella Resort, Fujanera wines and La Bottega del Caffé in Regent Street, London.

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