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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Miss Stresa - Miss Italia

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_HADmA29vpUk/TCoV1eG1lfI/AAAAAAAAGNc/igmrvzsyy1w/s1600/Miss+Stresa.jpeg

It's that time again; time to crown this year's Miss Stresa. All is ready for the 2010 competition, the final round of which will take place next week, on Thursday, July 8, in Piazza Cadorna at 9:30 in the evening. The original group of contestants has been narrowed down to 13, and in addition to Miss Stresa other awards will be given, ones for Miss Mottarone, Miss Smile Isola Bella, Miss Giemme (GM), and Miss Fiat Astra Arona. Once chosen, the winner will appear at various events throughout the season in Stresa, and if she so chooses, she can enter the national competition for the title of Miss Italia, as did 2007's winner.

In fact, the Miss Stresa contest recalls for many, even those who were not alive at the time, thoughts of the years when the Miss Italia competition took place right here in town at the Regina Palace Hotel. It was 1946, after the war, and as Stresa had remained largely undamaged it was the perfect location for a cheerful post-war event. For the next four years, and then one more time again in 1956, the Miss Italia pageant took place here. Then, as it grew in popularity, the venue was moved several times until it settled permanently in Salsomaggiore Terme, where it is still held today.

Many Miss Italia winners and contestants became well known in Italy and abroad. Here, in Stresa in 1947, are four contestants who later went on to Italian entertainment fame. From the left are Lucia Bose (the winner that year), Gianna Maria Canale (second place), Gina Lollobrigida (third), and Eleonora Rossi Drago (fourth).



1950 was the first year that the competition was reported live on the radio; it was also the first year that the competition was held in Salsomaggiore Terme. And it was also the year that Sofia Loren participated in the contest. Sofia Scicolone at the time, she was deemed to be too provocative to be chosen as the winner; she was therefore awarded the title of Miss Eleganza 1950. Here she is, parading before the judges.

Salsomaggiore - concorso di Miss Italia - Sofia Loren sfila davanti alla giuria in costume da bagno.



Today the Miss Italia pageant takes place over four days each September and is seen by over ten million people. Miss Italia plays a big role in Italian culture. “It’s the mirror of Italy,” once explained actress Sofia Loren, “because all unrolls to the sunlight.” And as Stresa chooses her Miss next week we can recall that it all started right here.



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