American Friends of Capodimonte Return to Naples September 22-29 2018
8:30 AM08:30

American Friends of Capodimonte Return to Naples September 22-29 2018

For the last couple of years, I have been involved in this initiative to be of support to the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. In addition to the pull of the Southern regions of Italy from which all my ancestors came, I’ve really been inspired by the Capodimonte's curator Sylvain Bellenger whose responsibility was European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute in Chicago. It seemed improbable that he would be beckoned by the Italian Cultural Ministry to direct one of the three largest museums in Italy and one of the most important in Europe. But if you knew Sylvain, and walked a gallery or two with him in Chicago or Naples, you would understand how he could be a choice for such an enormous task in this palatial museum with treasures in their way equal to the Uffizi in Florence or the British Museum. 

Sylvain originally asked me to form an American Friends of Capodimonte as a vehicle to bring more Americans to Naples and to make people aware of this great museum and of course the stupendous city of Naples and some of the regions of the South. Our first American Friends of Capodimonte trip last year was the greatest tour that I had ever been on and many of the other 16 people who came along felt the same. We travelled in and around Naples and then ventured an extension days to Sicily. This year’s trip will be 7 days all on the mainland.

I hope you will look through the itinerary for the American Friends this coming September and consider it. It will not be more than 20 people, just a small busload and between the art of the Capodimonte, the open air sights of Naples, and the gulf, and the travel down to Matera and the region of Apulia, replete with its own Greek and Norman remains. In the midst of it is a lot of very good meals and wine and the residences of some of the local family. I hope very much you can come on this trip in support of the Museum, but really to have an extraordinary exposure to an area of Italy not so well travelled.


Vincent Buonanno

President American Friends of Capodimonte

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Naples and Palermo Tour
to Oct 4

Naples and Palermo Tour

A group of travelers will venture forth this September 2017 on an American Friends of Capodimonte Tour of Naples and Palermo. 


Below are some biographies of the members of the group:

Vincent and Linda Buonanno

Vincent and Linda have lived for the past 25 years in Chicago, from which Linda hails, but Vin is a native of Providence. They have two grown daughters with two children each. Vin is the retired CEO of Tempel Steel company in Chicago, where he spent the past 25 years. He has been active as a member of the board of the American Academy in Rome, Chairman of the Trustees Council of the National Gallery of Art, and an Emeritus Trustee of Brown University and RISD. Linda is President of the Tempel Lipizzans of Old Mill Creek, Illinois, a breeding and training operation for classical dressage riding. She has been active on the board of the Art Institute in Chicago, from which our contact with Sylvain Bellenger originates. 


Laura Kramer grew up in Highland Park, IL, has a B.A in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a M.A. in Art History. She lived in Florence, Italy, for 16 years where she worked as a state-licensed guide and gave private tours to museums, wineries, hill towns, artisan workshops, and gardens. She founded a boutique travel company, Custom Tours in Tuscany, with her mother, Vivian, who still runs the business. Laura's passions include dance, theater, music, literature, gardens, antiques, German Shepherd dogs, and all things Italian. After Florence, she lived in Chicago, Paris, and Marseille, and now resides in Highland Park. She is currently Donor Relations Manager for the Ragdale Foundation which serves creative people of all disciplines with an artist-in-residency program, school programs, and over 50 public events per year.


Jill and Richard (Dick) Almeida have lived in Chicago for the past 30 years.  Jill is a native, and Richard is from New York and Florida.  They have one grown daughter who lives and teaches in Providence.  Richard is a retired CEO of Heller Financial, and Jill has had careers in teaching and banking.  In Chicago their involvements included the Latin School of Chicago, the Rehabilitation Institute (now AbilityLab), and the Art Institute of Chicago.  They have enjoyed AIC trips with the Sustaining Fellows and the Old Masters Society where they became acquainted with Sylvain Bellenger.  They currently enjoy a second home in Charleston, South Carolina where they serve on the boards of Historic Charleston Foundation, the Gibbes Museum of Art, Spoleto Festival, Drayton Hall, and the Charleston Library Society.  



Norman R. Bobins

Chairman, Norman R. Bobins Consulting, LLC

Non-Executive Chairman, The PrivateBank and Trust Company

Retired Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, LaSalle Bank

Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Transco, Inc.

Member of the Board of Directors: AAR CORP., Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc., RREEF America REIT II, Brain Research Foundation, The Field Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, Navy Pier, Inc., the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Vice Chairman, Auditorium Theatre Board

Life Member, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Former Member of the Board of Education of the city of Chicago, Sims Metal Management, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council

Former Chairman and current member of the Board of Trustees, WTTW Communications, Inc.

Former Chairman of the Board, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Member of the Directors’ Circle, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs



Virginia Bobins

Civic Leader, has a Master’s of Education in Early Childhood Development and has worked with children for many years.

Member of Alliance Francaise de Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago - Old Masters Society board member, The Field Museum Women’s Board, University of Chicago Women’s Board, Smithsonian Institute -Archives of American Art

Life Trustee and Former Board Chair, Erickson Institute

Past President, Women’s Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago

Former Member of the Chinese American Service League Advisory Board, the Goodman Theatre Civic Committee, Illinois Arts Council, Jewish Family and Community Service Agency Board, Mies van der Rohe Society, Northwestern University Women’s Board

Member of the Directors’ Circle, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs


Bill Tedford was born in Atlanta, attended SUNY Stony Brook and then Northwestern University. He’s had a dental practice since 1980.  Bill is an ardent opera fan, having been a loyal subscriber to the Lyric since 1980.   His passions are travel, music, gardening, and dogs – particularly Akitas. Has had a lifelong and intense fascination with ancient Greece and Rome. He and his partner Phil Lumpkin have been to Naples twice, and once to Sicily.


Phil Lumpkin is a retired health care professional.  He worked for 25 years with Blue Cross / Blue Shield sorting out relations between hospitals, physicians and health care programs in an effort to get quality outcomes for patients.  His passions are dance and music, and he is currently on the board of the Auditorium Theatre, and the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric. He is also a certified Master Gardener and cultivates a large garden in South Haven Michigan.   He is also also an environmental activist.  He has been a lifelong traveler and has an insatiable desire to learn about other cultures and peoples. “This trip is going to be spectacular, and I'm very excited to be a part of it.” 


Abby O’Neil grew up in Chicago, moved to New York City for fourteen years and returned to live in Chicago in 1994.   Abby is a founding board member (and past board chair) of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, and trustee of the Chauncey and Marion McCormick Foundation.  Deeply involved in the arts – and particularly dance – Abby helped found the Dance Consortium here in Chicago.   She has also been very involved in the Ryan Licht Sang Bipoloar Foundation since its inception a decade ago, and has helped establish research funds for scientists in the field.  She is a passionate 


Carroll Joynes grew up in Santa Barbara, came to the University of Chicago to graduate school, and after a ten year stint in NYC, became the co-founder of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.  He is also co-author of a recent book on the building boom in the arts from the mid-1990s to late 2000s – Building Better Arts Facilities,  based on “Set in Stone” --- a comprehensive study of $25 billion in arts infrastructure building in in the U.S.    


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