Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren received the keys to the city of Florence at a ceremony in Palazzo Vecchio on June 5, 2021.
The keys to the city were presented to Sophia Loren, now aged 86, by the Florentine mayor Dario Nardella. After bestowing the honor on Loren, Nardella, who is a musician in his spare time, performed a violin version of O sole mio for the Italian movie star.
After the conclusion of the ceremony, Loren was greeted by crowds outside of the new restaurant “Sophia Loren Original Italian Food,” where she stopped for lunch. Not only does this restaurant bear Loren’s name, but Loren also collaborated with Italian chef Gennaro Esposito to help develop the menu.
Loren was very happy with the day. Upon seeing the crowds outside of the ceremony, she said “I’m not used to these things, I get very excited. I’m really happy to see so many people love me.”
Sophia Loren, who recently completed her first movie in a decade, is set to be honored by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures as the first recipient of the Visionary Award in September 2021. Loren has recently wrapped up filming La vita davanti a sé (“The Life Ahead”) in which she plays a Holocaust survivor who befriends a 12-year-old Senegalese immigrant boy.
The Visionary Award that Loren is set to receive honors an artist or scholar whose extensive body of work advanced the art of cinema. Below are some photos that highlight the extraordinary life that Loren has lived.
Sophia Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone on September 20, 1934. She entered Italian beauty pageants as a young girl and waited tables to help her family make ends meet.
It was at one of these beauty pageants that Loren met her future husband, Carlo Ponti, who was 22 years her senior. Ponti was a film producer who took Loren under his wing and helped her get established in both Italian and Hollywood films.
Loren gained international fame after she signed a five-picture contract with Paramount Pictures in 1958. She starred alongside some of Hollywood’s golden boys including Anthony Perkins and Cary Grant. In 1960, she starred in Two Women which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Throughout the 1960s, Loren was one of the most popular actresses in the world. In 1964, she received upwards of $1 million to appear in the movie The Fall of Rome. She also received another Best Actress nomination in 1965 for her performance in the movie Marriage Italian Style.
Loren and Ponti (now married) moved back to Italy in the 1970s and spent most of the decade making Italian films. By the time she moved back to Italy, she had given birth to two sons, Carlo Hubert Leone Ponti, Jr. (born December 29, 1968) and Edoardo (born January 6, 1973). By the 1980s, she took a step back from filmmaking to spend more time with her family.
Although Loren was not acting as much during the 1980s, she kept herself busy with other business ventures. In 1972, Loren published a cookbook titled In the Kitchen With Love. In 1981, she became the first female celebrity to release her own perfume, followed by a personal eyewear line shortly after. In 1994, she also published a book titled Women and Beauty.
Since the 1980s, Loren has continued making films with a shift being made towards television movies. In 1991, she was honored with an Honorary Academy Award celebrating her achievements.
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In 1995, she was further honored with the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for making outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. In 2004, she won a Grammy for Best Spoken World Album for Children.