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Articles by: Tommaso Cartia

  • A scene from Pizza & the Art of Living (Pizza e l’arte di arrangiarsi), by Matteo Troncone
    Art & Culture

    Italian Cinema in the “Mecca of Cinema”

    The Italian Language Week in the World is an event of foremost importance for Italians. Now in its seventeenth year, and run under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic of Italy, its theme for 2017 is the Italian language in Italian cinema—and the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles is naturally very actively involved.

    One of the major screenings during Italian Language Week will be Il Giovane Favoloso by Italian director Mario Martone, on October 17th. The film chronicles the tormented life of a giant of Italian literature, Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837). We asked the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Valeria Rumori, the reason behind the choice of Martone’s film. “Il Giovane Favoloso was suggested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an iconic movie about the Italian language,” Rumori says. “It narrates the intellectual and human story of one of the greatest Italian authors of all times. Besides, it is a movie for which Mario Martone has won so many awards, including one dedicated to Italian creativity here at our Institute.”

    Martone’s work is in very good company. The Institute is also presenting Raffaello, Master of Arts, a 3D documentary about the famous Renaissance painter, produced by Sky in collaboration with the Vatican Museums and Magnitudo Films. Host of the event is Davide Gasparotto, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

    A complex, multifaceted job

    But the work of the Week is much more complex than “just” showing movies to the public. Rumori, who has a long experience in the field and came to Los Angeles after serving several years as the director of the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, explains the rationale. “When I started working at this Institute,” she points out, “I got to understand how culturally complex and varied the city of Los Angeles is, as well as the whole area we serve, covering the whole of Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Therefore, I chose to emphasize the collaboration between different institutions, not only Italian, such as the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles, but also American and those representing other countries.”

    An example of this international collaboration is the inclusion of the Italian romantic comedy Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips) by Silvio Soldini. This award-winning movie is an Italian-Swiss co-production and was selected by the Institute together with the Consulate General of Switzerland. The rationale was to emphasize that Italy and Switzerland share a long border, and in the Swiss canton of Ticino, where Italian is one of the official languages, it is spoken by almost everyone. There, Italian works as a bridge between two different cultures.

    Another example—this one beyond cinema—is the Italian-Mexican collaboration for the Year of Mexico 2017 celebration in Los Angeles. In fact, when the Institute had to decide on its participation to the Day of Contemporary Art, it chose an exhibit by Italian writer and illustrator Andrea Ferraris, author of Churubusco—a graphic novel telling the story of an Italian immigrant in Mexico. The event was created in collaboration with the Consulate General of Mexico, and it served as a reminder that Italy—today a country of destination for immigrants from Africa and Asia—has long been a country of departure for millions of Italian emigrants to North and South America as well as to Australia, Europe, and virtually everywhere else in the world.

    Promoting Italy through cinema

    Another example of cinematic collaboration, this time among Italian institutions, is the screening of Enrico IV, directed by Marco Bellocchio and inspired by the play by Luigi Pirandello, the Nobel Prize-winning Sicilian playwright and novelist. In 2017 Italy celebrates the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth, and the Italian Cultural Institute, in collaboration with ENIT (the Italian National Tourist Board) paid homage to his memory in a series of events called Viaggi in Italia (Voyages to Italy), in which they promoted Pirandello’s Sicily, specifically the city of Agrigento, where he was born.

    The connection between Italian cinema and Italian society and culture is very strong indeed. A telling example is the program Filming in Italy, that promotes Italy as a location for foreign movie productions. The program was created in collaboration with Tiziana Rocca, former director of the Taormina Film Festival, and was co-presented at the Institute during the Voyages to Italy series with the Italian Trade Commission.

    On November 15, another chapter of the series Viaggi in Italia will focus on the city of Naples with a screening of Pizza & the Art of Living (Pizza & l’arte di arrangiarsi) by Italian-American director Matteo Troncone. The event is co-hosted by ENIT and falls in the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World—in a year when pizza is a candidate for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage.

    Then, starting on November 16, the exhibit Cinema Italian Style will showcase the best of Italian cinema in Los Angeles, with the opportunity to meet the filmmakers and actors for Q&A sessions. This year the exhibit will pay homage to one of the most influential Italian directors of all times, Michelangelo Antonioni. Roberto Cicutto, President and CEO of Luce Cinecittà, the italian agency for the promotion of cinema, will participate in a pre-opening on November 15.

    “Italian Cinema is cool in LA”

    In the golden age of Italian Neorealism—after WWII—Italian cinema was a strong presence in Hollywood. Today, however, contemporary Italian films in the US face a much more difficult market. That’s why the work of agencies like the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles is so important. Valeria Rumori is positive about the future, noting the increased interest of the American public in the new Italian cinema. “We bring to LA the best that Italian cinema produces every year, including movies from the Turin Social World Film Festival, for example. And the winner of the Milan International Film Festival 2017, Tutto quello che vuoi, directed by Francesco Bruni, will have its US premiere here in LA.” The fact is, Rumori says, that “for LA, Italian cinema has always been relevant—even cool. Gianfranco Rosi’s Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), Oscar nominated last year, confirms this. Rosi missed winning his Oscar, but two other Italians didn’t: The Best Make-up and Hairstyling Award went to Alessandro Bertolazzi and Giorgio Gregorini for Suicide Squad.” 

  • Barbara Lynch
    Dining in & out

    A Guru of Italian Cuisine

    Born and raised in Boston in a big New England family, Barbara is a self-taught prodigy. Though she never graduated from a cooking school, her love for food and cooking brought her to a luminous career. In 1996 she won her first award, Food & Wine’s best chef in the Northeast, but then many others came.

    In Love With Italy

    The first trip Barbara ever took was to Italy. She was in her early twenties, and it was during that trip that Italian food and culture struck her. “I had never been out of Boston in general,” she told i-Italy in a recent interview. “And boy, was I surprised! It was amazing. What happened was, I fell in love with that book The Food of Italy by Waverly Root, and I ended up loving Italy because of what Italians are and who they are. The culture, first of all, the regions, and that there’s usually a nonna in the kitchen.”

    Her first experience in Italy changed her life and her perspective. “It was just this really wonderful, cultural lifestyle that I absorbed. I was like a sponge. It was just an eye-opener for me, and I ended up coming back and mastering Italian for the last ten years. At 32 I opened my first restaurant—No. 9 Park, which was French-Italian.” That was just the start of the legacy of restaurants that Lynch would create around her name and that eventually would become part of the Barbara Lynch Gruppo.

    The Barbara Lynch Gruppo

    She opened The Butcher Shop, inspired by her visit to Cortona, in Tuscany, where she would go to the local bottega to have wild boar. After that, she founded B&G Oysters, a kind of New England fish shack with a fancy twist, serving great wines and classics like fried calamari and chowder. Close to The Butcher Shop, Barbara then opened Stir, which has a demonstration kitchen where they have cooking classes seven days a week. After that, her drive proved unstoppable. “I then opened Sportello,” she tells us, “which has diner-style counter seating but all homemade pasta, salads, and entrees. Underneath that is Drink, which has the most incredible bartenders and mixologists and has won Best Bar in the World. Next to Sportello is Menton, which is Relais & Châteaux.”

    So the Barbara Lynch Gruppo is a little dining empire employing over 200 people and has an affectionate clientele that enjoys both the food and the culinary culture that the group delivers. It is a lively resource for all Bostonians in so many different ways. The group also has a magazine Food for Thought: Stories You Can Taste, an in- teractive platform that allows the audience to share their own food-related stories. Barbara Lynch’s memoir Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire is also available. The book outlines Barbara’s life journey from a hard-knock childhood to her glorious success.

    Working with Eataly Boston

    One of Barbara Lynch’s latest efforts is her collaboration with Eataly Boston, where she has become the mind and soul behind their Il Pesce restaurant. This happened almost by chance. During one of her trips to Italy she happened to be in Turin when Eataly first opened, and she immediately felt a connection with their educational philosophy and amazing artisanal slow-food products. “I fell in love with the store’s concept. So when Mario Batali came to me and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to open an Eataly in Boston, would you be interested in coming on board and running my seafood restaurant?’ I said, ‘Absolutely!’ I felt that Eataly was going to be the best thing that ever happened to Boston, period. And it is, actually. It’s doing phenomenal numbers.” 

  • Amelia Antonucci - Program Director of Cinema Italia San Francisco. Photo Credit: Flavia Loreto Fotografia
    Art & Culture

    Championing Classic Italian Cinema in The Bay

    As a young girl, growing up in Salerno, Amelia Antonucci used to spend almost every night at the movies. She likely had no idea then that part of her life would end up being dedicated to this great passion of hers and that she would have the chance to share it with so many. After graduating with a degree in modern literature, Antonucci began a career as a cultural attaché at the most important Italian Cultural Institutes in the US. First in New York, where she would become the deputy director in charge of the film department of the Italian Cultural Institute, then in San Francisco, where she moved in 1996.

    Eventually she would establish herself in the City by the Bay. From 2008 to 2011 she was the director of San Francisco’s Italian Cultural Institute where, among the other important initiatives aimed at celebrating the Italian culture, she played a key role as an “ambassador” of Italian cinema. “I was always involved in cinema,” Antonucci told us, “in New York, in San Francisco, but also in Rome in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Cinema Department. I always maintained contacts within Luce Cinecittà and other entities that were fundamental in my work as a cultural director in America.” Antonucci recalls her early years working at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York. Her first experience was a collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and its late film curator, Stephen Harvey. “It was dedicated to Anna Magnani,” she says, “and at the end I was mentioned in the MoMA catalog... What an incredible feeling!”

    Cinema Italia San Francisco

    Even after her retirement as director of the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, Antonucci’s energy did not decline while her love of film persisted. Pushed by the desire to try something new, she decided to... go back to the classics! She realized that a lot of attention in San Francisco was being given to contemporary cinema, while great classic Italian cinema was slowly disappearing from the big theaters. “I had already brought to the city the New Italian Cinema Events (NICE),” she recounts. “It’s an interesting show of young directors’ first films. However, I missed the golden age when I had brought Alberto Sordi, Marcello Mastroianni, and Michelangelo Antonioni to the city. I wanted to recreate that atmosphere.”

    Thus Cinema Italia San Francisco was born. It consists of one full day of showings from morning till night; four or five films from the same director with a themed party to follow. The location is the Castro Theatre, San Francisco’s historic art-deco palace. The first exhibition was in 2013, with a retrospective dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini. The guest of honor from Italy was Giovanni “Ninetto” Davoli, a notable protagonist in such Pasolini films as Uccellacci e Uccellini (The Hawks and the Sparrows) and Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to St. Matthew).

    The public was enthusiastic, and the program caught on in San Francisco, becoming an essential event for cinema lovers. In 2014 Cinema Italia San Francisco presented the works of Bernardo Bertolucci; in 2015, Vittorio De Sica’s; in 2016, Anna Magnani’s; and in 2017, Dino Risi and Lina Wertmüller’s.

    Antonucci speaks enthusiastically about her creation. “When we presented Bertolucci, we had Joan Chen as a guest of honor. She was one of the main characters in L’Ultimo Imperatore (The Last Emperor), which we presented in the exclusive 3D version. Then in 2015, we presented Vittorio De Sica. It was a great success; we had 1,700 people in just one day. Among the films presented was a restored version of Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis). We try to offer the best that we can to the public, showing restored 35mm films.”

    The support of Luce Cinecittà, and the collaboration of the Italian Consulate and Italian Cultural Institute, are fundamental in the success of the event. The program graphics are by publisher, designer, and curator Colpa Press. The biggest challenge that Antonucci faces is certainly the budget. “It’s a project that needs financing because the box office covers only a small portion of the expenses. We are constantly looking for public or private sponsors.” On the last day of the 2017 edition earlier this Fall, Antonucci was able to involve sponsors like the eyeglass company Zenni Optical—a natural choice since one of the films presented was Behind White Glasses, a documentary on Lina Wertmüller by Valerio Ruiz. Wertmüller was the first woman in the history of cinema to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. Antonucci was able to get four of Wertmüller’s films and a documentary in a restored format from New York film distributor Kino Lorber.

    Passion and a lot of hard work carry Amelia through her ambitious project: to be able one day to transform Cinema Italia San Francisco into a true Italian film festival in America. She is convinced of the project’s great potential thanks to the encouraging response that is coming not only from the Italian and Italian-American public, but also from the general American audience.

    The San Francisco Audience

    Amelia Antonucci is very active in the Italian community in SF. She is the president of the non-profit Leonardo Da Vinci Society, and one of the administrators of the group called DIVE (Donne Italiane che Vivono all’Estero). However, although Cinema Italia San Francisco is primarily geared towards the Italian community, its audience is mixed. “Actually, the biggest boost comes from the general public. Americans who love films in their original languages are the ones buying tickets. These are the same people who go to see films in German and French. We’ve become part of something that goes beyond the reaches of the Italian and Italian American communities."

    Antonucci finds that the San Franciscan audience has always been very open to Italian culture, even more than the public of other cities like New York, where there is a lot more competition. “For example, in 2010,” Antonucci recalls, “alongside the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, I did a show of Maria Callas’s costumes, and it was incredibly successful. The San Francisco Opera also helped us. Another event was Teatro San Carlo’s trip here with Verdi’s Requiem. It was the event of the year, not just an Italian event.”

    Contagious optimism

    Antonucci is aware that hers is an uphill battle, as Italian cinema lacks industrial investments and a consistent policy of promotion and distribution. “At the San Francisco International Film Festival,” she says, “France is able to present an average of 30 films a year. We Italians need to jump through hoops to be able to present even one! We still have a lot of work to do in terms of both investments and promotion.” Neverthess, she is optimistic. She notes that Luce Cinecittà is now being restructured along lines similar to UniFrance—the French agency for cinema promotion. “Soon we too will be able to show our cinema abroad with greater strength—both classic and contemporary cinema!” One thing is certain: Amelia Antonucci is a force of nature. And her optimism is contagious. 

  • Dining in & out

    LUCCIOLA. Surprise! Your Little Bologna Kicked Off in NY

    The restaurant launched by Michele Casadei Massari, Alberto Ghezzi and Gianluca Capozzi, with co-founders Erica Monti and Luca Filicol, takes inspiration from the film “Festa di Laurea,” (Graduation Party), directed by Pupi Avati with for its dishes, atmosphere, and the overall concept. This incredible space reflects the nostalgic and romantic mood of Bologna that Avati depicted, especially his famous courtyard scene where the simple illumination was reminiscent of fireflies. LUCCIOLA (firefly in Italian), is located down the street from Central Park, where the most fireflies can be found in the city.

    It is dedicated to the actor in Avati’s film, Nik Novecento, who embodied the values of Bologna, from his passion, soul, courageousness, and kindness. Novecento died at a young age and to commemorate his memory they have created a place in New York where he could have come and spent time.

    The restaurant also provides a new space for italian artists to express themselves: Marco Gallotta is the creator and designer of the wallpaper and artworks; Marina Vanni e Cristina Guidoni from StudioEmporioHome (based in Savigno, Bologna) designed "Madre Lucciola" lamp inspired and in memory of Nik Novecento.

    The LUCCIOLA menu features a front page replica of Corriere della Sera from February 1st, 1975, in which legendary film director Pier Paolo Pasolini published one of his last pieces just months before he was murdered. Pasolini utilized "lucciole" as a symbol and metaphor of part of our society.

    The Opening

    New Yorkers got their first "taste" of LUCCIOLA on Wednesday, November 29. Michele's team pulled out the best of their delicious menu that is already a favorite among lovers of Italian food in NY. Like Piccolo Cafe, the restaurant promises to introduce the great tradition of Bolognese cuisine to the American tables. The room was abuzz, a full house with people lining up to enjoy the exquisite food, red wine and sparkling Berlucchi wine. A special risotto dish was also made with truffles provided by Urbani Truffles. A wonderful dessert by Fabbri 1905  served as the perfect toast to celebrate LUCCIOLA's birthday. A lively but cozy atmosphere, warmed up by the cozy firefly like lights. The music selection by DJ Ricky Russo set the mood for a perfect italian evening with people singing along with Italian classics and international hip jams. The public was even treated to some celebrity surprises. Frankie hi-nrg mc, an Italian rapper, had everyone moving to the beat as he performed some of his signature raps. A surprise appearance was also made by Hollywood legendary Edward Lachman, cinematographer of notable films like Erin BrockovichThe Virgin Suicides, and Far from Heavenf, an affectionate of Michele's cuisine.

    LUCCIOLA is made of art, cinematography, music, excellent food. A bohemien vibe that will push you in the dreamy atmosphere of the old Bologna here for you now in NYC.


    621 Amsterdam Ave New York, NY 10024

    For more info: 

    Instagram&Twitter @Lucciolanyc


  • Nairobi City, Kenya
    Facts & Stories

    Italy and Kenya: New Investment Horizons

    The A.I.I.K. is a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting the relations between Italy and Kenya on an economic, trading and cultural level, trying to improve their internationalization policies.

    The A.I.I.K. Mission

    Kenya and East African countries such as Rwanda are, in fact, a fertile territory that offers the possibility for many different interactions and businesses like tourism, trading, infrastructure and new technologies for Italian companies, who are looking to find new ways to invest. Of course a lot still needs to be done to simplify the logistics of these types of operations between two countries who have a very different cultures and histories. Mutual understanding and respect for diversity in lifestyle, philosophy and costumes are agents that also affect economic affairs.

    To create awareness about these subjects, organizations like the A.I.I.K were born to be a link, a platform and a medium for understanding these two different worlds, which can create a new fruitful economy in the future.

    The Roundtable at the Italian Trade Agency

    “We are very excited about the Investors Network Event in New York,” said Alessandro Cianfrone, President of A.I.I.K. “It is a key step in our effort to promote, support and enhance economic relations and trade interchange between Italy and Kenya, and to contribute to a better and mutual knowledge of the two markets.”

    The conference at the Italian Trade Agency in New York was in line with this purpose. With a lineup of prestigious speakers, A.I.I.K. presented its mission and program of activities for 2018. The meeting was organized in collaboration with Paolo Siniscalco, who is the association’s North American representative. Siniscalco is experienced in mergers and acquisitions, and his firm Siniscalco & Partners is part of the Italian Certified Public Accountants and aligned with the firm Grassi & Co. This partnership created a bridge between Italy and New York, allowing clients to be contemporarily supported in both Italian and US markets.

    The meeting started with Maurizio Forte, Trade Commissioner and the Italian Trade Agency in New York’s Executive Director for the USA of the. Forte greeted the guests and made the opening remarks. Then the stage was left to the mediator of the event, Mrs. Marta Eleonora Paiar, who is the Chief Sales Officer in Digicel in Central America. She speaks five languages and is a regular speaker at African and international conferences. Paiar has been based in Nairobi since April 2014, so she can offer a firsthand testimony to the changes and transformation that are occurring in the countries of East Africa.

    “I am really proud of this event,” Paiar stated, “Attendees have the valuable opportunity to network with leading investors, CEOs of Italian and Kenyan businesses, general managers and representatives from various firms and companies, and to learn about new opportunities, trends and challenges of the Kenyan market.”

    Her dedication to this life’s mission that she undertook was eloquently expressed by the passion that she infused in her speech, giving voice to the other panelists.

    The roundtable included Sunir Chandaria, Principal Conros and Honorary Consul of Kenya in Canada; Nancy Wamaitha from Safaricom Limited; Dr. Eliane Ubalijoro, Professor of Practice for Public Private Sector Partnership at McGill Montréal University and Fellow of African Academy Of Science as well as member of President Kagame Advisory council; Zaynah Khanbhai, CEO Latin America, Caribbean and Africa (LAC Africa); Andreas Dal Santo, Director of Research, Italian Central Bank – Director, Solidus Capital Group LLC and Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer for International IDEA to the United Nations.

    The speakers brought to the audience’s attention all of the rich opportunities that the countries of East Africa can offer to not only Italy’s economy but also the world economy. It’s an opportunity to establish proficient businesses and to stay away from the usual stereotypes. In fact, much has already changed in those territories that were considered countries of the Fourth World. Their economies are rapidly transforming, but it is important to take into consideration that African culture is a very specific and distinctive one socially, legally and politically. In order to construct a stronger and flourishing community, foreign businesses should enter these countries with an integrated approach that will lead to a mutual understanding of both cultures.

    Paolo Siniscalco underlined that when we had the chance to talk with him during the conference:

    “I became involved in this association thanks to friends, colleagues, and Italian entrepreneurs who spent a good part of their lives in Africa. Especially president Alessandro Cianfrone and Marta Eleonora Paiar, who lived in Africa. I liked the idea, and I like the idea of cooperation between different people, and I am convinced that the only way to enter into a country is to share culture aspects and to insert yourself among other people. That’s what I’m doing here in the United States, combining the American and Italian mentalities. That’s what should be done in African countries. We shouldn’t be conquistadors. Conquistadors are not welcome. They’re seen as a foe."

    Kenya and Italy: The Numbers

    The work that A.I.I.K is doing is commendable, and it has become a leading platform in revitalizing not only the Kenyan economy and other East African economies, but it’s also helping Italy’s economy and the economies of other countries interested in this new business frontier.

    Kenya is ranked 92nd in the Doing Business Index and 96th in the Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017.

    Kenya is member of the World Trade Organization since its inception in January 1995; it is also a member of COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa).

    The Country is the 93rd destination market for Italian exports and the 7th destination market for Italian exports to Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Thanks to its strategic position and the potential for economic and social development, Kenya is considered an important partner for Italy. In 2016 Italian exports amounted to approximately 211.1 million euros, up 3.9% over 2015, and for the coming years it is expected to grow steadily.

    Italian exports consist mainly of me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing (37%), food and beverages (14%), chemicals (10%), electrical equipment (10%) and transportation (10%).

    In 2016 Italian imports from Kenya amounted to 52.1 million euros, down 41.7% on the previous year.

    The most significant investment opportunities are present in the following areas: construction, infrastructure, food processing, packaging, transportation, and energy.

    For more info on the A.I.I.K. activities click here >>



  • Art & Culture

    The Babylonian Talmud: A Living Book that Now Speaks Italian

    The first digitalized Italian translation of the Talmud is certainly a comprehensive and ambitious project. It was achieved through the use of an innovative software called “Traduco,” which was created in collaboration with the CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche). After stopping in Washington D.C., the PTTB continued its traveling presentation on October 24th with two important meetings: a press conference at the upscale Lincoln Ristorante–organized by Sally Fischer PR with a delicious Italian Kosher lunch offered by Va Bene –and a debate on the topic at NYU’s Casa Italiana-Zerilli-Marimò, in collaboration with the New York’s Centro Primo Levi. The roadshow ended on the 25th with a presentation at the Consulate General of Italy.

    The Talmud

    The sacred Jewish text has its roots in the transcription of discussions by Babylonian scholars of the Torah. The Talmud has been an object of study and discussion for some three centuries in Jewish communities across the world. Its historical, religious, philosophical, scientific, and legal value has given us an essential piece for understanding the Babylonian universe in the fifth century and an indispensable instrument for analyzing the other sacred text that is a cornerstone of the Jewish culture–the Bible.

    Historically, the first true edition of the Talmud was printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberg between 1519 and 1523. Both this edition and Marcantonio Giustinian’s have become a fundamental point of reference for all later editions until the definitive one by Romm Vilna in 1886.

    The Talmud has a troubled and complex history. Its content was considered heretic and condemned by the Holy Inquisition, which burned it at the stake for the first time in 1244. It was then sequestered from ghettos during the deportation of the Jews. Biased interpretations, or ones extrapolated from the text of some passages, caused the text to be considered blasphemous. In particular, the cryptic reference to a certain “Yeshu” (Jesus) and “Miriam” (Mary) and dubious references to these figures from the Gospel, which were never confirmed have contributed to this perception of the Talmud. Over the course of history, the sacred text has undergone numerous censorings, cuts and adaptations, becoming a bit of a metaphor for the discrimination and antisemitism that have historically accompanied the Jewish population and its diaspora.

    The Italian Translation

    The Talmud project, thanks to the formidable direction and determination of Professor Clelia Piperno, who has been its driving force since the beginning, has obtained 5 million euro grant from the Ministero dell’Istruzione (Miur), in collaboration with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the CNR, the UCEI (l’Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane) and the CRI (the College Rabbinico Italiano). 90 researchers and translators from all over the world came together to complete the epic undertaking. It’s a project that brought not only translators, linguistics, researchers, historians and computer programmers together but also people from different cultures and backgrounds. The Italian translation of the Talmud has therefore created a bridge between Italy, Israel, the European Community and also the United States, rejuvenating the spirit of the Talmud, which is anything but discriminatory, divisive, and anti democratic.

    “If you don’t study, you can’t produce culture,” proclaimed Clelia Piperno during the conference. She underscored just how much the Talmud is relevant today: “The Talmud’s method is very active, and it’s a living text. Our project is an approach to democracy. We’re trying to construct a new community where the keywords are respect and education. Respect is the key to democracy, and in the Talmud, there is a great deal of respect.”

    The “Traduco” Software

    The Italian edition compares the original text, written in Hebrew and Aramaic, with the translation. The point of reference for the original page is a recent elaboration of the classic structure with a significant difference in the vocalization of the words. The Italian version is not, however, a mere translation; it’s a multimedia, interactive text that suggests automatic translations, which can also be modified, adapting its legibility to the modern day. It’s a continuous study and a work in progress where commenting on the text has a historical and linguistic importance that is just as relevant as the text itself.

    All this was made possible thanks to “Traduco,” which is a software created by the Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale of the Consiglio Nazionale di Ricerche. It’s a system born from Italian intelligence; it indexes information and allows for uniform translations of text, notes, and comments.

    It’s a great success; the volumes comprising the translation have been selling extremely well. The organizers of the project have already been contacted by important organizations like Ernst & Young, the global management consulting firm, which proposed that the Talmud Project collaborates on a coach system project.

    Piperno and Di Segni on the Lazio Fans Controversy 

    To demonstrate the importance and historic modernity of the teachings of the Talmud are the recent facts appearing in Italian news, which highlight how generalized failed education and misinformation regarding certain subjects can still produce monsters. Italian soccer is one such example. Some fans of the Lazio team, S.S. Lazio, defamed the historical figure of Anne Frank by putting her head in a photo montage above photos of Roma team, A.S. Roma, soccer players - their historical rivals - labeling them as “Jews” and using the term to mock them. This is why a translation and knowledge of the Jewish Talmud is not only important but also necessary. There’s still a lot to be done in terms of both culture and education.

    “It was really surprising to discover the interest that there is around the Talmud. Although it’s a difficult text, it has entered into 10,000 Italian households. Therefore, it can be assumed that many of these homes weren’t Jewish. People are interested in understanding and learning about diversity,” Riccardo Segni argued when we reached him after the presentation.

    “Going against this is important because the signs we’re seeing are signs of the crumbling of society. Europe was built based on the idea that intolerance shouldn’t exist. Today, this construction is beginning to waver because it’s resisting the phenomenon of mass migration and the economic crisis. Everything is crumbling down, and what’s happening in stadiums is a symptom of it. It’s an old problem. People have always trivialized and exploited symbols and models. Only until a certain point though. First there was a certain discretion, or perhaps a certain respect in raising your head and doing things similar to what was done recently. The collapse of this mental block, of every limit, needs to be highlighted.”

    Immediately after the fact, the president of the Lazio team Claudio Lotito went, with a delegation from the team, to the synagogue in Rome to distance themselves from the events and express their disapproval regarding what happened: “We are here to reaffirm our denunciation of antisemitism and racism. Lazio will promote an annual initiative to bring 200 young fans to Auschwitz. The majority of our supporters stand with us against antisemitism.” Lotito added, “We want to be clear why you mess around with certain facts. There can be no more mocking.”

    Professor Piperno’s comment was very strong: “I believe that this is a great opportunity for Italian soccer and for president Lotito in particular. If instead of proposing his soccer players with a trip to Auschwitz, he were to buy 100 copies of the Talmud, give them to the families, and explain that the Jewish culture is a living thing, perhaps the next time before they try to use the photo of a dead woman, they’ll think twice about it and have more respect. It’s a question of lack of respect, a question of a lack of education, a question of a lack of culture.”

    Repentance with a pilgrimage where so many Jewish people lost their lives is worse than the episode itself,” Piperno continued. “It means that the only form of respect that Lotito has for the Jewish culture is for the dead Jewish culture. He doesn’t have the ability to look around and see that it’s alive and to support it. The memory and respect for the memory belong to the Jewish culture. The pilgrimages don't belong to us.”

    For more info on the Talmud Project click here >>

  • Domenico "Dom" DeMarco. Photo by ©Matthew Septimus
    Dining in & out

    The Legend of 'Di Fara Pizza' - A Classic Italian Story

    If you enter the heart of Brooklyn from the Avenue J subway station, you’ll find yourself in a classic Jewish neighborhood, with synagogues and kosher restaurants. It’s the last place you would ever think of finding a typical Italian pizzeria. However, New York is a city of infinite surprises, of contrasts but also of cultural synthesis. And just a few steps away from the Avenue J subway station stop, you’ll find one of the city’s most venerable pizzerias, Di Fara Pizza, a place  that has become legendary and in recent years  an important destination  for tourists and celebrities from all over the world.

    The secret of this little storefront  lies in the golden hands of Domenico DeMarco, a pizza maker from Caiazzo, in the province of Caserta, who, since opening the pizzeria in 1964, has been preparing his classic pizzas daily.


    Domenico’s Story

    His story is also a classic one. In 1959, Domenico left Caiazzo and followed his father, an American citizen, to the dream metropolis of New York. When he told us his story, the silence, the pauses, and his eyes, still full of youthful passion, spoke a thousand words. “My father was an American citizen, so I automatically became a citizen. I came here from the city of Caiazzo, a very old city. My family was a family of farmers. We cultivated oil, figs, and also made wine. Before moving here to Brooklyn, I lived in the town of Huntington on Long Island. I worked on a farm there.”

    While he was working on the farm, Domenico remembered that someone told him about the neighborhood near the Avenue J subway stop and that there were interesting opportunities there. One Saturday night, Dom went to visit the area, and he was surprised by the amount of people on the street. The place that would eventually become his pizzeria was for sale and was situated in a great location, steps from the subway entrance. Domenico already had some pizzeria experience, and he felt ready to open his own business.

    Trusting the instincts that had always guided him through the important decisions in his life, he decided to take the storefront. When he opened the business, his partner’s name was Farina. The two combined their names, DeMarco and Farina, and Di Fara Pizza was born. The pizzeria is the same today as it was back then, unchanged thanks to Domenico’s strength, determination, and his great love for his art. “As soon as you open the door, you don’t stop working until 9 at night. It’s my passion, my life. I’ve been in business for 53 years,” Domenico proudly told us.
    However, pizza was not DeMarco’s only love. He married an American woman who gave him wonderful children. To this day, his daughter Margaret still sticks by her father’s side and helps him run the pizzeria.

    “I married a very religious Catholic woman. We got married in the church. I liked her because she did her own thing, and she was reserved. It was good because as I always say, ‘it’s better to be alone than in bad company!’”
    In addition to being a tireless pizza maker, Domenico is also a positive and friendly man. He loves life and, in particular, music, which he listens to and plays for Di Fara’s customers.

    “I always listen to Italian music here. I like the sound of the accordion, the tarantella, and Italian folk music. One of my favorite artists was Enrico Caruso, who I was able to see here in New York. I also like Enrico Fiume, who always used to come here to have pizza. My music helps me to find the right rhythm for my work. My favorite song is “Ave Maria.”


    Di Fara’s Pizza

    But what’s made Di Fara so popular? It has become a must stop for tourists visiting New York. Many Italians affirm that the pizza is even better at Di Fara than it is in Italy, and celebrities have never stopped showing up, including singers Tony Bennett and Ed Sheeran and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, to name a few.  

    “When Italians come here to try my pizza, they tell me that they like it even more than the pizza they eat in Italy,” Dom says. “I don’t understand how that’s possible because all of the ingredients I use for the pizza come from Italy. The Casapulla mozzarella from Caserta, San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil. Perhaps this is the reason: I use only products of an extremely high quality. If you do what you like, if you have passion for your art, in this case the art of making pizza, the magic happens, and people like it. I like what I do, and I’m very proud of what I do.”

    Using ingredients of the highest quality is, of course, important. But DeMarco’s skill  is also key. He’s able to make approximately 150 pizzas daily at a rate fast enough to cause any of the larger restaurants to be jealous. Dom does almost everything by himself; he’s helped only by a few assistants, among whom are his children. 
    DeMarco’s prowess is not only in his extraordinary hands but also in his knowledge of cooking, of the importance of the dough and the constant search for new processes. “I always experiment with the pizza. I’m always evolving,” Domenico told us.

    “Before letting my clients taste a pizza, I’m always the first to try it. The dough is the most important part of the pizza, and that’s where I experiment the most. Pizza shouldn’t stay inside the oven for too long. I keep it in for no more than 5 minutes. If it’s in there for more than 5 minutes, the taste changes radically, and it gets too dry.”

    Writing about the taste of this pizza is easy; you can safely say it’s exquisite because that’s just the truth. But it’s the experience of going there to the Avenue J stop in Brooklyn, of walking into a place that seems like something out of a black and white postcard, and of seeing this man, both strong like a rock but as good as bread, knead his pizza, as he’s been doing every day for fifty years… and then of eating it, allows you to taste an important part of our Italian history.

    Di Fara Pizza

    1424 Avenue J
    Brooklyn, NY 11230

    google map >>


  • Giorgia Caporuscio
    Dining in & out

    Father & Daughter Teaching Pizza

    Roberto Caporuscio’s story is fascinating and adventurous. It’s a story of passion, love, and determination that guided him from his Roman roots to Neapolitan culture, becoming a kind of adopted Neapolitan, and  rising to success in the United States. All of this was lead by his passion for pizza and Neapolitan culture,  and one of its most distinctive gifts: pizza. 
    An American Adventure 
    After working in Naples with master pizza makers such as Don Gennaro Capatosta, Antonio Starita and Enzo Coccia, Roberto arrived in the United States in 1999 and began working as a pizza maker in Pittsburgh, making authentic Neapolitan pizza. It was a gamble at a time when Americans were used to the taste of  their own and Italian-American pizza and cuisine. However, Caporuscio won his personal gamble that the taste of true Neapolitan pizza could win over Americans , and, from that point forward, he has seen resounding success.
    Moving to New York, Roberto is now the owner of some of the most popular Neapolitan pizzerias in the city: Don Antonio and Kesté Pizza & Vino, which has three locations: West Village, Wall Street, and Williamsburg. He has also received wide recognition for his work: “#1 Pizza in New York” by New York Magazine, “Best Pizza” in New York State by Food Network Magazine, and top 25 “Best Pizza Places in the US” by Food and Wine.
    PAF - The Pizza Academy
    The idea of sharing the secrets of Neapolitan pizza was always on Roberto’s mind. “The idea for the school has existed for 10 years,” he tells us. “We had our first student in 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin. From there, the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani (Neapolitan Pizza Makers Association) asked me to educate people here in America and to show Americans what true Neapolitan pizza is.”
    Little by little, the master pizza maker began teaching students, like Mark Dym in Denver, who today has four pizzerias there. Soon after the opening of Don Antonio and Kestè, Roberto’s  teaching and advising was concentrated in New York, and he taught  almost 200 students. The students received certifications and are now successful pizza makers.
    Recently, Roberto’s daughter, Giorgia, a young and extremely talented pizza maker, joined in and  began teaching. And her father proudly confesses, “She’s even better than me at teaching!”
    Roberto and Giorgia’s dream was to find a physical space that was equipped to host a real school. They found such a  space downtown, in which they opened Kesté Wall Street. The largest room in the restaurant lent itself perfectly to hosting the school—inside of a real pizzeria. Students  could then  have the opportunity not only to learn how to prepare a Neapolitan pizza but also how to work with the right ovens and in a professional kitchen, a chance to understand how a pizzeria works and how it should be run. As Roberto emphasizes, “This school is dedicated both to teaching amateurs and to training chefs, but companies also come for team building. We also teach how to make pizza to children who are looking to have fun.”
    What the school does
    The opening of the Pizza Academy Foundation saw the collaboration of various sponsors like Caputo, Ciao, Belgioioso, and Urbani Truffles. Inside, there’s also a beautiful bar, which may be used to teach how to prepare true Italian cocktails.
    Seaside Communication, which collaborated on the project, advised Roberto to livestream the lessons from Kesté Wall Street. “This allows us to conduct lessons online, streaming through our website, and it allows us to be present outside the United States... We’ve already been able to reach Australia, South Africa, Berlin, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Santo Domingo,” he says enthusiastically .
    Caporuscio feels it’s important to teach not only how to cook a perfect Neapolitan pizza but also to teach what a true Neapolitan pizzeria should feel be, beginning with decor and interior design. For Kesté Wall Street, Roberto was inspired by a classic book about the  Neapolitan lifestyle in the 1800s, Usi e costumi di Napoli e Contorni Descritti e Dipinti by Francesco De Bourcard. It describes  a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria, and gave  Roberto his inspiration. “I recreated that atmosphere here thanks to the Neapolitan architect Roberto Iuliano. I photocopied the pages and gave them to him. This is how he decided  to recreate that rustic environment.”
    Roberto adds,  “Something important that we always explain during the lessons is that a restaurant’s environment needs to match the product that you sell. It needs to respect the food that you serve and its traditions. Neapolitan pizza can’t be presented in a modern place, especially in the eyes of Americans.”
    Neapolitan pizza secrets
    “First of all, Neapolitan pizza requires an artisan who knows how to make it, the pizza maker,” Caporuscio says. “It’s an art that must be learned, from the dough to the oven, the temperatures, the cooking times, and the ingredients. Neapolitan pizza can be prepared only with Caputo flour, either 0 or 1. The dough needs to be made with a small amount of yeast, fermented for a long time, and with the right amount of salt. After this, the most important part is the kneading. It needs to be soft and fluffy but also elastic. It must be able to be eaten with your hands, and the ingredients must not slide off. Mozzarella, tomato, and extra virgin olive oil are obviously the main ingredients. It should be made in a wood-burning oven and cook for approximately 90 seconds.”
    The school also teaches how to make Roman pan pizza and American pizza with a class run by Michele Ameglio, a world-champion of pizza. Still, while Roberto is open to various interpretations of pizza,  he argues that “Neapolitan pizza is either Neapolitan or it’s not. If not, we risk it becoming like spaghetti and meatballs, which is the big problem that Italian gastronomy had in America. This is why it’s important to educate and teach the timeless tradition of true Neapolitan pizza. This a fundamental mission of my work.”
  • Elena Berriolo performing 'A Book as a Line on the River'. Photo by Sara Pettinella
    Art & Culture

    The Enchantment of the Sewing Machine

    Elena Berriolo is an Italian born, New York-based artist who has made a commitment since 2009 of working exclusively in the book format with the sewing machine. 

    Elena's Roots

    Elena was born in Savona, a small city on the north east coast of Italy, an area of the Italian Riviera where many influential artists used to gravitate up to the 1960's because of the ceramic workshops in the village of Albissola, a few miles from Savona. Berriolo became interested in ceramics, and in 1974, at age of 15, she started interning with a ceramist business in Albissola. At the time she did not know anything about contemporary art, but that was when she first came across big names such as Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, Nikolay Diulgheroff and Bruno Munari

    She then decided to study art in Turin at the Accademia Albertina and after her graduation she moved to Milan. In January 1990 at the opening of her solo show at Studio Marconi 17 Gallery, she met a New Yorker, the person who would eventually become her husband and with whom she moved to NYC in 1994 where she continues to live.

    The Sewing Machine Epiphany

    After experimenting with sculpting, painting, performing, Elena had an epiphany while thinking about one of the most traditional femminine tools: the sewing machine. She came to the realization that the uninterrupted line that a sewing machine produces can be a response to the Infinite Line series by Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana's cuts that break the two dimensional space of the canvas. The cut on the canvas suggests a third dimension, redefining the concepts of space and time. 

    For Berriolo, the sewing machine is an instrument that can produce an infinite line. This line while embracing the two sides of the page, is visible on the front and on the back of a stiched material. Therefore the front side of the line is in the present and the back side of it is in the future, portraying an infinite and holistic sense of time. As the artist stated - write/sew a book by reading in the second page, the memory of the first one.

    Also the sewing machine became for Berriolo a symbol of the feminine energy that is infused throughout her art. "I chose the sewing machine the moment I stopped believing that to be worthy of being considered an artist, a woman needed to delete the word "woman" from her own identity"

    Books as Bridges

    Ultimately the machine has become for the artist the vehicle with which she gives a voice to social and political statements, from femminist revendications to political ones. As Berriolo said, "the very identity of the machine as an instrument able to link, to repair and to unite, led me in 2015 to start a series of works aimed to mend the world." A vivid example of this was the performance A Book as a Bridge, Across the Mexican Border, presented while travelling from San Diego to Tijuana, on December 19th 2016, the day of D. Trump's confirmation, as an act of protest against the wall that the new President of the United States was planning to build. 

    "In San Diego," the artist recounts, "I placed my machine at the rear end of a Tijuana bound Tourismo Express bus next to an accordion book whose length, when unfolded, would equal more or less the length of the bus. I started sewing/tracing the book with an embroidered line at the San Ysidro Station and continued producing it while unfolding the book up to my arrival in Tijuana, Mexico. At the time of arrival, the whole line-book had stretched through the entire length of the bus, having grown the distance from its back to its front while growing from San Diego to Tijuana over the Mexican border, covering about five miles distance within its 35 feet of its length while creating a bridge."

    "Since I have committed to limit myself to working within the book format, and therefore excluding most of my work from being displayed on a gallery wall, I need to make a public statement. That is why I started performing," explains the artist.

    But not all performances involve political statements or social revendications. Berriolo uses the sewing machine also to investigate the rhythms of nature, sewing in unison with them or with played music. In one of her first performances, Two Sided Concerto, back in 2012, she sewed following the rhythm of a piano, in collaboration with pianist Edith Hirshtal

    "Whenever I use my sewing machine next to a musician, soon enough he or she will have no choice but to go along or against my beat. Our interaction produces two outcomes: our music and a visual outcome which is a book. This performance came from the realization that the sewing machine, sounding as a percussion beat while producing a pattern, is a link among visual art and music."

    The Performances at the Children's Museum of the Arts

    But these are just some of the visual and conceptual possibilities of the sewing machine, and its enchantments can really be experienced just watching the artist performing or flipping the pages of her books. This is an experience that is very hard to translate and report through words. From the most conceptual notions like when she perforates the Fibonacci Sequence to the investigation of nature's microbiotic life, as when she recreates the paths of a beetle over a leaf, these are all suggestions that have to be experienced with the full 5 senses and beyond.

    If you are interested in knowing more and experiencing the world of this fascinating artist, don't miss the chance to go see her performing this September and October in New York at the Children's Museum of the Arts in New York.

    The Calendar

    September 21, 2017
    The perforation of the Fibonacci Sequence in a Book which will be a10 minute performance every 20 minutes from 3:00-4:30PM

    September 24, 2017
    Feed me The Line, a performance with sewing machine and poetry with poet Sarah Riggs at 3PM

    October 1, 2017
    A Book as a Bridge Among Diversity, a performance with sewing machine as an act of resistance for DACA.  performance at 3PM

    October 8, 2017
    The Infinite Poem  a performance with sewing machine seaming together words and thoughts from the participants and have them fly through  space held up by balloons. An interactive performance at 3PM

    October 14, 2017
    The Sound of Silence, a performance with sewing machine and violin, with violinist Rosi Hertlein at 3PM

    October 22, 2017
    A Book as a Bridge among time and space.

    An interactive performance on the 1 train from Houston Street Station to Cortland Park station in the Bronx.It is an act of resistance to the repeal of Obamacare. The average lifespan of a child born in the Greenwich Village is 5 to 8 years longer than the life of a child from the Bronx, By sewing a line on an accordion book while traveling from the Village to the Bronx and back, a bridge will be built among the two destinations, covering 25 miles within the 40 feet of the book while linking the two communities. Leaving from the Museum at 3PM.

    For more info about the artist go visit her website here >>


  • Facts & Stories

    Honoring the Italian Victims of September 11

    September 11 2017 marks the sixteenth anniversary of the tragic event during which thousands of people, many of whom were many Italians and Italian Americans, lost their lives. The Italian community came together to remember the victims and to honor fellow countrymen at the Consulate General of Italy.

    The Consulate’s Ceremony

    The ceremony began with a prayer lead by Rev. Msgr. Hilary Franco, Advisor for the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. The prayer took place in front Antonio Manfredi’s artwork, which was placed at the entrance to the Consulate in memory of the fallen. In front of the bas relief depicting the crumbling Twin Towers sat a vase that participants filled with an emotional floral homage.

    Guests then moved to the Consulate’s conference room where Consul General Francesco Genuardi spoke about the importance of remembering the victims of the tragic attacks.

    Among the guests was Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Office for People with Disabilities for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Calise reiterated the importance remembering. He reminded everyone how much the City of New York has done, and continues to do, in order to rebuild and to repair a wound that will never fully heal. Calise then directed a special sentiment toward the Italians and Italian Americans who perished that day.

    The Path to Remembrance

    Another contribution was given by an institutional delegation from the city of Brescia, who come to New York in solidarity with victims of September 11.

    On May 28, 1974, the city of Brescia was struck by a violent terrorist attack in Piazza della Loggia. Many of the city’s residents lost their lives that day. In collaboration with the Comune of Brescia, the Association Famigliari Caduti Strage di Piazza Loggia, and the Province of Brescia, Brescia’s Associazione Casa della Memoria developed a living installation in memory of the victims of terrorism and political violence. The installation unites Piazza della Loggia with other historic locations throughout the city, following Contrada S. Urbano and ending at the Castle. Along the way are a series of tiles and stones that commemorate the victims of various massacres.

    We spoke about it with Laura Parenza, President of Comune di Brescia City Council. “The goal of constructing the path to remembrance is to commemorate victims of every tragedy. The path is one of both remembrance and sharing. This was the sense of today’s meeting at the Consulate, the idea of sharing and, at the same time, working together to build a peaceful world–trying to transmit those values that must be passed down to future generations. Today’s society is a global one. A city today is made up of people who come from different countries with different cultures. Therefore, we need to have the strength and the ability to listen to each other.”

    Reading the Names

    A solemn moment that evening was the reading of the names of the Italians and Italian-Americans who perished that day. Finding those names proves to be a bit difficult because Italian law does not allow the victims’ identities to be revealed. Cav. Giulio Piccoli has been working on this for years, and he presented the list of names that he found.

    In 1965, Piccoli came from Naples to America in search of a better life. He spent forty-five years fighting for the Italian community in the United States trying, as he told us, to eliminate stereotypes and prejudice. He spoke with us about his research into the Italians who perished in the September 11 attacks: “Since 1969, I was determined to help our community. When memorial ceremonies began after the attacks on the Twin Towers, I was determined to make a difference. I sifted through 3,000 names in order to find the Italian ones. I did it out of love for my country and with the desire to defend Italianness here in America. I wanted to pay tribute to everything that the Italian community, both immigrants and the Italian Americans, has done and continues to do for the United States of America.”

    The presence of the New York City firefighters, many of whom were Italian, was fundamental that evening. In fact, at the time of the attacks, the head of the Fire Department was an Italian-American, Daniel A. Nigro, who is now the Commissioner of the Fire Department.

    During a respectful silence, the names were read: Italian names, mixed names, Italian-American names, names that were changed to facilitate assimilation, names from the same family. Names we should never forget. In addition to Cav. Piccoli’s reading of the names, others were ready by Silvana Mangione from the Comitato di Presidenza del Consiglio Generale degli Italiani all’Estero.

    Subsequently, the delegation from Brescia conferred the Consul General and the Consulate with plaques thanking them for the invite and for the great work they’ve been doing for New York’s Italian community. Cav. Piccoli and Cav. Joseph Guagliardo, President of the Conference Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, also received plaques for their contributions to the community.

    Refreshments offered by New Jersey’s Clemente Italian Bakery & Deli concluded the evening. The sentiment that night was both warm and emotional as people looked to the past in order to build a better future.