Developing pride in the Italian-American woman

Paula Caglianone presents Curtis High School graduate Abigail Petrassi her Italian American Women scholarship.
Paula Caglianone presents Curtis High School graduate Abigail Petrassi her Italian American Women scholarship.

By Colleen Siuzdak

Eleanor Conforti
Eleanor Conforti

STATEN ISLAND — Growing up, Eleanor Conforti was given instructions on her role as an Italian woman in the family — cook, clean, and take care of the children.

Conforti, a board member of the Italian American Women of Staten Island, said the man of the family was expected to be the breadwinner and make the decisions. Although she admits that stereotype is dated, she wants to develop more pride in women through the efforts of the Italian American Women of Staten Island.

“We need to … reinvent a sense of pride in ourselves [as women],” Conforti said. “[The organization] have women who are in law, education, nursing, and … I am proud of them.”

The Italian American Women of Staten Island strive to highlight positive images of Italians and Italian-Americans throughout the borough, city and country, encouraging people of Italian heritage to embrace the culture and continue its traditions. Eager to help all people in need on the local level regardless of their heritage background, this organization hosts fundraisers and contribute donations to support local programs.

Conforti, who pioneered the Italian American Women of Staten Island in 2009, was first a member of the Staten Island chapter of the American Committee on Italian Migration (ACIM) based in Manhattan.

This parent organization supported Italian immigrants throughout the city and state but Conforti felt the break-away from the umbrella organization was necessary. She said the money being raised was not helping Staten Island as much as it should have been, adding other board members of the local chapter felt the same.

After the move to focus solely on Staten Island, the group only seemed to get bigger with programs being added for Staten Islanders and events highlighting inspirational speakers who have made a difference, including the very first one featuring Matilda Cuomo, the wife of the former New York State governor Mario Cuomo.

The organization’s events run throughout the year with lunches held to honor the members, money given to needy families during the holidays, and items given to Toys for Tots. October brings Italian History Month which the group will have Monsignor Edmund Whalen speak to the members because of his Italian heritage (and did you know he speaks fluent Italian?).

Paula Caglianone, former president of the IAW and also a board member, said it is important for the IAW to exist since some cultural traditions are at stake because younger couples do not implement them into the family as much as previous generations.

She added the group gives people a chance to talk about the culture, educate other people, and figure out ways to make it more prominent in the lives of Italian-Americans. Some of these traditions include going to dinner every Sunday at 2 p.m., celebrating “La Befana” (an Italian folk tale that tells story of an old woman who delivers gifts to children while looking for the Baby Jesus) and keeping recipe books with dishes made from past “nonnas” (Italian grandmothers).

Although keeping the culture strong among Italians takes priority, Caglianone said, what sets the IAW apart is that they are women-based.

One of their biggest contributions include a $4,000 scholarship awarded in June to an Italian-American young woman who is a high school senior. Most of that money is raised from their March event — the Women in History lunch. (This year, Catherine Tantillo who runs “Diva for a Day” was honored at this event, receiving the 2017 Community Service Award. Tantillo’s program supports women with cancer by giving them a day of pampering.)

This year Abigail Petrassi, a recent graduate of Curtis High School from the International Baccalaureate program, received this scholarship and will be going to SUNY Oneonta in the Fall in hopes of pursuing education with a concentration in biology.

Petrassi said she was honored to receive the award especially from a group that focuses solely on Italian heritage.

“I always appreciated my Italian culture, but it was always hard for me to find a way to express that,” Petrassi said, adding she immersed herself in Italian culture through her dad, the full-fledged Italian of the family.

“Being able to meet the people behind this organization, and express my gratitude, it was truly amazing.”

In addition to the scholarships and luncheons, the IAW also supports cultural organizations on Staten Island including the Garibaldi-Meucci Mueseum, which preserves the history of Giuseppe Garibaldi and Antonio Meucci.

Garibaldi was once a refuge in the home before becoming a man deemed heroic for his success in the unification of Italy. The home, located in Rosebank, was a residence to Meucci, the “true inventor” of the telephone.

Stephanie Lundegard, administrator of the museum, said the IAW has supported the museum in many ways, adding the museum has a similar mission to the organization — creating a better community for those in the future.

“Basically their mission is the same as ours,” Lundegard said, adding how grateful the museum is for the support from the IAW. ” [That is] acknowledging people in the community that have gone above and beyond.”

The IAW have donated funds to keep programs at the museum including its Italian Language program for adults, its school educational program, and the Mommy and Me program.

This particular program educates toddlers about the Italian culture since Lundegard said she sees a need for the younger Italian-American generation to learn about their culture since the newer generation is not as interested.

“We don’t want them to lose it, we want them to understand it’s important to hold on to your heritage, to your family,” Lundegard said. “That’s important with any heritage.”

While heritage is important to this all Italian group, Conforti and Caglianone stress they want to make sure Staten Islanders in need are taken care of; one of the biggest aspects of their organization.

“We try our best to do for the community,” Caglianone said. “That’s our goal [which is] to take care of our community.”

(Find the Italian American Women of Staten Island on their Facebook page to learn more about the organization.)

Music you absolutely need to listen to before your trip to Piemonte

 By Paola


Before a trip, I love to research for some music from the place I’m going to visit. I know you already found a lot about Italian artists, but what do you know about the music from Piemonte?

So take your time, relax, and follow me: we will go through jazz, hard rock, popular music and reggae. This is my personal top 10, it’s the music you absolutely need to listen to before, or during, your trip to Piemonte.

1. Subsonica

Subsonica, electronic rock band from the 90s, is one of my favourites. Other great songs are Tutti i miei sbagliDormiIncantevoleDisco Labirinto.


2. Paolo Conte

Yes, he’s from Asti, and he’s ours! Paolo Conte is incredible, expressive, strong and elegant. Too many great songs from him, impossible to choose. So here I decided to put this live version of Via con me. but before your trip to Piemonte you should also listen at least to Diavolo Rosso, a song about the legendary cyclist from Asti from the beginning of last century. Remember that, because we will introduce the grandson of the Diavolo Rosso to you during our Minibus Tours in Monferrato.

3. Gipo Farassino

Unforgettable poet of the ‘barriera’ (this is how we call the suburbs), Farassino is part of our tradition. He wrote both in italian and in our dialect. French music lovers should listen to Porta Pila, they will certainly undestand why after the first 30 seconds. My favourite one is Serenata ciucaluna, where a drunk guy mourns over the marriage of the girl he loves with a dumb guy, but here you are Sangon Blues, a song about a nifty dancing club next to the river Sangone, that my father always sang to us.



4. Fred Buscaglione

100% piedmontese is this classy singer from the 50s, with his character of a clumsy mobster Chicago style. His masterpieces are: TeresaEri piccola cosìChe bambola,  and my favourite Guarda che luna. Here you are il Dritto di Chicago, in my opinion the song that represents the spirit of this great singer.


5. Africa Unite

Yes, still some more stuff from the 90s, I told you this was my personal top ten, and I was 17 in 1995, when this song, Scegli, came out from this piemontese reggae group, and I love it. You should also listen to Il Partigiano John, about the Italian resistance movement agains fascism, that reminds us the famous book from Beppe Fenoglio, il Partigiano Johhny.



6. Ludovico Einaudi

Pianist and composer, known all around the world, Ludovico Einaudi comes from a very important family from Torino. His grandfather was the first official president of the Italia Republic in 1948.

His music is pure poetry. Here you will find him playing in the Arctic for Greenpeace.

7. Gianmaria Testa

Born in Cuneo, self taught guitarist, this great author had an ordinary job at the Italian Railways while he had already performed at the Olympia in Paris. Simple, quiet, poetic and sweet, he died in 2016 in Castiglione Falletto, in the Langhe region.

My suggestion is to go to his website to discover his life and his work. This is really a voice from Piemonte.

8. Eugenio in via Di Gioia

I just discovered them, thanks to their incredible video, and I love them:

9. Lou Dalfin

Coming from the Occitan part of Piemonte, the alpine valleys between France and Italy, Lou Dalfin keeps alive ancient traditions playing unusual instruments like the ghironda. They sing in their peculiar language, Languedoc, and their music is engaging and strong. Here you are a sample:


10. Some more random stuff

If you want to travel into the music from Piemonte, you should also check out outher artists like Mau mauMarlene KuntzLinea 77, Statuto. Here you can find a song from the famous duo Righeira, directly from the 80s when they were incredibly famous:


Before getting here, though, you should also listen to some traditional music, like Piemontesina bella, or La Monferrina.
If you have more suggestions, or if you have any comments, I’m here to get them.
See you in Piemonte!
Good Trips!

Radio Italia from Cleveland tonight July 22, 2017

Radio Italia

Host(s): Tony

  • Saturday: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Central

Archive: Listen

We offer an enormous and eclectic variety of Italian music as you have never heard before! Prepare to be enlightened and entertained as we feature artists from Adriano Celentano to Zucchero Fornaciari and everything in between! Instrumental, blues, jazz, rock, popera, regional folklore, legendary Italian-American and popular Italian regional artists will delight you! We’ll also inform you of local community events, Italian Consular news, “Serie A” soccer scores and special guest interviews! Join us on our adventure!

Italian-Language Bookseller ‘Libreria Pino’ Pops Up In North Beach

by Nathan Falstreau 

North Beach is synonymous with all things Italian, but residents and visitors can dive even deeper into the culture at Libreria Pino, a pop-up Italian language bookseller.

“We are so excited to have this opportunity to have a physical presence in the neighborhood,” owner Joseph Carboni told Hoodline. “We are looking forward to meeting our neighbors, letting people browse our products, and speaking Italian with our customers.”

Libreria Pino began as an online bookstore in 2011 with a limited selection of Italian bestsellers and popular children’s books.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to build the business in order to support a physical retail store,” Carboni said. “I have looked at spaces throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. Of course, the only neighborhood for an Italian bookstore was always North Beach.”


Carboni signed a short-term lease at 1412 Grant Ave. this last month, but told us that he’s already receiving positive reviews from customers and passersby.

“Everyone that has been to our store has been so excited to see an Italian bookstore in North Beach,” he said. “We have received lots of compliments on how beautiful the new store looks…They all stop to see the Dr. Seuss titles in the window.”

Carboni decided to start his own business when his son was at San Francisco’s La Scuola International School, and realized how difficult it was to find Italian language books in the United States. Even after visiting bookstores throughout the country, he was surprised at the limited selection available.

“Given the increasing popularity of the Italian language and the thousands of Italian speakers living in in the States, there should be enough customer demand to support a specialized bookstore,” Carboni said.


As demand for his books grew, customers began to request he carry certain titles and genres they couldn’t find outside of Italy. “We now have a broad selection from easy-readers to Dante; from Elena Ferrante to Luigi Pirandello; and from Francesco Tullio Altan to Gianni Rodari,” he told us.

Over time, Libreria Pino’s collection has expanded to include a variety of Italian music and film as well, featuring artists such as Lucio Battisti and Mina, Jovanotti, Malika Ayane, and Noemi. Carboni has also added a broad selection of films for children like Barbapapà, Geronimo Stilton, and Winx Club, as well as films for adults ranging from classics to popular new releases.

“Our goal is to promote Italian culture and language through books, music and film,” he said. “We aim to provide easy access to Italian literature and entertainment with a customer-centric approach.”

While Libreria Pino’s brick-and-mortar location will only be open until December, Carboni said he hopes to stay, even if it’s at another space.

“Of course we hope to stay in the neighborhood after our pop-up. But you will always be able to find us online.”

Three Italian brothers seek to reconnect with their life during the Holocaust

In documentary, the Anati family explores the Italian countryside in search of the cave they lived in during WWII

 July 22, 2017, 12:27 pm
The Anati brothers, from left, Emmanuel, Andrea and Bubi. (Tamar Tal Anati via JTA)

JTA — Renting a house in the Italian countryside and eating loads of pasta is about as blissful a vacation as they come.

For the three Anati brothers, however, such a trip is a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Yet the brothers — Bubi, 77; Andrea, 85; and Emmanuel, 88 — did just that in 2013, precisely with the aim of reconnecting with their past.

The Anatis were raised in an upper-class family in Florence. In 1942, just before the deportations of Florentine Jews to Auschwitz began, the family escaped the city. They fled from village to village and eventually settled in a forest near Villa a Sesta, a town some 50 miles from Florence. With the help of locals, their father dug a cave — and the family lived underground, literally, for several months during the winter of 1944 until the end of the war.

The family then moved to Israel, where the brothers have lived ever since.

“Shalom Italia,” an hourlong documentary directed by Tamar Tal Anati (Bubi’s daughter-in-law) airing Monday night on the PBS series “Point of View,” follows the brothers’ return to Italy in an attempt to find the cave and seek some closure about those dark years. The affable trio treks through the forest, meets with members of a family that helped them survive and, since this is Italy, eats plenty of pasta along the way.

The brothers used local Italian food as fuel on their quest. (Tamar Tal Anati via JTA)

The brothers used local Italian food as fuel on their quest. (Tamar Tal Anati via JTA)

The true joy of this sweet film, however, is the authentic camaraderie of the brothers and their cultivated passion for Italian culture. Bubi, who worked for years at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, is the youngest and most earnest. He’s the guiding force behind the trip because locating the cave was something he had wanted to do for years.

Andrea, an oceanic physics researcher, is a whimsical goof — he frequently whistles, hums and introduces himself to strangers — in great physical shape for an octogenarian.

Emmanuel — his brothers affectionately call him “Meme” (pronounced “may-may”), and sometimes “Meme mio,” or “my Meme” — is an internationally renowned archaeologist. He is the most serious of the three and has no desire to relive his Holocaust memories, having long pushed them out of his mind. But Meme agrees to the trip to satisfy Bubi.

On screen, the brothers’ personalities don’t exactly clash — they do, however, lightly bump up against one another. They bicker over which room to eat dinner in, when to leave the rented house in the morning and which path to take to find the cave in the forest. But the banter is more endearing than whiny. One particularly humorous debate occurs over whether the brothers brought toy bows and arrows with them when they fled Florence — Andrea insists they did, Meme calls him ridiculous.

In spite of its charm, “Shalom Italia” does not glaze over the serious history underpinning the story. The film’s lighthearted tone goes hand in hand with the brothers’ ghosts from the war. They have interesting conversations about the nature of memory over mouthwatering meals, which include salami, mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciutto and pasta with pesto.

Exterior, the Great Synagogue of Florence. (Wikimedia commons/Toksave)

Exterior, the Great Synagogue of Florence. (Wikimedia commons/Toksave)

In one memorable scene, Andrea says he remembers their years on the run fondly — for him it was an adventurous time that brought together the entire family.

“We lived in the woods, played Robin Hood and collected mushrooms,” he says. “I had fun during the Holocaust.”

Meme ruffles at the remark, saying that while Andrea enjoyed his youth, he was forced to grow up quickly.

At another point, Bubi says he cannot eat or even get close to sardines. He realizes that he feels this way because the family ate sardines during the war.

Ultimately the film is a testament to how memories are filtered through our attitudes and experiences, even the desires of those around us.

“It was very interesting to see that when you confront someone else, your memory starts to change,” Tamar Tal Anati told JTA from her home in Tel Aviv. “[And] to see how memory reconstructs itself.”

Tal Anati had been married to Bubi’s son for years, but was not aware that her father-in-law and his brothers were Holocaust survivors. When Bubi told her about the planned trip to the Italian countryside — and she learned of the cave and the reason for the journey — she felt compelled to film it.

“I was fascinated by the fact that each one of them has a completely different memory of the same event,” she said. “And I was curious to see how they would deal with the physical and mental challenge of this journey.”

Tal Anati noted that for decades, the brothers did not even think of themselves as true Shoah survivors. But since the filming of “Shalom Italia,” which helped them reckon with the memories of that long-ago winter, they do now.

“Our character and the way we see life is the result of the memories we hold,” she said. “And once these memories change, we change.”

(“Shalom Italia” airs at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, July 24, on PBS. It will also stream online at from July 24 through Aug. 26.)

Italy Just Launched a Free, Nationwide Wi-Fi App

Rome, Italy
Free Wi-Fi may soon be standard throughout Italy.
Reviews have been spotty, however.

Few obstacles put a crimp in a vacation quite like spotty cell connectivity. Even in a place like Rome, the Eternal City, travelers insist on immediate gratification in the form of likes and shares on social media while they experience millennia of history. And so, to cater to the present and future, Italy’s government has launched a free, nationwide Wi-Fi app.

Called Wifi Italia, the app “will allow all users, both Italian and foreign” to access a country-wide network, according to the app’s iTunes store page. (The app is also available for Android devices.) In a lengthy description, the page outlines that the initiative was launched by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, and the Agency for the Promotion Digital Italy, beginning in summer 2017 and expected to grow in time. One login allows users to access Wi-Fi in Italian or English around the country, when available, and so far, the network has been launched in Bari, Emilia Romagna, Milan, Rome, Tuscany, and Trento, according to The Local. The current blueprint anticipates people connecting to 28,000 access points already installed around the country this year, according to La Repubblica, with plans to further develop in public and private spaces beginning in 2018.

Siciliani nel mondo: Intervista a Carlo Vaniglia della Santa Fara di Cinisi a Chicago

Immagine Principale

Carlo Vaniglia è corrispondente a Chicago di Progetto Sicilia nel mondo

di Domenico Interdonato

Immagine PrincipaleImmagine PrincipaleImmagine Principale

Intervista a Carlo Vaniglia, corrispondente da Chicago negli USA, del “Progetto Sicilia nel Mondo” dell’Associazione “L’Aquilone” Onlus, e presidente della Società “Santa Fara di Cinisi” (Chicago), che ci racconta la storia e l’attuale rinascita dell’Associazione. Presidente quando nasce la società “Santa Fara di Cinisi” Chicago? “La Società è nata nel 1930 nella zona di Little Italy a Chicago USA”.

Quali sono i fini della storica Società? “La Società ha lo scopo di mantenere i legami storico, religiosi e culturali con la terra natia, è stata molto attiva per tanti anni, poi con l’andare del tempo gli associati e i paesani si sono sposati e hanno creato le loro famiglie in altre aree della zona, l’ultima messa in onore della nostra Santa protettrice è stata fatta nel 1969 e per tanti anni le attività si erano fermate, fino ad arrivare al 1980 quando un gruppo di cinisensi, si è organizzato per far rinascere la nuova Società, con tanti nuovi soci arrivati negli States negli anni ‘60 e ‘80”.

Chi ha dato l’impulso alla rinascita della Società? “Dopo 2 anni dalla rinascita, l’attività è ripresa, lentamente, con l’aiuto di uno dei fondatori e primo presidente della nuova Società ‘Paolo Butera’, il quale ha comprato l’attuale sede che può ospitare fino a 150 persone assieme a una Cappella dedicata a Santa Fara”.

Quando festeggiate Santa Fara da Chicago? “Ogni anno, la Prima settimana di luglio festeggiamo con una Santa Messa e poi carne grigliata per tutti, musica e ballo. La festa la organizziamo nella stessa settimana che si festeggia a Cinisi; quest’anno, c’erano oltre 120 persone, un evento religioso e ludico molto partecipato dove tutti sono ospiti”.

Quali sono gli scopi della Società? “Questi eventi li organizziamo per tenere i cinisensi uniti e per stare in contatto con i paesani”.

Nell’ultimo anno avete avuto visite importanti dalla Sicilia? “Nel mese di ottobre scorso, l’attuale sindaco Giangiacomo Palazzolo e la Giunta comunale di Cinisi sono venuti a trovarci, come consuetudine. Il sindaco Palazzolo ci ha detto con piacere che sua nonna era nata qui a Chicago, nella zona dove si trovava la vecchia sede”.

A Chicago quanti siete gli associati? “Siamo circa 80 associati, con il sottoscritto presidente, il vicepresidente Paolo Palazzolo, il segretario Giuseppe Briguglio, il tesoriere Benedetto Manzella e lo chairman Stefano Butera”.

La Società Santa Fara di Cinisi esiste solo a Chicago? “Il nome dell’Associazione è ‘Società Santa Fara di Cinisi Chicago’, anche a Detroit, St. Louis e New York esistono altre società dedicate a Santa Fara di Cinisi”.

Dove fate ogni anno la festa? “La festa la facciamo nella nostra sede ufficiale che ha anche la Cappella dove dire Messa e si trova nella nuova Little Italy di Chicago. La Santa Messa, quest’anno, è stata celebrata da padre Augusto Feccia Scalabriniano, figura di spicco religiosa della comunità italiana di Chicago”.



Ultima modifica Gio 20 Lug 2017 – 18:24

Sicilian Cultural Association Meeting Aug. 10, 2017

Dear Members of the Sicilian Cultural Association,


Our President Michael Santangelo would like to have a Membership meeting on Thursday August 10, 2017. The reason for having a meeting in August is because our picnic will be in September this year, so we will only have on activity next month. So many of us take vacations in August and it is just to much.

Location: LiUna Event Center   4532 So. Lindbergh Blvd.  Sunset Hills, Mo.  63127. The doors open at 6:30pm and a buffet dinner at 7:00pm.

Cost: $30.00 per person, which includes dinner, wine, soft drinks, coffee and dessert. They will also have a cash bar.

Please RSVP to Phyllis Sansone- or 636-461-0329 by Friday August 4th.

I am sending you a copy of the recent Board meeting. Mike Santangelo wants all members to have a copy of the Board minutes going forward.

Thank you for your co-operation,

Phyllis Sansone- Secretary

Sebastian Maniscalco coming to the Peabody Opera House Dec. 9, 2017

Click here for Tickets

Sebastian Maniscalco

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sebastian Maniscalco
Born July 8, 1973 (age 44)
Chicago, Illinois, US
Medium Stand-up
Nationality Italian-American

Sebastian Maniscalco (born July 8, 1973) is an Italian-American stand-up comedian born in Chicago and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois.


After moving from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1998, Maniscalco began his career performing at open mics in bars and bowling alleys while working as a waiter at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where he worked from 1998 to 2005. In 2005, he began performing regularly at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood.[2] Since then, he has done a half-hour for Comedy Central Presentsand four hour-long specials. His first special, Sebastian Live, was released on 2 June 2009. His next three specials were aired on Showtime, with What’s Wrong With Peoplereleased on 5 January 2012, Aren’t You Embarrassed?, taped in Chicago, released on 14 November 2014, and Why Would You Do That?, taped at the Beacon Theatre in New York City and released in 2016.[2][3]

Maniscalco was one of four comedians featured in Vince Vaughn‘s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland, along with Ahmed AhmedJohn Caparulo, and Bret Ernst. Maniscalco has also been on Russell Peters’ Best Night EverComedy Central PresentsThe Late Late Show with Craig FergusonThe Tonight Show with Jay LenoThe Jay Leno ShowThe Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonConan, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Additionally, he appeared in several films such as The Nut Job 2: Nutty by NatureThe House, and Cruise, and he has a podcast called The Pete and Sebastian Show with fellow comedian Pete Correale. As of January 2017, they have a show on Sirius XM satellite radio’s Raw Dog Comedy channel 99. In 2016, Maniscalco appeared on the seventh season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. He has plans to publish his memoir Where You Wanna Eat? in 2017.[3]

Saint Louis

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