Tortellini soup (la cucina di Jeanne Florini)

What you need
3 tablespoons butter, margarine, or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
8 cups vegetable stock (fatto in casa – homemade – see note!)
2 cups water
2 packages (9 oz each) dried cheese-filled tortellini
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 T dried
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

1. Melt butter in 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cover and cook celery, carrot and onion in butter 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

2. Stir in homemade stock and water. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in tortellini and dried basil (if using) at this time. Cover and simmer 10 minutes – or until tortellini are tender – stir in fresh basil (if using) at this time.

4. Top each serving with cheese.

NOTE: How To Make Vegetable Stock
1 to 2 onions
2 to 3 carrots
3 to 4 celery stalks
4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme (if use dried – 1 T.)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
8 cups water
Optional Extras: leeks (especially the green parts), fennel, tomatoes, mushrooms, mushroom stems (mushrooms will provide the umami flavor – that is typically found in a meat stock)
1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil over a medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook, covered stirring occasionally until veg are soft (about 10 minutes).
2. 2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook gently for about an hour or until the stock tastes rich and full. Strain stock and discard vegetable solids.

Voting for Italian citizens resident abroad


The Italian Parliamentary elections will be held in 2018, and citizens who are resident abroad will be able to vote. Italian citizens can elect representatives to the Chamber of Deputies and Senate of the Republic by voting for candidates who put themselves forward for the Overseas Constituency.

VOTING is a RIGHT protected by the Italian Constitution, and in accordance with Law no. 459 of 27 December, 2001, Italian citizens who live abroad and are registered on the electoral rolls of the overseas constituency can VOTE BY POST. Please check with your consulate to ensure that your personal data and address are up-to-date.


OR YOU CAN DECIDE TO VOTE IN ITALY IN YOUR OWN MUNICIPALITY, giving written notice of your choice (OPTION) to the Consulate within the legally required deadline. Voters who choose to vote in Italy at the political elections will receive the voting notification card from their respective municipalities – at the polling stations in Italy – for candidates in the national constituencies and not for the Overseas Constituency.

 The choice (option) to vote in Italy is only valid for one election.

Anyone who wishes to vote in Italy will have to write to their Consulate BY 31 DECEMBER of the year before the year scheduled for the natural expiry of parliament (March 2018), therefore by 31 December, 2017.

If there should be an early dissolution of the Chambers, the option may be sent or delivered by hand by the 10th day after the elections are called.

In any case, the option MUST ARRIVE at the Consular Office NO LATER THAN TEN DAYS AFTER THE DATE THE ELECTIONS ARE CALLED. This notice must be written on unstamped paper and – in order to be valid – must contain the name, surname, date, place of birth, place of residence and signature of the voter. The applicable form can also be used to give this notice, and is available at the Consulate, Advice Centres, Associations, COMITES (Committee of Italians abroad), or can be downloaded from the website of the Foreign Ministry ( or your consulate’s website.

If the statement is not delivered in person, it must be accompanied by a copy of the identity document of the declarant.

As provided by law, voters will be responsible for ensuring that notification of the option sent by post was received in enough time by their Consular office.

The choice to vote in Italy may be subsequently WITHDRAWN by written notification sent or delivered to the Consular office using the same procedures and within the same timeframes for exercise of the option.

If you choose to return to Italy to vote, the law does NOT provide for any type of reimbursement for the costs of travel incurred, but only for certain subsidies in the Italian territory. Only voters who reside in countries that do not meet the conditions for postal voting (Law 459/2001, article 20, paragraph 1-bis) will have the right to reimbursement of 75% of the cost of travel by economy class.



Carnevale Masquerade Ball on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Carnevale is an annual tradition in all regions of Italy. Ciao St Louis is proud to present the first annual Carnevale Masquerade Ball on Saturday, February 10, 2018.
All are welcome! You do not need to be Italian–just like Italian culture, food, people or a great party!
We look forward to seeing you! Don’t forget your mask!


Monongah’s Italian Miners: Mistreated in Life and Death

Why it has been so difficult to understand the 1907 tragedy at Monongah in West Virginia?

by Joseph L. Tropea

The Monongah Mine Disaster

Nativist culture in West Virginia, oral traditions among 19th Century Italian migrants and faulty US research made difficult reporting and commemorating the centennial of a 1907 West Virginia disaster that killed 169 Italian miners – made difficult in the US, as well as Italy. Since that time, Italian commemoration entrepreneurs echoed myths, created non-facts and embellished tragedy without consulting research and transformed a US-Italian tragedy into farce.

Now is the time to commemorate the greatest mine disaster in US history, which killed, 110 years ago,  many more Italians than the well-know 1956 Marcinelle tragedy in Belgium  Italians were almost half of the approximately 360 men who died the morning of December 6, 1907 in Monongah, West Virginia.  In 2003, a series of articles produced by Gente d’Italia provided a valuable service in informing the Italian public of this disaster.  But Italian understandings of the 1907 disaster were shaped by flawed US records  as well as oral traditions of provincial West Virginians and 19th Century Italian migrants. The 2007 centennial commemorations may be excused for their historically flawed expressions and, in Italy, even for inappropriate text, portrayals and monuments.  But the behavior of Italian commemoration entrepreneurs since the centennial cannot be excused.  They have perpetuated and embellished false lore of the disaster and the dead and continue to sacrifice accurate history for the gains in commemorations. They have disregarded mining practices, culture, geography and primary sources – including the 1908 Philadelphia consulate’s warnings about the Italian dead – as well as, of course, published research. They have made farce out of an historic event in US and Italian history. This commentary is offered to scholars and citizens in the US and Italy who will not accept fake news or history and will activate safeguards for their encroachments into Italian school curricula and texts.

The 110th anniversary of the greatest mine disaster in US history should be greeted with shame as well as commemoration – shame in the treatment of the Italian victims by their native elites,  as well as by their US bosses, and certainly by self-appointed commemoration entrepreneurs who sneer at integrity in honoring dead labor. However, Italian centennial commemorations may be forgiven for abetting false history for these were largely dependent on hearsay history, not research knowledge. They may be excused for not knowing  Italians survived the explosions or that some Italian miners who were buried in Monongah did not die in the disaster or for portraying  Pennsylvania breaker boys as boys working in the West Virginia mines or for uncritically accepting as fact the lore about post-burial deposits of bodies in a trench in the Italian cemetery  or the legend of unreported dead miners or for not seriously exploring  the lives of widows and children or for misapplying the “buddy system” to the  Monongah mines or for replicating the image and flawed text of a West Virginia memorial road sign and many other failings that were nurtured in oral traditions without corroborating evidence. When Italians visited provincial West Virginia in 2003 they reported what they heard from persons in Monongah who had not read the West Virginia state’s legislative hearings on the disaster, who had not used Italian documents or conducted field work in Italy or interviewed descendants of Italian miners who died or escaped (they didn’t even know the later existed) or who had not explored a nearby university’s archives or had not confronted the wrenching evidence of scattered flesh, not bodies –  but, who, nonetheless, were willing to be interviewed, to proclaim, write, sing, and echo nonsense in many venuesIn brief, Italians reported the history of US charlatans, Americans and Italian-Americans alike, from a provincial town in a provincial state.   Yet, even with these considerations, it is difficult to excuse the Italian government placing a monument in the Monongah cemetery, whose text has no empirical support and whose image denigrates dead labor – the Monongah miners.

Tragedy at Monongah

Also, Italians had neither the time nor the wherewithal to penetrate the sordid depths of West Virginia’s cultural mire and fathom its impact on Italian migrants as well as Monongah knowledge.   A Fairmont historian framed well the nativist view of the Monongah disaster:  “didn’t care about those people.”  This person also pointed out, “I wasn’t even allowed to date Italians.” (My Morgantown nonna kept a gun because she refused to be intimidated by the Klu Klux Klan.) The Monongah disaster wasn’t even part of the Monongah school curriculum. Still, oral traditions of Italian migrants complemented nativist ignorance in clouding Monongah’s history. A history professor in the state of West Virginia pointed out that a major task of professional is cleaning up the mess of legend and myth that constitute local historical knowledge. However, contemporary gate keepers of West Virginia information sift it through the screen of their provincialism, which poses problems for more widely traveled scholars. Monongah was not the place to encourage research about transnational migrants and not the place to acquire accurate information – but it is an easy place to colonize with heartfelt commemorations.

Since the centennial commemorations, behavior, which seems to have its epicenter in Campobasso, has violated core norms of inquiry and decency.  Instead of research-informed behavior,  these charlatans have echoed, contorted, and embellished Monongah myth beyond recognition. The results,  created without research, produced farce.   For a few examples: a Molisano gave an interview, published December 6, 2011 in a Fairmont newspaper (104thanniversary of the Monongah disaster) in which he increased the number of dead Monongah miners by over 500 – by counting sailors as miners; as part of the 105th labor-led anniversary commemoration in Campobasso, the number of dead miners was inflated even more and, adding more sham to more tragedy, donne and bambini were placed in the mines. During that same Campobasso affair, the Molisano who counts sailors as miners accepted recognition for research he did not conduct and whose information misled the union bosses who proudly revealed an Italian widow as a Monongah heroine with misguided chauvinist rhetoric and absent facts. 

Now, another Molisano, “President of the Monongah Cultural Society,” will participate in the 110th anniversary commemorations in Monongah, December 6, 2017.  Also, top-down orchestrations of commemorations have been organized for provincial paese. Expending resources to honor dead miners may be an honorable way to accumulate political capital – but not if it will be used as leverage for introducing false narratives into Italian texts.   In the meantime we have lost, and are fast losing, living memories in the US and Italy and, of course, the need for their corroboration.  Histories of women made widows need to be constructed through serious research, not casually pilfered, to find their way into credentialed Italian print.   If we hold respect in our hearts for those dead Monongah men – and the kind of people they represent –  memory,  information, documents, goodwill  and, in some cases, even sausage, will be forthcoming  from paese, at least they were in 1983, October, 2017 and many visits in between – but not  if competent investigations are barred access.  The Italians who emigrated to work US mines were of little consequence to their local elites and many preferred exploitation of their mine bosses to what they faced back home.   In any event, their lives were subjugated in both locations – and now they are a treasure and are honored in death.   History is often shaped by political concerns and careers but, in this particular case, it is alienating US and Italians from a shared history. Monongah is too significant an historic event to be left to charlatans, to be left with unrevealed lives – dead miners and women.                       


Failoni’s Family Owned Since 1916 will be on KTRS Morning Show Starting at 7:00 AM Dec. 5th


Failoni’s Family Owned Since 1916 will be on KTRS Morning Show Starting at 7:00 AM on Dec 5, 2017.  Come into Failoinis for breakfast and listen to the show live.

Failoni’s History: Purchased in 1916 by Alex Failoni and wife Rose from the Lemp brewery. Located at the edge of Dogtown in the 6700 block of Manchester. Failoni’s is open Tuesday thru Friday for lunch and dinner and Saturday nights for dinner. If you plan on coming for dinner, you may want to call ahead for reservations.

Dinner at Failoni’s on Friday nights is a throwback to the days of Chicago’s Villa Venice Cafe, New York’s Copa, and other popular dinner/nightclubs of the 40’s 50’s and 60’s.The food is excellent and huge in portions. While dining you will listen to Alex Failoni Jr. sing Frank Sinatra tunes. From the Sicilian Steak, to the Tuna Steak, you will not walk away unsatisfied. Matriarch Rosemary Failoni and grandson Joey do all of the cooking and also make the best Italian green olive salad and flash fried spinach that you have ever tasted. If you’re ordering food, this is a must! They also put together a daily special for lunch and one for every Friday night. The pizza is a customer favorite with homemade crust and a family recipe sauce in a brick oven. Rosetta serves customers lunch and dinner. Victor serves drinks and manages other things at Failoni’s along with Alex Jr.

The Failoni family thanks you for keeping us in business almost 100 years. Alex Sr, Rosemary, Alex Jr, Rosetta, Victor and JoMarie

Italian film a US hit

UnknownItaly is celebrating success at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, as Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” picked up the Best Feature Film prize, along with a Best Breakthrough Actor gong for its young star Timothée Chalamet. Although the Gothams are one of the smaller awards of the season and chosen by a small, select group of jurors, they are influential and have recently proved good at spotting Academy Award winners. “Moonlight,” “Spotlight” and “Birdman” were all winners at what Variety has called “the Iowa caucus of Oscars season”. Guadagnino’s film has also picked up six Spirit Awards nominations.

“Call Me By Your Name”, shot in English with an international cast including Armie Hammer as well as Chalamet, is a coming of age romance between a 17-year-old boy and his father’s 24-year-old research assistant and is set in a 17th-century villa in Lombardy during the kind of sun-drenched Italian summer that film makers from Bertolucci to Merchant-Ivory have never been able to resist.

The film has been garnering rave reviews in America and Britain, with NPR and Vulture both hailing it as “a masterpiece”. Most of all the critics have found it “ravishing”. Variety went for ‘ravishingly sensual”, Peter Bradshaw in Britain’s Guardian was “overwhelmed by it” and found it “ravishingly beautiful”. The New York Times described it as a “ravishment of the senses”. All this despite the fact that one of the few criticisms that have been made about it is a shortage of ravishing. The original script by 89-year-old James Ivory apparently featured a lot more sex and nudity, although a steamy forbidden-fruit scene – the fruit in question being a ripe peach – survived.

Italian cinema is experiencing a renaissance at the moment. After decades when directors seemed to churn out nothing but low budget comedies of manners about the love lives of thirty-somethings, along came Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty, This Must be the Place), Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Tale of Tales) and Guadagnino, as well as others less celebrated but just as interesting. Italo-American Jonas Carpignano’s film A Ciambra takes a grittily neo-neo-realist look at the poor and marginalised in a Romany camp in Calabria. Gianfranco Rosi’s Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea), a documentary about the island of Lampedusa and the European migrant crisis, was nominated in the Best Documentary category at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Italy has won more Best Foreign Language Academy Awards than any other country, the most recent being Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, but despite this, and the recent flowering of talent, it is becoming harder than ever for Italian movies to find distributors in the all-important American market. U.S. audiences for foreign-language films have fallen in recent years. In 2016, the highest-grossing Italian release was “Mia Madre”. Although its director Nanni Moretti is a long time favourite of American cinephiles, it grossed all of $301,098, according to the IMDb. “Call Me By Your Name” has already topped that, taking a very respectable $404,000 at only four theatres in Los Angeles and New York on its opening weekend.


7 must-see holiday light displays in St. Louis

There’s nothing quite like an evening stroll under twinkling holidays lights to celebrate the season.  St. Louis has plenty of amazing lights displays to enjoy. Make a weekend of it and here are seven must see holiday light displays.

Way of Lights | Through December 31

Families from across the region will once again flock to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows for the annual Way of Lights Christmas display. This unique display features a mile-and-a-half drive of over one million lights and displays that include life-size biblical statues taking visitors on a journey to Bethlehem.

Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park | Through December 30

Don’t miss your chance to see one of the most popular Christmas light displays in the area. For over 30 years, Tilles Park in St. Louis County has been making memories for families across the region with its Winter Wonderland. The park is filled with millions of twinkling lights and various holiday scenes.

Garden Glow | Through January 1

Enjoy a million lights at Missouri Botanical Garden at its annual Garden Glow, one of the city’s most beloved festive enterprises.  The hundreds of thousands of lights adorn some of the Garden’s most iconic locations including Climatron®, Kaeser Memorial Maze, the Central Axis and Tower Grove House. Walkways will be transformed into an explosion of visual magic, while more traditional displays will delight crowds of all ages. Your admission includes the chance to see the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show.

U.S. Bank Wild Lights | Through December 30

Stroll through the Saint Louis Zoo’s enchanting holiday wonderland and enjoy over half a million twinkling lights and festive fun for the whole family!  In addition listen to fireside storytellers and tuck in to sticky s’mores fireside.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Lights | Through January 1

Experience Anheuser Busch-Brewery all decked out for the holidays.  Enjoy walking tours, along with free samples of AB products for those 21 and over, thousands of twinkling lights, s’mores stations and one monumental display of holiday spirits.

Santa’s Magical Kingdom | Through January 7

Millions of lights and dozens of holiday scenes fill Jellystone Park near Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka. You can see Santa’s flying reindeer, travel through the Candy Cane Village or visit the Waterfall of Lights. After seeing the lights, head over to Kringle’s General Store for a little holiday shopping.

Inaugural Magic of Lights | Through January 1

Gateway Motorsports Park, will transform into a festive wonderland with the Magic of Lights™ drive-through Christmas lights experience this holiday season.  The family-friendly “one carload, one price” holiday attraction will run from dusk each evening to 10 p.m.



Saint Louis

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