Goodbye Columbus



Almost exactly a quarter-century ago, James A. Clifton, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, called me after seeing an article I had written in First Things, entitled “1492 and All That” (which later became a full-length book). We were then in a swirl of anti-Western and anti-Christian public emotion over the 500thanniversary (1492-1992) of Columbus’ voyages to the New World, and his alleged role in later mistreatment of Native Americans, slavery, and Christian imperialism.

I expected venom; he offered support. He had written a still fascinating book, The Invented Indian, that sought to distinguish the real achievements of Native Americans from guilt-driven idealizations. For his pains in service to truth, he reaped resentment and threats. In fact, one day someone dressed as an Indian – well, wearing a ridiculous jumble of articles of clothing from very different tribes – came to his front door with a gun. Professor Clifton laughed and turned away, saying: come back when you know something about Indians.

Some things never change. Especially the largely ignorant, suicidal rage that is now a regular recurrence in American culture, and which is spreading to other Western countries. Quite apart from the vile clash the other day between alt-right and alt-left in Charlottesville (which, as usual, also brought injury to innocents), we seem to have lost the Christian – and human – truth that we’re all imperfect beings. And that without a capacity for tolerating one another’s foibles and ultimately a chance at forgiveness, it’s simply impossible for us to live together.

Puritanical absolutism used to be the hallmark of extremist religious and political groups; now it’s come to infest the very places that should be most aware of differences and contexts, namely our universities and the media.

I learned my lesson about this back when I was trying to form a clear picture of the Age of Discovery. There were and are good historians, amateur and academic, of such matters. Broad-brush condemnations, however, which blur essential moral distinctions, get the airtime.

The great Dominican “defender of the Indians,” Bartolomé de las Casas – for example – described the “sweetness and benignity” of Columbus – in contrast to other Spanish explorers. Cortez could be brutal, though he ended in a monastery doing penance for his sins. Pizzaro was a psychopath. Period. Columbus was something else; despite the unprecedented difficulties he faced in the new cultures he encountered, there were few instances of his mistreating anyone. He was more typically uncertain about how to proceed, as we ourselves often are. Las Casas said of him, “Truly. I would not dare blame the admiral’s intentions for I knew him well and I knew his intentions were good.” Yet he became a cultural whipping boy.

Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519 [The Met, New York]

Except for the few near-pure monsters in history, great cultural figures are a mixed breed, like all of us. And we are very much in a position towards them like that of children who have come to recognize the sins and shortcoming of parents. Even when their flaws are quite large, we can still honor the good things they gave us, too numerous and deeply woven into our very being even to spell out. That’s why right after the Commandments to worship God alone, we have “Honor thy father and mother.” This isn’t Stone Age patriarchy (note the mention of mother). It’s simple justice: we have a debt to those who gave us life and nurtured it.

Our culture was created by imperfect, if great, people. And the standards we use to judge them – and ourselves – were not immaculately invented when our exalted selves came on the scene. When we had a truer picture of human nature, it used to be no great surprise that great public figures had great virtues and – often enough – great vices.

Abraham Lincoln sometimes opined, quite wrongly, that enslaved Africans could not be assimilated into white society, and would do better if they were returned to Africa. Do we want to jettison the great voice of Lincoln because of a mistaken judgment?

Similarly, Martin Luther King, Jr. did a fair bit of philandering. I once asked a Catholic priest who worked with King during the Civil Rights Movement about that. He admitted it was a problem, but given all the women constantly throwing themselves at him, it could have been much worse. Should we let that weakness overwhelm great achievements?

We used to get exercised over the fact that students were graduating from high school and even college without knowing in what century the Civil War happened or the dates of World War II. Now we allow a small number of radicals, given a big media megaphone, to make cosmic moral claims and counterclaims ignorant of the winding human paths of history.

Debate and even a certain amount of division are natural to democracy, but not the current demonizing. It’s legitimate to study (and argue about) the life of figures like Robert E. Lee. It’s even useful to examine the record – not to deface monuments, but think critically – about saints like Junipero Serra, who faced conditions that would break most of us, and yet was able to draw great goods from them.

Las Casas, a sometimes fiery critic of his fellow Spaniards, was also able to say of them that they, “performed astounding feats never before invented or dreamed of.” All of us, Catholic and Protestant, religious and not, need to step up at this moment. People suffering from cultural amnesia and self-deceived about their own moral purity cannot be allowed to set the terms of debate.

We’re going to have to be the people of memory, especially of how our civilization came to be, and how to defend it, despite imperfections. Indeed, we define those imperfections largely in term of the Western Christian tradition, the only real basis for our notions of the dignity of all human beings, rooted in our being made in the image and likeness of God.

Destroy that tradition and the war of all against all will follow. It’s already starting.


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Sick & Elderly Program of the Hill Ravioli Dinner Order Form

All proceeds to benefit the Sick and Elderly Program of the Hill. The Sick and Elderly Program is a home health care program providing medical equipment and supplies, free of charge, to the residents of the Hill Neighborhood for the past 40 years.

Ample parking is available in the Church Yard, The Owens Brockway lot on Hereford St (easy Access to the front door of the school), and the school play lot on the corner of Hereford and Bischoff.

Click here to enlarge picture and print

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Researchers Discover Oldest Wine in Italy

Archaeologists have now found traces of wine believed to be over 4,000 years old; it is thought that this is now the oldest evidence of wine in Italy. The residue of this ancient tipple was uncovered in a large, storage jar dating back to the Copper Age which was discovered in a cave in Monte Kronio, just off the coast of Sicily.

Wine glasses, with grapes and barrels.

Upon inspection, the residue highlighted traces of tartaric acid and sodium salt, both of which occur in grapes during the winemaking process. Researchers have stated that it’s difficult to determine the composition of many examples of residue because it would require the discovered pottery to be intact. However, on this occasion, researchers had luckily found the ancient jar in great condition.

It was previously believed that wine growing and production had started around 1300 to 1100 years ago in the Bronze Age, however, this new discovery could prove that it was around much earlier than this, and this significant discovery could show a whole new perspective on ancient civilisation in Italy. The next quest now for researchers is whether the wine residue they discovered was white or red.

This discovery is perhaps one of the most important in recent Italian history, particularly as wine is a fundamental part of the Italian culture. Each region will boast a range of types, and depending on which region you are in, the wine will be produced following different traditional methods.

Although the Italians were not the first to invent wine, they are arguably the most passionate about it. Its origins actually derive from ancient Mesopotamia in 4000 BC. The Greeks then brought the wine-making craft to southern Italy, and the Etruscans introduced it to the central parts of the country. However, it was the Romans who took the art of wine-making and refined it. In the Roman Age, there were 20 regions who produced wine, with the most popular choice, surprisingly, being white.

Experimentation of wine was a big part of the wine-making process for the Roman wine-makers who added various spices to wine and produced samples with much higher alcohol content than what we are used to in the present day. The Romans were even the first to age the wine to achieve a better taste. Upon the realisation of the ageing process, Romans would age their wines for between 10 to 25 years in wooden barrels or glass bottles with cork tops.

The Romans believed that wine was a necessary part of daily life, and the drink became important for international trade with neighbouring countries. The drink was also talked about in numerous writings from such renowned authors like Virgil. Romans placed such an importance on wine that there was a God in its honour, Bacchus.

The popularity of wine, amongst both the most privileged to the peasants, thrived and died with the Roman Empire. It wasn’t until the Renaissance era, the age of genius, that the taste for wine revived and became a staple of Italian culture. The Renaissance era can be defined as the rebirth of Italy, and it was at this point in Italian history that culture and traditions were redefined. As the trade increased, there was an abundance of wine being produced across numerous Italian regions, with each region using their own produce as a way of trading with their neighbouring regions. Families established their produce and their reputation in this period, some of which are still renowned today.

From the Renaissance period to this very day, Italian wine is considered the best in the world. This is not only down to the Italian’s strong historical ties to the drink, but their innate passion for it. So, why not settle in your Sicily holiday villas with a glass of fine local wine to celebrate this fundamental element of Italian culture during your stay?



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Eating like an Italian: Making moments out of mealtime

By Ginger Wodele

Ginger Wodele is a senior at Southwest High School in Minnesota and will go on to college in 2019 with interests in international development and medicine.

When presented with the prompt of “The Future of Food” for the 2017 EF Global Leadership Summit, I felt overwhelmed. There are so many issues within our current system, how can we approach all of these individual challenges in a way that completely reforms our way of thinking and, like Summit keynote speaker Raj Patel says, “change everything?” I was able to condense my hundreds of questions into one overarching thought: How can we feed our world in a healthy and sustainable way? I hoped to find my answer during my travels before the Summit in Italy, a country that certainly seems to place a high value upon food. I was not disappointed.



In Italy, food is a way of life. Food is culture, family, community, love and health. The amount of value people place upon food here is greater than I ever could have imagined. People truly love what they make, and they take pride in dishes that sometimes include the cheapest and simplest ingredients. This admirable aspect of Italian culture ultimately influences the effective ways they produce their food.

I had the opportunity to ask world-renowned chef and traveler Anthony Bourdain and food activist and author Raj Patel their thoughts on the relationship between Italian culture and food. They both unanimously confirmed my belief that yes, cultures that put more value on their cuisine model much stronger behaviors of a more effective food system. Dr. Patel spoke on the “Respect, love, and joy of eating,” an attitude that transforms the way a society deals with food. The more value and pride that a society places upon something, the more importance they will put on a system that supports and sustains it.

Italians would never think to give you something to eat that they weren’t proud of, in particular anything that might make you sick. I asked Eugenio Gargiulo, an owner of a small family-run lemon grove in Sorrento called La Masseria, to explain why he didn’t use pesticides in his crops. (As it stands, pesticides are cheaper, more efficient, and could cut his labor time almost in half.) When I asked him why he doesn’t use them, he almost scoffed, and explained it to me simply, “We care about the families and the people eating our food. We would never want to harm their health with the use of these pesticides.”

Instead, in order to fight off pests, Eugenio uses a solution made of copper and lime, which is sprayed by hand on all of the products at his farm. This completely natural practice, Eugenio explained, requires much more labor than the use of pesticides, but the farm’s commitment to all-natural, healthy, and safe products makes the extra effort worthwhile. Why would they want to poison their customers with harmful pesticides? The idea is ridiculous to this Italian family, who truly cares about what you think of their food, because they see it as a representation of themselves, their culture and their country.



Food brings people together in Italy. Food here is not a chore or a quick bite between activities during the day. Mealtime is for laughing and enjoying company, not for scarfing down a drive through meal in a few seconds while checking your email and running off to the next thing. Food should always be appreciated to its fullest extent, as it’s the way to show respect for those who provided you with that meal. We learned from our tour guide Eleanora that many Italian cities have nearly two-hour breaks for lunch, enough time to go home and cook a proper meal that doesn’t need to be rushed.

Trying our best to practice this foreign concept, we took our time eating at meals, and instead of focusing on filling our stomachs as fast as we could, we took bites between the exchanges of stories. Through our adaption of this approach, it was clear to us that food is for family, a time where you can sit down with those you love and talk over a healthy and delicious home cooked meal.

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Taking these things I learned from my tour of Italy into the Summit, I was excited to see how other students would incorporate the values and best food practices they discovered in Italian culture into their experience at the Summit. I ended up seeing a great connection between those aspects of Italian culture that value food and the innovative ideas students came up with to solve issues within the food system. Student projects incorporated and addressed issues such as the fast food industry, obesity, and pesticide use. These projects all contained solutions that embodied core values already practiced in Italy. Even winning team member Francesca Edralin attributed her team’s success to some of the things they had seen within Italian culture: “Traveling to a country so rich in food and culture as well as hearing well-traveled keynote speakers like Anthony Bourdain and Raj Patel have opened my eyes to a common theme: people are proud of what they grow.”



How might we practice these ideals at home, valuing food like the Italians? Although simple changes, some of these things aren’t inherently taught to us, and will require thought in execution. Here’s a good place to start:

  • Know where your food comes from. As Eugenio said, in Italy it is simply wrong to be selling people products that could potentially harm their health through the use of chemicals or toxic pesticides in the growth process. However, here we aren’t so lucky to have all of our farmers, producers, and vendors looking out for us like this. This is why we must take it upon ourselves to be educated about where our food comes from and how it’s made. By doing this we can ensure that we’re eating healthy, whole foods, while at the same time supporting local farms like Eugenio’s that promote a healthier system of food.
  • Embrace mealtime. In Italy, mealtime means family and community. It means smiles and laughter and four-course meals that leave you sitting at the dinner table for hours, immersed in the company around you. Clock some hours at your local farmer’s market, talk to the people selling you your food, maybe even ask for some recipes. Let yourself be immersed in meals, from start to finish, and embrace everything that comes along with it.
  • Be proud of what you make. Everywhere I went during my travels I noticed how much pride people had in the food they cooked and served for us. Restaurant owners anxiously watching our facial expressions as we cut into a Caprese salad, telling us that the tomatoes were just picked today, and eagerly asking us if we liked it. People care in Italy. Can you imagine sitting at a McDonalds and an employee watching you take a bite of your cheeseburger, anxiously asking you if you liked it? Of course not. Because when you prepare the food from scratch, using ingredients you are proud of, you find a joy in food that never would have occurred through a frozen meat patty and a slab of neon yellow processed cheese. Food is sacred in Italy, and it should be treated that way in all parts of the world.

So, again I might ask, how can we feed our world in a healthy and sustainable way? Maybe it’s taking a few tips from the Italians, and really learning to value what we eat and how we grow it. Maybe the future of food is rooted in simpler, more thoughtful practices. And when I arrived home in Minneapolis, greeted by my friends and family after a long day of travel, all I wanted to do was share with them all that I had learned. I found myself applying these simple changes into my life at home, and noticing that they really did make a difference. It wasn’t hard to convince my friends either: grabbing some Chipotle between activities and scarfing it down at red lights could never and will never compare to a picnic by the lake, filled with fresh fruits, sun, and good company.


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How do we pressure our legislators to help with an Italian American Cultural Center in St Louis?

New Italian Cultural Center gets $300,000 in grants

After sitting vacant for almost a decade, plans are moving forward for the new Italian American Cultural Center in the former home of the North Park Branch Library located at the corner of Delaware and Hertel avenues.

State Sen. Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Sean Ryan each secured $150,000 state grants to remove lead and asbestos from the landmark building.

The former library branch was built in 1928 and was once a bustling community cornerstone. It was closed and its collection moved in April 2008 because of asbestos and lead paint concerns. The building has been vacant and boarded up since then, and for years, city officials had been trying to figure out what to do with it.

Last month, Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo was selected to redevelop the city-owned building into a cultural center that will be open to everyone next year.

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5 hidden reasons why talents are dramatically leaving Italy

Are the brightest minds leaving the country because of cultural heritage? Is there a common path in the Italian decline?


There are some aspects of the Italian culture that not only strongly helped the post-war reconstruction but also let Italy achieve a primary role in the European and worldwide economy. The same cultural approaches in business that proved to be successful in the past are obviously still permeating actual companies and organisations and they are NOT working nowadays. Now there is a new fact: brilliant Italians are leaving Italy and the rest of the world already knows: TimesSpiegelBBCThe New York TimesEconomistCNBC.

There could be an “undeniable something” that was working in the past and that is no longer valid nowadays. What happened? Short reply: World changed. Yes, all of us is aware of this, what exactly changed for countries like Italy?

In this post you get an insider point of view from someone who got stuck several times about Italy, with a lot of friends already gone abroad, and still in this country doing his best and trying to understand. Since I’m an observer, I’m not going to give easy solutions: solutions are for lazy people.
Smart guys (that I hope most of my readers are) want the right questions, then they will give their good solution by themselves.

5 reasons Italian talents leave the country:

1) Is Effort the real goal? The dominance of effort-driven on result-driven work.

I was talking with my friend Luca, he is an Italian entrepreneur from an entrepreneur family. He started his business in mid-Italy and then moved to Amsterdam. This summer he came back to enjoy the seaside and to visit its relatives and so we met and we had a good conversation. I was struck when he said to me: “if you are good at something then go away, instead if you are not good at anything you can comfortably survive here”, I suddenly laughed at this and then I realised “well, so true! but…. why?” and then the unanswered question remained in my head.

There should be something more deep than general behaviour and I think it’s about culture. Italian culture is strictly connected with christian roots and I do respect these roots, however I do not agree with something that I consider deviations in the meanings. Most of the Italians grew up in houses with Christ as a bleeding man and Mary as a sad mother, when you are a child and you grew up with such models you surely learn one thingif you want to tense to a good life, you should suffer, no matter for what reason… the more you suffer, the best.

When in the past most of the work was labour-intensive and when all the world was buying anything was for sale, Italy had an unfair advantage: millions of people that could work to their human limits, even at a low compensation, just because while they were working hard they could tense to a good life.

It was the economy of production and a normal worker was OK simply doing what bosses were saying.
Nowadays in a hyper competitive economy, you should have much more skills, clear goals and the capability to drive the results, at boss and worker level.

Brilliant Italians know this and they want to achieve results both with smart and hard work. They do NOT want to waste energy.

2) Is there Effort Peer Control on talents? Peers are discouraging the achievements of result-driven workers.

As I said in the previous point, Effort is a big reason of pride in Italy, this is defined with the word “sacrificio” (sacrifice). As told in the christian books, every Italians knows that if they suffer, they do sacrifices and respect what they are told, then they automatically get the prize.

In example it’s very common for young people to work absolutely for free. It could be fair if they work for free and get quality experience or competitive skills but you can see that most of them work without getting nothing: just spending time with “sacrificio” waiting for a bigger prize (=the wage).

Moreover when you are in a Italian company you should know that you are in a “famiglia” that means that you are in a family-like environment. Being a family is a very good thing in daily life but in a corporate environment it is just a bad way of NOT being a real organisation.

Once when I was working as a employee in a office, I was shocked when I realised what was really happening: I was good at a duty, so I was faster, so I had more time, so people could invoke “darsi una mano”. The Italian concept of “darsi una mano” is like: you are here, you have two hands, so you could give one to do my job but it’s just spot, it’s so easy to give a hand that you could be a bastard if you don’t do it.

So if you are smart and you can do the work better and faster than your colleagues then you better accept other people duties. How many duties? Until you make the same amount of effort your colleagues are making (with less duties).

This is because in the other case you could be considered a lazy person that is not doing sacrifices and that is not worth for a bigger prize.

Brilliant people don’t want to waste energy in useless sacrifices, they want to work hard for a goal in their control and they want to be in a environment in which they can cooperate and, on the other side, that can support them.

a comedian representing a symbol of untalented person in charge of big responsibilities

This culture of effort has an even dramatic aspect: in fact the entire system has been dramatically hacked by untalented people that learned how to “show effort and be fine” (being fine in Italy is “pararsi il culo” that means “getting your own ass safe”) so that nowadays Italian organisations are completely filled of people that are NOT result-driven.
Moreover untalented are completely scared of this new generation of odd people that are result-driven, and they give them hard time to enter or to stay in established organisations.

Brilliant people do not want to spend their life accepting this, so they leave the country because they have all the skills to get a better life.

3) Why people work for some companies? Most of the reasons why people work for a certain company is completely unrelated to the company itself.

Last weekend I was in a business event and I was listening to a director of a multinational HR company. I really appreciated his speech, he was talking about entering in the human-age. One things that he said was “Companies that will find the best way to attract, develop and retain best talents they will be the most successful in the future world. Look at Google, Apple…”.

This is what I suddenly thought: “WTF, this is a complete disaster!!”. Yes, most of my expats friend are still attracted by Italian companies, but do you want to know why? Because when they finish to work they can have friends, family, sun, bars, food, aperitivo and seaside. Can we consider this a talent retention strategy?

Brilliant people want to work in companies in which they can improve their skills and their results as much as they can. They don’t accept anything else until they aren’t forced to do it.

4) Leadership or Vanity? Often Italians don’t know the difference.

Look at the Italian main stock market index: FTSE MIB. What do you see? It is composed mostly by banks and fashion producersSeemingly most of the banks are still running and not in bankruptcy because a lot (too much) of people are “doing effort” there and they do not deserve to lose their job, they deserve a prize of their effort that is: still working even if the company is a s*it. True story.

Let’s talk about fashion producers. If you ask the Italians about their grandmothers you will know that most of them were good at sewing. When war ended and Italy was such a poor country, people couldn’t even dress rightly for the weather, they were just wearing something. However every member of the family had a “vestito buono”, his own or a shared one, a good dress that women in the (big) families sewed and members of the family were dressing only for the Sunday Mass or for special celebrations. That dress should have represented the dignity of the family and should have lasted as much as it could. There were so much peer competition among women in this dressing ritual and it was a proud for women and members of the family to show themselves at best. Later on years Sunday Mass acquired more and more importance as a way of showing themselves: with good dresses, good cars and so on.

Then it happened that Italy became one of the best countries for fashion and luxury goods. Nobody had the market leadership goal in their mind, they were just competing each other at insane levels. I’m sure that today stylist could get impressed of the quality and the level of the details that our grandmother payed attention to.

And also, if you look at the Italian politicians of the modern era, you can see only two charismatic leaders: you see a Fascist that took the power because was seen as strong and, more recently, an arguable Business Man because was seen as positive. Italians knows what looks good but definitely know very poor about leadership.

Brilliant Italians want real leaders and they want to be leaders themselves in their field. They also know that if an organisation is not competing with the world, it’s just going to disappear.

5) Are people waiting for superior intervention?

Maybe the constant presence of the superior divinity in daily life shaped a mindset of fate and of superior intervention also in the economy. You can see most of the people requiring an intervention from the superior level: employee waiting for bosses intervention, entrepreneur waiting for government intervention, government waiting for the ECB governor intervention.

The concept of homo faber est suae quisque fortunae (similar to self-made man) not only is lost again in the centuries, it is also discouraged by a net of threatening bureaucracy.

This made most of the Italians very good at obeying and very bad at leading. In example, just look at the insane level of taxation: the more you tax them and the more they pay. This fact is absolutely not good for anyone (perhaps just for bureaucrats).

Brilliant Italians want to take the responsibility of their fate and don’t want to be slave of poor mindsets.


World changed and everyone should be well aware that we are living in the world more than in a country. This brand new generation of Italians knows this and it is ready to:

  1. Compete with the world from Italy
  2. Compete with the world from abroad

You may think that “new” does not necessarily imply “better” and having a rampant generation always happened in the history. But even you have no solution to the actual Italian decline, as an Italian, facilitating this new generation of professionals and companies born with worldwide competition in mind, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself because this generation represent the future of Italy.


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Ciao St Louis Italian Radio Podcast From August 27th, 2017

We will be hosting the Italian Music Show  every Sunday, on WEW770 AM Radio in St. Louis

We will play some popular Italian Music and interview some local personalities.  Hosted by Michael Santangelo “That’s Amore Dj”  Ciao St Louis has podcast of last week’s radio shows below.



Italian Radio Show Podcast August 27, 2017

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The Dog Lifeguards of Italy

In the midst of Italy’s hot summers—when the beaches are full of swimmers—the lifeguards keeping everyone safe bring in some much-needed, four-legged assistance. We’re talking about water rescue dogs. Dogs make ideal lifeguard partners as they remain calm under pressure and instinctively choose the safest path through the water currents back to shore. They can even stay afloat while paddling multiple swimmers to safety. Through his Italian School for Lifeguard Dogs, Ferruccio Pilenga has trained more than 350 volunteer pups to execute water rescues. Now THAT’s a good dog!

This story is a part of our Planet Earth series. From mammals to insects and birds to reptiles, we share this great big world with all manner of creatures, large and small. Come with us to faraway places as we explore our great big planet and meet some of its wildest inhabitants.

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STL Square Off Aims to Be About More Than Just Pizza

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Farotto's Pasta and Pizzeria is one of the participating pizza vendors at the first-ever STL Square Off. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL POWERS.

  • Photo courtesy of Michael Powers.
  • Farotto’s Pasta and Pizzeria is one of the participating pizza vendors at the first-ever STL Square Off.

You may have heard the announcement earlier this month about the STL Square Off, the city’s first-ever St. Louis-style pizza festival, which is scheduled for Berra Park (1825 Macklind Avenue) from noon to 5 p.m. on October 8. You may even recall that it will feature eight local pizza purveyors, each of them bringing their own take on St. Louis-style pizza — cracker-thin crust, Provel topping and all — to compete for the title of “Best St. Louis-Style Pizza.”

But what you may not know is that the festival is not about pizza. Or, at least, that it’s about more than just pizza.

That’s according to co-founder Michael Powers. Powers, who has had a hand in numerous St. Louis area events, including the creation of Tower Grove Pride, explains that celebrating St. Louis’ unique pizza is just part of the idea behind the festival. It’s also an opportunity to bring St. Louisans together, celebrate their contributions and tell the city’s story.

The concept started with Matthew Mourning, Powers’ partner, who loves St. Louis-style pizza and originally came up with the idea for a festival devoted to it. The two were further inspired thinking back to time they’d spent in New Orleans, noting how proud the locals were of everything that made their city unique. Along with co-founders Jim Barnthouse and Rick Ruderer, Powers now hopes to bring that same community and pride to the STL Square Off.

“When you see it, you know it,” Powers says of St. Louis’ famous pizza. “And we should celebrate it.”

A big way the team is looking to do that is in their search for participating pizza companies. Rather than simply filling the list with well-known spots, they’re looking for contestants from all around the area so people can try new pizza, meet the people behind it and learn more about all the different neighborhoods they come from. So far, Dogtown Pizza and Farotto’s Pasta and Pizzeria have been announced as participants; the other six will be announced on the STL Square Off Facebook page one by one in the weeks prior to the event.

The STL Square Off is also working to feature a wide variety of local retailers — more than 50 of them — as well as live music, lawn games, kids activities and other St. Louis food favorites like gooey butter cake and toasted ravioli.

With a $25 ticket, festival goers will get admission, a square of each participating pizza company’s pizza, and a choice between a sixteen-ounce beer from 4Hands, a glass of wine or a soft drink. A vegetarian ticket, also $25, will guarantee you pizza sans meat. Each attendee will also get a ballot to nominate their favorite of the eight pizzas. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket will go to Hill 2000, the neighborhood’s nonprofit neighborhood association.

Powers anticipates this to be just the beginning of the STL Square Off. He’s aiming to grow the festival in the future, including adding more participating pizza vendors.

Says Powers, “I’m hopeful it will be a hit.”

You can keep up on the latest about the STL Square Off, including ticket information and  announcements of the remaining contestants, on the event’s Facebook page.


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Mariano J Vitale | 2017 | Obituary

Mariano J Vitale | 2017 | Obituary

Mariano J Vitale

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Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017

Memorial Mass
Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017
11:00 AM

Mariano J Vitale

August 27, 2017

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Vitale, Mariano J.
1940 – 2017

It is with great sadness that Mariano J. Vitale of St. Louis, Fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church, passed on Sunday, August 27, 2017, at the age of 77. Mr. Vitale was born June 18, 1940, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Vince & Lena Vitale. Mariano Vitale is lovingly remembered and survived by his nine brothers and sisters: Don (Linda) Vitale, Patricia (Steve) Letko, Catherine (Dennis) Maxwell, Nick (Joan) Vitale, Theresa (Vince) Monteleone, Lucia (Mike) Green, Mike (Debbie) Vitale, Maria (Marty) Perron, and Rio (Mariann) Vitale. Also, a beloved uncle, great uncle, cousin and friend to many.

A graduate of St. Louis University, Mariano worked for Boatmen’s Bank and then later for GTE Corp, where he was transferred to Virginia, Georgia, and Florida, with a temporary assignment in South Korea. He retired in Naples, Florida where he loved to walk on the beach, and enjoyed reading; especially books about the US presidents. During his retirement, Mariano volunteered at the local hospital. He moved back to St. Louis In 2012, spending much of his remaining time with his very large Italian family. He was a generous and kind man who was loved and will be missed by all that knew him.

Services: Visitation for Mr. Vitale is Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at 10:00 am immediately followed by a Funeral Mass at 11:00 am at Saint Alban Roe Catholic Church in Wildwood, Missouri. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery in Wildwood, Missouri. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MS Society or Autism Speaks.

InurnmentWednesday, August 30, 2017

Holy Cross Cemetery
16200 Manchester Rd.
Wildwood, MO 63011

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Memorial MassWednesday, August 30, 2017
11:00 AM

St. Alban Roe Church
2001 Shepard Road
Wildwood, Missouri 63038

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