Coming Soon: GET YOUR TOGA ON! (A Trip to Rome)

by Annette M. Graebe

It’s countdown time for us in Collinsville as we push forward to make the 2017 Italian Fest the best yet.  Our Italian exhibition (above) launches Italian Fest month on September 1st!  We’re very excited about this year’s show as we pull back the curtain on this wonderful city, take you through the sights of Ancient Rome, and wow you with a collection of pieces from Rome itself!  And that’s just the beginning.  Keep an eye on our Italian Fest website  It’s not too early to plan for this year’s parade (Sat., Sept. 16)!  The parade theme is also “Get Your Toga On!” so put on that toga, and join the fun!

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Gateway Cup and Giro Della Montagna

by Annette M. Graebe

This event always reminds me of our days in the Veneto – as we share space with cycling clubs on the switchbacks up the mountain.  Sometimes they’re in front, sometimes behind us – and SOMETIMES we’re precariously side by side!  The St. Louis Gateway Cup (Sept. 1 – Labor Day, Sept. 4 ) is the largest competitive cycling event in the Midwest.  It’s now one of the top racing series in the U.S.  In St. Louis, It’s held 4 separate days in 4 St. Louis neighborhoods — Friday: Lafayette Square, Saturday: Francis Park, Sunday: The Hill, and Monday:  Benton Park.  The Hill race (Sun., Sept. 3) is called Giro Della Montagna, and it’s exciting to watch.  Starting line is at St. Ambrose Church (5130 Wilson Avenue).  More Gateway Cup information at


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Italian Film Festival’s Audience Favorites

by Annette M. Graebe

The curtains are closed for the 13th annual Italian Film Festival USA, and it was another successful season!  (Congratulations, festival president Barbara Klein!)  Over 11,000 spectators enjoyed the festival nationwide in twelve cities throughout the U.S.  The ballots are in, votes are counted, and the audience’s favorite film for 2017 was “An Almost Perfect Town” (Un paese quasi perfetto) by Massimo Gaudioso.  The favorite short film was “Bellissima” by Alessandro Capitani.  Special guest at our St. Louis festival was Pierette Domenica Simpson, survivor of the Andrea Doria shipwreck, who wrote and produced the docu-film “Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?”  Pierette was introduced by the Italian Honorary Vice Consul of St. Louis Joseph Colagiovanni, and she provided an interesting post-film Q&A session.  For more information on the festival, visit   A special THANKS to everyone who was part of it!

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Archaeology Day at Cahokia Mounds, Saturday Aug. 5th

by Annette M. Graebe 

 Take time on Sat., Aug. 5 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.), to visit Archaeology Day at Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, IL.  Learn about the amazing civilization that lived there about 1,000 years ago.  You’ll see ancient craft demonstrations, archaeological techniques, artifact processing, and TOURS of excavations!  Several hands-on activities.  For years, we’ve visited with University of Bologna (IT) archaeology professor Davide Domenici and his graduate students as they spent part of their summers at their Cahokia digs.  The more you become acquainted with Cahokia Mounds’ history and study the pieces found there, the more you want to know.  Admission free.  Donations accepted. More information on Facebook, Twitter, at (618) 346-5160 or visit .


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Italian Summers and Ferragosto – 3 things you should know

Italian Summers and Ferrogosto
Ferrogosto is a public holiday in Italy celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 each year.

It is a religious holiday that also celebrates the middle of summer in ItalyFerragosto is unique because it also marks the beginning of Italy’s famous summer holiday periodwhen most kids are on school holidays and families, business owners and frankly, most Italians, pack their bags and cars and head to the Italian coast.

Here are 3 things you should know about travelling to Italy before, on or after Ferragosto in August.

1. Many shops and rest
aurants are chiuso (closed)

Ferragosto technically runs from 15 August to 1 September.  But while 15th August is a national holiday, the rest of the holiday period is up to anyone’s interpretation. Because families and shop owners all go on holidays at the same time, many shops and restaurants shut down for the entire month of August leaving some parts of Italy virtual ghost towns in summer.

Some establishments close as early as mid-July while others stay open the whole summer. Some close for a week; others for a month.

So be aware that many small (family run) restaurants and shops may (or may not) be closed during this period and ask your hotel to recommend what is open and book ahead. ….and beware of touristy restaurants and shops that will be open but will probably be just that, touristy and overpriced.

And remember, lots of international tourists come to Italy in August and the well trodden tourist tracks and attractions will be mostly open and very crowded.  (Uffizi Gallery and Vatican museums will be at their most crowded).  So book ahead and don’t try to do too much at this time of year (refer next point).

2. Italian summers are hot

It’s summer in Italy so you can expect the weather to be sunny…and hot. And its always hot in Florence, Rome and the south of Italy in July and August (and often into September) in particular.

Hot, in land-locked Italy, means daily temperatures around 30 + degrees are very normal in August and in the cities there are often no cooling sea breezes to be had so check the hotel you book has air conditioning and consider venturing out to tourist attractions in the cooler parts of the day. Many of Italy’s major museums don’t have air conditioning (including Uffizi Gallery in Florence and most of the Vatican museums) but in summer may be open late.  So it worth checking.

Consider booking any day tours before you go (no standing in queues for hours in the blistering sun!) or steer towards those activities inside or underground…like the Rome Catacombs or churches, galleries and museum tours. Or head to the hills or beach and try to catch a breeze…

And don’t forget that when in Rome or other major Italian cities, drink lots of water from one of the many nasoni or water fountains located on just about every street corner. It’s clean and safe and free and comes from the mountains and springs outside the city. If you buy a bottle of water from a cafe, refill it at a fountain whenever you can. It’s good for the environment and your wallet!

3. Do as the Italians do and have a summer holiday!

What is perhaps the busiest travel period for Italy is actually one of the most reasonable accommodation periods price wise – generally from 1 July to 31 August.  But you do need to book early or before you go , especially for any beach or coast locations including the Italian islands (Sardinia, Sicily, Capri) during this time as this is where the Italians themselves go on holidays. It’s good to note that here, stores and restaurants will be open.

So be aware that most of Italy is busy in summer but join in the summer festivities and plan to celebrate Ferrogosto and summer in Italy!  There are fireworks and film festivals and other great attractions and activities to enjoy during this time across Italyincluding the famous Palio horse race which takes place in Campo del Campo in Siena on 16 August each year and many other wonderful summer things to do.

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Grub & Groove Festival

When: Sat., Aug. 12, 3-10 p.m.
Price: FREE

LIVE MUSIC by Jack Grelle, Beth Bombara, Feel Good Inc., The Kasimu-Tet, and St. Louis Legacy Ensemble. TASTING TENT featuring 4 HANDS BREWERY specialty drinks and products. A KIDS ZONE with Bubble Bus, Shock City School of Music, and APA Adoption Center Puppy Petting. FOOD From Local Restaurants and a RETAIL VILLAGE & FIREWORKS at 10PM! Brought to you by Friends of Francis Park. Any proceeds from the event are used to benefit Francis Park.
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Women’s Soccer: National champs

by AdVantage News August 2, 2017

On Sunday the Fire & Ice Soccer Club of Belleville hoisted the Women’s Premier Soccer League championship after defeating the Gulf Coast Texans 2-1 in Corona, Calif.

The semi-pro soccer franchise is owned and coached by Alton High grad Lindsay (Kennedy) Eversmeyer and featured soon-to-be senior at AHS Briana Hatfield, Edwardsville High grad and former Lewis and Clark and Mizzou standout Katya Hessel and former LCCC All-American Nicole Howard, who is now at Louisiana State University.

Fire & Ice SC was the last standing out of 110 teams from across the U.S. and even Canada and Mexico. The championship also closed out a perfect season for the squad, which compiled a 12-0 mark on the season.

Fire & Ice SC plays its home games at Belleville West High School and Belle Clair Soccer Park in Belleville.

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The 8 Best Learn Italian YouTube Channels

Reading Italian books is not the only way to expand your vocabulary in the language. In this day and age, watching videos is just as effective in learning Italian if not more as you can hear the correct intonation, pronunciation, and native accent. There are many great resources for finding Italian videos. Among them are popular YouTube channels curated by expert Italian speakers who have made it their mission to make Italian accessible to anyone. We’ve put together a list of the best Learn Italian YouTube Channels!



The 8 Best Learn Italian YouTube Channels

1. Italy Made Easy

If you’d like to get a chuckle in while learning Italian, then Italy Made Easy is just for you! The Italian teacher behind the channel, Manu, created funny Italian videos designed for beginners. They include such topics as “Learn Italian Pronunciationand “Safety and How to Avoid Weird Situations in Italy. If you are interested in taking your Italian language learning to the next level then you may also want to check out his advanced Italian lessons and webinars for a small fee.

 2. Learn Italian with Lucrezia

Learn Italian with Lucrezia is one of our favorite Learn Italian YouTube Channels thanks to Lucrezia’s fun, creative spirit when creating extremely helpful videos for both intermediate and beginner learners. She has such titles as “Friends, Food and Yoga” and “Passato Prossimo: choosing the right auxiliary verb“. Lucrezia’s YouTube channel is extremely diverse, as she covers a whole multitude of subjects from Italian culture to food videos to videos on verbs.

3. Tom Txxytu

Tom’s YouTube channel is filled with helpful videos for both English speakers who want to learn Italian and vice versa. Additionally, he has created plenty of vlogs that he’s coined TomVlogs, which are a fun way to learn Italian while you listen along to Tom on various subjects. Check out such videos as Tips For Speaking Faster in Italian  and Italian Culture and Media.

Best YouTube Channels to Learn Italian


4. Dolce Vita

This is another on of the best Learn Italian YouTube Channels that makes learning Italian a cake-walk, because you’re having so much fun while you do it! This is a go-to if you want to learn how to naturally interact with native Italians and get to know their culture. Both hosts of this channel, Marina and Luca, make learning about Italian culture and language funny and light! Check out such learning basics as Months in Italian, as well as videos on Italian culture such as Italian Hand Gestures.

5. Learn Italian, Live from Italy

Marco Nisida is a native Italian YouTuber who focuses on getting his viewers ready for a trip to Italy. Marco is not only a great motivator to learn Italian, but he also a unique set of learning methods, which come from his own experiences living in Italy. Learn Italian, Live From Italy is a fantastic YouTube channel to watch for all skill-levels as Marco creates videos for three different learning levels, as well as videos to aid in the conjugation of verbs. Check out “Como Optimizer Tu Tiempo-Regal 80 20” or “Qué es la Ansiedad?”.

6. Learn Italian with

aprender italiano con canales de YouTube


  • This channel has a series of lessons to help you perfect your skills in the language, mainly videos aimed at improving oral comprehension. At the end of each lesson, you will find exercises to help you measure your progress and review what has been learned.
  • The content of the channel is organized and planned well. Among its video series, you’ll also find lessons to learn vocabulary with images. The aim of these lessons being to help you learn 10 words a day, dedicating 3 minutes a day.
  • In the pronunciation lessons, you’ll learn about the most common mistakes students of the language make, how to avoid them and how to recognize subtle pronunciation differences only native speakers differentiate.

What should you expect? Oral comprehension lessons (for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels), pronunciation, vocabulary, useful words (weekly series) and everyday phrases.

7. One World Italiano

aprender italiano con canales de YouTube


  • Lessons aimed at basic (A1), pre-intermediate (A2) and intermediate (B1) level. The entire content of the videos is in Italian. This makes it a good challenge to perfect your oral comprehension skills in Italian.
  • The videos are entertaining, different and regularly updated. Veronica is the main protagonist in the videos. She and her team founded a language school in Cagliari and share some lessons on this YouTube channel.
  • The content of the channel is extensive thus allowing you to explore various lessons aimed at acquiring vocabulary and perfecting your pronunciation of the language.

What should you expect? Vocabulary and phrases used daily, conversations aimed to improve grammar and lessons with their translation in English.

8. Italiano automatico

aprender italiano con canales de YouTube

  • The content of the channel is aimed at intermediate learners of the language and is ideal for learning how to speak Italian.
  • Lessons with English and Italian subtitles break the traditional learning methods because, in an entertaining and different way, Alberto shares with his learning techniques he used to learn other languages.
  • In his series of street interviews, the rules are to understand at least 70% of the content, to listen to dialogues as many times as needed (from 5 to 15 times) and, last but not least, to enjoy the process!

What should you expect? Learning techniques, grammar, vocabulary, street interviews and useful vocabulary for everyday happenings.

What did you think of this list of the best Learn Italian YouTube Channels? I hope that learning Italian with these channels will  encourage you to broaden your knowledge in this language. Don’t forget to take a look at the MosaLingua app for learning Italian, which is ideal for helping you expand your vocabulary and grammar efficiently all while having fun.

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