Mark Mantovani Candidate for St Louis County Executive

Mark Mantovani, Democratic candidate for St. Louis County Executive, visited the CIAO St Louis studio, and talked to us about his Italian heritage. Like every Italian-American, Mark’s has a very interesting story to tell about his Italian family. Listen and enjoy this story of one family’s immigrant experience.

Click below to listen to our podcast and Mark Mantovani’s as we discusses the issues and the campaign for County Executive.

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Italian American Baseball Family Movie Coming To St Louis July 22, 2018

Italian American Baseball Family from Roberto Angotti on Vimeo.

Coming to Fox Sports Live at Ballpark Village in downtown St Louis on July 22, 2018. The movie will be shown at 7:00 pm followed by a panel discussion including the director of the film Roberto Angotti

FOX Sports Midwest Live! is the central gathering place and entertainment plaza of Ballpark Village with two levels and 20,000 square feet of entertainment market space. With a world-class audio and video presentation spanning over 1,200 sq ft of HDTV, including a 40 foot LED, St. Louis sports fans get one of the best sports-viewing experiences in the country. This is the place to be year round with a 100 foot long retractable glass roof, one of the largest of its kind in the country, fans can enjoy the nice weather during warmer months. The venue includes, a stage for live concerts and performances, LED ribbon boards circling the entire space, a 200 seat restaurant and VIP lounge area.Kitchen hours of operation are Sun-Thurs: 11am-10pm and Fri & Sat:11am-11pm.

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Maria SS. Lauretana Festival Returns To Niles Labor Day Weekend 2018

118-Year-Old Chicago-Area Festival Has Sicilian Roots Dating Back To The 1600s

The 118th annual Feast of Maria SS. Lauretana of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago will take place Friday,  August 31 to Monday, Sept. 3 on Church Street between the Golf Mill Shopping Center and Golf Mill Park.

Between 15,000-to-20,000 people attended the four-day event last year, according to Deputy Niles Police Chief Vince Genualdi. Religious highlights of the festival include the Procession of the Vera, the Flight of the Angels and the pulling of a large ship. The festival also includes secular entertainment, a fireworks display, carnival rides, food, vendors and a beer tent.

A group of up to 60 men will carry the Vera, a two-ton altar on a wooden base with a portrait of the Virgin Mary on top, down Church Street. They will make stops for people to give offerings and kiss the face of the image of Mary.

After about two blocks, the Vera will be placed between two high scaffolds, where two young girls in dresses — one in pink the other in blue — will be tied by the waist and one ankle onto a pulley system of ropes high above the Vera, where they will “fly” out over the crowd to sing a religious song in Italian. The Vera will be moved several times Sunday, after which additional Flights of the Angels will take place.

The story of the shrine to the Virgin Mary in Altavilla Milicia, Sicily started in the 1600s when an image of Mary was looted by pirates. Traveling off the Sicilian coast, the pirates found the painting of Mary in a barrel. They blamed the portrait for the violent seas and believed it was responsible so tossed it overboard near between several Sicilian towns including Altavilla Milicia, Joe Camarda, president of the Maria SS. Lauretana of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago Society since 1966, said.

Legend said village leaders from several towns found the portrait of Mary washed up on shore and hitched oxen to a cart, intending to build a church and shrine with the recovered relic from the ship wherever the oxen stopped, Camarda continued. The oxen stopped in Altavilla Milicia where a church was built.

Immigrants from Sicily brought the festival to the Little Sicily neighborhood near North and Clybourn avenues in 1900. Angelo Camarada, chairman of the Maria SS. Lauretana of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago Society, said the festival moved to other suburbs, including Rosemont, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and more recently Berwyn until 2014. The first festival in Niles took place in 2015.

Festival Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 2; noon to midnight Sunday, Sept. 3; and 3 to 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4. There will also be a special procession and Mass in Golf Mill Park with a procession at 9 a.m. and mass at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 3. The festival will have other religious observances Saturday and Sunday. The festival will include Italian and pop music Sept. 1, 2 and 4.

by:Tom Robb

A group of 40 to 50 men, all members of the Fratellanza Brotherhood, clad in white and maroon, lift the two-ton Vera shrine holding a sacred image of the Virgin Mary at the Maria SS Lauretana Festival in Niles Sunday. Their labor is a sign of sacrifice and devotion to their faith.


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Pizzelle Recipe by Loretta Vitale April


Probably the oldest cookie in the world is a pizzella (singular). The literal translation means “round, small and flat” as in “pizze” (which is also the origin of “pizza”).  These flat waffle-type cookies are made from a batter, similar in consistency to cake batter, using eggs, butter, sugar, flour and flavoring, usually anise or vanilla. The batter is poured in small amounts and pressed between two hot iron plates and then removed to cool to a crisp flat cookie.

The beauty of pizzelle is in the design of the iron plates. My research tells me that pizzelle were first made in the Italian region of Abruzzo as early as the 8th Century. Families would have pizzelle irons specially made with family crests, special dates, or other celebratory designs. Modern pizzelle irons usually show a floral or snowflake design on one side and a basket-weave design on the other.

The delicious taste comes from the flavoring added to the batter, which can be varied to anyone’s taste, including anise (the most common flavor), vanilla, chocolate, lemon, pumpkin and butter pecan. I have seen pizzelle with sprinkles and/or nuts.

The most traditional shape, of course, is the flat round cookie. The pizzelle can also be molded into various shapes, such as a cone, cup or cannoli form, and stuffed with your favorite crème filling or ice cream.  Another way to enjoy pizzelle is by spreading Nutella or ice cream between two pizzelle. For pizzelle lovers like myself, the options are endless.  Try taking a pizzella and dipping it ever so lightly in a glass of red wine, absolutely delicious after a wonderful Italian meal.

Pizzelle are found at almost all Italian celebrations, baptisms and weddings to Christmas and Easter. You can find several brands of ready-made pizzelle at Italian specialty stores and local super markets.  Here is a basic recipe for you to try.


6 eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

3 ½ cups flour

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 teaspoon anise extract (or extract of your choice)


Beat eggs, adding sugar gradually.
Beat until smooth.  Add cooled butter,
vanilla and anise extract.  Sift flour and baking
powder and add to egg mixture.  Dough will be
sticky enough to be dropped by spoon (a little bit thicker than cake batter).

The amount of time it takes to cook one cookie varies from one maker to the other. Usually 30-45 seconds is sufficient. Test your batter and pizzelle maker to see what is best.  The finished product should be a light golden color. If you are going to mold the dough once it is cooked, this has to be done immediately upon removing the cookie from the iron. These cookies will cool quite quickly.


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Italian Open Dinner Auction Saturday, August 4th 2018

Join us in supporting

St. Louis Italian Open

Saturday, August 4th

Westport Sheraton Chalet Hotel

5:00 PM Silent Auction, Cocktails, Hors d’oeuvres 

6:30 PM Program, Gourmet Dinner, Auction, Awards

Monday, August 6th

The Legends Country Club

10:30 AM Italian Luncheon, Registration

12:00 PM Shotgun Start, 18 holes, Four Person Scramble

5:00 PM Dinner Banquet and Awards

2018 Honorees

Rosemary Locascio Hanley, Co-Founder of The Little Bit Foundation

Guy and George Giudici, Owners of Crescent Parts and Equipment

Golden Raffle Tickets Available For Pre-Purchase- $100 

Winner will receive first choice of our Live Auction Items

Each ticket purchased comes with the 2018 Bear of the Italian Open 

Winner will be drawn at the Italian Open Dinner Auction on Saturday, August 5th


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Italian Open 49th Annual Charities Golf Tournament August 6th 2018

Approximately $4 million has been contributed to numerous primarily St. Louis-based children’s charities since the initial Italian Open in 1974 raised about $4000. Today between 30-40 local
children’s charities (including St. Ambrose School) benefit from the Italian Open which now distributes approximately $150,000 yearly. The Italian Open two-day event includes a dinner auction at which we honor one or two deserving citizens from our area each year.

Two of this year’s honorees are Guy & George Giudici.

To register for this year’s event,

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Hill Legends Statue Prototype Lost for Years

This prototype of the Soccer Legends from the 1950 World  Soccer Cup was lost for many years.  A project for 2003 that unfortunately failed to meet its financial goal.  The sculptor is Mike Pisoni, a former Hill resident of over 55 years.  Mr. Pisoni studied under renowned sculptor Rudi Torrini and received his Masters of Fine Arts from Fontbonne College.

The prototype is currently house in The Hill Welcome Center located at the corner of Daggett and Marconi.  There are a number of cracks in the statue that Mr Pisoni has volunteered to repair and keep it on display there.  Ciao St Louis will be interviewing Mr. Pisoni for the upcoming documentary on The Hill which should be released in the summer of 2019.

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