Category Archives: Amici News

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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Piazza Imo, a $3 Million Italian-Inspired Public Square, to Open on the Hill

Posted By  on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 3:03 pm

The Hill is getting a new public gathering place across from St. Ambrose. - CAMILLE RESPESS

  • The Hill is getting a new public gathering place across from St. Ambrose.

The name synonymous with St. Louis’ square beyond compare is branching outside of pizza.

Piazza Imo, an Italian square, is being built in St. Louis’ the Hill neighborhood, just across the street from St. Ambrose. With a price tag between $3 million to $4 million, it will have ornamental gates, benches and chess boards, with a marble fountain and granite walkways that are coming straight from Italy.

The committee building it, called Piazza Imo Committee, broke ground this morning. Its members are entirely financing its design and construction, with no tax dollars used.

Kennedy Robinson, a public relations manager at ESM Marketing STL, says the Piazza Imo Committee wants to capitalize on the Hill’s rich Italian history with the new square.

“The Hill neighborhood has always been a welcoming place with a great history of having many people and many cultures,” she says. “The piazza is just another example of this. The committee hopes to continue the Hill’s welcoming tradition by creating a beautiful Italian-inspired piazza that everyone can visit and enjoy.”

The piazza's future home, at 5130 Wilson Avenue, is now a vacant lot. - CAMILLE RESPESS

  • The piazza’s future home, at 5130 Wilson Avenue, is now a vacant lot.

Edward and Margie Imo, two of the eleven members of the committee, bought the lot where the piazza is being located for the group, Robinson says. Similar to piazzas in Italy, this one will be near a neighborhood church: St. Ambrose on the Hill.

Robinson says the Piazza Imo Committee wants not only to create a central gathering space for the Hill neighborhood, but also an environment for learning. The committee plans to have students at St. Ambrose School, the Roman Catholic elementary school attached to the church, use the piazza for their education as well.

“The Piazza Imo Committee also felt inspired to provide an inviting outdoor space for educating children, especially when it comes to STEM related learning,” she says.

The committee hopes to have the piazza open to the public by this fall.


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Italian Chefs Enter Guinness Book of World Records for 23.5-Foot Pizza

Published May 27th, 2018 – 10:30 GMT via

A team of 100 pizza makers teamed up in Italy to set a new Guinness World Records for the longest Neapolitan fried pizza.

The pizza makers constructed the fried pizza — which is composed of a circular closed dough with the cheese, sauce and toppings inside — and dipped it into boiling oil on Wednesday in Naples to create the 23.5-foot-long pizza.

The “pizzaioli” contained 183 pounds of flour, 110 pounds of mozzarella cheese, 33 pounds of ricotta cheese and 15 pounds of tomato sauce.

The pizza-makers said the record was a matter of pride, as the previous record was held by pizza makers in Milan.

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Piazza to be built in the heart of The Hill

ST. LOUIS – A big addition is coming to the Hill neighborhood in South St Louis.  A piazza is going to be built in the heart of the Italian American community.  You will find piazzas all over Italy.  They are an open-air gathering place that is usually located next to the neighborhood church.  It’s a place where people gather after a church or neighborhood celebration.  It is a place to relax, talk and soak up the sun.

Now St Louis is getting its own piazza right across from St. Ambrose Church and School on Marconi.  It is a vacant lot right now but it will have open-air green space, benches, landscaping, granite walkways, chess tables and at the center, a huge Italian fountain.  The Imo family bought the lot and donated it to the nonprofit building the piazza.

St. Ambrose school will also use the piazza for school events and classes.

No tax dollars will be used to build the piazza. The $1.5 million-dollar project is being funded by private donations.


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By Marianne Peri Sack

The annual Corpus Christi Procession will held at St. Ambrose Church on Sunday, June 3, after the 11:00 Mass. Immediately after the Mass, the congregation will begin lining up in front of the church. Parish members will lead the way carrying the cross and candles. Jim Garavaglia will serve as leader and director of the procession in a tradition that started with his grandfather.

Last year procession below where, Monsignor Bommarito walked with the Monstrance under a gold-fringed canopy carried by men of the parish.

The canopy was flanked along the route by elegantly-dressed Knights of Columbus. Behind them walked the parishioners and friends who are faithful participants annually in an attempt to keep this ancient tradition alive for future generations. Golf carts rolled along with the procession bearing those who no longer had the strength to walk the entire route. A few neighbors came out on their porches or stood along the sidewalks to watch. The procession moved slowly and reverently between the three erected altars set up along the route. Hymns were sung and prayers recited between altars and at each altar the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and the beatitudes recited.

The first altar at Wilson and Edwards had a round dome on top and the Edwards and Botanical location had a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague that was the focal point. The last one on Botanical and Marconi had green garland and bouquets of red roses. Kneelers, on top of carpets, had been placed in front of all the altars for the priests to kneel. At the procession’s end, everyone entered the church for the last prayers and benediction. Monsignor Bommarito invited all to attend the lunch in the school cafeteria.

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Corpus Christi Mass & Procession

For centuries, church processions have been an integral part of church activities in Italy and throughout the world.  The St. Ambrose Church on The Hill will continue that special tradition on Sun., June 3, as they hold their annual Corpus Christi procession for the feast of Corpus Christi.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Held immediately after 11:00 a.m. Mass, participants are asked to line up in front of the church.  There will be a procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of The Hill to three altars, concluding with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in church, with a reception to follow.  (Golf carts are available for those who cannot walk the entire route.)  St. Ambrose is located at 5130 Wilson Avenue, St. Louis 63110.  For more information, call the church at (314) 771-1228.

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This from the Chicago Italian Cultural Institute!


La Città Ideale

CHICAGO – The Italian Cultural Institute (500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1450) presents “Fare Cinema,” (Filmmaking), May 22 – 29, featuring screenings of three acclaimed films and appearances by their filmmakers and/or producers, including David di Donatello-award winning actor/director Luigi Lo Cascio, and a special event with costume designer Anna Lombardi.

La Città Ideale

All events are free and open to the public. Coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Luce Cinecittá, and ANICA, “Fare Cinema” is the first international celebration of Italian film on this scale, being presented worldwide by the 83 Italian Cultural Institutes to promote the creative genius of the Italian movie industry. “We are proud to showcase work of some of the most prominent Italian film artists to Chicago during ‘Fare Cinema,’” said Italian Cultural Institute Director Alberta Lai. “The films we are screening include two documentaries, as well as a feature film starring and directed by one of Italy’s most acclaimed actors, Luigi Lo Cascio, who has been awarded the Italian equivalent of the Best Actor Academy Award.” “Fare Cinema” at the Italian Cultural Institute consists of four scheduled events: Tuesday, May 22, 6 pm Screening of the documentary “Where the Clouds Go” (“Dove Vanno le Nuvole”) 2016, by Massimo Ferrari 75 min. Screening of the short film “The Interview” 2017, by Massimo Ferrari 6min Director Massimo Ferrari and producer Gaia Capurso in attendance for a post-screening conversation From Treviso to Riace, passing through Bologna and Padova, this documentary tells the stories and experiences of those who have been brave enough to try to transform fear into opportunities and utopia into reality. This is a documentary that travels through Italy and the migration emergency, revealing surprising models of coexistence and a moving humanity. The writer and director Massimo Ferrari is an acclaimed filmmaker and Academy Award winner.


Saturday, May 26, 6 pm Screening of the film “The Ideal City” (“La Città Ideale”) 2012, by Luigi Lo Cascio 105 min. Director/Writer/Actor Luigi Lo Cascio in attendance for a post-screening conversation Luigi Lo Cascio directs, scripts and stars in this film.


To make a reservation please visit, where all scheduled events are listed with additional information. “Fare Cinema” will receive promotional support from the Chicago International Film Festival.

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Ten weird things Italians say, and what they mean

Ten weird things Italians say, and what they mean
Photo: Ed Clayton/Flickr
Not sure what your Italian friends are going on about, even after a frantic search in your dictionary? You’re not alone – Italian has some bizarre sayings that baffle even long-term expats. Here’s our guide to ten of the best.

Photo: NoHoDamon/Flickr

Avere le braccine corte | To have short arms

If an Italian acquaintance tells you your arms are short, there’s no need to take offence – but it might be a good idea to offer to buy them a drink. This is how Italians refer to stingy people who are seemingly unable to reach into their pockets to pay for anything.

Photo: Pâl-Kristian Hamre/Flickr

Hai voluto la bicicletta? E adesso pedala! | You wanted the bike? Now ride it!

This has a similar meaning to the English expression “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it!” Usually said with a healthy dose of Schadenfreude.

Photo: Mario Mancuso/Flickr

Cambiano i suonatori ma la musica è sempre quella | The musicians change, but the music stays the same

Picture this phrase uttered by a disillusioned Italian, propped up at the bar and grumbling about how things never change. It’s often used to berate politicians or authorities who claim to be progressive but don’t seem to do anything.

Photo: Marco Antonio Torres/Flickr

Fare le corna a qualcuno | To put the horns on you

If your partner ‘puts horns on you’, it means they’re having an affair – you can either use the phrase or simply make the horns gesture to imply someone is being cheated on. As for the origin of the phrase, this one comes from Greek mythology. Pasiphaë, the Queen of Crete, had an adulterous relationship with the Cretan Bull, so when her son, the Minotaur, was born, he had the body of a man and head of a bull; the horns acting as a symbol of his mother’s extra-marital affair. Greek gestures, sayings and vocabulary found their way into the Italian language particularly in cities founded by Greeks, such as Naples.

Nowadays the gesture can be used as an insult even if you’ve got no reason to assume someone’s partner has been unfaithful. Italian footballers often make the horns sign at the referee, for example.

Photo: Dean Hochman/Flickr

Piove a catinelle | It’s raining like washbasins

Picture someone in heaven turning the taps on full blast – this phrase is just a dramatic way of saying it’s raining heavily. Of course, this is Italy, so it’s also used in weather that those of us from less summery climes might refer to as a ‘light drizzle’…

Photo: Mike Burns/Flickr

Senza peli sulla lingua | Without hair on their tongue

When you ask a friend to be brutally honest with you (not that Italians usually need much persuasion) you ask them to say it “without hair on their tongue”. An English equivalent would be “without sugar-coating it”.

Photo: Eduardo Gaviña/Flickr

Farsene un baffo | To make a moustache of it

In Italy, if you “make a moustache of something”, it means you’re not really bothered about it; you treated it as if it were as insignificant as a moustache. Of course, the saying might not work for certain Italian men who devote quite a lot of time to grooming their facial hair.

Photo: Ed Clayton/Flickr

Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca | To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk

This is a not totally politically correct Italian equivalent to the English expression “to have your cake and eat it too”, used when someone is being greedy or wants to have the best of both worlds.

Photo: Jimmy_Joe/Flickr

Capitare a Fagiolo | To happen at the bean

“È capitato a fagiolo!” is what you might say when something happens just in time, at the perfect moment. The saying dates back to a time when beans were an ingredient that even the poorest Italian families could get hold of and preserve, so if something ‘happens at the bean’, it happens when you’re running out of options – beans are all that’s left on the table.

Photo: Jirka Matousek

Prendere lucciole per lanterne | To mistake fireflies for lanterns

This saying is used when someone has misjudged or misunderstood the situation. In English we might tell them rather less poetically that they’ve “got the wrong end of the stick”.

By Ellie Bennett and Catherine Edwards


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Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People

Paperback – March 19, 2018
by Dina M. Di Maio (Author


Pizza. Spaghetti and meatballs. Are these beloved foods Italian or American? Italy declares pizza from Naples the only true pizza, but what about New York, New Haven, and Chicago pizza? The media says spaghetti and meatballs isn’t found in Italy, but it exists around the globe. Worldwide, people regard pizza and spaghetti and meatballs as Italian. Why? Because the Italian immigrants to the United States brought their foodways with them 100 years ago and created successful food-related businesses. But a new message is emerging–that the only real Italian food comes from the contemporary Italian mainland. However, this ideology negatively affects Italian Americans, who still face discrimination that pervades the culture–from movies and TV to religion, academia, the workplace, and every aspect of their existence. In Authentic Italian, Italian-American food writer Dina M. Di Maio explores the history and food contributions of Italian immigrants in the United States and beyond. With thorough research and evidence, Di Maio proves the classic dishes like pizza and spaghetti and meatballs so beloved by the world are, indeed, Italian. Much more than a food history, Authentic Italian packs a sociopolitical punch and shows that the Italian-American people made Italian food what it is today. They and their food are real, true, and authentic Italian.

Click here to buy this book

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