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.

Luca Stricagnoli Coming to Indianapolis on May 17th, 2018

Luca Stricagnoli, Calum Graham

Luca Stricagnoli

Luca Stricagnoli, born and raised in Italy, is an acoustic guitarist known for his unique style and innovative playing techniques. His original approach to music has led him to a variety of successes from obtaining over 60 million views on his music videos to having the opportunity to perform all around the globe.

His debut single received over 14 million hits on YouTube and Facebook in just a couple of weeks — an especially impressive feat for an instrumental music video.

Using up to five guitars in the same piece, modified capos, and self-conceived stratagems, Luca continually leaves his audiences in awe and wondering what’s next for the up-and-coming guitarist. In addition to his musical abilities, Luca brings an enthusiastic energy to the stage that attracts concert requests from every corner of the world.

Although it has only been a year and a half since Luca started playing concerts, he has already performed in a vast multitude of countries.

In Italy, Luca played at the “Dopofestival” in Sanremo, after an invitation from Italian composer Vittorio Cosma. He was even deemed “a phenomenon” by the well-known Gialappa’s Band. Luca has also performed for the main national TV and Radio in his current residing-place of Germany, such as RTL, SWR1 and SWR4.

Luca shared the stage with several big names of the acoustic guitar world during the International Guitar Night tour. These names included the founder of the Latin-Swing style Lulo Reinhardt, grammy-nominated musician and inventor of the Slide Guitar Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya, and Brazilian guitarist and composer Chrystian Dozza. He has also been a guest artist for Italian musical legends such as “New Trolls – La Storia” and “Davide Van De Sfroos”.

Throughout his career, Luca’s music has been published by countless magazines and has grabbed the attention of world-famous artists such as the band “Walk Off The Earth”. The band even published Luca’s work on their Facebook page, obtaining more than eight million views on a single video.

Luca is currently working on a new release in which he explores even more approaches to guitar playing and debuts a new guitar that he created with Davide Serracini, all while discovering what the custom instrument has to offer the world of music. The album tour, featuring special guest Meg Pfeiffer, will cross over ten countries in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.

“Every so often, a musician emerges who, in terms of depth of expression, advances a style so much that the way we listen changes forever. In rock, Derek Trucks comes to mind as an example. Italian guitarist Luca Stricagnoli embodies such a shift. He employs right-hand fretting, altered tunings, and partial capos in the spirit of Preston Reed and Kaki King, yet, like Trucks, he’s playing at a higher level.”

For tickets click here:

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


Union Avenue Opera Presents: Nabucco July 27th through August 4th


Friday, July 27, 2018 – 8:00 pm

Friday, July 27, 2018 – 8:00 pm 

Saturday, July 28, 2018 – 8:00 pm 

Saturday, July 28, 2018 – 8:00 pm

Friday, August 3, 2018 – 8:00 pm

Friday, August 3, 2018 – 8:00 pm 

Saturday, August 4, 2018 – 8:00 pm

Saturday, August 4, 2018 – 8:00 pm

Directed by Mark Freiman
Conducted by Stephen HargreavNabucco, King of Babylon, seizes control of Jerusalem in his war with the Israelites. Meanwhile, his daughter Fenena and her half-sister Abigaille are both in love with Ismaele, the nephew of the King of Jerusalem. War rages on between Babylon and Jerusalem. Abigaille, thinking to stop the warring once and for all, tells Ismaele that she will save his people if he vows to love her and not Fenena. When he denies her, Abigaille ruthlessly plans to take down the kingdom, claim Nabucco’s throne, and kill all the imprisoned Israelites.

 Not since Wagner’s Ring cycle has Union Avenue Opera presented a show with such epic splendor. Experience some Verdi’s grandest orchestral and choral music ever written, including the soul-stirring “Va, pensiero” chorus. 


Copyright © 2018  Union Avenue Opera

Giada on her new cookbook ‘Giada’s Italy’

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis is a native of Rome and grew up in Southern California. The granddaughter of famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis, she learned to cook in her family’s kitchens and in her grandfather’s restaurant.

She graduated from UCLA with a degree in social anthropology and later attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with hopes of becoming a pastry chef. After returning to the United States, she worked in several Los Angeles-area restaurants, including Spago. Work as a food stylist led to shows and other appearances on Food Network, for which she has become most widely known. Her first restaurant, Giada, opened at The Cromwell in 2014; her second spot, the fast-casual Pronto, opened at Caesars Palace early this year. She has published nine cookbooks, including “Giada’s Italy,” released in March (Clarkson Potter; $35).

Las Vegas Review-Journal: In your new cookbook, you talk about “the pleasure that Italian home cooks take in every aspect of preparing meals,” which sounds a lot like a cross between the slow-food and farm-to-table movements in America, although a more pure version of both. Would you agree with that, and what can Americans learn from Italians’ enjoyment of meal prep?

De Laurentiis: Yes, definitely. In “Giada’s Italy,” I talk a lot about “la dolce vita,” which is about embracing life and enjoying each moment. In Italy, no one is in a rush like we are in America and with cooking, it’s more than just preparing a meal — it’s about taking pleasure in cooking for those you love, and slowing down to embrace every moment.

What do you think Americans like so much about your interpretations of classic dishes?

I put a California twist on Italian dishes, so my dishes are usually lighter and fresher, but still very Italian. I also simplify the recipes and include ingredients that are easy to find. It shouldn’t be hard to make a great meal!

Always in your fridge at home?

Dark chocolate, Fuji apples, fennel, arugula, Parmigiano reggiano and usually a leftover pasta dish.

Currently obsessed with?

Shakeratos (espresso shaken with ice) … and Cardi B!

Newest Las Vegas discovery?

I recently took (daughter) Jade on a helicopter ride over the Strip for her birthday and it was SO fun. We’re going to do another ride over the Grand Canyon next month. Definitely my new favorite way to see Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada!

Favorite indulgence?

A sailboat trip to the Sicilian Islands.

I never eat …

Coconut or kombucha

Favorite brunch at home?

Refrigerator frittata if it’s just me and Jade. When friends drop by, the Smoked Scamorza, Spinach and Pancetta Pizza from my new book. It’s topped with a sunny-side-up egg and always a crowd pleaser. My peach, corn and burrata salad is also simple to throw together and so delicious.

Best tip for home cooks?

Always start by reading a recipe all the way through so you make sure you have all the ingredients, equipment and time you need. And taste. Every step of the way, taste. That is the best and only way to make sure everything is seasoned properly.

Have you been working on any other Las Vegas projects?

Not yet. I’m tackling Baltimore first. But things are always changing in the Vegas world.

Smoked Scamorza, Spinach and Pancetta Pizza

1 (16-ounce) ball of store-bought pizza dough

4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped

5 ounces baby spinach, chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for dusting

1/2 pound smoked scamorza or smoked mozzarella cheese, grated

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 large eggs, at room temperature

Place the pizza dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow it to rest in a warm place for one hour.

Position one rack in the highest position of the oven and remove the others. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Place the pancetta in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until crispy, about eight minutes. Drain off half of the fat. Add the spinach to the hot pan, turn off the heat and stir until the spinach is wilted. Set aside.

Dust a rimmed baking sheet that has been flipped upside down with the flour. Gently stretch the pizza dough into a round and place it on the flour-dusted baking sheet. Continue to stretch out to a 1/4-inch thickness, leaving it a little thicker around the edges. Sprinkle the dough with half of the cheese. Spoon the spinach mixture over the cheese layer and top with the remaining cheese. Place the baking sheet directly on the floor of the oven and bake for five minutes, then move the sheet to the top shelf and finish cooking for an additional five minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

When you move the pizza to the top rack, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Crack the four eggs into the skillet and cook them until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about three minutes. Slide the eggs onto the pizza and serve.

Italian Chicken and Rice

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1 pound chicken tenders

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 cup basmati rice

1/2 teaspoon Calabrian chile paste

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 fresh sage sprigs

3 fresh thyme sprigs

1 (2-inch) piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind

3/4 cup frozen peas

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish

Heat a medium straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter until the bubbles subside. Season the chicken tenders evenly on both sides with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken tenders to the pan in one layer. Cook the chicken for about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. (They don’t need to be cooked through at this stage; they will cook further with the rice.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and beginning to caramelize, about four minutes. Add the rice and chile paste and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional two minutes to toast the rice. Add the milk, chicken broth, sage, thyme and cheese rind, and stir to combine.

Return the chicken tenders and their juices to the pan, nestling the chicken down into the rice. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the peas on top. Replace the cover and allow the mixture to steam for an additional 12 minutes off the heat. Remove the herbs and rind from the pan and discard. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Italian Carrot Salad

1/3 cup limoncello

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 pounds large carrots, peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces soft goat cheese

In a small saucepan, gently warm the limoncello over medium heat until steam begins to come off the top. It should be hot to the touch but not simmering. Remove from the heat, add the dried cranberries and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the cranberries to soak for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour. Drain and set aside.

Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the carrots into a medium bowl. Season the carrots with the salt and toss well. Add the soaked cranberries, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil and toss again to combine. Crumble the goat cheese over the top and serve.

Recipes from “Giada’s Italy”

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

The Hill Car Show and Soap Box Derby June 10th, 2018

“Our Roaring 20th!!” Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 10th for The 20th Annual Hill Car Show and Soap Box Derby. Once again this year’s show will be at the Shaw VPA Elementary School (5329 Columbia, St. Louis, MO 63110) and the kids will again race the soap box derby cars down Macklind Avenue. The event is hosted by Auto Art Collision & Restoration Center, Southwest Auto Parts and the St. Louis Jaycees.

A Short Film Offers a Private Look Into the Life of an Italian Architect and Design Enigma

A close-up of Mollino-designed chairs in his Teatro Regio.

A closeup of Mollino-designed chairs in his Teatro Regio.Photo: Courtesy of Oscar Humphries

Though he was one of Italy’s most influential mid-20th-century architects and interior designers, very little is known about the inner world of Turinese legend Carlo Mollino. Born in 1905 in the northern Italian city of Turin, Mollino became a figure of fascination for design enthusiasts worldwide, many of whom were transfixed by his hidden private life and ability to create dreamy, sensuous spaces inspired by his various obsessions—which ranged from the voluptuousness of the female form to symbols and talismans of witchcraft and the occult. At a time when the style of the day was, for the most part, defined by a movement known as Rationalism (led by fellow design giants like Gio Ponti and the Castiglioni brothers, who looked to architecture primarily as a self-effacing entity, created more for streamlined functionality than for decoration), Mollino’s work was particularly unique, overtly romantic, and a far cry from the goings-on in Milan.

Carlo Mollino’s RAI Auditorium, built in 1952.

Carlo Mollino’s RAI Auditorium, built in 1952. Photo: Courtesy of Oscar Humphries

After graduating from college, where he studied engineering, architecture, and art history, Mollino began working for his father’s architecture firm. There, he entered several design competitions and won for projects like the Agricultural Federation in Cuneo, Italy, and the Turin Equestrian Association headquarters, both of which, for buildings intended for public use, were unusually artsy and illustrated his predilection for sloping forms and circular spaces. After Mollino left his father’s firm, he spent the rest of his life picking and choosing his own projects, many of them commissions for private homes that were hidden from public view. His most famous work, the grand Teatro Regio in Turin, an opera house, is one of his only buildings still standing today.

As Mollino’s oeuvre has grown in appreciation over the years, the scarcity of what is available to view and acquire has only added fuel to the fire. In 2005, a Mollino table earned a record-high sale for 20th-century furniture at Christie’s, going for $3.8 million. “Its great appeal is the immediately seductive look,” a former director at Christie’s, Philippe Garner, told The New York Times in a 2009 interview. “The fact that virtually every piece can be traced to a specific commission and that production was very limited add the appeal of rarity.”

 The chairs in Carlo Mollino’s RAI Auditorium.

The chairs in Carlo Mollino’s RAI Auditorium.Photo: Courtesy of Oscar Humphries

It was only until Mollino expert and curator Fulvio Ferrari and his son Napoleone discovered and restored an apartment Mollino had been secretly working on did the doors to the architect’s world open. A social recluse for most of his life, Mollino spent years creating and decorating a home for himself on the River Po in which to live out his later days. Inside, both his dark strangeness and genius were revealed: Rooms immaculately decorated, strange voodoo imagery hung on walls and ceilings, and hundreds of erotic Polaroids taken of women who modeled for him were found. Obsessed by the Ancient Egyptian mummification process and beliefs, Mollino also created a wooden boat-like bed that served as a symbolic vessel of passage into the afterlife, placed in a room prepared meticulously for his death. Though he never actually lived in this apartment, it spoke most aptly to his deep love of all things beautiful, revealing how carefully he tried to construct the world around him. It is within this space—now known as the Museo Casa Mollino, a highlight for visitors to Turin—that Mollino has been brought back to life.

In a beautiful new short film—directed by Felipe Sanguinetti, produced by Oscar Humphries, narrated by Fulvio Ferrari, and given exclusively to Vogue—we are offered visits to Mollino’s Teatro Regio and Casa Mollino. It provides private insights into Mollino’s mind and how he saw the world. Shot from around corners and through half-opened doors, the visual narrative is atmospheric in its secrecy, just as one would imagine for spaces of Mollino’s. His presence is palpable and, in many ways, evidently vulnerable in the navigation of the camera’s lens: As viewers, we get the distinct impression that we are walking side by side with Mollino himself, reseeing the spaces so close to his heart.

The completed Teatro Regio, 1973.

The completed Teatro Regio, 1973.Photo: Courtesy of Oscar Humphries

“Mollino is so famous for the Polaroids he took and his iconic pieces of design, that as an architect he’s often overlooked,” said Humphries, who shot the film with friend Sanguinetti in June. “But he was an architect first, and we wanted to show that.”

Of the film’s humanized perspective, Sanguinetti noted: “I wanted to share what I felt in these two spaces. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, and what Mollino brings out in people is such a unique and emotional response to his work. I hope the spectator, when watching the film, can feel that.”

n watching the film, can feel that.”

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

Saint Louis

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