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Archive for October, 2009

The legacy and contributions of Italian Magistrate Giovanni Falcone, who built bridges across the Atlantic in his quest to destroy the Mafia, were recalled today (Oct. 29) at a seminar held at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Judge Falcone was killed on May 23, 1992, together with his wife and three of his bodyguards, by a bomb that blew up a section of a highway near Palermo’s airport just as his car was passing. He was 53 years old. His assassination and that of his colleague Paolo Borsellino two months later, became a turning point in Italy’s fight against the mafia.

Read full story in Ciao America.

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The legacy and contributions of Italian Magistrate Giovanni Falcone, who built bridges across the Atlantic in his quest to destroy the Mafia, were recalled today (Oct. 29) at a seminar held at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Judge Falcone was killed on May 23, 1992, together with his wife and three of his bodyguards, by a bomb that blew up a section of a highway near Palermo’s airport just as his car was passing. He was 53 years old. His assassination and that of his colleague Paolo Borsellino two months later, became a turning point in Italy’s fight against the mafia.

Read full story in Ciao America.

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Carla Cugino at NIAF Gala

Carla Gugino at NIAF Gala

We liked what actress Carla Gugino had to say at the 34th Annual National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala on Saturday upon receiving NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Entertainment. Carla recounted that when she was growing up, her Italian-American father liked to say that there were two types of people in the world:  “Italians, and those who wanted to be Italian.”  Carla then told the story of how when she arrived in Hollywood as a teenager, producers suggested that she change her last name because it sounded too ethnic.  Carla says she gave it some thought but then quickly remembered her father’s words and decided against becoming Carla Smith.  

Gugino now says her choice to remain true to her Italian-Americas roots, or to the Italian-American “tribe”  as she put it, has been an asset to  her career.  She knew she had made the right decision when she walked on to a movie set one day and saw three chairs awaiting the film’s stars. The chairs were inscribed with the names: Roberto De Niro, Al Pacino, and Carla Gugino.   Ciao America!

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The following editorial appeared in Voce Italiana, Oct-Nov, 2009.

The annual Columbus Day celebrations provide an opportunity for Italian Americans to renew and strengthen their Italian traditions and to show the world how proud we are of our accomplishments. As Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata aptly said at the recent Columbus Day ceremony in Washington, “Columbus Day should be celebrated as the event which more than anything else honors the Italian community in America. Italians’ industrious contributions, together with their cultural and moral legacy, remain fundamental to the growth of this great nation that is the United States.”

Let’s celebrate our Italian traditions and let us share them with our children and grandchildren. We see no conflict of allegiance in being proud of our Italian roots, just as we are proud of being Americans. Italian Americans have so enriched the American mosaic that we can truly say that it is the contributions of Italians in America that has built America. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this year about Italian Americans: “…we are 40 million bridges between Italy and America. A country discovered by an Italian, named by an Italian, developed by Italian Americans, continuing to take pride in our Italian American heritage.”

God bless America and God bless the Republic of Italy. —FI

 

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Italian American Heritage month culminates in Washington, DC, on October 23-24, with the 34th Annual National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala. The who’s who of the Italian American community will be joining thousands of guests at the NIAF Gala this weekend at the Hilton Washington. Among the personalities who will be honored are Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, PBS cooking show host, restauranteur and philanthropist.

Secretary Napolitano, former governor of Arizona, will receive NIAF’s Public Service Award. During her tenure as governor, she became the first female chair of the National Governors Association and had previously served as the first female attorney-general in Arizona. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, star of the popular PBS cooking series Lidia’s Italy, will receive NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service.  Bastianich is an Italian war refugee who migrated to the United States. She is active in numerous charities and humanitarian causes, including fighting violence against women and raising awareness of the plight of female refugees. Italian singer and songwriter Antonello Venditti is slated to received the Special Achievement Award in Music.

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Italian American Heritage month culminates in Washington, DC, on October 23-24, with the 34th Annual National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala. The who’s who of the Italian American community will be joining thousands of guests at the NIAF Gala this weekend at the Hilton Washington. Among the personalities who will be honored are Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, PBS cooking show host, restauranteur and philanthropist.

Secretary Napolitano, former governor of Arizona, will receive NIAF’s Public Service Award. During her tenure as governor, she became the first female chair of the National Governors Association and had previously served as the first female attorney-general in Arizona. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, star of the popular PBS cooking series Lidia’s Italy, will receive NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service.  Bastianich is an Italian war refugee who migrated to the United States. She is active in numerous charities and humanitarian causes, including fighting violence against women and raising awareness of the plight of female refugees. Italian singer and songwriter Antonello Venditti is slated to received the Special Achievement Award in Music.

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Time for a break!  Italian Americans love figs.  As those of us lucky enough to have a fig tree or two on their premises know, there is nothing like a sumptuous fig, freshly picked early on a summer morning. Nothing. Years figgy_berto_6297ago, when we first moved to Washington D.C., we noticed a few fig trees growing in Chinatown.  Of course, Chinatown used to be Washington’s Little Italy.  That is, before Chinatown became apartment-town. 

Ever since, we have been trying our best to spread the joys of a fig tree in your garden and have eagerly provided cuttings of fig trees to everyone we know– extending as far as Canada.  We have several varieties of figs growing in our own garden, including one that ripens late in the fall (allegedly smuggled from Sicily).  Unfortunately, it tends to rain in the fall and figs and rain don’t mix.  However, over the years we have discovered that once our animal friends taste the figs, they love them — even in the fall!  That includes the legions of squirrels and, of late, we have noticed another pretty face in our garden enjoying our figs.  Life is beautiful — especially in the garden of an Italian American with fig trees. Ciao Italian America!

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