National Prosecco Day; I’ll Drink to That!

By Alberto Amore

Prosecco is the best selling sparkling wine in the world and more than 4 million cases have been sold in the US alone, so it is only proper that we celebrate with a glass or two.

National Prosecco Day will be held on August 13. The day will be marked with festivals, promotions and all manner of Prosecco based treats. Think, Ice cream strawberries and prosecco, Pizza and Prosecco tours and Prosecco donuts! If that isn’t living the sweet life, I don’t know what is.

Prosecco is named after the Italian village in the Veneto region near the city of Trieste where the grape and wine has its origins. Most Prosecco wine is still a product of this region although grapes can be sourced from Brazil and other countries.

Prosecco is a variant of sparkling wine which can be enjoyed in the very celebratory and bubbly ‘spumante’, the effervescent ‘frizzante’ or the relaxing ‘tranquillo’. Being Italian, these bottles of bubbly are very fresh and uncomplicated heralding the arrival of autumn in Europe and reflecting on the fruits of the season’s harvest. [Read more…]

40 decades later,’The Fever Still Burns’

By Alberto Macchione

It could be argued that there were three truly significant Italian American movies that cemented Italian culture into the zeitgeist. The Godfather, Rocky and Saturday Night Fever, the latter of which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year.

Each of those movies was sold as ‘The American Dream’ all with anti-hero leads, all with flawed characters, failing the expectations of their families, their peers and the country that their families emigrated to. Underneath the Red White and Blue sheets were a different dream. The dream of a Red White and Green flag from southern Europe that had been defeated by war and had left regions with endemic poverty and few opportunities for growth. These people left close-knit communities and loving homes to make a life for themselves. They left to build America.

They went to survive, they went to make it. They didn’t always win like Vito Corleone. For most of them, winning was just Rocky Balboa making it to the final round. Surviving every well-trained punch that the stars and stripes adorning Apollo Creed could give. The subtext is America beating down this ‘other’ with all it might, The Italian Stallion, who with almost no education, no finance and poor preparation had the guts and determination to stand toe to with the world champ and take him to task. For most of them winning was just trying, such as disheveled and beaten Toney Monero crossing the bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan in the final scenes of Saturday Night Fever, traveling from youth to adulthood, from the very ethnic coffee drinking Brooklyn to the white tea drinking Manhattan (Italy to America).

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Italian Family Traditions

Our friend, Lee Bondarenka. is keeping up with his family traditions!

Pittsburgh’s Little Italy: Bloomfield

Our founder, Jack De Leonibus, was featured in Shady Ave Magazine’s recent piece about Bloomfield.

Check it out by clicking on the image below.

Pontifical Swiss Guard

By Alberto Macchione

Tourists, the world over, often visit the Vatican City in Rome to see the Pope, St Peter’s Basilica and the the highly recognisable spear wielding court jesters that guard the sacred city. Unbeknownst to many, these elaborately adorned security detail are a very serious battalion known as the ‘Pontifical Swiss Guard’.

Unlike the equally iconic Queen’s Royal Guard in the United Kingdom who are instructed to ‘stamp their foot and request that any nuisance step away’ the Swiss Guard are a highly skilled elite fighting force who are not only highly adept with hand weapons  but also possess one of the most impressive munition stocks of army piercing weaponry on the planet.

In the 15th Century, Switzerland’s small army had a reputation of overcoming much larger rivals. As Switzerland  was an impoverished country with few prospects for many, individual soldiers and small groups of mercenaries often loaned themselves out to other armies or leaders. The relationship with Rome began with Pope Sixtus IV who had a strategic relationship with Swiss rulers. The Pontifical Guard were officially appointed on January 22nd 1506 by Pope Julius II. This makes the Swiss Guard one of the oldest standing military units in the world.
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