Isabella Rossellini: From Red Carpet to Blue Velvet

By Anthony Manero

Isabella Rossellini is the essence of European beauty. We have seen her live so many lives, the screen siren, the sultry seductress, the pained and crying eyes that could envelope the embers of history and fan the flames of hope. The ambassador of Lancome, the respected mother for a jewelry brand, the sensual actress, the Mediterranean goddess photographed by people named Helmut and Leibovtiz and draped across the pages of Vogue. We have seen her vulnerability in Blue Velvet. We have seen her immortalized fame rolled out like a red carpet to support network darlings like 30 Rock, Friends and Seinfeld. We have seen her blue label flesh posing for Madonna’s ‘Sex” and ‘Erotica’ and felt so transposed that we dare not ask ourselves if it was indeed as a part of a book or a video.

Rossellini once said that the reason of her life is ‘not to be the most beautiful woman in the world’ as if it is a difficult and daring undertaking that she will take a lifetime to not be able to accomplish.

On the eve of her 66th Birthday, we step back from the woman who cut her teeth in Rome and New York, bearing both Italian and American citizenship and recognize that her legend does not just belong to her and her immense body of work, be it artisan or the philanthropic. The ex-wife of Martin Scorsese and David Lynch has had an even greater director in her life, the father of Neo Realist cinema and the father of one Isabella Rossellini, Roberto Rossellini. The woman who would be such a sentinel for love and sex came from parents who were embroiled in affairs of the heart their whole lives, off screen as much as on. [Read more…]

Calling On The Cinquecento Once Again

In 1957, the Fiat Company did for the Italians what Volkswagen did for the Germans with the Beetle in 1945. It created the Fiat 500 – or The Cinquecento – a car to carry the Italian family through their daily lives. The car is built to last, is easy to maintain, and the costs are affordable for the average family. For years the Fiat 500 was a symbol of the Italian middle class, lining up outside in the city streets in front of apartments. Few things epitomize the Italian lifestyle as much as cooking, but the Fiat 500 comes pretty close.

A Brief Respite For The Beloved 500

The end of the Cinquecento was written on the wall when the company had to massive restructuring to the design thanks to the “suicide doors”. 1965 Called for dramatic changes and with the Sports model looking to recoup some of the sales thereafter, it was only a matter of time before this beloved stalwart of the motoring world became a relic of the past. The Fiat Company decided to stop further production on the Fiat 500 and instead focused attention on the newer, more modern Fiat 132 and 133. These were bigger and sturdier, playing into the desires of drivers in the seventies. [Read more…]

Now is the Time to Bootstrap Your Italian Restaurant in Pittsburgh 

There is good news for budding entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh: for the past 10 years, the Midwestern city has been trending upwards in terms of growth. For Italians in Pittsburgh who are looking to invest in new business ventures, like opening the family-owned restaurant you’ve always dreamed about, this positive trend presents many exciting opportunities. In the technology sector alone, over $687 million dollars invested in Pittsburgh in 2017 by more than 250 venture capitalists from all over the world.

With a growing economy, there is no better time for Italians to capitalize on your positive qualities, like managing a family-owned restaurant or other culinary venture. All across America, Italian family traditions endure, with many famous restaurants serving the best Italian food for miles in nearly every state. Since there is no time like the present, now may be the perfect time in Pittsburgh to found an Italian food startup that can take advantage of the thriving economy and present growth opportunities in the city.

Seeking Out Investments and Funding 

The first step in starting any new business is to seek out a way to fund the venture. Luckily, the Italian community in Pittsburgh is tight knit, making it easier to ask people in your own personal network of family and friends if they would be willing to invest in your restaurant. If not, there is always the option of finding a preferred credit card that is specifically for business owners, making the payment process more streamlined. [Read more…]

What is a ‘Cuzzupe’ and Other Easter Treats?

By Alberto Amore

Christmas and thanksgiving are known for their big family feasts with both Christian and non religious families gathering together to dine with turkeys, potatoes and salads, but these gatherings pale in comparison to an Italian Easter.

While Anglo-Saxon parents carefully place small, store bought easter eggs around the backyard and exchange a branded grocery store egg with each member of the family, Italian families have had their heads buried in ovens for days on end producing a very purposeful and regimented period of family famine followed by indulgent, all consuming all encompassing feasting. Chocolate is on the margins where whole foods, natural ingredients and recipes lasting generations sometimes to the Romans are shared and enjoyed by families connected by blood but fused by food.

The patterns are similar, there is fasting, usually for the forty days of lent, certain foods and certain treats are consumed on certain days of the Holy weeks. Baccala, an air dried fish, usually cod, in Napoli is a salt cured fish in Calabria. It has a shelf life of several years and is consumed on ‘Venerdi Sante’ or ‘Holy Friday’ or ‘Good Friday’ as an act of sacrifice for crucified God.

All throughout Italy there are countless rituals, processions, traditions, people marching with torches and bare-feet along kilometres of stone streets. In my home village, dozens of people line the streets and play a parochial wooden percussion instrument in a thunderous demonstration support for the passing parade. The instruments, like the parade only arise once a year. [Read more…]

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

By Alberto Amore

Romeo and Juliet is a ripoff. There, I said it.

Bill Shakespeare ripped it off just like he ripped off pretty much everything he did. He was a rapper of yesteryear, sampling, reshaping and reselling old songs that had been sung time and time again, but to a new audience, a British audience. It is a practice that has always been in play and copyright lawyers rub their collective hands together with the knowledge that it always will. But let’s be honest.

Do we want to hear the world’s greatest love story from the point of view of an Englishman? If you want your romance to be microwave spag bol, by all means, help yourself. However, if you want passion on a plate, if you want to be serenaded and romanced with the finest wines and the embrace of sun-kissed Mediterranean ingredients, then you need authentic Italian food. And as for romance, you may side with the land of Monty Python and Mr. Bean or you may look to the land of Casanova, Rudolph Valentino and Romeo and Giulietta.

In the Shakespearean version, when Juliet leans over the Balcony (as it is often portrayed) and calls out

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

She is not asking where Romeo is, contrary to the direction of English teachers and Directors the world over. ‘Wherefore’ does not mean ‘Where’ nor did it in Shakespearean England. Wherefore would be understood as closer to why,  changing the lazy interpretation of ‘Where is Romeo?’ to ‘Why’ does this object of my love and adoration have to be he, a Montague, a member of a rival family.  [Read more…]