NIAF News Monthly

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June/July/August 2010

A monthly bulletin for Italian American organizations and media outlets, dedicated to promoting the language, culture and traditions of Italians and Italian Americans.

For Wine Lovers
While on a trip to Italy visiting the birthplace of his mother, Italian American Joe Fiorino, a retired St. Louis Police officer and paramedic, ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant in Tuscany. The bottle came with a “Centellino,” an attachable wine aerator, on top. Fiorino was so intrigued with the product and the way it aerates red wine instantly that he bought the rights to distribute in the United States.

The “Centellino” is made of hand-blown glass and aerates red wine instantly. As the wine is poured into the amphora of the “Centellino,” it swirls the wine for you. However, when you tilt the shaft into your glass, air is naturally infused into the amphora as shown by the bubbles that appear.

For more information, go to

Looking Ahead For New Books To Read
“Amore: The Story of Italian American Song,” to be published in September, tells the stories behind 40 Italian American classics and how this musical tradition became the soundtrack of postwar America. Author, NIAF Council Member and Publishers Weekly editor Mark Rotella celebrates artists such as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Dean Martin by tracing their music from the opera houses and piazzas of southern Italy to bar rooms in the Bronx and Hoboken, to the Copacabana, Paramount Theatre and the Vegas Strip. Rotella showcases the hardworking Italian-American musicians whose voices were heard on jukeboxes and the radio. Amore is the personal Top 40 of one proud son of Italy. For more information,

“La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language” is the story of how Italian became Italian and influenced cooking, art and culture. Author Dianne Hales’ passion for all things Italian, including music, movies and romance, is expressed throughout her chapters. This paperback book is a great companion for anyone who’s Italian, loves the culture, studies the language or is planning a trip to Italy. visit: and

Italian Classes for Youngsters and Adults
Registration is open for fall Italian classes offered by Fondazione Italia in Burbank, Hermosa Beach, West Los Angeles and Irvine. Classes start September 25 and lessons are offered at all levels -- Mommy & Me, preschoolers, elementary aged-students and adults. Register by September 17 for the early bird rate. Visit or email

Dates To Check Out If In Italy This Summer!
Tuscan City Readies For Historic Horse Race
Italy’s famous Palio horse race takes place every year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena in the region of Tuscany. The Palio celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary, in whose honor the Palio was first run on August 16, 1656.

Today there are 17 “Contradas” (districts) of Siena, by which the town is divided, each having their own government, coat of arms, colors, patron saints and a horse in the race. In preparation for the horserace, the semi-circular, funnel-shaped Piazza del Campo is covered with soil and stands are set up for spectators. Since the crowds far surpass available seating, onlookers find makeshift perches on balconies, roofs, windows, walls and even trees.

The Palio is preceded by days of festivities and a historic parade featuring horses, jockeys and a rich display of medieval costumes. During the bareback race, contestants circle the track three times and the winning Contrada hosts a grand celebration afterwards. For more information, visit

The Feast Of The Assumption And Festival Of The Two Worlds
The feast of the Assumption on August 15 is a national holiday in Italy and marks the peak of the summer holiday season. The Italian name “Ferragosto” comes from the Latin “feriae augustae” meaning “August holidays.” Cities become ghost towns as businesses shut down while families and friends flock to the coast, mountains and lakes.

Also known as the “Festival dei Due Mondi” (Festival of the Two Worlds), the Festival of Spoleto has been held every June and July since 1958. It hosts top-class performances of opera, theatre, music and ballet, attracting internationally renowned artists and a cosmopolitan audience.

La Festa di San Giovanni
The birth of John the Baptist, Patron Saint to Florence, is celebrated every year on June 24 throughout the city. Considered the “symbol of moral rectitude and political correctness,” the city commemorates the saint with the Festa di San Giovanni. The Duomo’s Clergy participate with a procession that leaves the cathedral and finishes at the door of “Paradise” at the entrance of the Baptistery. During the evening, the municipality of Florence, along with the Saint John the Baptist Society, organizes a fireworks display from Pizza Michelangelo in remembrance of the traditional bonfire that burned in Piazza della Signoria for the summer solstice.

Search for NIAF on Facebook and Twitter for the latest events!
June 8: NIAF International Business Conference in Rome, Italy
June 15: Kick-off Reception for the NIAF Rockland Golf Tournament
June 22: NIAF Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C.
June 24: NIAF Council Reception in Somerset, NJ
June 30: NIAF Council Dinner in Winter Park, FL
July 30: NIAF Grant Program Deadline
August 9: NIAF 6th Annual Rockland Golf Tournament in Sparkill, NY
September 9: NIAF Council Event at the New York Stock Exchange
October 11: NIAF 8th Annual Sarazen Memorial Cup in Hopkinton, MA
October 22-23: NIAF 35th Anniversary Gala Convention Weekend in Washington, D.C.


Please send your group or city’s news on Italian American exhibits, cultural events, scholarships and special events to: Elissa Ruffino, the NIAF, 1860 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. Or write her on the internet, e-mail address:

N.B. Events/programs noted are not necessarily endorsed or sponsored by NIAF.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans.

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