eNotizie - February 2011

Warm Weather and Wine!
Escape Winter! Taste fine Wine! Head to sunny South Florida, Feb. 1-3, where NIAF is partnering with Simply Wines to uncork the Simply Italian Great Wines U.S. Tour!

Promising to be a trade show of unprecedented scale, the three days of tastings, experts, seminars and related events will feature Italy's finest wine-producing regions and include some of Italy's most prestigious wineries.

The kick-off on Tuesday, Feb. 1, is a walk-around wine tasting, 4-6 p.m., at The Ritz Carlton Hotel Palm Beach in Manalapan, FL. The VIP invitation-only cocktail reception, wine tasting and fashion show on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 7-10 p.m., at the Paris Theater in Miami Beach, will pair wines with Italian dishes and present an array of fine Italian products.

And, on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the JW Marriot Marquis in Miami, Italian wine masters will uncork some of their superb wines, among them Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.

For VIP invitations to these events, contact Beatrice Santacroce, 202-939-3120 or

Carlucci Off Broadway
In New York City this month? Don’t miss the off-Broadway production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” at the Abrons Arts Center.

Actress and singer Christina Carlucci, daughter of NIAF Board Member Bob Carlucci and Aileen Carlucci, stars as Julia, a lead role in this NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ musical version of one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays. The New York Times’ Dinitia Smith called the play “lightening caught in a bottle, done in a flash, a boisterous, anachronistic, multi-ethnic….”

With music that mixes reggae, calypso and Latin influences, the play originated in 1971 as a multiracial love story in which old Verona evolved into San Juan, PR, and Milan into New York City. The show runs Feb. 3-5 and 9-12 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 6 at 3 p.m., Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St. (at Pitt Street). Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors) and are available online or call the box office at 212-598-0400.

Council Members to Honor Meteorologist Sue Pompeani Palka
Join fellow Council Members and meet guest of honor Sue Pompeani Palka at NIAF’s upcoming Council Dinner in Washington, DC.

For more than 25 years as FOX 5 WTTG-TV’s chief meteorologist, Palka has calmed Washingtonians through the worst of snow and ice storms with her professionalism and forecasting acumen. The dinner is on Friday, Feb. 4, at Primi Piatti Ristorante, 2013 I Street NW. Cocktail hour (cash bar) starts at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., $55 per person (includes dinner, tax and gratuity). Contact Beatrice Santacroce at 202-939-3120 or

West Coast Gala! Mark Your Calendars Now!
The date: May 19, 2011. The place: The Fairmont Miramar Hotel in the bustling resort town of Santa Monica, where the sun shines on three miles of beautiful Southern California beaches more than 300 days a year.

And the stars will be shinning, too, at NIAF’s annual West Coast Gala! Film and television star, producer and director Joe Mantegna will be emceeing the event. Actor and singer Franc D’Ambrosio, of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Godfather III” fame, will sing the U.S. and Italian national anthems and entertain guests with his vast repertoire of songs.

The Gala will honor Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda and, posthumously, legendary political consultant and former NIAF vice chairman Joseph R. Cerrell. Tickets: $250, $500 and $1,000. Reception: 6-7 p.m. Dinner: 7-10 p.m. Look for updates at

Rigisormento Film Festival at the National Gallery
You won’t want to miss the “Remembering Risorgimento” film series at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, this March.

The festival will feature three classic Italian films rich in the heroics and texture of those 19th-century times. On March 12th at 2:30 p.m., relive the revolutionary heroics of protagonist Fulvio Imbriani (Marcello Mastroianni) in the post-Napoleonic period.

The festival’s centerpiece is a new and beautifully restored, 35mm print of Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film “Il Gattopardo” (“The Leopard”), starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, on March 13 at 4:30 p.m.

Closing the festival is a rare viewing of Alessandro Blasetti’s 1933 landmark film “1860 (I Mille di Garibaldi),” relating the story of Garibaldi and Italy's liberation through the eyes of an ordinary Sicilian villager, March 19th at 4 p.m.

For additional information, please visit their website.

NIAF’s Italia 150 Essay Contest
With 2011 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, NIAF proudly announces its essay contest open to all high school students (grades 9-12). The 750-word essay topic: What does it mean to be Italian American in 2011? Why is your Italian heritage and culture important?

Prizes include $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place. Winners will also receive a free one-year membership to NIAF. The first place winner will be invited to attend a 2011 or 2012 NIAF Students to Leaders program of his or her choice free of cost and the first-place essay will be published in NIAF’s Ambassador magazine.

The deadline to submit an essay is April 30th. Winners will be announced on June 2, La Festa della Repubblica (Italy’s Republic Day). Click here for details on how to submit an essay.

Madama Butterfly
Get your tickets now for the Washington National Opera’s production of “Madama Butterfly,” Giacomo Puccini’s beloved opera of a brash American Naval officer and the temporary Japanese “wife” he abandons after World War II.

“Madama Butterfly” will play at the Opera House at The Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC, Feb. 26-March 19, with a mid-week matinee on March 17. Tickets cost $55-$300 and are available now through The Kennedy Center box office online at

Council Reception in Connecticut
For an evening of heady conversation and light fare, join Lawrence Marziale and Umberto Santaniello, along with Timothy C. Moynahan, Esq., and Joseph Tramuta, Esq., for a Council Reception on Wednesday, Feb. 9. Wine and hors d’eouvres will be served from 6-8 p.m. at Carmen Anthony’s Fishhouse, 1770 Berlin Turnpike, Wethersfield, CT. Cost: $30 per person. Contact Sheila E. Caruso at the Donnarumma Law Firm, 203-263-6060 or fax 203-263-5050.

The Italian Quorum...
The Italian American Congressional Delegation works to address issues important to the Italian American community and ensure continued strong relations with the nation of Italy.

NIAF encourages you to contact IACD members and thank them for their support of our community. To view the list of IACD's members of Italian ancestry who are serving in the 112th Congress, visit

Gigi D’Alessio at Radio City Music Hall
Here’s a great Valentines Day gift! Take your sweetheart to Radio City Music Hall in New York City and discover the remarkable talent of the emerging Italian star Gigi D’Alessio. The show, “Tu vuo’ fa’ l’Americano,” is a tribute to the unforgettable maestro Renato Carosone. In this unique Feb. 14th performance, D’Alessio will sing duets with other international artists. Tickets are available on or at the Radio City Music Hall box office (1260 6th Ave., New York, NY 10020). Prices from $ 64.50 to $154.50.

Strings Attached...
Watch for the early February release of “Archtop Guitars: The Journey From Cremona To New York,” a new book written by Rudy Pensa, owner of Rudy’s Music in New York City, with photographs by Vincent Ricardel. This beautiful book tells the tale of Italian Americans luthiers whose fine skills evolved from the legendary Italian craftsmen of the 16th century.

And here’s a tie-in: From Feb. 9 through July 4, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York,” presents 80 of the hand-carved stringed instruments—particularly archtop guitars—created by New York master luthiers John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto, and John Monteleone.

For more information, click here.

Contemporary Italian Art
Showing through April 18, 2011 at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami is "Gran Torino: Italian Contemporary Art," an exhibition of contemporary Italian art by a select group of artists from the Italian city of Torino.

The exhibition includes pieces from the renowned Arte Povera movement, including such acclaimed artists as Mario Mertz, Alighiero Boetti, Giulio Paolini and Michelangelo Pistoletto, and illustrates new trends that have emerged from Torino’s artistic community.

For more information, visit or call 305-348-2890.

Tenor Is The Night!
Michael Amante, known as "The People's Tenor," will be performing his show "Broadway to Pavarotti" on Feb. 20 at the Italian American Heritage Concert in Raleigh, NC.

Amante weaves opera arias and Italian love songs with Broadway hits, from Puccini's ''Tosca'' to Bernstein's "West Side Story" so effortlessly he’ll make you cry bravissimo!

Joining Amante will be '60s pop star Lou Christie, known for hits such as "Lightning Strikes" and "Rhapsody in the Rain," and now his new Italian song "Non Se Perche." New York super entertainer Jerry Castaldo and vocalist Frederico Cardella round out the show. Tony Notaro, best known as infomercial master "Chef Tony" of Miracle Blade fame, is the honoree.

Feb. 20, 6 p.m. at Progress Energy Center, Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh, NC. Tickets $30-35. More information:

Attenzione! NIAF’s Scholarship Deadline Approaching
It’s not too late for students to apply for one of NIAF's scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. March 4th is the deadline. More than 100 NIAF scholarships are available, ranging from $2,000 to $15,000 each in the humanities, medicine, engineering, business, music, Italian language and culture, and other specialized fields.

Applicants must be of Italian descent, with at least one ancestor who has emigrated from Italy, or be a student of any ethnic background whose major or minor is the Italian language, Italian studies, Italian-American studies or a related field. NIAF scholarship recipients are selected on academic merit. Apply online for a 2011- 2012 NIAF scholarship at

Italy Comes to DC This Spring
La Dolce DC will celebrate DC's Italian influences from March 1-May 30 with museum exhibits, special events plus hotel and restaurant packages.

From the U.S. Capitol dome and corridors to the frescos of Constantino Brumidi and the statues that anchor the Memorial Bridge, the Italian presence in the cultural fabric and grandeur of the nation's capital is unmistakable. The celebration coincides with the opening of an exclusive exhibition of work by the Venetian painter Canaletto at The National Gallery of Art and a staging of "The Merchant of Venice" at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Watch for more info.

NIAF’s New Grant Recipients Announced
The NIAF Grant Program offers financial awards to individuals, organizations and institutions for projects that advance the promotion, preservation and protection of Italian American heritage and culture. NIAF is proud to announce its most recent recipients:
  • Graziella Giampaoli and the upper-level Italian language students at St. Mary Academy Bay View, in Riverside, RI, to produce an Italian radio program covering Italian culture, news, government, politics, the arts, history and Rhode Island-Italian events.
  • Silvia Boero, assistant professor of Italian at Portland State University, in Portland, OR, to continue fostering the university’s nascent Italian Studies department and support development of its Diaspora Studies program.
  • Courtenay Barton at New Heights Academy Charter School, in New York City, to support the school’s Italian language writing project and expand its curriculum to include Italian II, III, and IV.
  • Gianfranco Norelli, director of “Pane Amaro” (“Bitter Bread”), the 2009 feature-length documentary that depicts the Italian American experience, to support production of a new documentary focused on the contributions of Italian immigrants to the economic, social, cultural and political development of California.
A Speaker in the House?
NIAF invites council members to join us for the 2011 NIAF Distinguished Speaker Series. The Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum on Capitol Hill and the NIAF Public Policy Lecture Series schedule events that offer open forums for our nation's leaders to address substantive issues in a non-partisan setting.

Recent speakers have included Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and General Raymond Odierno. Stay tuned for announcements regarding the next Speaker Series event at

To Your Health!
Fascinating research going on at the Una Vita Foundation where Italian-American and women's healthcare expert Diana Bruno and American and Italian colleagues are studying factors—diet, culture, family ties, etc.—that are influencing Italian health. The Albuquerque, NM-based foundation is fundraising to explore lower suicide rate, lower teen pregnancy rate and longer lifespan in Italy and apply lessons learned to Italian Americans.

For more information, visit

Join NIAF for Your 2011 Trips to Italy and Greek Island Cruise
A trip to the Italian Lake Region is a journey through breathtaking landscapes, enchanting rustic towns and gastronomical delights you’ll never forget.

Your seven-night vacation traveling with NIAF and Unitours will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after resting by Italy's scenic lakesides. While visiting these picturesque lakes, you will also have the opportunity to spend a day in Milan, Italy's fashion capital and home to the majestic Duomo and Teatro della Scala Opera House. Click here for more information.

Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii on your must-see list? Now’s the time to sign up for NIAF and Perillo Italy Vacations’ 2011 Southern Lights Tour for nine days and seven nights exploring undiscovered parts of Italy as well as visiting your favorite popular sights. Space is limited, so make your reservations today. Click here for more information.

And, now, NIAF and Trek Tours Ltd. are pleased to present a 10 Night Greek Isles Cruise. This fascinating journey of the most beautiful coastlines and ports of the Mediterranean will include visits to Venice (Italy), Split (Croatia), Corfu (Greece), Athens (Greece) and Mykonos, Greece, and other picturesque and ancient locations while aboard the magnificent cruise ship Splendour of the Seas. Click here for more information.

NIAF e-Newsletter compiled
and edited
by Don Oldenburg

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