We know that John Miniero, a very charitable Brooklynite, displays an extraordinary Neapolitan Presepio outside his home each Christmas season.  The must-see display is located at 14th Avenue and 80th Street. But what some folks don't know is that the artist agreed to do an indoor display of his masterpiece at Casa Belvedere, the Italian Cultural C...

Baccalà is cod fish preserved by packing it in salt and drying—great as an appetizer or as a main course. Where my parents come from, the Campanià region of Italy, it’s was cheap and kept well without refrigeration, which made it an ideal food on Fridays when meat was not eaten. Growing up, Baccalà was always part of  La Vigilia—feast of the seven...

The holiday table is set. A winter village occupies a portion of the neighboring room. Italian hospitality abounds. The family behind Vacaville’s La Borgata Winery and Deli is opening their Italiante farmhouse for this year’s Vacaville Museum Build Holiday Homes tour Saturday. Proceeds benefit the Vacaville Museum. The 7,200-square-foot abode was b...

Where else can you see 25-foot toy soldiers, a two-story Santa, or a house decked out with 30,000 lights other than Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The suburban neighborhood, historically a quiet, Italian-American enclave, has been putting on its legendary holiday spectacle since 1986, when Lucy Spata moved to the area. Her over-the-top Christmas displays...

Being the son and grandson of two excellent home and professional bakers, my mother and grandmother, I probably have a unique perspective on the Christmas season. As I've shared many times before, beginning in the first week of December those two wonderful cooks started their holiday baking, an expression of their philosophy that you could never ha...

The traditional nativity scene in St. Peter's Square won't be so traditional this year. For the first time, it is made of sand - 720 tons of it. For the past two weeks, Rich Varano, a professional sand artist, has been guiding three sculptors from the Netherlands, Russia and the Czech Republic, to craft the work, which measures about 5.5 meters hi...

Trumpets sounded Friday night in Gubbio as the world’s largest representation of a Christmas tree came to life. The attraction, which takes up an entire hillside in the medieval Italian town, is more than 2,400 feet tall and nearly 1,500 feet wide. For nearly 40 years, the Guinness Book of World Records has declared it the biggest Christmas tree di...

It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and Joseph Sciorra was ready to build his presepio in his Williamsburg apartment. A Styrofoam base was in place on a small table in the corner of the kitchen. There were plastic containers and tape and nails and dried bunches of herbs to serve as vegetation. This year, his presepio — an elaborate Nativity and v...

Christmas in Italy is rich in traditions that have, for the most part a religious history, with the celebration centered on the nativity scenes in churches and home. Italian customs and traditions add so much to the beautiful celebration of Christmas in America for families of Italian heritage and help teach the younger family members about the val...

Snappy tux with a pocket handkerchief? Check. Backing of a seven-piece swinging band? You got it. Any chance he’s not Italian? Fuhgeddaboudit! That meant Allentown’s Miller Symphony Hall was ready for a two-hour Christmas show last Saturday night celebrating crooners of bygone days. Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti delivered it, baby, with Christmas so...