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Mario Ortigara was born in his parents’ home on the South Side of Chicago, where brother Benny welcomed him. A few years later, sister Mary joined the family. Anna Panozzo and Domenico Ortigara were from small towns in the Piedmont region of Italy, where they met and married. They lost their first-born son to illness before immigrating to Chicago,...

The most interesting thing about Ron Howard’s “Pavarotti” isn’t so much its celebration of the world’s most famous tenor, but rather the story of how that tenor brought his craft into the cultural mainstream. “Pavarotti” is the story of opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti, who rose from humble Italian obscurity to blossom into one of the world’s most...

The corner of Southeast 91st Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard on a Thursday night is a dangerous place to be if you are on a diet. That’s when Bella’s Italian Bakery and Marketcasts its net to haul you in like a helpless Amalfi anchovy. Six days a week Bella’s is a superb Italian bakery serving the Lents neighborhood from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. You would t...

I’m always amazed that there are rarely foreigners in this region. And to think that travellers are in a hurry to get down to Sicily as fast as possible, whilst bypassing this beautiful and untouched part of Italy. Known as the Violet Coast for its sublime and dynamic colours, this really is a spectacular region of Italy, and one not to be missed....

In an age when reaching out to family is as simple as Facetiming loved ones on an iPhone, for Ben “Gabe” Esposito that is simply not enough. The 76-year-old recently explained family is everything, and for the past 50 years, he and his siblings have arranged an Esposito picnic at Merrill Park in Woodbridge Township. He said it is not enough to just...

Russo's New York Pizzeria, the nation's only chef-driven New York-style, Italian restaurant and pizzeria franchise concept, marks its 50th location in the Pearland Town Center. The Pearland location's milestone opening was one of five openings for the brand in 2018, with new locations in Austin, Texas, Cedar Park, Texas, Spring, Texas and Dubai, Un...

Monty Foss and John Moirano's Theitalianamerican, a bay son of Girolamo bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and Spruce Lance Farm, has rallied to complete the exacta in both of his career starts. Last out, he earned a 57 Beyer Speed Figure when closing from last of seven in the 5 1/2-furlong Tremont, won by Fore Left."John Moirano...

When St Francis renounced his worldly possessions and left in quest of spiritual purity, befriending wolves and other animals along the way, it's a mystery whether he was receiving the words of Christ or acting on symptoms of PTSD caused by battle and imprisonment. What's not a mystery is why St Francis felt such a strong connection to nature in hi...

To his surprise, the scholarship recipient shared a very similar experience to Outstanding Italian-American Tony Palmer at the 35th Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation Scholarship Awards Dinner Wednesday night. “I realized I had a deeper connection with someone else sitting in this room … Mr. Palmer, you mentioned your family is from Apuzzi. My grandpa...

Barrio Logan has new neighbors, who moved into the area 11 months ago and have been painstakingly renovating a house on Logan Avenue; they’re finally ready to invite you over for dinner. Ciccia Osteria is run by Francesca Penoncelli and Mario Cassineri, a chef couple who began their culinary training in Italy at age 14 and traveled the globe togeth...

Temperatures are on the rise…and so is the urge to grab the flip-flops and head for the nearest beach. Summer practically insists we enjoy at least one romp in the salty sea, no matter which part of the globe we find ourselves in. But if you’re Italian, heading for a beach whenever possible during summer months is practically a sacrament. Likewise,...

There are many who dream about taking on a new adventure and then there are those who actuallly fulfill that dream. Denise Pardini, manager of the Castello di Sinio, a refurbished 12th century castle in Piedmont, and chef at the property’s restaurant, clearly belongs to the latter category. There are several impressive things about Pardini realizin...