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Author Archives: Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

Fricano daughters offer NW suburbs signs of hope

They began popping up all over the Northwest suburbs like daffodils in the spring: lawn signs offering words of encouragement like “Smile,” “Hope,” “Believe,” “Trust in God” and “We’re all in this together.” First there were a handful, then a few dozen. At last count, there were more than 500, all created by a quartet of daughters looking to spread a little sunshine during these dark times. “My kids were all home from school, and everybody was a little bit down,” explains Itasca resident Peter Fricano Jr. “As they were making the signs, they started to feel really good as ...

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Literary symposium takes to the internet

IA Literati, a celebration of local Italian-American authors and books, will move to an online platform this year. Typically held in the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia in Stone Park, the literary seminar will be presented via Zoom in two back-to-back sessions starting at 10 a.m. on June 13.  Participating authors include John Cavallone, Mary E. Matury Gibson, CJ Martello and Marcella Bernard, with Fra Noi Associate Editor Fred Gardaphe serving as the keynote speaker. This year’s seminar will be dedicated to the memory of poet, essayist and translator Joseph Tusiani. For details, email casalibrary@gmail.com.  

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Musical adventure

by Addison Teng In November 2019, Music Institute of Chicago violin and chamber music faculty member Addison Teng took three of his students — Maia Law (age 17, Glencoe), Aria Messina (age 16, Chicago) and Kodai Speich (age 16, Rockford) — on a 10-day trip to San Marino and Italy. The trip was hosted by Istituto Musicale Sammarinese in San Marino; Conservatorio Bruno Maderna in Cesena, Italy; and Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “Pietro Mascagni” in Livorno, Italy. The Music Institute students performed alongside local students and took masterclasses from conservatory professors. The mission of this residency was to promote ...

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Good vibes from Italy

We hope you enjoy these uplifting glimpses into Italy’s indomitable spirit. If you have a favorite video clip of your own, send it to info@franoi.com and we’ll post it next month. For more, follow us on Facebook. ARRANGIARSI — What would you do if you were under quarantine in Sicily and you and your twin brother both played the violin? VA PENSIERO — Italy’s legendary Frecce Tricolori send spirits soaring during a stirring aerial display. LUNGA DISTANZA — Talk about social distancing! A pair of Italian tennis players rewrite the rules of engagement. CENT’ANNI! — Nothing can keep Italians from ...

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Prospect High School

di Iacopo Siciliano Gli studenti del secondo livello di Prospect High School hanno fatto una gita scolastica al North American Pizza and Culinary Academy a Lisle. L’esperienza alla scuola per pizzaioli è stata molto divertente e interessante. Abbiamo imparato dell’origine e della storia della pizza. Maestro pizzaiolo Leo è stato molto comico ed un buon professore. Ci ha insegnato come cucinare la pizza tradizionale d’Italia. La mia pizza è stata la migliore pizza che io abbia mai mangiato. Oggi posso fare la vera pizza italiana con la mia famiglia ed è molto deliziosa. Grazie a tutti della scuola pizzaiola per ...

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Swiss guard stands watch over St. Peter’s at Casa

Thanks to a donation from local businessman Gino Bartucci, a member of the pope’s elite Swiss Guard now watches over the model of St. Peter’s Basilica at Casa Italia — or so it would seem. The model has been on display on the third floor of the Italian Cultural Center for decades, but the uniform was in storage until Bartucci donated a mannequin from his Harlem Avenue gift shop, La Bomboniera. A longtime supporter of the Casa, Bartucci previously donated a G. Armani ceramic presepio for display in the cultural center’s John Cadel Art Gallery.    

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Farella launches couture bridal fashion house

Cara Maria Farella opened a couture bridal fashion house last year and wasted no time bringing her work to the runway. The 27-year-old staged her first collection, Il Tesoro, in January at Chicago’s Kimpton Gray Hotel. The collection features rich fabrics embedded with gemstones, pearls, crystals and forged metals. Unusual for her industry, Farella not only designs her dresses but fabricates them on her own commercial production loom. Farella graduated from the Chicago Academy of the Arts High School and UK’s prestigious Central Saint Martins and Chelsea School of Art and Design.  

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Festa chronicler goes to bat for la banda

Back in the heyday of la festa, hundreds of Italian patron saint festivals graced America’s urban landscape each year, and many major metropolitan areas boasted at least one feast band. Most of those celebrations have disappeared, along with the bands that enlivened them, but the music will play on thanks to Marcantonio Pezzano. The veteran festa chronicler is assembling a trove of photos, oral histories and sheet music into a booklet, CD and archive preserving the Italian feast band tradition. To make a donation, click here.

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Carmen Salerno takes the lead at Flowers of Italy

Carmen Salerno is in the middle of a two-year term as president of the Flowers of Italy Club in Melrose Park. A member since 2013, Salerno served as secretary before being elected to the top spot last year. “It’s awesome to be in charge of an organization that’s been around for so long and done so much for the community,” Salerno says. His parents, Achille and Gilda (Perri) Salerno, moved to Melrose Park from Calabria in the 1970s, and his father was an early member of the club. “I joined to follow in my dad’s footsteps and continue the club’s ...

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Romanucci & Blandin attorneys shine

Fourteen attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin have been named 2020 Illinois Super Lawyers and Illinois Rising Stars by Super Lawyers magazine. Founding partner Antonio Romanucci and partner Frank Sommario are among the firm’s Super Lawyers, with Romanucci ranking in the top 100 in the state. Senior associate Bruno Marasso is among the firm’s Rising Stars. An Illinois Super Lawyer for the past 16 years, Romanucci was named a Top 10 Leading Plaintiff Lawyer in Illinois in 2019 by Leading Lawyers and a Best Lawyer from 2013-20 by U.S. News and World Report. He was selected by his peers for inclusion ...

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