Paul Basile

Paul Basile has been the editor of Fra Noi for a quarter of a century. Over that period, he and his dedicated family of staff members and correspondents have transformed a quaint little community newspaper into a gorgeous glossy magazine that is read and admired across the nation. They also maintain a cluster of national and local websites and are helping other major metropolitan areas launch their own versions of Fra Noi.

Rodi sings from his Italian heart

From arias and symphonies to Neapolitan streets songs and pop, Italian music cannot be categorized by style or genre. But if there is one word that sums up centuries of musical creativity, Robert Rodi may have found it: crescendo. In honor of this, Rodi has created a multi-genre musical production titled ’O sole mio. Based entirely on Italian music, it combines classical melodies such as “Core ‘ngrato,” “’O sole mio” and “Caro mio ben” and more modern favorites like “Al di la,” “lo che non vivo” and “Volare” with modern Italian pop like “Ancora, ancora, ancora.” These songs touch on …

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Another gem from Basilicata

  In our ongoing series, Basilicata: Land of Cinema, we take a look at one film getting a lot of international attention. It was announced recently that “The Sled” (La slitta) by Emanuela Ponzano was selected for the Rhode Island International Film Festival, which will take place in Newport from August 9 to 14. This is great news for Ponzano because placement in this festival qualifies the film for Oscar and Bafta awards. Shot in the scenic Monte Sirino area of Basilicata, the story follows Alfred, a child who lives with his family in the woods near an isolated village in …

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Learning from history

  In the column I wrote last month about widespread efforts to blot out Columbus Day, I touched upon a game-changing encounter that took place a quarter of a century ago. In July 1991, Native- and Italian-American leaders entered a room as adversaries and left as allies who embraced each other’s cultures and supported each other’s causes. As a result, peace reigned over Chicago’s quincentennial Columbus Day celebrations. But how exactly did this remarkable détente occur? For the answers, I turned to its principal architect: Dominic DiFrisco. A gifted public relations professional and talented mediator, he served as president of …

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Defending Columbus

  Columbus Day is under assault as never before. Once unabashedly celebrated throughout the land, it was hailed initially by President Harrison in 1892, designated a national holiday by President Roosevelt in 1934, and pegged to the second Monday in October by President Nixon in 1972. A couple of halcyon decades followed during which schools, banks and governmental agencies across the country closed each year in honor of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea. The hero of the day is particularly cherished by Italian Americans, who have celebrated his history-altering accomplishments and shared ancestry with parades that back to San …

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Prospect High hosts glittering Serata Italiana

  At our annual celebration honoring the Italian students inducted into the National Honor Society, “Società Onoraria Italica-Sezione Cristoforo Colombo,” the Prospect High School Italian Program showcased the hard work of students at Prospect High and St. Raymond’s and honored members and organizations in the community who share the passion of Italian with the Italian students at Prospect. The Copernico exchange students from Verona and Prospect teamed up with the SOAR Program at Fairview to send the beloved children’s book character Flat Stanley to Verona over the holidays. The SOAR children were presented with a framed collage of photos of …

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NIAF helps launch Milan EXPO 2015

  Gianni Fava, regional minister of agriculture from Italy’s Lombardy region, gave the opening remarks at the “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” forum in Miami. The event served as the official U.S. pre-launch for EXPO Milan 2015 and celebrated the United States’ support and participation in the upcoming World’s Fair. The National Italian American Foundation presented a $25,000 educational grant to Miami Dade College at the event. On hand were NIAF Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso, President John M. Viola and General Counsel Arthur J.  Furia. “The impact of the $25,000 grant demonstrates the foundation’s commitment and support in …

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Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets (Carol Stream)

The steady growth of Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets is a success story that every Italian American can be proud of. Launched in 1958 as a bustling produce emporium at the corner of Harlem and Wrightwood in Elmwood Park, the enterprise has blossomed over the decades into a mini-empire that extends across the Chicago area. Full-service grocery stores in Addison, Bloomingdale, Downers Grove, Elmwood Park, Hanover Park, Naperville/Plainfield and South Elgin operate in concert with the company’s expansive new warehouse, production facility and corporate headquarters in Carol Stream. Nestled next door is the crown jewel of the company’s retail domain: a …

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Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets (Corporate)

Driving down North Avenue through Carol Stream, you can’t help but notice the new corporate headquarters of Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets. Dazzling white, with a few well-chosen details, its ultramodern facade stretches for nearly a quarter of a mile west of Schmale Road. That positive impression is reinforced in the soaring two-story lobby with its curving staircase and earth-tone walls accented with contemporary renderings of Corinthian columns. And there are homey touches, too: family photos of founders Angelo and Romana Caputo from the 1950s, a colorful cornucopia enshrined on a table that echoes the company logo, and the heady aroma …

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Joe Caputo & Sons

For a business to survive for a quarter century, the owners must be doing something right. To blossom, as Joe Caputo & Sons has, from a 10,000-square-foot corner market to a chain of three stores covering 140,000 square feet, that’s another level of success altogether. What’s their secret? “Great quality,” Joe Caputo notes. “Great value,” older son Nat chimes in. “Great service,” younger son Vito adds. The Caputo saga actually began more than a century ago in Mola di Bari, where Joe’s parents, Natale and Caterina, ran a grocery store. When his father came to America to pave the way …

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Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria

It’s a long way from the cobblestone streets of Altavilla Milicia to Chicagoland’s bustling west suburban restaurant scene. But there’s nothing you can’t accomplish when you have family by your side. Just ask Vito and Marianna Moreci and their son and daughter, Pasquale and Rosalia. Working shoulder to shoulder for nearly three decades, they have transformed Roberto’s in Elmhurst from a tiny pizzeria into a bastion of fine Italian dining. Their saga begins on the northern coast of Sicily, where Vito Moreci and Marianna Bucaro were born and raised. Childhood sweethearts, they were married in Italy before coming to America …

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