Tag Archives: Italian Cultural Center

A day at the opera at Casa Italia

Casa Italia volunteer and archivist Barbara Stasell has created an opera display in the first-floor library room in the Italian Cultural Center at the Casa. The figurines were created by Nora (“Norie”) Kalka, a local ceramicist who learned the craft during a short sojourn in California in the late 1940s. Back home in Chicago, Kalka hoped to continue her work, but the equipment and materials were only available at the time from suppliers on the West Coast. Buying them there and shipping them east, she set up her shop and developed her skills, making many gracefully imaginative pieces. “An interest …

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Major changes in the works for Casa Italia

A new day is dawning at Casa Italia as the village of Stone Park enters into negotiations with the Scalabrini Fathers to purchase the property bordered by Division Street and 39th, 37th and Soffel avenues. The Casa currently leases the property from the religious order. Plans for the property include a park district-style facility with banquet rooms and offices, police station, and pro-size soccer field and event pavilion, but the Casa isn’t going anywhere. The organization will consolidate operations in the building that houses the Italian Cultural Center. The oldest structure in Stone Park, the building will be brought up …

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Italian classes galore at Casa Italia, Istituto

A wide range of Italian classes for both children and adults will be available across the Chicago area this fall. The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia offers exploratory language classes for 5- to 7-year-olds, beginning classes for 8- to 12-year-olds, and intermediate and advanced classes for 12- to 14-year-olds. Locations include Addison, Carol Stream, Elmwood Park, Highwood and Lemont. Children’s classes run for 30 weeks from September 2023 to May 2024. Adult Italian classes include beginning, intermediate and advanced, and will be conducted exclusively online. Adult classes run for 16 weeks starting in mid-September and are two hours long. …

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An oasis of italianità

The cover of Fra Noi reads “Embrace your inner Italian”: words that inspire us to explore every aspect of our heritage and community. In my case, the catchy phrase opened the door to the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia. An oasis of italianità in Stone Park, the center is home to a hardy band of volunteers who truly live this calling. I paid my first visit in 2015 and was introduced to Dominic Candeloro, a pensive curator with glasses that often slide down his nose. He, in turn, introduced me to the vast cultural riches of the center: its …

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ICC unveils updated Italians in Chicago exhibit

The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia in Stone Park unveiled a restored and enhanced Italians in Chicago exhibit at an open house from 6-9 p.m. on May 12. Archivists Terry Quilico and Barbara Stasell began work on the project two years ago under the direction of the exhibit’s creator, ICC Library Curator Dominic Candeloro. “The exhibit was renovated in the 1990s, but due to the deterioration of some of the displays, we decided that further renovations were needed,” Candeloro says. “As work progressed, we realized that there were significant aspects of the history of Italians in Chicago that were …

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Cultural Center offers Italian for Travelers

If you’ve finally decided to visit Italy but you’re worried about being able to communicate with the locals, the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia has the class for you. This six-week course will introduce you to important travel phrases and expressions used by native speakers in real life situations (e.g., at the airport, restaurants, hotels, banks, etc.) in a conversational format. Conducted via Zoom, the class will run from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays from May 24 to June 28. The fee is $295 until May 15 and $345 thereafter. To register, click here.    

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Book project gives Italian-American women a voice

As part of an ongoing effort to “save our stories,” Italian Cultural Center librarian Dominic Candeloro convened a roundtable discussion about a possible second volume of “Italian Women in Chicago: Madonna mia! QUI debbo vivere?” Published 10 years ago and spearheaded by Candeloro, the book features 40 accounts by scholars, journalists, freelance writers, researchers and first-person narrators, all of whom shed light on the history and experiences of Italian-American women in the Chicago area. Participants in the March 26 discussion included the editors and some of the writers of the first book. They discussed future essay subjects and possible contributors. …

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ICC seeks club memorabilia

Local Italian-American organizations are being urged to provide the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia in Stone Park with photos, documents, newspaper clippings, banners and other memorabilia for archiving purposes. “These societies are treasured institutions in our community. They embody a tradition of family and culture that has endured down the years and is woven into the fabric of our lives,” says Dominic Candeloro, director of the Cultural Center Library. “Their legacy must not be lost to current and future generations, but action must be taken now to avoid that tragedy.” (candeloro@casaitaliachicago.org, 847-951-9109)  

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Visit St. Peter’s without leaving the Chicago area!

St. Peter’s, the architectural wonder that dominates the skyline of Rome, is more accessible than you think. The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia houses its own capolavoro of the iconic basilica and its adjacent piazza. Just take a short car ride to west suburban Stone Park and an invigorating ascent to the third floor, and there it is in all its glory. The magnificent 1:100 scale replica was conjured out of hand-carved soft wood over a five-year period in the 1940s by the father-and-son team of Attilio and Lucio Savoia. It was donated to the cultural center in the …

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Casa Italia to unveil mystery window

Attorney John J. Lag was enjoying the atmosphere at the Festa Pasta Vino at 24th & Oakley when he saw something that stopped him in his tracks. “It was a remarkably beautiful stained-glass window with vibrant colors that caught my eye. It was an image of Bishop John Scalabrini and I just had to buy it,” Lag says. “It was being sold without provenance, without any information as to its origin or the artisan who created it, but I couldn’t pass it up. “Clearly, I couldn’t keep it at the family home and then it dawned on me. This magnificent …

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