Hundreds of parishioners took to the streets of Columbus Park Sunday afternoon in a tradition that has been observed for decades by many Italians and Italian Americans who attend Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church: the procession of the Blessed Mother. Despite temperatures that soared into the upper 80s by early afternoon, many of the faithful followe...

One of the most thrilling and glamorous events in the Chicago-area Italian-American community is the contest to determine who will reign as La Bella Regina of the Columbus Day Parade. “Few events in the community can match the pageantry of the annual Columbus Day Queen Contest,” says JCCIA Executive Director Jo Ann Serpico. “The queen will be the s...

Although we are lucky to have an abundant variety of dining choices in C-U, my quest to find a pizza that reminds me of the ones back home (the Kankakee area, a 90-minute drive north) has been ongoing since I moved to Champaign 19 years ago. Prime Time was the closest, in my opinion, but, sadly, they closed shop several years ago. The kind of pizza...

Coming off a triumphant Father’s Day weekend on Oakley Avenue, Ron Onesti is gearing up for a pair of blockbuster Italian-themed summer fests in August. Onesti Entertainment’s Oakley Avenue Festa Pasta Vino was another runaway success, attracting more than 20,000 attendees with its irresistible combination of headline entertainment, authentic cuisi...

When Nicki Pecori Fioretti graduated from Loyola University with an MBA in finance in 1996, she never dreamed she’d be returning in triumph two decades later. But return she did, as the director of community affairs for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2018 at Loyola’s Quinlan School of...

I’ve had more than a few good cries since my father passed away in early May. He lived a long life and he was busy and robust until the end, and I’m grateful for that. But in some ways, it makes the loss even harder to bear. Tears still flow over the smallest of things, like driving to Joseph’s Finest Meats for the first time without my dad’s sausa...

It was more than 60 years ago — March 27, 1956 — and my family was waiting at the Port of Palermo in Sicily to board the SS Queen Fredericka. We were emigrating to America. An official-looking man at the gate checked our papers — first those of my mother, then those of us five kids. He probably checked my papers last, since I had been crying nonsto...

Parishioners at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii marked two important anniversaries Sunday, June 3: Italian Republic Day, commemorating the vote in 1946 when Italy established a republic as its government, and the 30th anniversary of the death of local resident and U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Davino, killed in action in the Vietnam War. On hand during a...

Some people love Italian ice so much, they decide to change careers, and devote their lives to it. At least that's the case for a young family near Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood who have set up shop along a busy stretch of Western Avenue. There, they make nearly a dozen flavors a day, using only the freshest fruits they can find. Marisa Cruz and...

Conductor, composer and pianist Dr. Emanuele Andrizzi caps his emails with the declaration of another Italian artist, World War I-era writer Gabriele D’Annunzio: “Ama il tuo sogno se pur ti tormenta,” or “Love your dream even though it torments you.” It’s a refreshing tonic to the somewhat mushy 21st-Century mantra “do what you love.” And it define...