NEWS FROM : Art & Heritage  

Mount Carmel Basilica hosted its Italian fest Sunday evening in a different way. Normally, the fest is held in the church’s parking lot. When the event was planned in January, the church wanted to be safe with the pandemic. So instead, they held a concert in the church’s event center for their parishioners. “Monsignor wanted to bring people back in...

Hundreds of people gathered at a park in Little Italy on Sunday afternoon to demand that the three Christopher Columbus statues that were removed last summer be put back. During the rally at Arrigo Park, Italian American leaders called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to return the statue that was removed from the park one year ago. A second statue was rem...

After a year hiatus, Festa Italiana returns to Naper Settlement with lower admission prices, lots of food and a lineup of popular bands. “We’ve had some exciting changes this year. This year it’s free until 5 (p.m.). And if you’re a Naperville resident it’s $5 all weekend long with proof of residency and $10 for anybody after 5 o’clock,” said Miche...

People looking to get the flavor of Italian cities such as Palermo, Rome and Venice do not have to travel far, as Festa Italiana in Schererville offers exactly that. After canceling the 2020 festival due to concerns regarding coronavirus, Villa Cesare Events & Banquets presents the free annual event July 30-Aug 1 outdoors. “Our volunteers are excit...

The Lucchesi Nel Mondo will honor Paul Ciminello and Lilia Leonardi Juarez as Man and Woman of the Year at their annual banquet on Aug. 28 at the Mazzini Verdi Club. The following profiles were provided by the organization. Paul Ciminello Paul Ciminello has been a member of the Lucchesi Nel Mondo Association for over 25 years.  Paul left his home o...

An Italian American organization is suing the Chicago Park District to restore the Christopher Columbus statue removed from Little Italy after protests last year. The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA) want city officials to reinstall the statue at Arrigo Park, which dated back to 1966 before it was taken down. The Columbus statues...

The Columbus Day Queen Contest has a new lease on life thanks to the Avanti Group. Sponsored for decades by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, the pageant was put on hold last year due to the pandemic. “We thought it was important to keep the tradition going, and the JCCIA was grateful for the assist,” says Pasquale Gianni, president o...

Opera Festival of Chicago presents "Dante 700" Wednesday, July 28th at 8pm & Thursday, July 29th at 8pm Artifacts Events4325 N Ravenswood AveChicago, IL Dante Alighieri, Christian philosopher and poet, lived seven hundred years ago. Works such as his Divina Commedia and La Vita Nuovo have inspired operatic composers such as Gaetano Donizetti, Giaco...

The Sons of Italy in Bellaire is once again continuing its annual tradition - making 1.5 tons of sausage for the Undo's Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival. Members of the Sons and area volunteers gathered in the kitchen Tuesday morning to prepare its famous homemade sausage. "We don't use any fillers, we don't use any chemicals, it's all g...

With state restrictions finally lifted, Casa Italia is back in full swing. The Casa got the ball rolling in June with the revival of its bocce league. The 10-week tourney pits 16 teams of four against each other in a pitched battle for coveted trophies plus bragging rights until next year’s competition. Having gathered via Zoom last year, I-A Liter...

With a notable diplomatic pedigree and multinational roots, Thomas Botzios brings a global perspective to his role as the Midwest’s new Italian consul general. If anyone was born to be a diplomat, it’s Thomas Botzios. The Midwest’s new Italian consul general pursued the same career path as his father and uncle, Elias and Christos Botzios, both of w...

In June 2020, as attacks on Columbus statues across the country heated up, a group of Italian Americans led by Carlo Vaniglia started meeting at Arrigo Park in Little Italy every Sunday morning. Originally dubbed “Coffee with Columbus,” the gatherings were meant as a peaceful show of support for their heritage. When the city of Chicago decided to r...