“Money makes the world go ’round,” or so they say. But in the world I live in, volunteerism is every bit as precious as cold, hard cash. At Fra Noi, we have Dan Serafini, a retired financial systems programmer who emailed me out of the blue one day with an offer of help. He came along just as Mary DeSanto was stepping down as our longtime mailing m...

Robert V. Allegrini wanted his marriage proposal to be especially romantic. So he turned to John Bucci, a largely self-taught artist, designer and engineer, to help make that happen. Mr. Bucci had won renown throughout the United States for his traveling replicas of Italy’s famed Trevi Fountain. The scale works ranged from 20 feet to 50 feet wide a...

He's one of the most successful entrepreneurs to ever emerge from the suburbs, but Mario Tricoci says his passion for his business was born not of a desire for money but to make people happy. The Italian-born hairdresser told members of the Schaumburg Business Association Tuesday morning how a life-changing visit to relatives in Chicago in 1958 led...

As a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructor, Ron Centanni trained everyone from foot soldiers headed for Vietnam to astronauts headed for space. The oldest of two sons, Ron Centanni was born in Chicago to Paul and Ida (DeMuro). The family lived on the 3400 block of Flournoy Street in a two-flat owned by Centanni’s paternal grandparents...

A highly successful return to professional ice skating after a 16-year hiatus is not something Deanna Stellato ever envisioned. “It’s definitely not something I thought I would do,” says Stellato, 35, who with her skating partner Nathan Bartholomay earned a U.S. bronze medal last year. Stellato, a native of Illinois, competed as a junior until the...

With a candle in hand, a poor seamstress searching for a light enters the life of a poet in 19th century Paris. They fall in love, they spar, they reconcile, and finally they mourn a shared flame extinguished far too soon. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s quintessential opera. Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème,” which first premiered in 1896, in...

When it comes to studying modern languages at Millikin University, students are taught to master four basic skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The Italian courses at Millikin, like programs in Spanish and French, place heavy emphasis on understanding the language, but more importantly, learning to appreciate the culture. Francesca Te...

Be careful if you plan on cooking up a tasty pasta dish this week, because there’s an olive oil shortage halfway around the world. Quartino Restaurant cooks up close to 10,000 meals a week, but in his kitchen, Chef John Coletta is stocking up to avoid a shortage of the key ingredient. A severe winter in 2018 and a massive bacterial infestation are...

Today, mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle received the endorsement of the Italian American Political Coalition (IAPC). IAPC is an advocacy group founded in 1994 that provides a political voice for the Italian-American community (estimated to be approximately 500,000 in the Chicago area) and supports political candidates who have the community’s bes...

A mom-and-pop grocer -- actually an uncle, his two nephews and their extended families -- is celebrating 30 years in Arlington Heights. Valli Produce International Fresh Market opened its first store at 450 E. Golf Road in 1989 -- the creation of Alfredo Presta and his two nephews, Lou Tenuta and Frank Chilelli. To celebrate, the store will offer f...