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Franky in New York

The Beautiful Life

Let's start The Beautiful Life new year with our great initiative. As you probably already know - yes, we are being pretty vocal about that lately... - we are working on the first "Who's Who of the Italian Americans": a collection that reunites in alphabetical order people's biographies, common persons next to celebrities. This is the first ever: so far, the Italian American community has lacked a comprehensive "census".
Of course there are other books about Italian Americans out there. But none has the ambition of being a collective tribute to the community, something in which everyone can not only find their own story and their loved ones', but also track family members and friends whose contacts have been lost throughout the years.

Want to be in? Click on the button below.

Make each story count

How a Kid from Torretta

Became a Brooklynite 
Back in his Sicilian years, Charlie Zito's name was Calogero. Calogero was born in Torretta di Palermo in 1948, and loved hanging out with friends up and down the steep streets of his town, or going to Palermo to eat fresh lemons sprinkled with salt.
But life was not easy, especially for a family of five children as Charlie's. So, in the 1960s, his father migrated to the States and in 1967 Charlie, his siblings, and his mother followed. The Zitos settled in Brooklyn, where he's still living. Since his arrival, Charlie has braved tough moments and enjoyed pleasant ones - but he has never lost his good spirits. He has worked as a barber and as a baker, and ended up in the real estate business. 
Charlie is always up to something. Last year he published a book that collects Sicilian proverbs. A few years earlier he had founded Limonsolè, a skincare beauty line, based on extract of lemons and olive oil. "I've never forgotten Sicily, as she's never forgotten me."

Charlie's biography is among the ones that will be published in the "Who's Who of the Italian Americans".

We Italians are literally everywhere in the country. Let's take a look at the Italian communities all over the United States: where they are, their names, and what they do. Folks, Franky can't wait to hear from you and to tell your stories.

From the East...
  • In New Hampshire the Bedford Italian Cultural Society proudly waves the Tricolore at Bedford Public Library, where they hold their monthly meetings. The mission of BICS is to preserve and promote Italian culture, language, history, cuisine and traditions. Find out more at
  • Italy has reached even the snowy Vermont. Here, in Burlington, the Vermont Italian Cultural Association  preserves and spreads Italian culture, arts, language, history and other aspects of Italian civilization. As they say, "You don't need to be Italian to appreciate Italian culture". VICA has a rich program: take a look at
  • What do they say? "It's always sunny in Philadelphia...". Maybe because there are so many Italians. For sure, they gather around Filitalia International, which celebrates Italian roots (and dreams!) with a vaste program spanning from language classes to the Italian Immigration Museum. Details at
  • We couldn’t end this section without mentioning what happens around NYC. Here the choice is vast and meets everyone’s expectations. As per gallantry, ladies first. NOIAW is the first and only national women’s organization focused on the ones with Italian descent. Entrepreneurs, professionals, academics, students: NOIAW’s programs spotlight Italian female excellence, and spread the word about Italianness in any form possible. Check their website at Focused on businesses and preservation of the Italian traditions - especially about food and artisanship - is Bronx Little Italy, the association that reunites the businesses from Arthur Avenue in The Bronx. The organization supports a thriving business district that is the authentic expression of a vibrant community. Want to find out more? Go to On Staten Island, perched on the hill that towers New York Bay, there's Casa Belvedere, The Italian Cultural Foundation. This vibrant cultural center, also an anchor in the community, hosts dozens of programs aimed at preserving Italian roots, language, and culture. Check them at 
... to the Center...
  • In Des Moines, Iowa, the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa spreads and preserves Italian culture in the area. Besides the educational museum, there are individual and group programs all year round. Follow them at
  • Casa Italia Chicago is a beautiful reality for the Italian community in Illinois. As they say in their mission statement, their goal is to "preserve our past, celebrate our heritage  and ensure passage of values to future generations." Find out more at
  • As they defined themselves, they are the "Gateway to the West". In Missouri,  the Italian Community of Saint Louis works everyday to both connect Italians and introduce St Louisians to Italians and contemporary Italy. Follow them at
  • In Northwest Arkansas, there's a little corner of Italy: it's Tontitown. Founded in1895 by Father Piero Bandini, Tontitown displays its Italian roots at the Tontitown Historical Museum, around which the Italian community celebrates its heritage. Info at
  • Home to one of the most numerous and vibrant Italian communities, New Orleans, Louisiana has a long history when it comes to migration fluxes from Italy. Today, the Italian American Cultural Center of New Orleans preserves the heritage thanks to its museum and a calendar full of programs (one event is highlighted in the "Save the Date" section). Check
... up to the West
  • One of the newest founded, Casa Italiana Italian Cultural Center in Seattle, Washington State, celebrates Italy and Italian essence in the upper Northwest of the country. In their calendar one can find Italian classes, gastronomic events, and vibrant "Feste Italiane" all throughout the year. To know more, go to
  • California has at least three very active Italian communities. In the Bay Area of San Francisco, the Italian Community Center is proud to preserve Italian culture while serving Italian community with a vast array of services that go well beyond cultural events. Follow them at Built around the professional community of lawyers, but serving the Italian community at large, the Italian American Lawyers Association in Los Angeles not only promotes Italian legal professionals but also fosters Italy and its essence. Discover them at As in The Bronx of NYC, there's a Little Italy even in Southern California: it's Little Italy San Diego, the non-profit representing the property owners, residents, and businesses of the Little Italy neighborhood in San Diego. Farmer's Markets, Trivia Nights, and live music are just some of the events in their calendar. Check them all at
Each needlework is a piece of art, and not only because of its beauty. But even more because it tells a story. Woven Lives: Exploring Women’s Needlework from the Italian Diaspora, the new exhibition on display at IAMLA, the Italian American Museum in Los Angeles, examines the significance of needlework in the lives of Italian American women, their families, and communities from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The exhibition reconsiders the role of needlework beyond its aesthetic value and utilitarian purposes and recognizes it as an extraordinary medium for expressing and preserving culture.
The exhibition will open this Saturday, January 29, through October 16. Information at  
Louisiana Italian Americans are going to shine more than ever. On Saturday, February 5, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM, at Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, there will be the 36th Louisiana American Italian Sports Hall of Fame Gala. The Gala is a traditional appointment to celebrate remarkable inductees from the fields of sports, medicine, civic service, the military, and more.
For tickets and information, call 504-522-7294 or send an email at
One last smile

before you go...

What's better than a chocolate treat to celebrate Valentine's Day? A chocolate treat that's also dressed to kill. Baci Perugina  partners with Dolce & Gabbana for this Valentine's Day 2022, which also marks the 100th anniversary of the famed cioccolatini. The new praline, out in a limited edition called Dolce Vita, has been created by master chocolatiers working with Dolce & Gabbana: a soft gianduia heart, with fresh lemon-flavored grains, and the crunchy whole hazelnut, all wrapped in white chocolate with hints of vanilla. As per tradition, each chocolate contains a love note: this time, the phrases have been written directly by the two stylists.   

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