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Articles by: Tommaso Cartia

  • Art & Culture

    Michael Cunningham's Hours in Matera

    Beauty can be found in unexpected places, and when beauty falls into the hands of one of the best writers of our time, the result is pure poetry. American writer Michael Cunningham found another one of his inspirational muses in the city of Matera, a magical place that is not only a city but also a living organism that has miraculously survived the test of time. 

    The History of Matera

    Known as the "Subterranean City," Matera is one of the most ancient cities in the entire world and is famous for its sassi–stone cave dwellings. The sassi originated in prehistoric times and are the first human settlement in Italy. These dwellings were dug into the calcareous rock, which resulted in the creation of small caverns. For centuries, the citizens of Matera lived in these habitations that remained unaffected by industrial progress and modernization. However, with the advent of modern times, the glorious sassi became a symbol of poverty and unhealthy living conditions.

    As Matera battled against dominations, earthquakes, and catastrophes throughout the course of history, its untamable spirit always prevailed in the face of adversity, pushing the boundaries of what is both humanly and naturally possible. In the 1950’s the Italian government relocated the population of the sassi site to the modern city. Later on the sassi area was regenerated, promoting tourism and becoming a natural set for many important movies from The Gospel According to St. Matthew by Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. In 1993 UNESCO crowned Matera a World Heritage Site, and in 2019 it will become the Italian host of the European Capital of Culture.

    Michael Cunningham's Ode to Matera

    Matera’s timeless charm struck the author of The Hours and inspired him to write an elegy that digs into the cavernous depths of the city, connecting them with the spirit of the people who live there. The citizens of Matera have absorbed both the strength and the sense of perseverance that is emblazoned in the sassi. Therefore, this city becomes a symbol and an inspiration for the times we are living.

    In Cunningham’s work, echoes from the past are often used as a tool to tell contemporary stories. They serve as a frame where past and present overlap in order to have a more essential understanding of who we are as human beings. In The Hours, the echo of Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway inspires the stories of two women, one who's reading the book in 1950 and one who is a modern interpretation of it in 2001. The filter of the book helps them to better analyze their human condition and deal with the threat of their extinction. Similarly, in Specimen Days, Walt Whitman’s poetry becomes a time machine that accompanies the three novellas of the book set in different historical moments.

    The theme of belonging to a land or place, whether real or a psychological state of mind, is another common thread of Cunningham's work. He displays it in novels like A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, and the non-fiction Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown.

    It's no wonder that a city like Matera inspired the author to go on a literary journey through time and space. Cunningham uses the city's caves to dig more deeply into the essence of human nature like Virginia Woolf aspired to do: I dig out beautiful caves behind my characters; I think that gives exactly what I want: humanity, humor, depth. The idea is that the caves shall connect, and each comes to daylight at the present moment.

    Cunningham’s lecture began with an anecdote regarding the annual festival in honor of the Madonna della Bruna, “In the city of Matera […] an annual parade held in honor of the Madonna della Bruna (the city’s patron saint) features an elaborate, exquisitely constructed float that once it's rolled through the streets and reaches the central square, is demolished by citizens who literally tear it to pieces until there is nothing left. This serves to remind the people of Matera that every human creation, from churches to parade floats, could always be better than it is. Each year, an even more splendid float is built, and each year it’s torn apart again because perfection will always elude human efforts no matter how skilled, no matter how inspired. Matera knows about perseverance. It knows about the urge to complete that which could never be completed.

    Then the author went deep into the thought of perceiving the city as a living organism: “Matera is like a giant beehive–solid looking on the outside, but actually made up almost entirely of tunnels, passageways, chambers and chambers atop chambers. If most cities aspire to the erection of ever taller buildings, which speaks to our attempts to reach for the sky, Matera speaks to a more primal urge to barrel into the earth to be held and protected there. It seems that everything’s fragile; everything tractable was blown away eons ago. Matera is made solely of that which can resist catastrophic forces. Matera is what’s left after the hurricanes.

    And then he continued, "The feeling, which is palpable the moment you enter Matera, is that you are a rather fragile being, skating across the rock-hard surface of mortality itself. You are temporary. Matera is not.

    Matera appears to be a timeless city to the American writer whose story resonates with Earth’s history itself: “The falcons embody the harsh imperishability of Matera, a city that, in a certain sense, preys on time itself. Time, after all, eats almost everything, but it can’t seem to eat Matera. And if Matera doesn’t exactly eat time, it is unconcerned about time like the falcon is about the sky. I need to tell you a little more about Matera’s history because Matera is history, in ongoing collision with the present. It could be said that Matera is a living illustration of the fact that our histories create our present, our present creates our future, and that’s been going on nanosecond by nanosecond since the earth was formed.

    Matera inspires and shows us that persistence and perseverance are embedded in human DNA.

    “Matera, still very much alive, gaunt and barren, and strangely beautiful, had stood for millennia and may stand for millennia to come. For millennia it has been telling us, silently, that we can, and quite possibly will, persist–even in a world that can seem all too ready to be free of us. We may not be much as a species–not if we look at our history, our wars, our habit of rewarding the rich and depriving the poor–but we possess tenacity, a profound and inexhaustible drive simply to go on…that verges on genius.”

    Cunningham's relationship with Italy

    The Italian audience had already the chance to hear the heartfelt lecture during La Milanesiana 2016 edition, a cultural festival that’s held in Milan every year created and directed by Elisabetta Sgarbi. Now it was the turn of the Italian-American community in New York to be mesmerized by the wtriter's insightful poem. After the reading, the director of the Institute Giorgio van Straten asked Cunningham some questions about his relationship with Italy, translations and writing in general. This unique occasion falls into the frame of a series conceived by van Straten–American authors speaking about their ties with Italy–that already hosted big personalities of American literature like Jhumpa Lahiri

    The American author is well known by the Italian public. His books, especially The Hours, have become big successes in Italy thanks to the beautiful translations by Italian writer and director Ivan Cotroneo.

    Van Straten asked Cunningham if he was ever curious to read his books in their translated versions to see if they sound different to him. The writer replied that he certainly did and that to him sound, rhythm, and musicality are crucial in writing. In fact, that’s what he tells his students: “You should write in a way that if somebody reads a passage from your book, somebody that doesn’t speak your language, that passage still has to have something. It has to have a rhythm, a flow, spark, and music. I do read other translations to get a sense of how my writing sounds in a different language, and I also encourage my translators to take chances on my writing. I always feel like my books in English are books by Michael Cunningham, and my books translated in Italian are books by Michael Cunningham and Ivan Cotroneo.”

    The relationship between Cunningham and Italy is a long lasting one. Every year he travels to Tuscany as guest of his friend, the Baroness Beatrice Monti von Rezzori, who created a writers' retreat there. Additionally, he is often invited to cultural festivals and occasions. Might be just a matter of time then that this guru of modern literature comes back to praise Italy's great beauty with its poetry. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Life & People

    Peppe Voltarelli: Storyteller of our Times

    Sweet, bitter, elegant, angry, spicy, melancholic, happy, clever, ironic, dramatic, and at times desperate. These are some of the undertones that enter your ear and your spirit when you listen to a voice from southern Italy. The sound is inescapable and seductive, like a Siren’s call. It’s alive and full of the incredible history from which it stems. Through its storytellers and narrators, southern Italy’s traditional folk music has always expressed passion and a sense of social redemption, which is often dressed with satiric irony from people from “the Mezzogiorno.”

    As with the great oral traditions that date back to the storytellers of Ancient Greece, a large portion of musical heritage would be lost if it weren’t for the contemporary singer-songwriters who are involved in rediscovering it and eternalizing it with their recordings. Storytellers used to be the reporters of daily life before communication other than writing existed; therefore, they were often responsible for documenting great changes during the course of history.

    Artists such as Edoardo Bennato, Carlo d’Angiò, Antonio Piccinino, Rosa Balisteri, Pietra Montecorvino, and Teresa De Sio preserved this tradition and passed it on to future generations.

    Another great passing of traditions occurred with Otello Profazio and Peppe Voltarelli. Profazio is a Calabrese folk storyteller that reinterpreted both traditional songs from the south and Ignazio Buttita’s Sicilian poems. Voltarelli is one of the last Italian musical storytellers following in Otello’s legacy. His latest project is a disk/book entitled “Voltarelli canta Profazio.”

    Peppe Voltarelli is a Calabrese singer, songwriter, and actor who is known for founding the experimental folk-rock band “Il parto delle Nuvole Pesanti” in 1991 in Bologna. In 2005 he began his solo career, which contained notable recognitions such as the “Premio Tenco” in 2010 and his successful tour abroad, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

    Voltarelli’s concert was presented at Casa Italiana by director Stefano Albertini and director for Academic and Cultural Programs at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Joseph Sciorra. Additionally, the event included a multimedia performance assembled by Neapolitan artists Anna and Rosaria Corcione who also handled the visual content for the booklet that accompanies Voltarelli’s album. Anna Corcione attended the event.

    Before the concert we had the chance to record the interview that Albertini conducted with the singer-songwriter. This interview will soon be featured on our television program i-Italy NY TV, which airs every Sunday at 1PM on the NYC Life channel.

    Voltarelli spoke about the importance of his new project, a book/disk published by Squilibri Editore with artistic production by Carlo Muratori. He also spoke about his fateful encounter with Otello Profazio. The instinct that pushed the Calabrese singer to rediscover the musical origins of his people also brought him closer to his fellow countryman, Profazio. The two established a relationship beyond art and shared the stage together many times; one occasion in particular was for the Premio Tenco. The dimension of journey is very important for the storyeller, he needs to leave his home bringing with him the stories that inspired his music, to generously share them with the public.

    Great storytellers moved from city to city. Their performances were accompanied by visual aids, which gave context to their work and allowed their audiences to better understand the stories that they were telling. Voltarelli followed in their footsteps and began his journey accompanied by images from Anna and Rosaria Corcione. Their inventive collages entitled “Strappi e stratificazioni” cross modern images of Voltarelli with disc covers from Profazio and other artists together with historic moments and Anna and Rosaria’s personal pictorial commentary.

    The metaphor of stratification in the collages, uncovering the levels of the past connected to modernity, amplifies the musical union between past and present, which Voltarelli officiates with his encounter with Profazio. Anna and Rosaria were also inspired by the great Calabrese artist, Mimmo Rotella, who began his dècollage works at the same time that Profazio was preparing to revisit the folk repertoire. In juxtaposing and combining the faces of these two key players, the artists highlighted the similarities and the differences between the two singers from a south of Italy eternalize in a metaphysical immobility like in a De Chirico painting.

    The audience at Casa Italiana was fortunate enough to have the chance to see the show that illustrated Voltarelli’s theatricality and wit. Voltarelli sang some of Profazio’s songs, one of which was “Qua si campa d’aria,” which was also the title of the album that sold more than one million copies. Today Profazio is actually the only folk singer to have done this.

    In addition to performing some of his own pieces, Voltarelli also dabbled in traditional Sicilian songs, in particular of the lyrical poems of Ignazio Buttitta.

    Nostalgia, social condemnation, and bittersweet irony that narrate an ancient world that feels surprisingly close to our times. “Qua si campa d’aria” sounds contemporary, and it creates a snapshot of the economic crisis in Italy and the Italian immigrants’ difficulty in building a life abroad.

    The migrant soul of Voltarelli’s southern Italy embraces the Italian-American public. In fact, for another one of his projects “Il viaggio, i padri, l’appartenenza” (The journey, ancestors, belonging) he declared:

    “It’s part of my experience as an emigrant and part of the experiences of many others as well. From a distance you can see the separation from and the rediscovering of one’s roots. There’s also the acceptance of a cultural heritage that is, in fact, our own, and it lies within ourselves, whether we like it or not. It’s up to us to benefit from this baggage and to make it become a strength for us, an identifying element.”

    Speaking with and identifying with an Italian-American audience was also important for Voltarelli. The audience returned the warmth that he showed them that night at Casa Italiana, expressing themselves through their laughs, teary-eyed expressions, and applause.

    Voltarelli canta Profazio’s tour has just begun and can be seen in the United States and in Latin America before concluding in January.

    To follow the singer and his concert dates, please visit www.peppevoltarelli.net for more information.

  • Serving a traditional “timballo di maccheroni” at a princely dinner table in Luchino Visconti’s Il Gattopardo (The Leopard)
    Art & Culture

    Dining Out Special. Italian Restaurants for Winter

    We scouted for some of the best Italian restaurants in the city where you will fnd a shelter from the storms of winter, a place to spend your holidays or your romantic moments now that Valentine’s day is also upcoming.

    UPPER EAST SIDE

    Bar Italia
    768 Madison Avenue
    ☎ (917) 546-6676
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE elegant
    PRICE $$$

    Former Cipriani Chef Denis Franceschini and General Manager Hassan El Garrahy teamed up with Jean Denoyer and Regis Marinier of Orsay / LaGoule restaurant group to create this chic and elegant classic Italian restaurant on the glamorous Madison Avenue. The place has become very popular among Italian and American celebrities. Originally from Borgo Valsugana in the region of Trentino Alto-Adige area, Denis stayed true to his Northern Italian roots. The specialty of the house is a truffle that you can savor in the tantalizing “Tagliolini al Tartufo” dish – truffle butter and fresh burgundy black truffles. Foie gras is another luxury delicatessen alongside with liver. “Fegato alla Veneziana,” calves’ liver and onions served with grilled polenta, is a dish that can warm up the most frigid winter temperature with its cozy sensation. You also certainly don’t want to miss the seafood side of the menu. Denis offers you other exceptional dishes like “Seppie al Nero,” squids in their own ink sauce, and the Venetian “Baccalà Mantecato,” creamed dried cod.

    MIDTOWN WEST

    Il Melograno

    501 West 51st Street 
    ☎ (212) 757- 9290
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$

    At chef Alberto Tartari’s home in Northern Italy, near Valle Camonica, grows a strongly rooted Melograno (pomegranate tree) that was planted by his grandfather when Alberto was born. Also strongly rooted in that area of Italy is Tartari’s cuisine style that you can experience at Il Melograno. You can taste the genuine healthy products, feel the fresh air, and see the wildlife and the pure water that are all characteristics of that valley surrounded by the mountains and Lake Iseo. Winter time at Il Melograno is under the banner of typical country flavor. Dishes like polenta with meat, fish, or melted cheese are the restaurant’s specialty along with beef, pork, and chicken recipes. Mouth watering homemade pappardelle with sausage ragù and homemade ricotta and spin-ach ravioli in butter and sage sauce are as simple and genuine and as tasty and rich in flavor as the products they are prepared with. The wine list is 90% Italian with a quality that you rarely see in New York, but if you want to simply have a glass of wine and a snack, you should check out Il Baretto, another of Tartari’s creations, a café and wine bar just around the corner from Il Melograno.

    Tavola

    488 9th Avenue West 51st Street 
    ☎ (212) 273-1181
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$

    Nick Accardi, a true Sicilian at heart, is a New York dining scene pioneer. He opened Cola’s in Chelsea in 1988, a real gamble at that time. After years of experience he took another leap of faith when he took over Manganaro Grosseria Italiana, an old-fashioned bottega that has been famous for 127 years for its cured meats, cheeses, and olive oil. Nick tried to preserve Grosseria’s original essence from the furniture to the high quality products. You can feel that the walls are drenched with history, like the two wood ovens that Accardi brought back from Naples, which are the biggest in all of America, handcrafted by the Acunto family using Vesuvius’ volcanic clay. The cuisine presents an eclectic fusion between the Italian regions of Sicily, Naples, Apulia, and also the city of Florence with new chef Giancarlo Dellanzo. Sicilian arancini and Nick’s grandmother’s recipe for caponata with a hint of chocolate from the 18th century are exceptional dishes, along with the handmade Sicilian pane nero - black bread - that Accardi’s father used to bake with tumminia, an ancient wheat flour grown in the region of their hometown Castelvetrano. For the winter and the holidays you can savor recipes based on pumpkin, chestnuts, wild game, rabbit, and wild boar meatballs. For Christmas, the traditional Seven Fishes with eel, shrimp, and squids.

    MIDTOWN EAST

    Osteria Laguna

    209 East 42nd Street 
    ☎ (212) 557-0001
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$

    Sail with an imaginary gondola and stop by Osteria Laguna here in NYC to take in all the marvelous enchantment of Venice’s famed La Serenissima with its spicy and chic flare. Serving traditional Venetian cuisine with a melting pot of other regional Italian influences, the Osteria is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays or to feel comfy during the wintertime with its family-style holiday menus crafted to make you feel exactly as you would at home surrounded by your dearest relatives and friends or by your special Valentine. The Christmas menu is varied; you can start with a soft white polenta with fresh porcini mushrooms and winter black truffles, continue with a lobster carnaroli risotto with fresh fava beans and oven roasted grape tomatoes. The main course offers you an “Orata al Forno,” imported sea bream, cooked in a brick oven, tossed with almond crust, fingerling potatoes, organic baby zucchini, and grape tomatoes in a lemon caper sauce. “La famosa torta Herry’s,” Venetian vanilla meringue cake, is an exquisite delicacy to end the night on a sweet note. Kick off the New Year with lobster bisque, celery root and Vin Cotto soup, or Vialone Nano risotto (typical from Verona) with fresh porcini, winter black truffles, and Parmigiano cheese. Traditional Venetian Panettone with mascarpone cream and chocolate sauce will make the evening even more festive.  

    FlATIRON DISTRICT

    I Trulli

    122 East 27th Street 
    ☎ (212) 481-7372
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE sophisticated
    PRICE $$$

    What more can you ask for than a traditional Italian restaurant with a “mamma” who makes pasta with her hands? Maybe a refined all Italian winery from which you can select the perfect bottle to accompany your pasta with? No problem, you’ll both find them at I Trulli, the culinary New York landmark named after i trulli–the traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs. Inspired by the gastronomy of that Southern part of Italy, Nicola Marzovilla and his mother Dora moved from Apulia in 1970 and opened the restaurant in 1994. Rustic and family-style in a yet elegant atmosphere, the Apulian delicatessens are the signature dishes of the restaurant from the classic “Panelle,” chickpea fritters, goat cheese and caponata, to Dora’s Sunday meatballs. The pastas are mind-blowing; try “Orecchiette in rabbit ragù” or Dora’s classic lasagna. The wood-burning oven adds to the restaurant’s cozy atmosphere. Ideal dishes for wintertime are the wood-grilled whole fish and the “Coniglio alla Barese”–roasted rabbit of Bari, which has limited availability because it takes 60 minutes to cook.

    WEST VILLAGE

    Palma

    28 Cornelia Street 
    ☎ (212) 691-2223
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE romantic
    PRICE $$

    “This place chose us. It was like when destiny unfolds in front of you. We create a real connection with people. It’s more than just dining; we want to create memories. Our guests are like family; you feel that cozy feeling of when you are invited to a friend’s house for dinner.” The secret of this enchanting villetta is all in these words and in the heart of Palma, the Italian-American owner of the restaurant whose family has its origins in Apulia. Palma opened her restaurant with her French husband Pierre. Cupid lives in the romantic garden where you can dine surrounded by plants and flowers in a blossoming state of grace. It’s absolutely perfect for your Valentine’s day dinner this year. The carriage house is a rustic yet elegant space where you can have cooking class parties in the kitchen and dinner in the library for a special occasion. “Aperitivo di Palma” is another fun and vibrant space in addition to the restaurant, where you can taste a fresh and electrifying aperitif, Italian style. With a true ethnic kitchen, organic since its inception, the cuisine is mostly from the south of Italy and therefore, seafood based: fritto misto, linguine with mussels, focaccia, and special dishes like “Orecchiette alla Checca,” home-made orecchiette with heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil. For the winter holidays Palma’s garden transforms into a magical winter wonderland, where you can truly feel the spirit of Christmas. Also available are a Thanksgiving menu, the traditional Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve, and a New Year’s menu à la carte.

    Dante

    79/81 MacDougal Street
    ☎ (212) 982-5275
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE stylish
    PRICE $$

    Dante is an extremely fitting name considering the cafe’s artistic atmosphere. It was very popular in 1915 among the hip Bohemian crowd of the Village. The old “South Village” was once a primarily Italian neighborhood. Personalities like writers Ernest Hemingway and Anaïs Nin, photographer Robert Maplethorpe, and Patti Smith graced the place with their presence making it legendary. In 1971, the Flotta family bought the place, which became famous among celebrities, like Al Pacino, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bob Dylan. Though the restaurant was recently bought by a New York based Australian family, it didn’t lose its Italian footprint at all. The café represents a perfect fusion between traditional Italian flavors and the preferences of the American palate. Fanciful appetizers include soppressata with house pickles and savory crackers; and San Daniele with black figs, arugula, and balsamic dressing. Flavorful pastas are pappardelle with wild boar ragu, red wine, tomato, parmigiano; and orrecchiette with pesto, sweet corn, pickled garlic scapes, and ricotta salata. Solid second courses consist of roasted cod cioppino with spicy chorizo, manila clams, prawns; and roasted free range half chicken with lemon, thyme, garlic and roasted squash panzanella. Their aperitivo and “Negroni sessions” are unique with a variety of Negroni drinks—the traditional Italian cocktail first mixed in Florence by Count Camillo Negroni when he asked to add gin to his “Americano” rather than soda water.

    Piccolo Angolo

    621 Hudson Street
    ☎ (212) 229-9177
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE cozy
    PRICE $$

    A popular Italian proverb says: nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono (‘the small barrel preserves the best wine’ or ‘good things come in small pack-ages’), and that’s exactly the case of this lovely, cute Italian boutique in the Village, and not only for its refined wine selection! A best kept secret among an affectionate following, Piccolo Angolo established itself thanks to an enthusiastic word of mouth. Run by the Migliorini family since 1992, this little corner of Italy serves pure authentic Italian food and is specifically popular for its large portions. The star dish is unquestionably “Linguine con polpette”–linguine with meatballs. The meatballs are 100% beef and a classic family recipe. Lobster cannelloni stuffed with fresh lobster covered in vodka sauce and an on-the-bone veal parmigiana with fresh mozzarella always get rave reviews from the guests. And you always want to save room for the giant, chocolate-lined cannoli with tanger-ine-tinged ricotta. 

    Pizzetteria Brunetti

    626 Hudson Street
    ☎ (212) 255-5699
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$

    Pizzetteria Brunetti is an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria and restaurant with locations in both the West Village and Westhampton Beach, opened by Michael and Jason Brunetti along with Anthony Abenante. Brunetti is popular for its oven that was custom-built on-site, brick by brick, by the famous oven builder Stefano Ferrara. The history of the restaurant tells the story of a reunion. After 18 years apart, Michael Brunetti (aka Pop) and his son, chief pizzaiolo Jason Brunetti (aka Sonny), decided to go into business together. They created their proprietary dough recipe for pizza, yielding a crisp, delicate outer crust, aromatic with a cornicione puff and a tender chewy inside. The cuisine offers a perfect balance between a classic pizzeria and a good Neapolitan restaurant with its signature dishes and recipes. The winter seasonal special menu features a “hen and boar,” burrata cream, hen of the woods mushroom, wild boar sausage, garlic, and arugula with a side of Calabrian pepper sauce and the “Mad apple” – eggplant, Mt Vesuvius tomatoes, imported scamorza, pecorino, and organic basil. The genius of Jason Brunetti also came out with the festive Thanksgiving pizza made of goat cheese, roasted spiced pumpkin, organic turkey sausage (turkey leg, duck confit skin, Grand Marnier, white wine, and a proprietary mixture of fresh herbs and spices that evokes the flavor of the turkey stuffing), fresh sage, and Brussels sprouts. The pizza is then finished with an housemade compost of cranberry, apple, and pearl onion. The special kids’ menu makes the pizzeria an even more funand cozy environment for families.

    THE BRONX

    Enzo's Restaurant

    1998 Williamsbridge Rd.
    ☎ (718) 409-3828
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$

    The Bronx is known for being one of the most typical Italian neighborhoods in all of New York, and it brings you back to the true spirit of a small Italian village where you know everybody and everybody’s family, from the baker to the butcher, the grocer, and of course the restaurants owners. Enzo created a family style atmosphere, “It’s not just good food… it’s good company,” is the restaurant’s slogan. It truly is a place to go to feel at home with the possibility of booking special private parties. Enzo’s offers fresh ingredients for a comprehensive menu that showcases all the nuances of Italian cuisine. For cold winter temperatures the simple but tasty Pasta e Fagioli, bean and tubettini soup, is an Italian must. Also available is a vast selection of typical pasta dishes and second courses, such as traditional parmigiana and the special “Veal alla Enzo”–sautéed veal scaloppini with cipollini onions, Italian sausage, and green beans.

    QUEENS

    SoleLuna

    40-01 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside
    ☎ (929) 296-3942
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE friendly
    PRICE $$

    From the foggy atmosphere of the decadent and hip winter in Milan to the sun-drenched Apulian summer gently aired by the sea breeze, Sole-Luna has a vibrant ambience enriched by different personalities and gastronomic suggestions. “We love people. We love food. We love our neighborhood,” states Valerio, the Milanese restaurateur that opened the place after years of work and friendship with Gina and Francesca, two other restaurateurs from Cisternino, a small village in Apulia. From “lunar” Milan you can taste chef Valerio’s special “Fagottini alla Valerio”–fresh pasta ravioli style filled with pear and cheese in a butter and rosemary sauce. Another strong pasta dish is “Gnocchi alla boscaiola”–potato dumpling with ham, mushrooms, and green peas in a creamy sauce. “Solar” Apulia presents you “le Pucce”–the typical homemade flatbread stuffed with different ingredients: “Puccia Tricolore,” tomato, mozzarella, and basil, or “Puccia Valtellina,” cured beef, arugula and cream cheese. Fresh fish and meat are available all day, along with the breakfast and brunch menus. On Monday from 5pm onward enjoy an oyster night!

    BROOKLYN/CLINTON HILL

    Locanda Vini e Olii

    129 Gates Avenue
    ☎ (718) 622-9202
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$$

    Catherine and Francois Louy have been soldiered in the food industry in New York for years; she was a manager at the famous Balthazar, and he was the GM of Cipriani before taking over the historical Clinton Hill apothecary that had been closed for 103 years. They restored and renovated the original wood interior, creating  and elegant and hip space that in 2001, thanks to Executive Chef Michele Baldacci, who crafted a typical and organic menu, became one of the city’s best places for original Tuscan food. Now run by Baldacci, sommelier Rocco Spagnardi, and General Manager Michael Schall, the locanda stays true to her Florentine flare. It is a place to go to escape the winter chill with a warm “Ribollita,” traditional Tuscan bread soup with kale, squash, cannellini beans and carrots, or Sage pappardelle al cinghiale,” wild boar braised with juniper berries and bay leaves. The Locanda is famous for its “Wine dinners” with a menu that focuses on seasonal Italian culinary traditions and a five-course meal designed by chef Baldacci to pair with five different wines from a specific producer or region. Definitely one of the best dinner plan for your Valentine’s day! The “Wine Dinner” menu for January 2017 is in the works.

    STATEN ISLAND

    The Stone House at Clove Lakes

    1150 Clove Road
    ☎ (718) 442-3600
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE elegant
    PRICE $$$

    A historical stone building on Staten Island emerged in the fairytale atmosphere of Clove Lakes, and it’s ready to embrace every kind of important occasion you want to celebrate this winter, from weddings to elegant and romantic Valentine’s Day dinners for two, or family-style brunches on Sunday. Chef/Owner Peter Brotos grew up in a primarily Italian neighborhood on SI, where he learned not only all the secrets of Italian gastronomy but also the Italian art of hospitality. Fantastic food brings people together, this simple but important lesson stayed with Peter, and that is how he approaches his luxury service at the restaurant. With an ever changing family-style menu, The Stone House is great for catering the holidays. A Christmas Eve/Christmas Day sit down dinner at a fixed price is available upon reservation. Special dishes include Seafood Fra Diavolo–linguine, shrimps, clams, mussels, lobster tail, spicy tomato broth, and basil oil–and the Lamb Shank–red wine braised with whipped potato and roasted root vegetables.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Peppe Voltarelli: cantastorie dei nostri tempi

    Dolce, amara, leggiadra, arrabbiata, speziata, malinconica, allegra, a tratti disperata, sagace, ironica, istrionica; queste solo alcune delle sfumature che invadono l’udito e lo spirito quando si ascolta una voce del sud, un canto ineluttabile, seducente come un’eco di sirena, ancora vivo e pieno di tutta l’incredibile storia del quale è intriso. La tradizione musicale folk del Sud d’Italia ha sempre raccontato con i suoi cantastorie ed i suoi interpreti tutto il sentimento, la passionalità ma anche quel senso di eterna rivalsa, di denuncia sociale, conditi molto spesso con irriverente ironia, della gente del nostro Mezzogiorno.

    Come nella migliore tradizione orale che affonda le sue radici nella mitica figura dell’aedo (il cantore professionista nell’Antica Grecia), gran parte del patrimonio musicale popolare del sud sarebbe andato perduto se non ci fossero stati dei cantautori contemporanei impegnati a riscoprirla, a riproporla e a renderla eterna con le loro registrazioni. Laddove non esistevano altri mezzi di comunicazione se non la parola scritta, parlata o cantata, i cantastorie di una volta erano gli antichi reporter della vita quotidiana di tutti i giorni come dei grandi cambiamenti della storia.

    Artisti come Edoardo Bennato, Carlo d’Angiò, Antonio Piccinino, Rosa Balistreri, Pietra Montecorvino o Teresa De Sio, hanno salvato questa tradizione e l’hanno consegnata ai posteri. 

    Un altro grande passaggio di testimone è stato quello tra Otello Profazio – cantastorie calabrese di genere folk che ha reinterpretato molte canzoni della tradizione meridionale e le poesie in siciliano di Ignazio Buttitta – e Peppe Voltarelli, uno degli ultimi grandi cantastorie italiani che ha raccolto l’eredità di Otello nel suo ultimo progetto, un disco/libro intitolato “Voltarelli canta Profazio”.

    Peppe Voltarelli è un cantante, cantautore ed attore calabrese celebre per aver fondato nel 1991 a Bologna la band folk-rock sperimentale “Il parto delle Nuvole Pesanti”. Dal 2005 ha iniziato la sua carriera solista che è stata costellata di importanti riconoscimenti come il “Premio Tenco” nel 2010 e fortunate tournée all’estero in particolare negli States, Canada e America Latina.

    Il suo concerto alla Casa Italiana presentato dal direttore Stefano Albertini e Jospeh Sciorra  - Director for Academic and Cultural Programs al John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College (City University of New York), è stato impreziosito da una performance multimediale delle artiste napoletane Anna e Rosaria Corcione che hanno anche curato i contenuti visivi del booklet dell'album. Anna Corcione era presente in sala.

    Prima del concerto abbiamo avuto l’occasione di catturare l’intervista che il cantautore ha rilasciato a Stefano Albertini, che sarà presto trasmessa in televisione nel nostro programma i-ItalyNY TV in onda ogni Domenica all’1pm sul canale NYC Life.

    Voltarelli ha parlato dell’importanza del nuovo progetto, un disco/libro pubblicato da Squilibri Editore e prodotto artisticamente da Carlo Muratori e dell’incontro fatalistico con Otello Profazio. L’istinto che ha spinto il cantante calabrese a riscoprire le origini musicali della sua etnia lo ha naturalmente avvicinato al suo conterraneo Profazio e a stabilire con lui una relazione umana oltre che artistica che li ha portati anche a condividere spesse volte il palco insieme come nell’occasione del Premio Tenco. Importante per il cantautore è anche proprio la dimensione del viaggio in musica, la necessità di lasciare la terra portando con sé tutte le storie ad essa ispirate per raccontarle e generosamente regalarle al pubblico.

    Come i grandi cantastorie della storia che si spostavano di città in città presentando le loro performances accompagnati da dei supporti visivi che permettevano di comprendere e contestualizzare meglio le storie narrate, così Voltarelli ha iniziato il suo viaggio accompagnato dalle suggestioni visive di Anna e Rosaria Corcione. Le opere, intitolate “Strappi e stratificazioni”, sono degli inventivi collages che intersecano immagini moderne di Voltarelli con copertine dei dischi di Profazio ed altri artisti della storia insieme a momenti storici e commenti pittorici.

    Proprio la metafora della stratificazione, dello scavare alla riscoperta delle radici e di tutti i livelli del passato messi in comunicazione con la modernità, ha amplificato lo sposalizio musicale tra passato e presente che Voltarelli ha officiato in questo suo incontro con Profazio. Anna e Rosaria si sono anche ispirate ad un altro grande artista calabrese, Mimmo Rotella, che iniziava i suoi dècollages proprio negli anni in cui Profazio si accingeva a rivisitare il repertorio popolare. Nel giustappore e fondere i volti dei due protagonisti, le artiste hanno dato corpo e sostanza ad un ricongiungimento che ha sottolineato le affinità quanto le distanze tra i due cantori di un sud eternizzato in una immobilità metafisica come in quadro di de Chirico.

    I fortunati spettatori della Casa Italiana hanno avuto l’occasione di assistere a questo spettacolo di musica ed immagini incorniciato dalla teatralità, dallo spirito e dall’ironia di Voltarelli. Il cantautore ha cantato alcune delle canzoni più di Profazio tra cui “Qua si campa d’aria”, titolo anche dell’album con cui il cantante ha venduto più di un milione di copie, un record assoluto, ad oggi Profazio è infatti l’unico cantante di genere folk ad aver ottenuto questo risultato.

    Voltarelli si è anche avventurato nella canzone tradizionale siciliana, con le poesie in musica del poeta Ignazio Buttitta, oltre che interpretare alcuni dei pezzi del suo repertorio.

    Nostalgie, note di vita vissuta, denuncia sociale e una dolceamara ironia che raccontano di un mondo antico che si avverte sorprendentemente vicino ai nostri tempi moderni. “Qua si campa d’aria”, con la sua scanzonata sagacia, suona quanto mai contemporanea, fotografando una situazione di crisi dell’economia italiana come la difficoltà degli immigrati italiani di ricostruirsi una vita oltreoceano.

    L’anima musicale da migrante del sud di Voltarelli abbraccia il pubblico italo-americano in una sentita corrispondenza di sensi. Come il cantautore aveva infatti dichiarato in occasione di un altro suo progetto, “Il viaggio, i padri, l’appartenenza”:

    “C’è dentro la mia esperienza di emigrato e quella di tutti gli altri. C’è il distacco e la riscoperta delle proprie radici viste da lontano, e c’è l’accettazione di quel patrimonio che è nostro, che ci portiamo dentro, che ci piaccia o no. Sta a noi poi trarre il meglio da questo bagaglio e farlo diventare un nostro punto di forza, un elemento identificativo”.

    Importante per Voltarelli proprio il confronto e l’identificazione con questo pubblico, che è il suo pubblico. Lo ha dimostrato il calore che gli spettatori gli hanno restituito alla Casa Italiana, tra commozione, risate e fragorosi applausi.

    Il viaggio di “Voltarelli canta Profazio” è appena cominciato, il cantautore è già partito per un tour negli States e nell'America Latina che si concluderà a Gennaio.

    Per seguire il cantautore nei suoi prossimi concerti si possono trovare tutte le date e le informazioni sul suo sito: www.peppevoltarelli.net

  • Armando Varricchio con i giornalisti della stampa italiana
    Fatti e Storie

    L'Ambasciatore Varricchio ai giornalisti: "Noi facciamo in realtà un mestiere molto simile!"

    Un brindisi al 2017 e un augurio carico di buoni propositi per il nuovo anno. Nella sala principale del Consolato, il Console Generale Francesco Genuardi ha ospitato l'incontro dell'Ambasciatore d'Italia a Washington, Armando Varricchio, con i giornalisti italiani residenti a New York.

    Questo in tempi di transizioni importanti, che impongono una riflessione sui futuri rapporti diplomatici tra gli Stati Uniti e lo storico alleato italiano. Nel salutare i giornalsti l'ambasciatore si è concentrato proprio sulla necessità di riflettere, di interrogarsi a fondo sulla natura dei cambiamenti in corso.

    “Questo 2017 avrà un calendario importante qui in America, in Europa e nel nostro Paese. Noi facciamo in realtà un mestiere molto simile - ha detto Varricchio rivolgendosi ai giornalisti in sala -  nel senso che siamo tutti impegnati a crcare di comprendere i fenomeni che accadono attorno a noi. Abbiamo vissuto transizioni, cambiamenti che vanno oltre la normale routine. Si aprono nuove prospettive. C’è qualcosa di molto profondo che sta avvenendo qui in America, lo vedo ovunque vado. Soprattutto fuori dalla bolla di Washington”.

    Ha esordito così l’Ambasciatore d’Italia, riferendosi prima di tutto alla presidenza di Trump, anche nel rapporto con l'Italia, storicamente improntato ad una salda amicizia. “Non vedo alcun motivo per cui la nuova amministrazione non mantenga questo rapporto privilegiato con l’Italia. Bisogna però costruire tutti insieme una nuova agenda per il 2017, bisogna dimostrare quanto queste relazioni siano importanti, bisogna aprirsi ad una fase nuova. È importante seguire da vicino tutte le tessere di quella che sarà la nuova immagine dell’America e anche cercare di comprendere come il nuovo governo italiano sarà in grado di impostare un dialogo di ampio respiro diplomatico con gli States. Ci sono già dei segnali ncoraggianti”.

    L’Ambasciatore, a New York solo per poche ore anche per attendere alla presentazione dell’Investor Day dell' ENI (durante la quale l' Amministratore delegato Claudio Descalzi ha illustrato l'evoluzione, i risultati e le prospettive della strategia di trasformazione avviata nel 2014), ha raccontato anche la sua recente visita in Italia. “Sono stato in Italia la settimana scorsa, a Milano e a Roma, ho avuto incontri con il mondo degli affari. Ho riscontrato un enorme interesse nei confronti di quello che sta avvenendo in America. Credo che si sia un po’ assorbito lo shock iniziale di questo inatteso esito elettorale, adesso si tratta di capire dove si va. C’e’ una grande disponibilità intellettuale a capire."

    Dal canto suo anche Washington si sta riprendendo. Ha vissuto qualche settimana di sbandamento. Il mondo va avanti, grandi riallineamenti, spostamenti. Ed ecco una nota ottimista legata anche al modus vivendi italiano: 

    “Noi abbiamo un vantaggio: una storia antica, non ci sorprendiamo di niente, siamo meno rigidi su certe prese di posizione e capiamo poi alla fine come si ricompongono le tessere. Chiudiamo un anno molto positivo per il rapporto tra Italia e Stati Uniti se guardiamo a tutto quello che è stato fatto, dati economici impressionanti, rapporti politico diplomatici, collaborazione sul piano internazionale, iniziative concrete, l’ambiente ed il cambiamento climatico. Il ruolo che abbiamo avuto anche noi nella Conferenza di Parigi, credo che possiamo essere soddisfatti.”

    L’Ambasciatore si augura di vedere i giornalisti a Washington anche per supportare le istituzioni nel lavoro di studio di quello che sta avvenendo, per capire che umori ci saranno. 

    “Se posso dare una pista di riflessione, almeno  di quello che faremo noi come Ambasciata, vi dico che questo Congresso è molto diverso da quello che si è chiuso. Aldilà della turnazione, il partito repubblicano è molto diverso da quello che è uscito, si ritrova infatti a pretendere di aver vinto, ma non si può dire che sia il partito che ha vinto. Ha vinto Trump che ha portato un mondo nuovo. Insomma il Congresso deve trovare nuovi equilibri. C’è poi  un partito democratico - che aldilà della sofferta conferma di Nancy Pelosi come leader -  deve ritrovare un punto di equilibrio e capacità di esprimersi con il paese.”

    Ci sono dunque temi importanti e non non si sa cosa accadrà, tra questi la politica energetica, la politica ambientale, si parla di una forte politica di spesa pubblica che dovrà andare a toccare quella quota, quel terzo che non sono spese obbligatorie. 

    “Quando si costruisce una nuova amministrazione c’è tutto il mondo del think tank di Washington che fa un grande lavoro di autoanalisi. Si stanno facendo nuove riflessioni. Ecco perché vedo un 2017 di grande interesse intellettuale, noi ci saremo. L’Italia è un punto di riferimento.”

    Ultima annotazione, molto importante per l’Ambasciatore. “Non è una banalità dire che nel giro ristretto di Trump ci sono tantissimi Italo-Americani, come Lou BarlettaTom Marino". Un costante punto di riferimento per alimentare quel dialogo che nonostante le trasformazioni della storia non ha mai smesso di legare a doppio filo l’Italia con gli Stati Uniti d’America.

  • Armando Varricchio with the Italian Journalists
    Facts & Stories

    Ambassador Varricchio Speaks to Italian Journalists: Our Professions are Actually Very Similar!

    A toast to 2017 with best wishes for the new year. In the main hall of the Italian Consulate, Consul General Francesco Genuardi hosted the meeting between the Italian Ambassador in Washington, Armando Varricchio, and Italian correspondents in New York.

    This comes during a time of important transition. 2016 was full of significant sociopolitical events that prompted a fresh look at the future of diplomatic relations between the US and one of its historic allies—Italy. Upon greeting the journalists, the Ambassador focused on the need to understand the nature of the changes that are in progress.

    “2017 will feature a very significant calendar of events here in America, as well as in our country and in Europe in general,” Varricchio stated. “Our professions are actually very similar in the sense that we are all moved by intellectual curiosity,” he affirmed to the journalists in the room. “We need to understand the social and political phenomena around us. We are winessing transitions and changes that are outside the norm, and they result in new perspectives. Something very profound is happening here in America. I see it everywhere I go, primarily outside the bubble of Washington.”

    Varricchio began by commenting on Trump’s presidency. He remains confident in the stability of the relationship between Italy and America: “I don’t see any reason that the new administration would not maintain this special relationship with Italy.” We need to create a new agenda for 2017 together. We need to show how important this relationship is. We must be open to a new phase,” stated the Ambassador. "It’s important not only to closely follow all facets of America’s new image, but also to understand how the new Italian administration will be ready to shape productive exchanges and establish fresh diplomatic ties with the United States. There are already some encouraging signs.”

    The Ambassador was in New York only for a few hours for both this event and for ENI’s Investor Day where the Managing Director, Claudio Descalzi, presented the perspectives, evolution, and results of ENI’s transformation plan that began in 2014. Mr. Varricchio also spoke about his recent visit to Italy: “I was in Milan and Rome last week, and I had several business meetings. I saw enormous interest in what’s happening in America. I believe some of the initial shock of this unexpected election outcome has dissipated. Now we need to see what’s going to happen. There’s a great intellectual curiosity to understand all this."

    Washington is also recollecting itself after several weeks of confusion. Here’s an optimist perspective, which is also linked to Italy:

    “We Italians have an advantage: a long history. We’re not surprised by anything. We’re less rigid on certain stances, and we understand how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. This year has been very positive for the relationship between the United States and Italy. Look at everything that was done: striking economic data, political and diplomatic relationships, collaboration at the international level, concrete initiatives, the environment, climate change, the role that we had in the Paris Conference; we should be pleased.”

    The Ambassador hopes to engage the journalists in support of the institutions that are studying and trying to understand the evolution of current affairs in Washington.

    “If I may share my thoughts,” Varricchio bids, “at least regarding what we at the Embassy can do, I will tell you that this Congress is very different than the previous one. Aside from the presidential shift, the Republican Party is also very different from the one that is leaving. They have to pretend that they won, but you can’t say that it’s the party that won. It’s Trump that won, and he’s bringing a whole new world with him. Hence, Congress needs to find a new equilibrium.”

    It is hard to predict what will happen, but the situation is extremely interesting and stimulating. “When a new administration is formed, the entire Washington think tank begins a great self-analysis. This is why I see 2017 as a year of great intellectual appeal. Italy is a point of reference; we will be there.”

    A final note that is very important to the Ambassador: “We must remember that in Trump’s narrow path, there are many Italian Americans.” This is crucial in fostering the dialogue between Italy and the United States.

  • Gourmet

    Al Vicoletto: un delizioso e sorprendente angolo d'Italia

    IN ENGLISH

    Un perfetto equilibrio tra un’atmosfera raccolta, come può essere quella del vicoletto italiano dove trovi il tuo bar di fiducia o la bottega fornita dei prodotti più genuini, ed un vibe da ristorante elegante, stylish, che si sta armonizzando con i tempi di oggi. Una realtà poliedrica ed in continuo mutamento, Al Vicoletto è un market di prodotti di altissima qualità, un ristorante che offre breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, aperitivi ed uno spazio interattivo che propone eventi di live music, degustazione di vini e catering importanti. La proposta culinaria del ristorante, già di fine qualità, è stata resa ancora più varia, sfiziosa ed accattivante grazie al nuovissimo chef che è entrato nella rosa dei grandi talenti che sono stati artefici del successo che questo piccolo ma grande angolo d’Italia sta riscuotendo.

    Un Nuovo Talentuoso Chef

    Al Vicoletto si è di recente arricchito di una forte personalità, quella dello chef pugliese Alessandro Pendinelli, sbarcato nella Grande Mela solo tre anni fa ma con una carriera già ricca e lunga di soddisfazioni.

    Già sous-chef al prestigioso ristorante “UVA” nell’Upper East Side e dopo l’esperienza in un altro importante ristorante, “Per Lei”, lo chef di Molfetta è entrato a far parte dell’ AICNY (associazione italiana chef di New York), ed è ora approdato ad Al Vicoletto, portando tutti i ricchi sapori della tradizione pugliese riproposti con estro ed originalità.

    Un Menù Rinnovato

    Pezzi forti del nuovo menù proposto da Alessandro sono piatti come le ‘Orecchiette broccoli, cime di rapa ed acciughe', le ‘Bavette con scampi, arancia e succo d’arancia, granchio reale’, i ‘Calamari alla griglia con finocchio fritto’ e la ‘Purea di favetta con seppie grigliate e quinoa rosso’. I prodotti sono di primissima qualità, il pesce e la carne sono sempre freschissimi e di mercato.

    L’aperitivo dalle 4 alle 8 è diventato un piccolo cult, finalmente un vero aperitivo all’italiana in città con piatti di qualità e dei buonissimi spritz. Non solo effervescenti cocktails, Al Vicoletto è famoso per la sua carta dei vini di rarità italiane che sono difficili da trovare da altre parti a New York.

    Grandi Sorprese

    Grande l’entusiasmo dello staff nel presentare tutti gli eventi e le iniziative che il ristorante ha di recente attivato per sorprendere la propria clientela nei prossimi mesi.

    Il brunch di domenica per esempio va incontro ad uno dei momenti conviviali più importanti e frequentati dei newyorchesi.

    La cantante Valentina Marino, la "musical gipsy di New York", propone dei particolari music brunch della domenica dove lascia spesso la scena anche ai suoi studenti, i nuovi talenti del jazz.

    Il venerdì offre invece una situazione verticale con una accoppiata di cibo e vino a prezzo fisso dove è possibile degustare il vino, al calice o in bottiglia, più adatto al piatto che lo accompagna.

    Sulla scia delle degustazioni di vini ecco arrivare anche, due volte al mese, dei sommelier italiani, selezionati tra i migliori in città che terranno delle lezioni sulle caratteristiche specifiche del proprio vino che offriranno a prezzo speciale.

    Carinissima iniziativa invece per le feste: il ristorante venderà sotto Natale il tradizionale panettone artigianale di produzione italiana.

    Rimanete sempre aggiornati su tutti gli eventi del ristorante sul sito: www.alvicolettonyc.com

  • Dining in & out

    A Cozy, Charming Italian Corner Full of Surprises

    IN ITALIANO

    A perfect balance between a refined atmosphere—as you would expect from an Italian vicoletto where you find your favorite bar and bottega—and an elegant, stylish restaurant vibe that harmonizes with the modern era. This multifaceted reality is constantly changing, it’s no longer just a market of extremely high quality products or a place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Brunch, cocktails, live music, sampling courses, catering, and now a brand-new chef and a renovated meu combined to make dining at 'Al Vicoletto' an even more diverse, fanciful, and charming experience.

    A New Talented Chef

    'Al Vicoletto' recently gained a new great artisan in Pugliese chef Alessandro Pendinelli who moved to the Big Apple three years ago with an already well-established culinary career.

    He was previously a sous-chef at UVA, a prestigious restaurant on the Upper East Side, and after that, he worked at another important N.Y.C. restaurant, Per Lei. Then the chef from Molfetta entered into AICNY (Associazione Italiana Chef di New York), and now he arrived at 'Al Vicoletto', bringing all of the rich flavors of the Pugliese tradition with some new flair and originality.

    A New Menu

    Some highlights of the new menu proposed by Alessandro are dishes like “Orecchiette broccoli, cime di rape ed acciughe” (orecchiette with broccoli, turnip greens, and anchovies), “Bavette con scampi, arancia e succo d’arancia, granchio reale” (Bavette with scampi, oranges and orange juice and crabs), “Calamari alla griglia con finocchio fritto” (grilled calamari with fried fennel) and “Purea di favetta con seppie grigliate e quinoa rosso” (mashed favetta, grilled cuttlefish, and red quinoa). The ingredients are of exceptionally high quality, the fish and the meat are always extremely fresh from the market.

    The evening aperitivo from 4 to 8 have developed a bit of a cult following. Italian style cocktails, delicious spritzers, and high quality dishes are finally available here in the city. In addition to its cocktails, 'Al Vicoletto' is also famous for its rare Italian wines that are difficult to find elsewhere in New York.

    Great Surprises

    The all staff is excited to present all of the events and the initiatives that the restaurant has recently created to surprise its clientele in the coming months. Sunday brunch, for example, is becoming extremely popular.

    The singer Valentina Marino, the "musical gypsy of New York", will conduct the music brunch on sundays where she will also leave the stage to her students, the next generation of jazz musicians.

    Fridays offer the possibility of finding the perfect pairing of food and wine at a fixed price; wine can be had either by the glass or by the bottle. Two times a month, some of the best Italian sommeliers in the city will offer lessons on the characteristics of their own wines, and they will offer the wines for sale at a special price.

    A cute initiative for the holiday season; the restaurant will sell the traditional artisanal Italian panettone.

    Check out all the upcoming events at: www.alvicolettonyc.com

     

     

     

  • Furla's Flagship Store on Fifth Avenue
    Art & Culture

    Furla: 90 Years, 3 Generations

    “Made in Italy”is a somewhat overly abused term that doesn’t necessarily rhyme with authenticity. But there’s no better way to address Furla, the Italian artisanal haute couture maison founded in 1927 by the Furlanetto family in Bologna, which specializes in luxury yet accessibly-priced handbags and accessories. A true ambassador of “Made in Italy,” the Furla brand embodies all the Italian fashion principles of quality, durability, and design. It offers captivating beauty, original craftsmanship, and the constant search of new technology in simple shapes, saturated colors, and rich textures that embrace la dolce vita of the Furla man and woman. In 2015, Furla finally landed in the U.S. and settled in NYC on Fifth Avenue.

    The new CEO of the Americas, Scott Link, is the ring leader of this umpteenth Furla crossing. With 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and a true passion for retail, Link has worked with the biggest names in the business, such as Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, French Connection, and C. Wonder. He is now ready to officiate the new marriage between Furla and the U.S. We sat down with him to better understand how and if the Furla brand changed throughout the years and what its new approach with the American clientele will be. We set out to determine the firm’s future goals and marketing strategies in the region and how Furla Fifth Avenue is more than just a regular boutique.

    Be 90 — and not feeling it!

    “In 2017, Furla will celebrate its 90th anniversary. It’s amazing how this brand managed to stay relevant and contemporary in the fashion world with the simplicity of quality handbags and accessories, whose bright joyful colors still speak to the modern girl just as they did in 1927. While it evolved, the brand has always been faithful to its tradition. This is apparent in New York through our variety of clients. We speak to three international generations of women: grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. The brand is transverse and that makes it very competitive, few other brands have that”.

    What Scott Link talks about on a retail level is exactly what Furla’s artistic director, Fabio Fusi, had in mind while thinking about the idea of the Furla woman, who didn’t change but rather evolved with the modern times. She is still a busy, intelligent working girl, curious, refined, and fascinated by art but also outgoing, fun, and glamorous – a party girl. That’s why her accessories have to be functional, durable, and easy to wear but also trendy and beautiful for her fun times. 

    The traditional “Metropolis Furla bag” found a new backdrop to accompany its style: the exuberant, fast-paced day of the New York man and woman. For the new opening, Furla designers launched the “Fifth Avenue” limited edition collection of bags, small leather goods, and accessories, mixing Furla classical lines with New York City’s signature iconic elements – abstract skylines, graffiti letters, and cartoon apples. Tradition and modernity is a bond that runs through the brand’s DNA. 

    A sensorial experience

    Furla Fifth Avenue reflects the vivid exuberance of the stylish brand with its bright colors coated in LED screens, minimal lines, and pastel tones that embrace the items effectively and make them shine – a pure pleasure for the eye. You are infused with a vigorous, electrifying vibe when you step into the boutique. The vivacious energy of the retail team is infectious, young, and dynamic; their kindness is only comparable with the precision and the attention for detail with which the accessories are exposed and presented to the client. Scott Link’s vision and philosophy is behind this, “We wanted to create a nice, inclusive energy within the team, who are really passionate about what they’re doing. I approach retail like I would approach hospitality for a hotel or a restaurant. It’s about making the experience amazing for you. Everything from the interior design to the music, the smell, the warmth of the retail team is intended to give you a sensorial sensation, something you will remember. With the boom of online shopping we still think the old fashioned way of stepping into a boutique to shop is one of the key elements to deliver the brand’s style identity.”

    Mario Testino’s touch

    Again in the name of the bond between tradition and modernity, Furla felt the need to revitalize its commercial image, presenting to the world the authenticity of its Italian roots. Iconic photographer Mario Testino, was asked to immortalize the brand with his ingenuity. The new campaign, starring models Ine Neefs and Aurélien Muller, portrays a young, upbeat couple in the fresh outdoor scenery of the picturesque Mediterranean Sea, one of the most characteristic Italian setting. “Having Mario Testino for the new campaign was very important for the brand’s evolution”, says Link. “The brand felt the need to represent itself in a contemporary, joyful Italian setting with a European feeling.” This also helped to re- launch the brand in countries where it was less recognizable, like the U.S. It was very important to immediately identify Furla with Italy and a colorful, young and fun feeling.

    Future plans

    With a renovated image, a brand new boutique on Fifth Avenue, a dynamic team, and a new upcoming collection, this new marriage between Furla and U.S. started with a bang and this is just the honeymoon. Scott Link sounds absolutely thrilled about it, “The balance of this new start is going great so far. It is amazing to see how the market is growing every month. I’ve been talking with real estate companies and our future goal is to open shops in San Francisco, L.A., Houston, and Chicago. And we also have a collection for men now; we had accessories and bags before, but this is the first time that you can really call it a collection.” 

  • The playbill of “La Grande Abbuffata” (The Grande Bouffe) an Italian-French production directed by Marco Ferreri (1973). Four longtime friends gather in a villa for the week- end with the express purpose of eating themselves to death. Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Piccoli, and Philippe Noiret
    Dining in & out

    Dining Out Special. Italian Meat Dishes in Town

    Many of the typical meat-based recipes you can savor today were born in the taverns and squares of Italy’s many cities and they mirror the diverse regional identities that shaped the country’s modern food map. Armed with bow and arrow, we’ve been haunting the jungles of the New York City restaurant scene to capture the best Italian meat dishes on offer, to make you taste all the richness of that eclectic gastronomy tradition. We ventured to the West Village and Lower Manhattan to discover the homemade grilled Sicilian meatballs and the Roman classic “Saltimbocca.” We scurried up to Midtown and all the way to the Upper East side to nd the “Milanese Veal Chop” or the “Ossobuco.”

    We hopped up to the Bronx to savor some typical Campania-style meat dishes, crossed bridges to get to Queens where we found authentic Abruzzo meat recipes, and reached all the way down to Brooklyn to catch a “Maialino da Latte.” Last but not least, we sailed on a boat to Staten Island and a er a long crossing we crashed at the Sicilian tavern of Capizzi, where we were treated with the secret recipe of “Pollo Nonna Lucia.”

    Here is the story of our journey among some of the best kept culinary secrets we discovered. 

     

    Upper East Side​

    Sette Mezzo
    969 Lexington Avenue
    ☎ (212) 472-0400
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE  sophisticated
    PRICE  $$$

    In the middle (mezzo), between 70 and 71 streets in the Park Ave Olympus, stands this legendary restaurant named like the Italian hazard card game “sette e mezzo”. And hazardous indeed was the journey of Gennaro Vertucci, when in the late 80s he moved from the southern region of Cilento, Salerno, to New York and opened one of the first authentic Italian restaurants in the city, Piccolo Vico. Legitimate heir of Piccolo Vico is “Sette Mezzo” which found two other excep- tional fathers to break through New York dining scene: Oriente Manià and Nino Esposito.

    Coming from the North of Italy, Friuli area, Manià met Vannucci again in the middle between the north and south Italian culinary tradition, and the clash of these opposites is the secret of the restaurant perfect and balanced fusion vibe.A luxury caterer for its rich and famous clientele, noto- riously Oprah Winfrey is a restaurant fan and the one who started the word of mouth between her celebrity friends, “Sette Mezzo” cuisine follows the rules of Mediterranean cooking – fresh home made prepared ingredients, never overcooked, natural flavours, herbs, olive oil, no fussy sauces – spicing it up with some stronger tastes coming from the North.The chef buys the meat on a daily basis to cook it right away and never stores it, that’s why the restaurant has a weekly routine of rotating dishes.

    On Thursday you can find “Ossobuco”, the sliced veal chunck, on Friday the mouth watering baby lamb chops, so tender you barely feel like you are eating meat. Deer cooked the Friulano style with polenta and chestnuts is a clients favourites in winter time, along with the Milanese boned veal, the most requested dish in the menu, coated with pressed breadsticks that make the breading extremely crunchy; served with salad and tomatoes. “Sette mezzo” canteen also offers a selection of rare and precious wines from Friuli.

     

    Paola’s
    1295 Madison Avenue
    ☎ (212) 794-1890
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE elegant
    PRICE $$$

    If you step by Paola’s on Wednesday night you might have the chance to bump into Mr. Robert De Niro himself, a regular and affectionate client of the restaurant. And just this per se, tells a lot of how executive chef Paola Bottero and her son Stefano built a name for themselves in the ultra competitive world of NYC dining. Daughter of Alessandro Bottero, a violin virtuoso playing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, Paola left Rome at age 16 to follow her father, then worked as a translator for the Italian Trade Com-mision, and didn’t know at the time that destiny had other plans for her future. Her brothers worked in the food industry and opened the historical 65 Irving Place, providing the family a template for culinary achievement.

    Paola’s started helping them, and she saw how the restaurant was becoming successful and glamorous, scoring regular fans like Andy Warhol and Paul Newman. She continued on this new path by then going to work for the well known Roman family “The Lattanzis”, who at the time had the only 3 stars Italian restaurant in New York as awarded by Mimi Sheraton. The synergy between her worldly cultured background and her training in the world of top class dining is the reason for Paola’s glorious success between Upper East side ritz and glam community. The new chef Matteo Calciati and sommelier Romolo Algeni offer a menu of the most authentic “Cucina Italiana”, a various regional selection of wines and dishes with an emphasis on Roman cuisine. All organic wild Amish meat from Pensylvania, Paola’s meat dishes specialties include the “Milanese Veal Chop”, a pounded chop crusted with bread crumbs and smothered with arugula and tomatoes; the “Short Ribs” marinated in red wine with vegetables; the “Pollo alla cacciatora”, hunter style chicken with onions, tomatoes and wine and the “Scaloppine al marsala”, escalopes in Marsala wine.  Sommelier Romolo Algeni suggests a Chianti di Antinori red wine or a Barolo or a Brunello to go with the meat dishes. All biodynamic wines you can all have just by the glass. 

     

    Midtown West

    Etcetera Etcetera
    352 W 44th Street
    ☎ (212) 399-4141
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE sophisticated 
    PRICE $$$

    Elegance, warmth, style and refined service are some of the adjectives that flow through your mind as soon as you step into “Etcetera Etcetera”. De- spite its beautiful interior, it is when you finally taste the food that you understand why Etcetera has become through the years one of the Broadway scene’s favourite spots for dining. This enchanting combination of good food and lovely atmoshpere is all due to the owner of the restaurant, Daniele Kucera, who brought to New York his worldly, intercontinental taste. Growing up in Trieste and Fiume on the Italian-Croatian border, Daniele had the chance to experience the stimulating melting pot of that unique corner of Italy. His passion for cooking started there during those childhood days where his favourite past time was to sit in the kitchen, listening to Beethoven and watch the women of his family work their magic in front of the old wood-burning stove. In 1992 he arrived in New York, invited by the legendary guru and ambassador of Italian food Tony May, founder of the “San Domenico” and president of GRI – Gruppo Ristoratori Italiani. After years of diligence in the food industry he finally opened Etcetera Etcetera, his own personal vision of a contemporary Italian restaurant, traditional and sophisticated at the same time, like its mouth-watering menu, truly Italian but with a cosmopolitan flare to it. For this fall Daniele recommends the “Guinea stuffed with speck and chestnuts in a sauce of pomegranate grains” to savoir with a good Cannonau Sardo red wine or a Barbera or Barolo. Another peculiar meat dish of the season is the “Lamb Shank with broccoli rabe, polenta and a reduction in red wine” to pair with a good Malbec Mendoza red wine. 

     

    West Village

    Lupa Osteria Romana
    170 Thompson Street
    ☎ (212) 982-5089
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$$

    Opened in 1999, a partnership be- tween Mario Batali, Joe BastianichMark Ladner and Jason Denton, this casual restaurant specialized in Ro- man trattoria fare is as rustic, friendly and yet intimate and romantic as an authentic Roman tavern should be. Highest quality products selected to maintain the visceral true flavour of Roman cuisine, cooked with not too much fuss, tasteful but simple. Chef Robert Zwirz presents his menu as guided by a Roman driving force with a spin on modernization but always in the spirit of tradition. Their selection of meats it’s particularly various and exciting. Starting with their appetizer “Lupa Made” - cured meats and cold cuts which includes tongue, fennel and black pepper cooked pork shoulder and pig head cheese. As for their second courses the menu is rich with Roman standards like “Saltimbocca” – veal, prosciutto and sage; “Coda alla vaccinara” – braised oxtail with tomato, pinenuts and golden raisins and the sinfully delicious “Pollo alla diavola” – devil style spicy and hot deboned half chicken super crispy, fully cooked into a mix of peppers infused in an oil with an intense spicy flavur, served with seasonal vegetables. Not just meats of course, Lupa is big on Roman pasta dishes, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Cacio e pepe. With the special fixed price menu “Roman Tasting” one can experience all of the Roman’s delicacies accompanied by sumptuous Roman wines.

     

    Via Carota
    51 Grove Street
    ☎ (212) 255-1962
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$$

    Under the Tuscan sun, in a 17th century country house in via Carota, Rita Sodi was born, a little girl with two big dreams in life: becoming a fashion designer and opening a restaurant. Drive and determination led her to accomplish both goals, moving her steps from via Carota to the fashion streets of the world and ending her journey in Christopher Street, New York, in the heart of the West Village where she first opened “I Sodi”, a lowkey, utterly traditional and perfectly executed Tuscan food restaurant. On another of her faithful travels, this time to Rome, Rita met Jody Williams, the Californian chef of the popular and critically acclaimed “Buvette”, a French bistrot also in the West Village. They clicked and become instant partners shar- ing the same vision and passion for cooking. From that fellowship came the idea to open Via Carota, an Italian gastroteca inspired in the culinary selection and in the rustic decor by Rita’s country house. The meat menu offers some tasty and flavourful dish like the “Coniglio Fritto” – fried rabbit with rosemary and garlic, cooked the way that Rita’s mother did, or the “Uccelli scappati” (escaped birds), with groves and pancetta. 

     

    East Village

    Via Della Pace
    48 East 7th Street
    ☎(212) 253-5803
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE friendly
    PRICE $$ 

    Infectious, friendly and hip is the atmosphere that embraces you when you step in “Via della Pace” and you are welcomed by owner Giovanni Bartocci who exudes that kind of Roman goliardery that immediately puts you at ease. If you are waiting for a table he will likely offer you a nice aperitif, bruschette, and a good glass of wine and chew the fat with you. And if you are a true Roman you would recognize the same vibe you would feel wander- ing the center of the eternal city where via della Pace lays just a few minutes walk from Piazza Navona, and you stop by the landmark spot “Bar della pace” for dinner or more casual drinks. This trendy East Village Italian joint has become through the years a neighborhood favorite pick offering the best traditional Roman recipes at very af- fordable prizes in a warm boutique environment, perfect venue for any occasion. This Fall you can savour homely Roman meat dishes like “Straccetti di vitella alla Cicerone” – sautéed veal stripes with arugula, cherry tomato and shaved parmigiano; and more hip ones like “Bistecca al tartufo” – grilled rib eye stek with truffle oil served with mashed potatoes. 

     

    Lower Manhattan

    Piccola Cucina Osteria Siciliana
    196 Spring Street
    ☎(646) 478-7488
    CUISINE typical 
    AMBIENCE friendly 
    PRICE  $$

    The successful story of “Piccola Cucina” is, without a doubt, the story of executive chef Philip Guardione, a true Sicilian raised in the shadow of Mount Etna, who as a child used to help his grandmother prepare food for the holidays. The traditional, ancient secret recipes of true Sicilian cooking were passed down from those experienced hands to the ones of the young talented Philip; the same ones that today enchant the palate of the world with their wizardry in cooking. Recently opened in New York, this boutique doll-house size restaurant has already gained press attention and important catering engagements such as for the prestigious Consulate General of Italy. Philip promises to amaze its customers once again this Fall with an unique selection of signature Mediterranean meat dishes reinterpreted with a modern creative twist. The “Polpette della Nonna con Caponata Siciliana – home- made grilled meatballs with Siclian caponata”, is a classic and something you will hardly find anywhere else in the city. Bread, sundried tomatoes, anchovies, capers, pecorino cheese from Ragusa, lemon peel and wild fennel; a big explosion of flavours in a tiny tasty meatball. Another seasonal special is the “Wild Fennel Pork Shank” paired with “Caponatina from Palermo”, a characteristic caponata made with fried eggplants. If you feel like having a more casual night out or a quick bite and a drink you don’t want to miss “Piccola Cucina Wine Bar” on 184 Prince Street, where you can taste exquisite Sicilian wines and delightful tapas like the famous “Arancini”, fried rice balls with a ragu and mozzarella center 

     

    The Bronx

    San Gennaro
    2329 Arthur Avenue
    ☎ (718) 562-0129
    CUISINE typical 
    AMBIENCE rustic 
    PRICE $$

    If you hop on train for a quick trip to the Bronx you will save hundreds of dollars on air-fare to fly to a small cute village in Italy, because that’s exactly the atmosphere you will drink in. Specifically the Arthur’s Avenue area is as Italian as you could possibly wish with the folkloristic Arthur’s Avenue Mar- ket where you can find fresh authentic Italian foods and products, simply the best in the city. To enrich the Italian character of the Bronx here it comes “San Gennaro”, another Arthur’s avenue Italian flagship jewel. Chef Gennaro Martinelli from Capua, Caserta in the Campania region, brought to the Bronx the tradition of his family res- taurant along with his international experience. Graduated in Paris from the “French Culinary Institute” he started his carrier as Sous Chef at “Vesuvio” restaurant at the Champs- Èlysées and after that he opened restaurants all over the world as well as being engaged as Chef for the Italian Embassy in Africa, Brazil, Thailand and many other countries. He then finally arrived in New York and settled down in the Bronx offering his cooking expertise in line with the Arthur’s Avenue typical Italian restaurants but expressing his own creativity as well with many daily specials and it’s particularly evident from the traditional but inventive meat dishes he proposes. “San Gennaro” is the most distinctive one, a pan-seared chicken breast with prosciutto, spinach, fresh mozzarella in a light brown sauce. “Pollo alla francese” mix the Italian taste with the chef experience with French cooking – lightly floured chicken in a butter and white wine, lemon sauce. But with “Pollo allo Scarpariello” we go back to Campania – chicken in a white lemon sauce with rosemary and sweet sausage, vinegar and pepper.

     

    Queens

    Trattoria L’incontro
    21-76 31street
    ☎(718) 721-3532
    CUISINE traditional
    AMBIENCE friendly
    PRICE $$

    They say that behind a great man there’s always a great woman, and that’s definitely the case of chef Rocco Sacramone who learnt from his mother Tina all the secrets of Abruzzese cooking, ancestral recipes that could only survive by word of mouth from one generation to another. From 1999 that special wealth of knowledge came to light in New York thank to the opening of Trattoria L’incontro, a place where you can feel like you are guests at the Sacramones in Abruzzo. A local artist was asked to paint the walls of the restaurant with murals resembling images of Rocco and Tina hometown in Abruzzo and the interior design of the tavern recreates that ambience of a family style dining gathering. Tradition and modernity coexist in the menu selection which highlights how the chef of “La trattoria” mastered the rare ability to maintain a dish traditional adding a trendier flare which never overshadows the integrity of the recipe and the purest aromas using only the freshest and organic ingredients. As for the restaurant meat dishes, chef Rocco went haunting to offer his guests the most refined and exquisite meats. “Pollo Quattro funghi” is a best seller – chicken in a four mushrooms sauce: porcini, oyster, Portobello and Button mushrooms. The surprising “Filetto di Manzo” it’s another unique delicacy, a filet mignon topped with demiglaze, champagne and gorgonzola sauce. “Carre d’agnello” is another special dish – rack of lamb seasoned with homemade spices. 

     

    Brooklyn - Williasmburg

    Antica Pesa
    115 Berry Street
    ☎ (347) 763-2635
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$$

    Located in the very heart of Rome, between the intricate maze of streets of Trastevere neighborhood, Antica Pesa is a place where you can magically go back in time to the 17th century when villagers in Vatican City used scales (pesa) to portion food brought in from local farmers to give to the less fortunate. In 1992 the Panella family opened this restaurant naming it “Antica Pesa” (The Old Scales), to pay an homage to that honorable tradition. The true and rustic Roman cuisine based on seasonal and mostly organic product, which is the restaurant tradi- tional trend, can now be savoured in the hip Williamsburg neighbourhood where the Panella family decided to give a New York home to their historical spot. The young and talented executive chef Patrizia Volanti shares with Antica Pesa the same commitment to preserving the authenticity of the old recipes, adapting them to the territory with a creative nod to modern trends. The menu is seasonal, it changes every three months according to the freshness of the ingredients, some provided by local small farmers and some imported directly from Italy like parmigiano reggiano, pecorino Romano Fulvi or prosciutto di Parma. For this Fall Patrizia thought of an unique meat dish that graces the Antica Pesa menu along with the Roman classics: “Il Maialino da Latte”, D’Artagnan milkfed porchetta with roasted yellow peaches in rosemary oil, baked cherry tomatoes, grilled fennel, toasted spicy almonds and Dijon mustard sauce. 

     

    Staten Island

    Capizzi
    4126 Hylan Blvd 113 Berry Street
    ☎ (718) 569-3180
    CUISINE typical
    AMBIENCE rustic
    PRICE $$

    There is no place like home except Grandma’s” and there is no possible better food like the one that you can taste when you are invited to an everlasting holiday lunch in a Sicilian home with grandma cooking up a storm for you. This is the atmosphere you will feel at Capizzi, this lovely and cozy restaurant opened by Joe Calcagno to honour the memory of her grandmother and named after the city in Sicily where she immigrated from. Everything from the recipes to the furniture in the restaurant belonged to Joe’s grandma, with the black and white TV, the vinyl record player from the 60s and the credenza by the coffee spot. With an emphasis on pizzas, cooked in the old fashion wood burning, Capizzi’s menu is as simply rustic as simply exquisite, with home-made fresh pasta and a selection of the most typical Italian fish and meat dishes. The “Pollo di Nonna Lucia”, chicken with sweet cherry peppers and potatoes in a white wine sauce, is Capizzi’s most signature and popular dish. Another unmissable delight is the “Pollo al Martini”, panko parmigiano crusted chicken breast served with cream martini sauce and sea- sonal vegetables. 

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