eNotizie - March 2011

Time to Register For the West Coast Gala!
California here we come! The National Italian American Foundation’s West Coast Gala is getting closer by the day. Now’s a good time to make plans and buy tickets.

You won’t want to miss out on the star-studded evening, May 19, 2011. It all takes place at the luxurious Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, just a five-minute walk to Santa Monica’s famous 3.2 mile-long beach. Film and TV star Joe Mantegna will be this year’s master of ceremonies. Actor and singer Franc D’Ambrosio, of “Phantom of the Opera” fame, will sing the U.S. and Italian national anthems and entertain.

This year’s honorees include Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda, California attorney and Trial Lawyer Hall of Famer Thomas V. Girardi, and sports marketing mastermind Sonny Vaccaro. The gala will also will pay tribute to legendary public affairs consultant and former NIAF vice chairman Joseph R. Cerrell.

Special guests will include Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine, Major League Baseball All-Star Mike Piazza, stage, TV and film star Brenda Vaccaro, TV and film star Lou Ferrigno, and Italian-born American actor Francesco Quinn, son of Anthony Quinn.

Reception starts at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $250, $500 and $1,000. For sponsorship and ticket information for this exciting and memorable evening, and to register online, visit Or contact Jerry Jones at 202/939-3102 or

Leader Board in Phoenix
What could be better than bringing your clubs and joining NIAF’s leadership and a great lineup of celebrity golfers for 18 holes at the Wigwam Golf Resort, a gorgeous, old-school course known in the Phoenix area as “The Jewel of the Desert.” Hosted by NIAF Chairman Jerry Colangelo, the “NIAF Chairman’s Golf Invitational” is March 12, 2011. Among the celebrity golfers will be MLB greats Sal Bando, Jay Bell, Joe Garagiola, Mark Grace, Todd Stottlemyre; NBA stars Tom Chambers, Al Bianchi, Bob Lanier and Wayne Embry; former NFL running back Ron Wolfley, Pizzeria Bianco owner Chris Bianco, and TV sports broadcasters Jude LaCava and Doug Mann. Tickets for twosomes and foursomes, and sponsorships, include 18 memorable holes of golf, followed by lunch and prizes on the patio. Registration is at 6:30 a.m., shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. RSVP by March 4, 2011.

Visit to register today! For more information or questions please contact Beatrice Santacroce at (202) 939-3120 or

Recognizing Italy’s 150th Anniversary
As March 17 approaches, look for the U.S. Congress to officially recognize Italy’s 150th Anniversary by passing a resolution that NIAF with the cooperation of the Italian American Congressional Delegation (IACD) of the 112th Congress developed and supported. Upon passage, the joint resolution will posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi and officially recognize the Republic of Italy on the 150th Anniversary of its unification.

NIAF encourages you to contact IACD members and thank them for their support of this resolution and the Italian American community. To view the list of IACD's members of Italian ancestry who are serving in the 112th Congress, visit

The Taste of Italy
NIAF Council members are invited to a wine reception at Da Mimmo Restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy, March 23, 2011. Besides the wine and good conversation, Da Mimmo’s executive chef will put on a cooking demonstration followed by a pasta tasting, and a brief performance by classical tenor Elio Scaccio.

Time is 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., $35 per person inclusive, at Da Mimmo Restaurant, 217 South High St., Baltimore, Md. RSVP to Beatrice Santacroce at

Speakers in the House
Under the auspices of the NIAF Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forums, NIAF Council members are invited to two upcoming events. On March 24, 2011, Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, will speak on “Injury as a Global Issue: Shock Trauma’s Experience and Impact,” at a NIAF Distinguished Speaker Series luncheon in Baltimore. The luncheon is free, noon – 1:30 p.m. Location: University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, Southern Management Corp. Campus Center, 621 West Lombard St., Room 208, Baltimore, Md. RSVP at or email Johnny Strada at

And, on April 21, 2011, at the NIAF Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forum Luncheon on Capitol Hill, John Castellani, CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) will address NIAF Council members at the Rayburn Gold Room, U.S. Congress, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Contact: Email Johnny Strada at

An Evening with Tony & Oscar
Here’s your chance to enjoy an evening with Bocelli Award-winning tenor, Roberto Iarussi, as he performs some of the greatest music ever written for Broadway and Hollywood. A riveting performer steeped in the Neapolitan tradition, Iarussi brings his show, “An Evening with Tony & Oscar,” in concert with soprano Alexandra Rafalo and the Theatre Orchestra of Florida, for one night only to the Coral Springs Center for the Arts at 8 p.m., Friday, March 11, 2011. Tickets are $42.40. For more information and to buy tickets, visit

Making Hope Fashionable
Don’t miss the U.S. debut of renowned Italian designer Renato Balestra, who will host a fashion show fundraiser featuring his latest breathtaking lines, from haute couture to accessories, in Los Angeles, April 14, 2011. The event will benefit City of Hope National Medical Center, the leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, in Duarte, Calif. The show takes place at the historic Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles, and will include a cocktail reception and post-show VIP dinner. Location: The Millennium Biltmore, 506 S Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit or contact Brenda Joseph, City of Hope, at

Big Easy Italia!
Join NIAF members and friends for a special wine and hors d’eouvres reception, served up with casual networking, at The American Italian Cultural Center in New Orleans, March 17, 2011. The reception, from 6 p.m.—8 p.m., is free. Location: The American Italian Cultural Center, 537 South Peters St., New Orleans, La. To RSVP, contact Beatrice Santacroce at or 202-939-3120.

Walk Like a Man . . .
Straight to the box office to get tickets to this fantastic Frankie Valli concert—or buy them online now. The legendary star of The Four Seasons is performing at Theatre at Westbury for one night only and, NIAF members can attend a special meet-and-greet reception with Frankie himself following the show. Mark your calendar for April 3, 2011, at 7 p.m. Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Road, New York, N.Y. Tickets: $250 priority seats, $150 standard seats. Contact: Rebecca Bartello at 202-939-3114 or email at

NIAF’s Italia 150 Essay Contest
With 2011 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, NIAF proudly announces its essay contest open to all high school students (grades 9-12). The 750-word essay topic: What does it mean to be Italian American in 2011? Why is your Italian heritage and culture important?

Prizes include $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place. Winners will also receive a free one-year membership to NIAF. The first place winner will be invited to attend a 2011 or 2012 NIAF Students to Leaders program of his or her choice free of cost and the first-place essay will be published in NIAF’s Ambassador magazine.

The deadline to submit an essay is April 30th. Winners will be announced on June 2, La Festa della Repubblica (Italy’s Republic Day). Click here for details on how to submit an essay.

Attenzione! NIAF’s Scholarship Deadline Soon Approaching
We’re down to the wire for students to apply for one of NIAF's scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. March 4th is the deadline. More than 100 NIAF scholarships are available, ranging from $2,000 to $15,000 each in the humanities, medicine, engineering, business, music, Italian language and culture, and other specialized fields.

Applicants must be of Italian descent, with at least one ancestor who has emigrated from Italy, or be a student of any ethnic background whose major or minor is the Italian language, Italian studies, Italian-American studies or a related field. NIAF scholarship recipients are selected on academic merit. Apply online for a 2011- 2012 NIAF scholarship at

Washington, D.C.’s Italian Connection
Italy comes to the nation’s capital this spring with the La Dolce DC festival, promoting DC's Italian influences from March 1-May 30 with museum exhibits, special events plus hotel and restaurant packages.

From the U.S. Capitol dome and frescos of Constantino Brumidi and the fine sculpting at the National Cathedral, Italy is embedded in the cultural fabric and grandeur of Washington, D.C. The festival coincides with the opening of the exhibition of Venetian painter Canaletto and his rival’s works at The National Gallery of Art and a exhibit of Philip Guston’s expressionist vision of Italy at The Phillips Collection. Watch for more info.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Get your tickets now for the Washington National Opera’s production of “Madama Butterfly,” Giacomo Puccini’s beloved opera of a brash American Naval officer and the temporary Japanese “wife” he abandons after World War II.

“Madama Butterfly” will play at the Opera House at The Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC, through March 19. Tickets cost $55-$300 and are available now through The Kennedy Center box office online at

Jovanotti at Bonnaroo
It’s confirmed! One of Italy’s most famous contemporary superstars, Italy’s No. 1 recording artist, Jovanotti, is making a rare appearance at the fabled, four-day, multi-staged Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. This marks the first time an Italian artist who sings in the Italian language is joining the line-up of a major U.S. rock festival! The date is June 9-12. For more information, see

Risorgimento Film Festival in Washington, DC
Check out the “Remembering Risorgimento” film series at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, this March. Featuring three classic Italian films that will transport you to those 19th-century times, the festival screens “Allonsanfan” on March 12th at 2:30 p.m., reliving the revolutionary heroics of protagonist Fulvio Imbriani (Marcello Mastroianni) in the post-Napoleonic period.

The festival’s centerpiece is a new and beautifully restored, 35mm print of Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film “Il Gattopardo” (“The Leopard”), starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, on March 13 at 4:30 p.m. And closing the festival is a rare viewing of Alessandro Blasetti’s 1933 landmark film “1860 (I Mille di Garibaldi),” the story of Garibaldi and Italy's liberation through the eyes of an ordinary Sicilian villager, March 19th at 4 p.m.

For additional information, please visit

Congratulations are in order to:
  • Frank Bellotti, famed Massachusetts attorney general, whom Boston College Law School recently honored by establishing the Francis X. Bellotti Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Program. A BC Law grad, Bellotti is founder and vice chairman of the Board of the Arbella Insurance Group. He made the program possible, in part, with a $3 million donation through the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation and associates.
  • And, Frank T. Valanzola, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney vice president of Wealth Management, in Short Hills, N.J., who recently was named a 2011 Five Star Wealth Manager.
Strings Attached...
Check out “Archtop Guitars: The Journey From Cremona To New York,” a new book written by Rudy Pensa, owner of Rudy’s Music in New York City, with photographs by Vincent Ricardel, is beautiful presentation of Italian Americans luthiers whose fine skills evolved from the legendary Italian craftsmen of the 16th century.

And from Feb. 9 through July 4, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York,” presents 80 of the hand-carved stringed instruments—particularly archtop guitars—created by New York master luthiers John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto, and John Monteleone.

For more information, click here.

Contemporary Italian Art
Showing through April 18, 2011 at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami is "Gran Torino: Italian Contemporary Art," an exhibition of contemporary Italian art by a select group of artists from the Italian city of Torino.

The exhibition includes pieces from the renowned Arte Povera movement, including such acclaimed artists as Mario Mertz, Alighiero Boetti, Giulio Paolini and Michelangelo Pistoletto, and illustrates new trends that have emerged from Torino’s artistic community.

For more information, visit or call 305-348-2890.

Alitalia Discount
What a deal! Alitalia invites NIAF members to save 10 percent on their next flight to Italy. Register to receive ALITALIA’S newsletters and receive a promo code valid for 10 perfect off of any economy class ticket purchased on The special promo-code is valid on tickets purchased by April 30, 2011, for travel through June 15, 2011. For more information and to receive the promo code, visit today!

Join NIAF for Your 2011 Trips to Italy and Greek Islands Cruise!
This is a journey through breathtaking landscapes, enchanting rustic towns and gastronomical delights that you’ll never forget. Your seven-night vacation traveling with NIAF and Unitours will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after resting by Italy's scenic lakesides. While visiting these picturesque lakes, you will also have the opportunity to spend a day in Milan, Italy's fashion capital and home to the majestic Duomo and Teatro della Scala Opera House. For details, visit and click “Travel,” or contact NIAF’s partner, Unitours, at 1-888-846-6423.

Take NIAF’s Southern Lights Tour
Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii on your must-see list? Now’s the time to sign up for NIAF and Perillo Italy Vacations’ 2011 Southern Lights Tour for nine days and seven nights exploring undiscovered parts of Italy as well as visiting your favorite popular sights, including visits to Naples, Amalfi, San Giovanni Rotundo and Gargano. For details, visit and click “Travel,” or call 1-800-Italy-25.

Greek Islands Cruise in 2011!
NIAF and Trek Tours Ltd. are pleased to present a 10 Night Greek Isles Cruise with date through the summer and early fall. This fascinating journey of the most beautiful coastlines and ports of the Mediterranean will include visits to Venice (Italy), Split (Croatia), Corfu (Greece), Athens (Greece) and Mykonos, Greece, and other picturesque and ancient locations while aboard the magnificent cruise ship Splendour of the Seas. Book now for reduced cabin rates for the August 26 cruise!

For details, visit and click “Travel,” or call Pam Salimeno at NIAF’s partner, Trek Tours, at 1-800-370-0357.

NIAF e-Newsletter compiled
and edited
by Don Oldenburg

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