Articles by: I. I.

  • A stained glass image of Mother Cabrini.
    Facts & Stories

    A Commission to Oversee Creation of New Mother Cabrini Statue

    "Mother Cabrini was a great New Yorker and a great Italian-American immigrant who did untold good for the people of this state, and there is no doubt she is deserving of a statue in her honor," Governor Cuomo said. "With the help of this new commission, we are going to get this done to help ensure Mother Cabrini's legacy of service to her community and those who are less fortunate is remembered for generations to come."

    The commission will provide recommendations to the Governor pertaining to the design, location and installation of the new memorial. The State's requests for proposals will seek ideas for the overall design and the statue's exact location. The commission will initiate broad outreach to the art community as soon as possible, including contacting art institutions and organizations as well as direct artist outreach. Once the design proposals are reviewed by the commission, the commission will select the finalists and present those to Governor Cuomo, who will make the final selection.

    Angelo Vivolo, President, Columbus Heritage Coalition, said, "Mother Cabrini's selfless work changed the lives of children, immigrants and countless others. Governor Cuomo's support will help us memorialize her generous legacy, and I am eager to work with the Governor and the rest of the commission to bring together a statue that will honor a true public servant."

    The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, said, "I am grateful for Governor Andrew Cuomo's steadfast commitment to seeing Mother Cabrini honored with s statue recognizing her life's work here in New York City. I accept the responsibility the Governor has charged me with to lead this commission. I look forward to creating a lasting tribute to the Patron Saint of Immigrants so that her legacy will live on forever."

    Mother Cabrini was an Italian-American who founded many organizations to help the needy. She was the youngest of 13 children, born in Lombardy in 1850, and before migrating to the United States, she took vows and founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, an order that served and schooled orphans.

    Mother Cabrini arrived to the United States in 1889 on a mission to help Italian migrants. While in New York, she taught at St. Joachim's parish, the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii, and the Transfiguration Catholic Church - all in Manhattan - as well as St. Rita of Cascia in The Bronx and the Church of St. Stephen in Brooklyn. Over the course of 35 years, Mother Cabrini founded dozens of institutions that would serve the less fortunate, including educational organizations and programs to support other fellow Italian-Americans who arrived as immigrants. Among those were the Columbus Hospital, which was eventually renamed the Cabrini Medical Center and was housed in Manhattan for many years before closing in 2008.

    Mother Cabrini was originally buried in West Park and is now interred at the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in Manhattan, which she founded. In 1946, nearly 30 years after her death, Mother Cabrini became the first naturalized U.S. citizen to be canonized. She is recognized as the patron saint of immigrants. Several academic institutions, religious buildings and hospitals across New York are named after her.


    The commission comprised of 19 members appointed by the Governor includes:

    - Maria Bartiromo, Journalist 
    - Frank Bisignano, CEO and Chairman, First Data
    - Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito
    - Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn
    - Bishop Orlando Findlayter
    - Philip Foglia, Italian American Legal Defense and Higher Education Fund
    - Mario Gabelli, CEO, Gabelli Asset Management and Member of the Board of Directors, American-Italian Cancer Foundation and the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture
    - John Leo Heyer II, Diocese of Brooklyn Italian Apostolate
    - Maureen Sherry Klinsky, Author
    - Gary LaBarbera, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
    - Joe Plumeri, Former Chairman, CEO of Willis Group Holdings
    - Erminia Rivera, Member, Maimonides Medical Center Board of Trustees
    - Joseph Sciame, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations; Vice President for Community Relations, St. John's University
    - Carlo Scissura, Chairman of the Federation of Italian-American Organizations and President & CEO of the New York Building Congress
    - Mary Ann Tighe, Chief Executive Officer of the New York Tri-State Region of CBRE
    - Veronica Tsang, Executive Vice President and Chief Retail Administrator, Cathay Bank
    - George Tsunis, Chair, Battery Park City Authority
    - John Viola, former President, National Italian American Foundation
     - Angelo Vivolo, President, Columbus Heritage Coalition

  • Facts & Stories

    Help Restore The Historic Casa Belvedere

    Located on Grymes Hill in Staten Island, Casa Belvedere was built in 1908 by Louis A. Stirn and Laura Roebling-Stirn and was then known as Stirn Mansion. The building, with its Italianate-style, neo-Renaissance exterior, and its arts & crafts style interior, is of great historical significance. It is a New York City Landmark and is listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.

    In 2010, the mansion was donated to the Italian Cultural Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Italian art and culture. Since then, Casa Belvedere has worked to foster the general public’s knowledge and appreciation of Italian language, arts, cuisine, history, music, fashion, and commerce through educational programs, exhibitions and special events. 

    Among the activities it offers are language and cooking classes, musical performances, a film festival, art exhibitions, fashion shows, car shows, lectures, book presentations, gardening classes, and bocce lessons just to name a few. 

    The foundation’s mission also includes the preservation of Casa Belvedere itself, where all the activities are held. The building suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and has been undergoing vast reparations. The upper level rooms however, are still in need of restoration. 

    For this reason, the foundation is asking for people’s vote in the 2019 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign to help them win a grant that will allow for the repairs and enable them to turn those rooms into additional galleries. 

    Partners in Preservation is an initiative created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express to engage the public in preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. The main street campaign, which runs from September 24th to October 29th, invites the public to vote once a day for up to five Main Street projects to determine which sites will receive $2 million in preservation funding.

  • Art & Culture

    Italian is the 4th Most Studied Language

    A study by Ethnologue, a research center dedicated to language, revealed that Italian is amongst the most studied languages in the world, coming in fourth place after English, Spanish and Mandarin, and right before French. During the 2016-2017 academic year, it counted 2.145.093 students across 115 countries. 

    Within the European Union, however, the most studied language is by far English, which is part of the program for 97,3% of secondary school students, followed by French (33,8%), then German (23,1%), Spanish (13,6%), Russian (2,7%) and finally Italian (1,1%)

    The numbers are also different within Italy, where, after English, the most studied foreign languages are French (72,3%), Spanish (18,8%) and German (8,7%). Although in many schools, the study of Spanish is rapidly increasing on its way to surpassing French. Interest in studying Mandarin and Arabic is also on the rise, particularly in private schools and universities. 

    As for the most spoken languages, a rather difficult rating to establish since there is no single way to determine how many people speak a language at a certain time, English is of course number one overall spoken language, (by 190 million people, that is 17% of the global population) followed by Mandarin, which in turn is the most common mothertongue (908,7 million)

    Italy comes in 21st place with over 67 million speakers. It is however more diffused as a mothertongue, counting native speakers in 26 different countries as a consequence of widespread Italian emigration. 

    Overall, it’s quite remarkable that a language such as Italian, which is associated with a restricted geographical area (it is an official language in Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Switzerland and some areas of Slovenia and Croatia), has such wide-reaching and seemingly growing draw. It certainly speaks to the general appeal of Italian culture worldwide, to the strength and potential of Italian soft power.  


  • Facts & Stories

    Columbus Day Parade's 2019. Honorees and Grand Marshal

    President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, Marian Pardo, said of the announcement: "Our 2019 Honorees and Award Winners are stellar models of Italians and Italian Americans in New York City – all have made a tremendous impact in their respective industries, and on the causes for which they are so passionate."

    The Bruno family purchased their first restaurant in New York, 'Sistina,' shortly after arriving from Salerno, Italy in 1976. Following the extraordinary success of 'Sistina,' Cosimo, Gerardo, and Giuseppe Bruno used the opportunity to expand: opening San Petro in 1991, Caravaggio in 2008, and Le Sirene in Larchmont in 2015.

    Gerardo Bruno said for himself and his brothers: "We thank the Columbus Citizens Foundation for this honor. Our parents, Gaetano and Artemisia, passed down their values of hard work and Italian excellence, and we run our restaurants like the Italian home we grew up in - with great food and a warm, inviting atmosphere."

    Giovanni Colavita grew up in southern Italy's Molise region, surrounded by the olive mill that has been in his family for centuries. Today, Giovanni Colavita is the CEO & President of Colavita USA. Under Giovanni's leadership, Colavita has expanded its line to include iconic Italian brands such as Perugina, San Benedetto and Rio Mare. Highlighting the success of ranking at number one in olive oil and balsamic vinegar on e-commerce platforms, Colavita has also entered the meal kit sector with its exclusive partnership with Hello Fresh, a leader in the meal kit industry.

    Colavita commented on the honor: "To be recognized for providing the American public with quality Italian products is a huge thrill – and I cannot wait to walk up Fifth Avenue on Columbus Day with my family."

    Rosanna Scotto has been named the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year by the Columbus Citizens Foundation. Scotto is known for her journalism and philanthropy. With a career spanning four decades, Scotto broke several major stories in the Tri-State area, and around the world. Today, she is a 3-time Emmy award anchor and co-host of 'Good Day New York.'  Scotto is associated with multiple charities, including: Herrick Martin Institute; Heartshare Human Services and Futures in Education.

    "I am so moved to be honored in this way by the Columbus Citizens Foundation," said Ms. Scotto, "And I'm proud to be a part of the great work they do in helping the next generation of the Italian-American community."


    The annual Columbus Day Parade, organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation, is the world's largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture in the United States, and 2019 marks its 75th Anniversary.

    The Columbus Day Parade was first started when New York City businessman and Italian immigrant Generoso Pope led a parade from East Harlem to Columbus Circle and has since become an ongoing celebration of the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans to the United States.

    In addition to planning the Columbus Day Parade, the Columbus Citizens Foundation currently provides over 700 scholarships at elementary, high school and college levels to Italian-American students who have academic ability but lack financial means.

    The Columbus Day Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday, October 14 and will air live locally on WABC-7 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. For more information on the parade, please visit



    The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement.  The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade. F

  • Art & Culture

    Jazz Italiano: Neapolitan Folk Jazz kicks off JCTC’s Voices: International Theater Festival

    Jazz Italiano is the New Jersey debut for IDR_Italian Doc Remix, whose music might more accurately be called Italian Folk Jazz. IDR_Italian Doc Remix  reworks the Neapolitan folk tradition, music that has been passed down from generation to generation and played at local festivals, rituals and familial gatherings. IDR, an ensemble of Italian-born musicians alongside some of the best players on the contemporary NYC live music scene, reimagines this centuries-old tradition using the improvisational structures and free-from creativity of modern Jazz. 


    IDR_Italian Doc Remix is proud to present its repertoire in Jersey City, whose multicultural environment - with a strong Italian presence - can potentially be the perfect audience for our music,” said Marco Cappelli, IDR guitarist and founder. “We hope to get a lot of people coming to our concert and would like to meet all of them.”


    IDR_Italian Doc Remix was formed in 2008 by Cappelli and Jim Pugliese, drums wizard and IDR co-leader, a veteran of the New York avant-garde music scene, who has played with the likes of Philip Glass and John Zorn.  Cappelli, who was born in Naples and now makes his home in Brooklynn, is known as sideman, soloist and band leader and has played in an array of venues, ranging from The Stone and the Blue Note Jazz Club to the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, His extensive touring career has spanned Europe, Asia and North America and has included some of the most prestigious international jazz and contemporary music festivals. He has composed scores for film, theater and dance, working with such renowned musicians, as  Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp and Adam Rudolph  as well as with film director Leonardo Di Costanzo and choreographer Young Soon Kim and his White Wave Dance Company. Cappelli also completed an artist residency at The Stone, the prestigious experimental and avant-garde music program directed by John Zorn.


    IDR vocals at Jazz Italiano will be handled by Francesco Pellegrino, a child singing sensation in his native Campania and alumni of Milan’s illustrious Teatro alla Scala. Now based in Toronto, Pellegrino is also famous for his critically acclaimed trio, Vesuvius Ensemble, dedicated to the preservation and celebration of authentic Neapolitan and southern Italian music. 

    The IDR Jazz Italiano Line up also features Doug Wieselman/Clarinet; Ken Filiano/ Double Bass / Jim Pugliese/Drums. 

    “JCTC is proud to begin Voices: International Theater Festival with Jazz Italiano and the wonderful music of IDR_Italian Doc Remix,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “We can learn about other cultures through art, and the more we know about other cultures, the better we can understand our own. Voices not only exposes audiences to music, theater and dance from other cultures, but encourages the exchange of ideas by inspiring conversations.” 

    Jazz Italiano kicks off Voices: International Theater Festival, JCTC’s new series presenting exclusive performances from around the world. Upcoming shows include Watch Now (9/26)  a dance performance from Slovakia; The Truth (9/27), a theater production from Poland, and La Caja, a multimedia, physical theater production by Los Escultores del Aire, an internationally touring theater company based in Spain. All Voices performances will be held at Merseles Studios.



     JAZZ ITALIANO/August 22

    Jazz Italiano IDR (Italian Doc Remix), an internationally renowned Italian Jazz ensemble.  Building on a base of powerful Southern Italian folk music, Jazz Italiano is a sonic journey of Neapolitan folk music, improvisations and jazz played by an all-star  band. An unforgettable, cross-cultural experience. 

    Thursday/August  22

    Doors: 7:30/ Show: 8:00

     Tickets: $20

    ($15/ Student and Senior Discount – must show valid ID)

    To purchase tickets visit:


    Jersey City Theater Center
    Merseles Studios
    339 Newark Avenue
    Jersey City, NJ 07302
    (201) 795-5386




  • Fatti e Storie

    Finazzer Flory, Leonardo e l'NBA

    Il regista e attore Massimiliano Finazzer Flory che con il film “Being Leonardo da Vinci” ha appena vinto - dopo tantissimi altri riconoscimenti -  anche il  Best Inspirational Film: Award of Excellence - Vegas Movie Awards Gold 2019.

    E’ passato meno di un anno da quando alcune scene del film sono state proposte al pubblico delll’auditorium della Morgan Library & Museum di New York. L’anteprima aveva annunciato il successo con il tutto esaurito alla Morgan Library di New York. Ormai il nostro Rinascimento fa parte di un’idea di bellezza comune, anche a Manhattan, grazie a Finazzer Flory.

    La notizia è ora che il film verrà proiettato e distribuito negli Stati Uniti tra New York e la West Coast a cominciare dal 14 ottobre > Albuquerque; 15 ottobre > Santa Fe; 17 ottobre > Las Vegas; 18 ottobre > Los Angeles, UCLA; 20 ottobre > Orange County e tra il 16 e il 20 novembre tornerà a New York all’Italian Movie Award Festival International.

    Ma il poliedrico Finazzer Flory è a New York anche per preparare, con la sua direzione artistica - in collaborazione con la prestigiosa NBA - la grande mostra sul basket americano che si terrà nel Veneto dal 6 settembre al 6 ottobre, per volontà del Sindaco del Comune di Treviso, Mario Conte, Lavinia Colonna Preti, la Camera di Commercio e la Fondazione Marca.

    “Overtime” è il titolo della sua digital exhibition che tra proiezioni, short movie, libri, cimeli, trofei che apre anche l’archivio dell’NBA che si trova a Secaucus in New Jersey a tutti gli appassionati italiani.

    Da non perdere, sempre all’interno di 'Overtime', l’omaggio che Finazzer Flory dedica  a Spike Lee e a Woody Allen con una selezione di immagini e brani dei loro film. Grazie a Finazzer Flory in luce  anche la grande passione che unisce i cineasti e basket.

    Duqnue,  in America, Treviso è ancora di casa. Non solo per il prosecco che corre a fiumi, ma anche per l’arte legata allo spor tra due oceani.





  • Facts & Stories

    The Future of Climate, Development and Social Justice at St. John’s in Rome

    On June 8, 2019, St John’s University’s Rome campus hosted a symposium on climate, development and social justice, moderated by Dr. Jeffrey Fagen, Dean and Professor of Psychology at the school’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the occasion of the graduation of their students studying Global Development and Social Justice.


    The topics covered included re-engineering developed countries to address climate change, discussed by Mechanical Engineer Cristina Parenti of Infratel Italia, who talked about how newer urban construction as well as existing and particularly historical buildings could be re-engineered to address growing climate concerns. 


    Dr. Christopher Vogt, Professor of Theology at St. John’s University, spoke on Ecological Conversion and Social Justice, calling for a re-imaging and re-conceptualizing of ourselves and our relationship with the creation. 


    Afterwards, Dr. Luca Rosi of Istituto Superiore di Sanità, tackled Development and Challenges in a Globalized Healthy World, challenging the audience to re-think some of the indexes used to assess global health, stating “Almost half of the global population live with less than 2 dollars per day; 876 million adults are illiterate, two thirds of which are women, and 20% of the global population have 90% of the wealth. Is this a Healthy World?”


    Dr. Pamela Fabiano, of the Vatican’s Dicastery of Integral Human Development, approached the issue of Development and Structural Challenges, explaining that the Dicastery does not offer any “formulas” for solutions, but acts as a promoter of dialogue between and among various specialized agencies, institutions and academic disciplines to bring about well-being. 


    Discussing Political Discourse in Globalized Economy and Challenges for Environmental and Labor Protection, Prof. Ottorino Cappelli of Link Campus University examined how the rhetoric and the vocabulary of labor and environment movements are shaping current perceptions of social justice.


    Finally, Professor Pierluigi Malvasi and Laura Ferrari of Università Cattolica of Sacro Cuore, Brescia, discussed Laudato Si’s connection to climate change and education, arguing that it should be required text for academic instruction.


  • Facts & Stories

    More Beloved Italian Products Coming to The US Courtesy of Colavita

    Walking into Gallow Green feels like a breath of fresh air, this beautiful garden provides a much-needed break from the aggressive New York summer heat: the perfect location for the Colavita party, an occasion for the Italian food company to introduce the new lines of products it will be adding to its US selection.


    Founded in 1939 and operating in the United States since 1978, Colavita is already a point of reference for Italians and Italian food lovers living in the US. On this occasion, the company announced that it will be adding to its selection a series of new brands: the beloved cookie giant Mulino Bianco, Rio Mare tuna, another Italian favorite, and Beebad, a premium Italian energy drink.


    “It’s a big challenge that we want to take on to become leaders in Italian food investments,” comments Giovanni Colavita, CEO of Colavita USA.


    Serenading guests on their way in is the lovely voice of the young Lidia Colavita, Giovanni’s daughter, showing how the company, despite being amongst the most important distributors of Italian food products in the country, still remains a family company.


    And, in fact, the atmosphere at the party is a familiar one. Surrounded by delicious Italian treats, representatives of Colavita’s partners and collaborators old and new mingle merrily.


    “Colavita has a double asset,” remarked the Consul General of Italy Francesco Genuardi, “on one side they are a healthy and very strong Italian company, and on the other side they are a point of reference as importers of many important Italian brands.”


    Each of these brands express feeling a special affinity between their own philosophy and that of Colavita. Nunzio Castaldo, the President of Panebianco, a historic boutique wine importing and distribution firm purchased by Colavita last Spring, commented that the company is an “excellent partner for us in terms of quality, tradition, family, heritage and great perspectives for the future.”


    Marco Auriti, the Country Manager of Nestle who represents the Perugina line of products, including the famous line of Baci chocolates, in the US and Canada expressed himself along the same lines. As did Michela Berta, Export Manager of Fida, a brand dating back to 1926, known for its historic candies, like Rossana, a universal staple in every Italian grandparent’s home.  


    Teresa Di Biase, co-owner of Molisana Imports, (with brands such as Venchi Chocolate, Rovagnati, La Molisana Pasta) which has had a relationship with Colavita for over 30 years also describes them as the ideal partner. So does Claudia Sidoti, Head Chef of the meal kit delivery service Hellofresh who comments: “We love the ingredients from Colavita and so do our customers.”


    John Profaci Jr, the Vice President of Marketing of Colavita US, whose family entered in a tight partnership with Colavita decades ago, since “Giovanni was on a tricycle” and he himself had just started at the company explained how they are adapting to the changing market: “We keep growing and relearning. We’ve internalized all our marketing in-house so we have control and we can handle all the brands that we have to become that total Italian porter.”


    The representatives of the new brands that will from now on be distributed here by Colavita showed optimism and excitement for the newborn collaboration. These included Denise Willi, North American Sales Director of BeeBad, a new Italian energy drink made with honey and other premium ingredients, and Marco Beghini, Export Business Development Manager at Barilla, who commented: “We chose Colavita because we think it is the right partner to grow Mulino Bianco’s business in the US. There is the right fit between their italianity and the know-how, that is important for our company.”


    As Italian Trade Commissioner and Director of ICE North America, Maurizio Forte, underlined, Italian export in food and wine has increased by 21% over the past 5 years, Italy is now 5th in this country. And “the majority of this this business is based on small companies, very much located in their territories.” Thus the importance of the work of companies like Colavita who bring these businesses abroad and help promote their products on the US market.


    In expanding its selection of quality Italian food products to include a variety of products from longtime favorites to emerging brands, Colavita is securing its place on the US market as an indispensable source for both Italians and Americans.    



  • Facts & Stories

    Ciro Casella: "The Golden Lion to The South, Like a Hug From The North"

    The symbol of Venice, the Serenissima Republic, is a suggestive winged lion, which has inspired countless artists, writers, historians, events, and awards. 


    Amongst them, the Golden Lion, an award dating back to 1932 - though it’s only in 1954 that it adopted its current name - intended to promote the harmonious expression of all artforms, in the context of Venice’s Gran Premio Internazionale. 


    In 2007, the Venice Gran Premio Internazionale Committee was instituted and the Golden Lion became a career recognition in the editorial, entrepreneurial, musical, dance, sports, communication, production, and artistic fields. 


    The award also recognizes the Italian companies that have distinguished themselves abroad. It’s in this context that the work of San Matteo’s Ciro Casella and his New York team is being celebrated.


    Ciro Casella is the owner of San Matteo pizzeria in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His story is emblematic of the New York restaurant scene: “It all started nine years ago, when the food company for which I was working in Salerno closed and I, along with the other employees, was laid off. That’s when I decided to leave for New York. Now I work and have employees.”


    “Here you have to work hard, but the American dream is still working,” Ciro Casella claims. Today San Matteo is a fundamental reference point for Neapolitan pizza, with particular emphasis on the culinary traditions of Salerno, his hometown. His ‘panuozzo’ is not to be missed. 


    “This is very gratifying for all of us at San Matteo NYC - Ciro Casella states with proverbial simplicity - thank you truly, it touches and motivates us to continue in our work. This award honors the sacrifices made by myself, my brother, my team at San Matteo, and my daughters.”


    This “special recognition for professional merits” was particularly important and symbolic, we would like to add, an example for all those facing difficult times. 


    The restaurants that bear his name are today a symbol of Italian gastronomy, particularly of the Southern Italian cuisine. Visited by various American figures, such as the Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio and director Spike Lee, they are living proof of the potential of the most simple and genuine form of Italian cuisine, still in need of further promotion throughout the world. 


    And Ciro knows this well. Awarded for his work as an entrepreneur from the South, he comments: “I see the Golden Lion being given to the South like a hug from the North.”


    And going to San Matteo really feels like entering the best of the South. There is poetry in his hospitality, which comes from a people that Ciro represents with extreme kindness and warmth.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Ciro Casella: "il Leone d'Oro al Sud, come un abbraccio dal Nord"

    Il simbolo di Venezia e della Repubblica Serenissima è un suggestivo leone alato che ha ispirato artisti, scrittori, storici, eventi, premi.

    Ed è cosiì anche per Il Leone d'Oro - rassegna con una storia che risale al 1932, ma che  solo nel 1954, prende questo nome -  con l’intento di promuovere la continua e armoniosa espressione di tutte le arti, nell’ambito del Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia.

    E' nel 2007 che viene istituito il Comitato del Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia  ed  il Leone d’Oro diventa un riconoscimento alla Carriera dedicato all’editoria, imprenditoria, musica, danza, sport, comunicazione, produttori, artisti nazionali ed internazionali.

    All'interno del premio vengono riconoscute anche le aziende d’Italia che si sono distinte nel mondo. E' in quest'ambito che è stato riconosciuto il lavoro di CIro Casella di San Matteo e del suo team a New York. 

    Ciro Casella è il proprietario della pizzerie San Matteo nell’Upper East Side di Manhattan. La sua è una storia emblematica, nel panorama della ristorazione newyorkese: “Tutto è cominciato nove anni fa, quando l’azienda alimentare per la quale lavoravo a Salerno è fallita e io, insieme agli altri dipendenti, sono finito in cassa integrazione.  Fu in quel momento che presi la decisione di partire per New York.  Ora lavoro e impiego dipendenti”. 

    "Qui si deve lavorare duro, ma il sogno americano funziona ancora" sostiene Ciro Casella.

    Oggi San Matteo è un punto di riferimento da non perdere per la pizza napoletana, con una particolare attenzione a quello che è il patrimonio culinario di Salerno, sua città di nascita. Il suo 'panuozzo' è da non perdere.

    "Una grande soddisfazione per tutti noi del San Matteo NYC - dice Ciro Casella con la sua proverbiale semplicità -  grazie di vero cuore, ci emoziona nel continuare il nostro lavoro. Il premio ha onorato i sacrifici miei di mio fratello, dei miei ragazzi del San Matteo e le mie figlie."

    Si è trattato di un il «riconoscimento speciale per meriti professionali» particolarmente importante e simbolico,  aggiungiamo noi,  e stimolo per tutti coloro che attraversano momenti di difficoltà. 

    I ristoranti con il suo marchio sono oggi  l’emblema del «made in Italy» gastronomico ed in particolare del Sud Italia.  Frequentati anche da diversi personaggi americani, come il sindaco di New York Bill de Blasio e al regista Spike Lee, sono la prova del potenziale, ancora da valorizzare bene nel mondo, della gastronimia italiana più semplice e genuina. 

    E Ciro Casella lo sa benissimo, premiato a Venezia per il suo lavoro di imprenditore dal Sud. "il Leone d'Oro al Sud, lo vedo come un abbraccio dal Nord" commenta con noi..

    E andare da lui vuol dire veramente entrare in un angolo del migliore Sud d'Italia. C'è della poesia nella sua accoglienza, quella di un popolo che Ciro sa rappresentare con estrema dolcezza e affabilità.