Double the Culture

Bergamo & Brescia finally get their moment in the spotlight

by Silvana Long, Travel Editor

It’s safe to say we all remember the moment the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Where you were, who you were with, the sudden burst of thoughts and emotions that the declaration thrust upon you. Suddenly confined to an inordinate amount of time at home, in between the blur of Netflix bingeing and Zoom meetings, I remember watching the news, incredulous of how severely the Lombardy region was affected by the pandemic, in particular two cities relatively unknown outside of Italy: Bergamoand Brescia.

Those hard-hitting scenes of countless trucks transporting an unspeakable drove of the dead to crematoriums in nearby cities—personally, it is one of those indelible moments forever etched in my reservoir of pandemic memories.

Those two cities which were put on the international map during a tragedy have fortunately risen from the ashes after three years and are jointly celebrating their title as Italian Cultural Capital this year.

The Italian Government awarded the honour to two cities united in their desire to “Grow Together” for the first time since the initiative launched in 2014.

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Have Italian-Canadians Lost Faith?

by Sal Di Falco


Despite the accelerating secularization, catastrophism and digitized uncertainty of the current age, Roman Catholicism remains a common if not always unifying facet of Italian culture, both at home and abroad.

Notwithstanding the self-inflicted setbacks and buffeting the Church has sustained during the past few decades, it maintains a religious monopoly in Italy and continues its cultural dominance in the life events of most Italians. Given diminishing church attendance and intensifying superficiality and moral laxity, one wonders if the current incarnation of Italian Roman Catholicism is more of an identity feature, a cultural ornament, rather than something genuinely rooted in faith.

Of course, it’s difficult and somewhat foolhardy to generalize about a people’s faith, and perhaps in the end it doesn’t matter for Italians in Italy: the great churches will endure, the ceremonies will persist, even if reduced to a species of pseudopious kabuki. The Vatican will always be there, in the heart of Italy. But how does this apply to immigrant Italians, and in particular their children and grandchildren, removed from the embrace and reassuring continuity of a monolithic culture and language?

The story of Italians in Canada, for instance, has been intimately tied to their relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, and their relationship with it has shaped their identity, even in a new country.

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Stir-fried Zucchini and Potatoes with Tomato Sauce

by Gabriel Riel-Salvatore


Here’s a popular, inexpensive recipe that never seems to miss its target. This simple, hearty yet flavourful dish is the ultimate vegan-friendly meal.While perfect as a main, it can be used as a side with pork chops or sausages.

No matter how you like to eat it, the best part will always be mopping up your plate scarpetta style with a loaf of crusty bread.

The secret lies in preparing the ingredients separately and then mixing them, allowing the dish to take on its full flavour. Ideally, the consistency should not be too wet, nor too dry.

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Hungry Like the Wolf

Italian-Canadian businessman acquires minority ownership of U.S. Campobasso 1919

by Dante Di Iulio

When it comes to soccer, foreign ownership can be a controversial subject. The promise of stadium expansion, improved training facilities and increased transfer spending is always a lucrative proposition.

The benefits can also extend to an increase in local tourism and real estate prices. Of course, foreign ownership could end in disaster if the owners lack respect for the traditions and history of a club and refuse financial transparency.

As opposed to England and Spain, international investment is still a relatively new phenomenon in Italian calcio, but is increasing each season.

Where once most clubs were owned by local businessmen and families, half of Serie A’s 20 clubs are now majority owned by international investors, mostly from North America.

The foreign owners of AC Milan, Inter, Roma, Fiorentina, etc. may draw more recognition, but the lower levels in Italy are also attracting ownership interest from abroad.

Take Italian-Canadian businessman Angelo Pastò, founder and president of Stanford Properties Group (SPG). He acquired minority ownership of U.S. Campobasso 1919, currently playing in Eccellenza, Italy’s fifth division. The team recently received an investment from American television personalities Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos.