Wednesday, December 13, 2017

IAA Second Movie Event -- I Cento Passi

After resolving some technical issues – which always seem to plague us! – we started the showing of I Cento Passi, translated into English as the One Hundred Steps. But what are these one hundred steps, and what do they have to do with this film?
                I Cento Passi recounts the story of Giuseppe “Peppino” Impastato, a young man who fights to reduce the impact of the local mafia organization in his town; Cinisi, a small province close to Palermo, one of the biggest cities in Sicily. Peppino actually lives only one hundred steps from the resident mafia boss. Showcasing just how ingrained the mafia are in Peppino’s life.
                Peppino grew up in a family with close mafia ties, however after a relative is assassinated when he is only 15, Peppino dedicates himself to stopping the mafia’s influence. As mentioned prior, his family has close mafia ties, so this battle is as much against his family as the mafia.
                After joining the local communist party, Peppino starts to grow more fervent in his rebellion, even starting demonstrations in front of the mayor’s office. Eventually Peppino’s passion grew even too much for the communist party, and the two parted ways. At this point, Peppino has been kicked out of his own home, but he does not let that stop him. Instead, Peppino starts a radio program dedicated to belittling the local Mafiosi. Peppino’s voice and talent for radio draws a large audience in the surrounding area, and even the local mafia take notice (much to the chagrin of his father).
                The radio show starts to hit too close to home for the Mafiosi and they try to shut it down through Peppino’s father. During this confrontation his father tells Peppino that without him, he would already have been killed. Of course, Peppino will not stop!
                Unfortunately Peppino’s father dies (some say murdered by the mafia), and the capo of the mafia approaches Peppino to provide him one last chance to stop. As always, Peppino will not stray from his mission and continues, even starting a campaign for a local position.
                One night, Peppino is kidnapped and murdered by the mafia. Incidentally, Peppino won that position he was campaigning for! The police deem his death a suicide, and this ruling lasts for decades, until it is overturned and his killers are ultimately brought to justice.
                After finishing the film, we all discussed the film. Some believed Peppino should have just stayed quiet and led his life, rather than trying to kick the hornet’s nest. Others believed he did the right thing. We asked the audience some other questions regarding the mafia and Italian organized crime, and it brought about lively discussion amongst us all.
                Thank you to everyone who came to the movie, we had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Movie Event Pranzo di Ferragosto

On Wednesday, 11/5/17 IAA hosted one of our two movie events of the Fall semester.  Pranzo di Ferragosto or Mid-August Lunch is a film directed by Matteo Garrone. This movie takes place in Trastevere, a famous neighborhood in Rome.  It is a great comedy that portrays many characteristics of Italian films.  A brief synopsis can be found here:

"A man unexpectedly finds himself taking care of four women, three of whom he barely knows, in this sunny comedy from Italy. Gianni (Gianni di Gregorio) is a man in his mid-sixties who still lives with his mother; given that Valeria (Valeria De Franciscis) is well into her nineties, these days he looks after her rather than the other way around, though she remains quite spry given her age. Gianni and Valeria share an apartment in a building owned by Luigi (Alfonso Santagata); Gianni owes money on the rent, and Luigi, who wants to take off for the midsummer festivities of Ferragosto, makes him a deal -- Luigi will forgive the debt if his elderly mother, Marina (Marina Cacciotti), can stay with Gianni and Valeria for a few days. Gianni grudgingly agrees, but is upset when he discovers Luigi has also brought his aging aunt Maria (Maria Calì). Word apparently circulates that Gianni is running an informal home for the elderly, as his friend Marcello (Marcello Ottolenghi) stops by and drops off his mother, Grazia (Grazia Cesarini Sforza), for a day or two. While Gianni scrambles to look after the various needs of four elderly women, it soon becomes clear the ladies have strongly differing views on a number of subjects, making his job all the more difficult. Pranzo di Ferragosto (aka Mid-August Lunch) was written and directed by Gianni di Gregorio, who also played the harried son; it was the first directorial project for the veteran screenwriter. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi"

Ferragosto is a holiday celebrated on the 15th of August and it coincides with the major Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary.  It also coincides with the summer vacation period that many Italians have.  On this day many Italians celebrate with big lunches involving all sorts of staple foods from their regions.
The film captures many elements of the Italian culture such as family, food and tradition.  Gianni finds himself as the primary caretaker of these elderly women but he eventually treats them as if they were part of his own family.  Food portrays Italian tradition because on Ferragosto, Italians enjoy staple dishes that are made specifically on Ferragosto.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pizza Dough Making Event 10/11

On Wednesday, October 11th, our meeting focused on pizza dough making and the origins of pizza.  Students were able to make their own pizza dough while learning facts about pizza. 

Here are some pictures from the meeting:

James showing off his "perfect" pizza dough!

Some fun facts about pizza:
The traditional pizza Margherita was named after the Queen Margherita in the 1880's/1890's.  La Margherita is representative of the colors of the Italian flag with green being the basil, white being the mozzarella di bufala and the red being the tomato sauce.

The recipe for making pizza dough is very easy:

    • 3/4 cup water (preferably warm water 105 F to 115 F)
    • 1 envelope active dry yeast
    • 2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Monday, September 11, 2017

Italian American Association Fall Semester Events


Ben tornati, to our returning students and to our new students, Benvenuti!  On behalf of the Italian American Association, we hope you all had an awesome summer and are ready to take on this academic year with confidence!  IAA has been working diligently to make our meetings as fun and informative as possible without making them feel like another class.

This semester we are meeting in Fisher Music Conference Room at 2pm - 3pm every other Wednesday.  Don't worry, we will be sending out two e-mails the week of meetings to remind everyone.  In addition to these e-mails, we will also be making blog posts before our meetings as a way of giving a heads up to what we will be talking about during the meeting.

Our first general meeting will be this Wednesday 09/13 at 2pm in FSC Music Conference Room
On Wednesday, we will be focusing on studying abroad in Italy.  At the meeting, members are encouraged to ask any questions they may have in regards to studying abroad and receive a brief description on study abroad opportunities in Italy.

IAA will also be at Org Fair this Friday 09/15 10-2 so come find us and leave your e-mail or stop by and say hi . . . or ciao!

Questions?  Contact us!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cannoli Making Event 2017

On Wednesday, March 8, from 2-3 PM, IAA hosted our annual cannoli making event. Sign-ups ran the week prior and the turnout was great! The prices were $2 for 1 cannoli or $3 for 2 cannoli. At the event, we provided a simple recipe (details below) as well as the basic ingredients and tools to make the cannolis. Before the event, we listened to a presentation by Jordan Patterson, who is a Bryant student who studied abroad in Sicily. Since the cannoli originates from Palermo, Sicilia, he was the perfect guest to give us insight into the culture of the region. Next, students enjoyed assembling their own cannoli. The pictures below were captured during this time. As always, the cannoli making event was successful and we are looking forward to carrying on the tradition next year!!

Cannoli Cream Recipe:
- 2 3/4 cups of ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- Optional: chocolate chips for the ends and a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cannoli Event

It's that time of the year again for our annual Cannoli Event!  Join us on Wednesday March 8th at 2pm in FSC Room 2A and fill your own cannoli!

Sign-ups begin Wednesday 03/01, Thursday 03/02, and Monday 03/06 from 10-2 in the Fisher Student Center.

Our table will be right in front of the half wall next to the fireplace.

Our Prices:
One cannoli for $2
Two cannoli for $3

We will also have Jordan Patterson who studied abroad in Sicily last semester talking about his experience abroad!

Please join us on Wednesday, March 8th at 2pm in FSC room 1 to learn all about the cannoli and enjoy some as well!

If there are any questions please e-mail us at:

Also, check out our Twitter page for updates on the fun events we have planned for the rest of the semester!

A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale!"

On Wednesday, February 22 IAA had their annual Venetian mask making event for Carnevale.
Created in Venice, Carnevale is a two week celebration that ends right before lent with martedi' grasso (fat Tuesday).  The festival is famous for its elaborate masks especially Venetian masks like those shown here:

People also wear elaborate costumes, attend masquerade balls, play games and throw confetti.  Pranks are common which led to the phrase:  "A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale."  This means that during Carnevale anything goes.

Here are some pictures from our event:

Want to know more about our events?  Check us out on Twitter!  @BryantUIAA or e-mail us at

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ben tornati!

Welcome back everybody!  We hope you all had an excellent winter break and are all rested and ready to take on the spring semester with confidence.  Italian American Association has lots of events planned for this semester so mark your calendars!

Our Events:
2/8:  First general meeting of the semester -- Pizza and pasta will be served!

2/10:  Spring Org Fair

2/22:  Venetian mask making -- learn about Carnevale in Italy and how the whole country celebrates it while making your very own mask

3/8:  Cannoli making event -- sign up beforehand to fill your own cannoli shells

3/22:  IAA Film Event -- 3:00-5:30 in Bello 102, "La Pivellina"

3/29:  TBA

We look forward to seeing everyone again!