When Italian Heritage Means Community


March 5, 2013 by Italians in Chicago

by Valeria Fanelli –


Many Italians in Chicago decided to maintain their cultural heritage while living abroad, so that they would keep their culture and traditions alive.

The Contemporary Italian Cultural Society, a meeting place for all who love the Italian Culture, Language, and all things Italy/Italian, celebrates Italy’s history and discuss its present and future.

“We started CICS to create an opportunity for Italian-speaking people in the area to have a place to come together to discuss all things Italian in a wonderful and warm atmosphere,” said Phil Favia, president of the board and co-founder.

The goal is to ensure that Italian language and culture remain a visible and important part of our world.

The association has almost 200 members. Not all of them are from the Chicago area. Many of them participate in a Language Exchange with other members that are located in Italy and around the world.

“I believe very strongly that what we are doing is a very important step in keeping the Italian Language and Culture alive here in America. As the population of the generation of great immigration that occurred years ago continues to dwindle, it is incumbent upon us to continue our traditions,” Favia said.

CICS co-founders are Margaret Tomaselli, Ines Morroni, Antonella Granito, and Phil Favia.

“It would be impossible to say what I love most about being Italian as it comes from a collection of characteristics that are all brought together to create the warm feeling that I have in my heart about being Italian,” Favia said.

Some of the association’s events are:

-Mangia e Parla (Eating & Talking) – Held each Saturday morning at 9:30am primarily at Bonta’ Italian Market in Lincolnshire Illinois. Participants share food and conversation together in a comfortable and warm atmosphere. People can drop in any time unannounced, regardless of their speaking level. They can have breakfast and an informal conversation on the topic of the week. The association asks for a $10 donation to the group to assist them in funding future events.

-Cena e Cinema – (Dinner and a Movie) – Held on a bi-monthly basis, typically on a Saturday night. Participants eat an Italian meal prepared by Nunzio and Antonella from Bonta’. A projection of an Italian movie follows (with English subtitles of course!). The typical cost for this all-inclusive event is $20-$25 depending on the menu of seemingly never-ending food!

-Language Exchange – “Native” Italian speakers in the group both in Chicago and in Italy “trade” their Italian for English. t is an occasion to build friendships and help each other learn through this modern day “penpal” concept.

For more information, please visit: www.facebook.com/groups/chicagoitalianclub.


3 thoughts on “When Italian Heritage Means Community

  1. Thanks for writing such a positive and informative article about our group! You really captured our mission and our community feel. Grazie!

  2. Phil Favia says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write this wonderful article. Our group really appreciates it. I’m glad that you also see the importance of what we’re trying to accomplish with respect to our common heritage.
    Grazie Mille

  3. Laura De REnzis says:

    Good morning, I would like to introduce you to http://www.italicon.it, a consortium named ICoN Italian Culture on the Net, made of 19 Italian Universities and aimed at promoting the Italian language and culture all over the world through the Internet and with specific programs: online language courses, master’s programs and a unique online Degree program in Italian language and culture. Semester will begin next September, 10. Enrolments are open and 5 scholarships for the U.S. are available. Deadline for applying for a scholarship: 26 August 2013. Information here: http://www.italicon.it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: