Fiera Italiana festival begins Monday

October 5, 2009 (CHICAGO) It's time for Fiera Italiana, or Italian Fest. Why are Italians such good cooks? Just ask Salvatore Camaci, owner of Si Vola Bistro who had a booth at the festival.

"Well, we are the best. We like to eat, That's all there is. We love to eat that's all there is," said Camaci.

But actually at Daley Plaza this week there's more than just arancini and panzerotti and other good stuff. There are booths filled with many different products imported straight from Italy, fashion shows with the latest designs from top designers, and-- most of all-- don't miss the Italian singers like Jack Miuccio.

All this week at Daley Plaza from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. it's everything Italian: Italian culture, fashions and singers.

And have you ever wondered? Why are there so many great Italian singers?

"We've had two of the best music teachers since we were kids," Miuccio said. "We were brought up by our parents since we were very young to sing. We listened to Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Jerry Vale and all of them all our lives. While other kids listened to the Beatles, we listened to them."

Song satisfies the soul but it's the Italian food that is music to the taste buds. Many classic recipes that grandma used to make are here just to make sure you fall off your diet. Rex Italian Foods serves up meatball, Italian beef and egg parmigiana sandwiches.

Rex? That doesn't sound Italian.

"Actually it is very Italian," said Franca Pinello, owner of Rex Italian Foods. "That was the name of a steamship that many Italians came to America on and came to Ellis Island."

Canoli for dessert and also something called Sunday dough.

"It's fried dough topped with homemade gelato, whipped cream and nuts," said Angelo Iollino, of Massa Italian Café.

"No calories. Ah, 100-percent fat free," joked Iollino.

The free festival is sponsored by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans and runs from Monday, Oct. 5, to Friday, Oct. 9, at Daley Plaza.

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