Santa Lucia

This year’s celebration will begin Sunday, December 8th at 3:00PM with the lighting of the Christmas fire, a candlelight procession to the altar of St. Lucy, followed by a prayer service for those who have departed in 2018.

Ragazzi Italian Folk Dancers will perform 2 Christmas dances. Traditional “cuccia” will be served.


Open to the public, free of charge.

November Newsletter

November Newsletter available here.

An Evening in Tuscany


Genealogy Workshop

August Newsletter

August 2018

July Newsletter

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June Newsletter

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Assignment Editor   Patricia Civitate

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A Message From The President

Ciao a tutti, come state?

Hi everybody, how are you ?

This year Easter will be on April 1st, what a strange combination……. I know that this newsletter will arrive in your house after that date, and I hope all of you celebrated an incredible Resurrection of Jesus. Over the past month the Center has organized the Feast of San Joseph, which was always an incredible success, but I would like to take a moment to say THANK YOU – GRAZIE to all the volunteers that made it possible. 

Now I would like to talk about something happening in Italy in the month of April.

April 25 celebrates Festa Della Liberazione (Liberation Day) as a national holiday. It commemorates the end of Nazi occupation of Italy during World War II. This is not to be confused with June 2nd which is another holiday celebrating Republic Day.

On April 25, 1945, the National Liberation Committee Of Upper Italy, in a radio announcement, proclaimed the insurgency and seizure of power proclaiming the death sentence to all Fascist leaders ( including Benito Mussolini ). By May 1st, all of northern Italy was liberated including the cities of Milan, Bologna, Genoa, Turin, and Venice. This liberation put an end to twenty three years of fascist dictatorship and five years of war.

April 25 symbolically represents the beginning of a historical journey that led to the referendum of June 2, 1946, when there was a national vote and the Italian population chose to end the monarchy and create the Italian Republic. This was followed by the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic in 1948. A bill was created in 1946 designating April 25 as a national holiday and in 1949 this date was declared a permanent holiday.

I hope to have captured your interest with some history in the Italian Independence Day.

Please continue to support the efforts of the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa in order to spread our culture throughout our community.

Paolo Bartesaghi

Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa

A Message From the President

Ciao come state ???   Hi, how are you ???

Siamo entrati in Quaresima.  We are in Lent.

The last day of Carnival was on February 13th, but for the Milan diocese it was the 17th and now we are all in Lent. I know for some of us, besides the religious moment, it means to give up something and for others it is signified by eating fish on Fridays. I would like, in this President’s Corner, to try to explain the history of two traditional Italian desserts that are present in the Italian culture to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.

The first dessert is called La Colomba Pasquale (literally translated as “The Easter Dove”). This is considered by many to be the counterpart of the well-known Christmas desserts Panettone and Pandoro. Similarly to these Christmas desserts, the Colomba is made from flour, eggs, sugar, and yeast but it differs (from Panettone) in that candied orange peel is added instead of raisins. The shape of the dough is in the form of a dove and then topped with pearl sugar and almonds before being baked. 

The Colomba was originally conceived by the publicity director of the Milanese baking company Motta, Dino Villani, during the 1930s. He wanted to continue using the same ingredients and baking methods that were used for their Panettone but gear it towards the solemn period of Easter. In 1944 the recipe was taken up by Angelo Vergani who founded the company Vergani Srl in Milan who still produces this cake even today.

Some prefer to believe that the Colomba Pasquale has its origins from legends dating back to the 7th Century when the Longobardo Queen Teodolinda was hosting the Irish abbot Saint Colombano along with his monks. An extravagant dinner was planned with delicious meats however, even though it wasn’t a Friday, Colombano and his guests refused to eat the meats during the Lent period of penitence and sacrifice. Queen Teodolinda didn’t understand and became offended. But, Colombano came to her rescue and raised his right hand and made a sign of the cross. At that moment the meats were transformed into candied doves made from bread. The Queen was so grateful that she gave Colombano some territory and there was built the San Colombano Abbey that today is located in Bobbio.

The second dessert is the “Uovo di Pasqua” meaning Easter egg. The traditional large chocolate egg that is filled with toys is fairly recent, but the giving of decorated eggs goes back to Medieval times. It was Medieval thinking that the heavens and the planets were two separate hemispheres and these created the egg. Ancient Egyptians believed the egg to be the fulcrum of the four elements (water, air, earth, and fire). Exchanging eggs was part of the Persian culture that represented the arrival of Spring. Catholics used the egg as a symbol of life and of the risen Christ. In early times, the egg was boiled in water with leaves and flowers so that it would take on a golden color. Medieval times also saw the beginning of creating artificial eggs that were decorated in precious materials including gold, platinum, or silver which were presented to the aristocrats and noble families. Peter Carl Faberge began his prestigious egg decorating in 1883 as a special gift for Tsar Maria.

In modern times, many decorated eggs are collected and not eaten until after Lenten fasting. During the 20th Century the larger chocolate eggs became very popular. These eggs ranged in many sizes and most of them contained a surprise inside its hollow center. Initially the eggs were manufactured by prestigious bakers but has now become quite diffused all over the world.

Please continue to support the efforts of the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa in order to spread our culture throughout our community.

I wish you all a blessed and thoughtful Easter season.

Buona Pasqua  Happy Easter

Paolo Bartesaghi, President

Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa 

St Joseph’s Day Celebration

The Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa will present their 21st annual St Joseph Altar celebration on Sunday, March 18 and Monday, March 19. Doors will open at 5:00PM, with the program beginning 5:30PM. The blessing of the altar and a traditional Lenten meal will take place on Sunday evening. All day visitation is Monday, with refreshments at 9:00AM. A light luncheon will be served from 1:00PM to 2:00PM. The entire celebration is open to the public free of charge.

Families are invited to sponsor an altar and provide decorative items, such as statues, family pictures, artifacts, etc. Flowers for each altar will be provided. The suggested donation for each altar is $50. If you are interested, please call 515-244-4672 or 515-250-8804 no later then March 1.

Several days are involved in making the traditional St Joseph cookies and breads. All participants are welcome.
               March 8    9:00AM         March 9   9:00AM
               March 12  9:00AM         March 13  9:00AM
               March 14  6:00PM         March 15  9:00AM
               March 16  9:00AM         March 17  9:00AM

Please call 515-250-8804 or 515-244-4672 if you would like to attend the evening session.