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Villa Charities proudly celebrates Italian Heritage Month with a month-long festival dedicated to Italian culture and heritage. While unable to welcome the community to the campus, Villa Charities will celebrate this cherished annual occasion with a series of engaging digital events and programming.

An Immigrant Story: The Exhibition

In celebration of Villa Charities’ 50th anniversary, the website immigrantstory.ca, created and developed by Sholom Wargon, features an inaugural collection of more than 40 inspirational stories of individuals who immigrated to Canada from Italy and other countries. With eloquent narratives and compelling visuals, this interactive experience broadly reflects the ethnocultural origins of the Villa Charities and Columbus Centre communities. An on-site exhibition of these immigrant journeys is planned for the Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery as soon as health and safety conditions permit. Presented by Sholom Wargon Design and Pizza Nova.

  • June 1 – 30

Visit immigrantstory.ca

Pirandello and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” – 100 Years After

Join internationally acclaimed and two-time Dora Award-nominee, Daniele Bartolini, Artist in Residence for Villa Charities and Associate Artistic Director of Soulpepper Theatre, and one of Toronto’s most renowned slam poets, Luke Reece, for a discussion about Pirandello and his metatheatrical masterpiece “Six Characters in Search of an Author”, and their production of the play for Soulpepper’s series Around The World In 80 Plays. Montreal-based playwright and performer, Michaela Di Cesare, author of In Search of Mrs. Pirandello, will also join the conversation.

  • Tuesday, June 1 at 7:00 – 8:00pm

Price: FREE

Festa della Repubblica | Italian National Day

This is a virtual ceremonial celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946, with greetings from Canadian elected officials, representatives of the Italian and Canadian governments, and community leaders. Featuring a poetry reading by Gianna Patriarca and a concert by Rossano Sportiello and Pasquale Grasso.

  • Wednesday, June 2 at 12:00pm

Serata Musicale: A Spotlight on Young Italian-Canadian Talent

Enjoy this video series featuring four concerts by young professional musicians in the Italian-Canadian community. The series will highlight exciting singers and musicians from Ontario and BC, performing a variety of genres including classical music, pop, jazz, country and Italian folk. Videos will be shared here weekly at 12:00pm.

Price: FREE

Performance Schedule

A concert by the Quintessence Ensemble, which features a trio of sibling string musicians: Miriam Cacciacarro (Violin), Hannah Cacciacarro (Cello) and Abigail Cacciacarro (Violin). Don’t miss this musical event with a repertoire of popular and immortal Italian songs spanning from classical to operatic. Click here to view the concert.

Toronto-born artist and multiple Canadian folk music award nominee Andrea Ramolo, and singer and songwriter from Vancouver, Lisa Petrucci. Click here to view the concert.

Antonio Larosa (modern country rock musician), Stephen Scaccia (contemporary pop artist), and Toronto-based jazz guitarist Andrew Marzotto.

Featuring three soloists from the Coro San Marco Choir: Sonia Stillo, Michael Nasato and Iwona Jazczur, all accompanied by pianist Adolfo DeSantis, and followed by a performance by Italian-Canadian Luca Ramelli on piano.  

My Secret Venice with Sebastiano Bazzichetto

We are proud to present a second season of exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ episodes with Dr. Sebastiano Bazzichetto. This new four-part video series will take viewers on a cultural and visual journey to explore hidden gems in the Venetian countryside and pay homage to Dante, the father of Italian language. Don’t miss these stunning virtual tours of some of the grandest, palatial villas in the Veneto region. Videos will be shared here weekly at 12:00pm.

Watch Episode 1

Watch Episode 2

  • Friday, June 4, 11, 18, 25 at 12:00 – 1:00pm

Cucina con noi!

Cucina con noi! is a series of four live interactive culinary workshops featuring local Italian chefs demonstrating how to prepare traditional Italian meals. Presented in partnership with Eataly and Cucinato. 

  • Tuesday, June 8 at 6:00pm – SOLD OUT
  • Wednesday, June 16 at 7:30pm – SOLD OUT
  • Tuesday, June 22 at 6:00pm – SOLD OUT
  • Tuesday, June 29 at 5:00pm – SOLD OUT

Price: FREE

Workshop Schedule

Chef Bio

Bruno’s culinary journey began in his mother’s kitchen in Naples. From an early age he admired her skills in the kitchen and her love of cooking, making beautiful meals for friends and family daily. To this day she remains his inspiration! 

By the age of 14 Bruno was working in kitchens and studying at one of Italy’s oldest culinary schools, Ippolito Cavalcanti. In 1999 his career led him to London, England, where he worked in a number of Michelin Star restaurants before immigrating to Australia, where he worked as a chef and master pizza maker, and where he met his wife, Elizabeth.

By 2009 they moved back to Elizabeth’s home in Canada, where Bruno has worked as a chef, pizza maker, culinary consultant and instructor. Today they have a beautiful home in Burlington, with 3 kids, two cats and a dog.

In this virtual class, guests will learn all the necessary techniques, from selecting ingredients to prepping, chopping, whisking, and sautéing to make the best Pasta alla Carbonara. Pasta alla carbonara has humble roots in the Apennine hills of central Italy, not far from Roma. The dish was known as the shepherds’ favourite as they roamed the hilly pastures following the movement of flocks, a practice known as transumanza, thanks to its simple, readily available ingredients: eggs, guanciale, and cheese.   

Taste of Rome featuring Gianluca Ruggieri, Cucinato Mercato Chef + Culinary Instructor


Menu includes:

Cacio e Pepe  – A classic Roman pasta dish, simple in ingredients but precise in technique. Gianluca will show you the right way to make it! 

Broccoli in padella alla romana – Classic Italian side dish, Romanesco broccoli prepared au gratin with a dash of peperoncino

Pollo alla romana (con peperoni) – Chicken with sweet peppers, tomato and herbs


Chef Bio:

Full of talent, creativity and infectious enthusiasm, Gianluca is a young chef from Rome who has  been cooking since he was a child and as he grew, he realized food was his calling. He worked in various restaurants in Italy early in his career before landing a job at the 5-star luxury JK Place, where he worked under the guidance of Chef Antonio Martucci, his mentor to this day. Chef Antonio taught Gianluca a lot about fine dining, and more importantly, about dedication to his craft. Now Gianluca is excited to bring his passion for learning, creative expression and teaching others to Toronto, where he hopes to share a taste of the authentic Roman way of life!

Join us to learn how to prepare a delicious Risotto al Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, one of Italy’s most beloved DOP cheeses and a staple of the Italian cuisine. Risotto is a versatile rice dish with an interesting history. It’s nutritious and can be prepared to suit any taste. Known as a staple in the Italian diet, risotto has become a popular food worldwide. This delicious dish can be prepared with a variety of ingredients.

Chef Bio

Mattia Pagliara was born in Milano where his family moved in in the eighties.  He was then raised being exposed to both the northern and southern Italian traditions, where food was at the centre of everyday life. Starting as a teenager, he worked in restaurants before moving to Australia for five months at the age of 21. He then moved to Vietnam, where he stayed for almost a decade running Italian restaurants and exporting his beloved culinary heritage to the local market. Pagliara moved to Canada in 2016 with his wife and daughter. In 2019, he joined the newest Eataly as the Chef of La Scuola di Eataly Toronto.

Cory Weeds Quartet Plays Italian Standards

Alto saxophonist Cory Weeds assembles an all-star Vancouver band to celebrate Italian Heritage Month across Canada. Joined by guitarist John Lee, organist Chris Gestrin and drummer Jesse Cahill, Weeds will play music from his chart topping “O Sole Mio, Songs From The Motherland” release. Hitting #2 on the JazzWeek Charts and charting for over 16 weeks, “O Sole Mio” is a delight! Video will be shared here on June 18, 6:30pm EDT / 3:30pm PST.

This virtual concert is presented by Villa Charities (Toronto) and Il Centro (Vancouver).

  • Friday, June 18 at 6:30pm EDT / 3:30pm PST

Price: FREE

Sharing Menu for 2 People ($60+HST).

All dishes come prepared with simple in-oven reheating instructions. You will have a choice of one primo and secondo; contorni come with all meals. Dessert add-on is optional. To book a meal package to enjoy with the concert, please click here.

Italian Heritage: Perspectives from Black Italians

Join us for a discussion between Silvana Rose Miller (Canadian activist and television producer) and Fred Kuwornu (Italian activist, filmmaker, and educator) for a discussion of Black Italian identities, experiences, and heritage both in Canada and in Italy. This event will be presented in partnership with Italian Canadians for Black Lives (ICFBL).

  • Monday, June 21 at 7:00pm

Here & Now: Readings and Discussion

Villa Charities, in collaboration with the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW), Accenti Magazine, Longbridge Books, and English Language Arts Network (ELAN), is pleased to invite you to a conversation with the editor and contributors of Here & Now.

  • Tuesday, June 29 at 5:00pm

Let’s celebrate Pride Month together with:

CJ Volpe
Jonathan Settembri
Anthony Portulese
Monica Meneghetti
Liana Cusmano
Licia Canton (editor)

An Evening of Dance

Villa Charities presents this special performance, featuring dancers from DanzArts Toronto, the Columbus Centre’s very own prestigious dance school, and artists in residence ACE Dance Theatre. Video will be shared here on June 30, 7:30pm.

  • Wednesday, June 30 at 7:30 – 8:00pm