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Villa Charities launches an impressive roster of cultural programming for Italian Heritage Month in June

Interactive lineup on tap for 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death

TORONTO – May 22, 2019 – The best of Italian culture, heritage and cuisine will take centre stage during Italian Heritage Month in June at the Columbus Centre. Villa Charities will showcase the artistry and talents of Italian-Canadian performers through a series of enriching programs, concerts, dance performances and the annual “Viva Vitalità Italiana” art exhibition.

This year, Villa Charities has a lineup of immersive and unique experiences for everyone. In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, there will be a collaborative show that explores the genius of Leonardo, tailored for kids and families.

“We are proud to celebrate Italian Heritage Month and also pay homage to Leonardo da Vinci who was widely respected as a free thinker and the purest Renaissance Man the world has ever known,” said Emanuele Lepri, Executive Director of Cultural Programming, Villa Charities.

In addition to organizing an array of interactive activities fun for the whole family, Villa Charities is hosting an exclusive fundraising event with Formula One driver, Antonio Giovinazzi.

Below is the full list of programs taking place throughout June to celebrate Italian Heritage Month:

Luncheon with Formula 1™ Driver Antonio Giovinazzi
Tuesday, June 4 at 11:30am

Villa Charities Foundation is excited to host a memorable charitable event with special guest, Formula One driver Antonio Giovinazzi. Guests attending this exclusive luncheon will have the opportunity to meet Antonio Giovinazzi and participate in a Q & A.

During the event, guests can also purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a Fan Race Experience for two, available through the Antonio Giovinazzi Official Fan Club, which will bring Antonio’s supporters to the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy in September 2019. The winners will attend the Formula One events on Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8 including the Free Practice Session 3, the Qualifying Session (Sept. 7), and the race (Sept. 8). The package also includes return airfare for two to Milan, one-night hotel accommodation and transportation from the hotel to the race circuit.

Price: $100.00 per ticket
Location: Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery


While it is widely understood that Leonardo was the genius artist of the “Mona Lisa,” he is also credited with the invention of other world-changing designs such as the parachute, the tank, and even the helicopter. Join us Saturdays in June for a series of fun family events.

Leonardo da Vinci & Friends
June 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 12:00pm – 1:00pm

This interactive show explores the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, tailored for kids. Some of Leonardo’s most famous subjects will travel through time, space and dimensions to recount the tremendous impact that he had on the world of art and science. This show is fun, imaginative and gives children a thorough introduction to Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy. A real joy for the entire family.

Price: Free Admission
Location: 2nd Floor Library, Columbus Centre

Da Vinci’s Code Scavenger Hunt
June 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm

An opportunity for children to be just like Leonardo da Vinci and become free thinkers themselves! Using Leonardo’s works as a guide, participants will be led through the Villa Charities campus to obtain clues that will ultimately allow them to decipher Da Vinci’s code! This scavenger hunt-themed activity will allow participants to learn more about the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci while becoming more familiar with his most popular masterpieces.

Price: Free Admission
Location: 2nd Floor Library, Columbus Centre

Italian Heritage Month Exhibitions and Performances

Viva Vitalità Italiana Exhibition:
“Matera: Citta dei Sassi – European Capital of Culture 2019”
A photographic exhibition by Marcello Tarantino

Dario Zini, “City Views: Toronto in Transition (2004 – 2010)”

With support from The Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation

Ross Bonfanti, “Cement Mixer”

Exhibition Dates: June 6 – August 31
Opening Night Reception:
Thursday, June 6 at 6:30pm
Free / Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm

Bellissime Note
Saturday, June 8 at 3:00pm

An afternoon of classic Italian opera and songs performed by the Coro San Marco choir and a selection of talented soloists.

Price: Free Admission
Location: Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery, Columbus Centre

Claudio Santaluce – Accordion Virtuoso
Monday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 19 at 7:00pm

Join us for Italian classic sing-alongs as we celebrate Italian Heritage Month. Led by accordion musician and performer, Claudio Santaluce, this will be a great opportunity to bring the whole family out to participate in Italian heritage and culture.

Price: Free Admission
Location: Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery, Columbus Centre

ACE Dance Theatre Presents: “Impulse”
Wednesday, June 12 and Thursday, June 13 at 7:00pm

“Impulse” is a series of dance pieces that explore human nature’s vulnerabilities, which affect how we are drawn into the gamut of life experiences.

As human beings, we are fascinated by the enigmatic qualities that play an important role in how we respond to what life throws our way.

Enjoy an alluring and thought-provoking dance performance that demonstrates our underlying visceral impulses to love, nurture, fear, conquer or soar.

Price: Pay what you can (suggested donation $5.00)
Location: Lower Gallery, Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery, Columbus Centre

inCanto: Canzoni e Arie

Tuesday, June 18 at 7:00pm

Let tenor Giacomo Folinazzo guide you through a singing journey of some of the most beloved Canzoni Napoletane and Tenor Arias. This 45-minute program will feature the songs and the stories behind them: “Non Ti Scordar Di Me,” “O Sole Mio,” “Dicintencello Vuje” and arias such as “Recondita Armonia (Tosca) are some of the highlights of the evening.

Price: Free Admission
Location: Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery, Columbus Centre

“I Love Opera!”
Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00pm

Classic Italian repertoire with tenor Federico Veltri and pianist Gianfranco Pappalardo Fiumara. In collaboration with Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto.

Price: Free Admission
Location: Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery, Columbus Centre

Additional events include:

Pizza Nel Parco
Friday, June 14 and Friday, June 28 at 12:00 – 2:30pm and 3:30 – 7:00pm

Join us for “Pizza in the Park” at lunch or dinner on the Caffè Cinquecento patio. Choose from a Margherita, Vegetarian or Sopressata/Pepperoni individual, made-to-order pizza baked in an authentic, wood-burning oven.

Price: $11.00 each (includes HST)
Location: Caffè Cinquecento, Columbus Centre

For more information on all Italian Heritage Month events, visit villacharities.com.

About Villa Charities

Villa Charities Inc. is a registered charity that celebrates and promotes the Italian Heritage, Culture, Language, Arts, Food and Family Values. For almost 50 years across the GTA, Villa Charities has provided culturally sensitive long-term care for seniors and offered educational and cultural programs in music, dance, visual arts, culinary arts, athletics and more. The Villa Charities family includes Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. in Toronto; Villa Colombo Seniors Centre (Vaughan) Inc./Di Poce Centre; Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto and Casa Abruzzo apartments for independent seniors; the Columbus Centre; and Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery. For more information, visit villacharities.com.

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For more information, please contact:

Jessica Patriquin
416-640-5525 Ext. 230

Kathleen Sloan, CM
Director, Marketing and Communications
Villa Charities
416-789-7011 Ext. 309

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