Exploring World Cultures in Chicago: Little Italy

Written by: Marcie Wolbeck

Ciao Chicago famiglie! Looking to expose your kids to Italian culture without leaving town? There’s no better place to learn about Italian Americans in Chicago than to visit the city’s famous Taylor Street. Cultural Care Au Pair has planned a perfect itinerary for families interested in learning more about Italian culture right here in Chicago.

The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (1431 W Taylor St,) has been paying tribute to great Italian American athletes for more than 35 years. The first induction ceremony featured greats like Lou Ambers, Eddie Arcaro, Gino Marchetti, Dom DiMaggio and Joe DiMaggio to name a few. At the museum you can see exciting exhibits such as the Stairway of Fame that features personal tributes celebrating the legacy of these athletes. Next, stop by the Second Floor Gallery to see Hall of Fame memorabilia. The Tommy and Jo Lasorda Exhibit Gallery features memorabilia from Vince Lombardi, Rocky Marciano, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Mary Lou Retton. Sports fans young and old will love taking a trip through this museum and learning about athletes that make Italian Americans proud.

When the family’s hungry after a day at the Hall of Fame, stop by Davanti Enoteca (1359 W. Taylor St). The dishes all feature authentic Italian names. Check out meals like Cacio e Pepe (spaghetti + pecorino + black pepper) or Pollo ‘Sole Mio’ (grilled half chicken + chile pepper paste) – just a couple of the many options that will make you want to come back for more.

For dessert, head to a Taylor Street classic: the original Ferrara Bakery (2210 W. Taylor Street). Your mouth will be watering as soon as you see the chocolate-covered strawberries, tiramisu and chocolate biscotti, along with so many other delicious pastries. Ferrara’s Signature Italian Cannoli Cake has been popular since the family-owned business opened in 1908.

If your kids can’t get enough of Italian culture, consider checking out Italian language courses offered at Language Stars locations throughout Chicago.  Through FunImmersion instruction, you kids will start to learn how to speak Italian through fun games, projects and music. Classes are offered for parents and toddlers, ages 1-3, up to age 10.

For fun at home, learn about Italian culture by reading The Authentic Story of Pinocchio of Tuscany by Carlo Collodi - the original version of the classic movie and book we all love. The well-known poet M. L. Rosenthal translated this book from the original Italian version. Pinocchio is the most widely published book in the world after the Bible, so enjoy this this authentic version of the popular book filled with beautiful illustrations.From Taylor Street to your own home, your family can learn about Italian culture through the rich options to experience Italian cuisine, language and history throughout the city. Your kids will have so much fun exploring Taylor Street, while learning too. Enjoy all of the Italian cultural experiences Chicago has to offer!    

Posted on November 06, 2014 at 2:39 PM