Cultural Tuesdays: A Conversation
with Dr. Franco Gallippi
Cultural Tuesdays made its return on February 23rd with the seven-part virtual lecture series, “Seven Decades of Fellini” with Dr. Franco Gallippi. We recently asked Dr. Gallippi a few questions about these new online presentations and the importance of Federico Fellini.
Q: What is the importance of Federico Fellini to Italian cinema?
A: Fellini is often referred to as “the maestro,” and I think he did become, at some point of his career, the teacher for many younger Italian directors who were looking for a role model. He has influenced so many who went on to become famous themselves, like Nanni Moretti, Lina Wertmüller, and Roberto Benigni. The screenwriter for the Oscar-winning “La Grande Bellezza” (“The Great Beauty”, 2013), Umberto Contarello, considers Fellini’s work on the same level as ‘The Odyssey’ by Homer, a kind of reservoir where one can find infinite resources for telling a worthwhile story: “If you make a film about a journey, it’s impossible not to unconsciously make reference to ‘The Odyssey.’ A film that has Rome as a principal character fixed in space can’t help but draw on its foundational archetype, which is Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’”.
Q: What does Federico Fellini mean to Italian culture and heritage?
A: I think no one like Fellini has attempted to capture the essence of Italian culture in his films. He never ceased to interrogate the role and the presence of the Church in Italy, for instance. He never ceased to scrutinize the politics of Italy, its contradictions, and orderly chaos. He never ceased to look at the Italian family as a wonderful and suffocating experience within a Catholicism that poses limits, but within these limits, a most incredible “game” and celebration of life is made possible.
Q: What do you want people to learn in these lectures?
A: It would be nice if people learned that there is always something to learn. Fellini’s imagination was inexhaustible, and he really strived to understand the nature of creativity and how important it is in life, not only as a successful artist but in the daily lives of so-called regular people who are not considered artists in the sense of producing artwork. The impulse to create is natural in human beings and finding a healthy and natural outlet for that creativity is something Fellini knew had to be satisfied. Fellini demonstrates this with his films. When he talked about his films, he uses terms that describe a natural process, as if the films came out of him when they were ready and ripe. This, for him, was the essence of creativity: nothing forced but the bearing of fruit as an apple tree bears apples.
Click below to read the full interview on our website and don’t miss the next lecture in the series, “Fellini’s La Dolce Vita: Not so Dolce”, on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:00pm. The registration fee for each lecture is only $5.00.
Villa Charities Celebrates 50 Years with 50 Recipes!
In celebration of our 50th anniversary this year, we’re sharing lots of fun and interactive social media content for the Villa Charities community. Check out our #VCI50 50 Recipes for 50 Years! These recipes include some of our favourite Italian dishes. Make Pizzelle with us! Enjoy light and crispy vanilla Italian waffle cookies using a pizzelle iron! Buon Appetito!
Villa Colombo Toronto February Event Highlights
Last month, Villa Colombo residents celebrated World Nutella Day and Valentine's Day in style. The recreation department staff and a few residents gave everyone an enjoyable experience by preparing a delicious snack for each occasion. On Nutella Day, they made crepes, while on Valentine's Day, they treated everyone to their choice of pancakes, cupcakes or mousse. To see more photos and read more about these activities, visit the page below.

Villa Charities & Movies Move Us Present Virtual Premiere of “Being with Refugees”
Join us on Monday, March 15, 2021, as audiences across Canada and Italy will unite through the virtual screening of Italian director Ludovico De Maistre’s film “Being with Refugees.” This documentary film will be screened on the 10-year anniversary of the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. There will be a live Q&A after the movie with the filmmaker to educate communities, empower organizations at the forefront and inspire future leaders on this important issue.
Our “Short Stories in Italian” Workshops Continue
These free monthly classes will offer students of Italian at all levels the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of contemporary literature in both Italian and English translations. It includes stories by established literary figures such as Italo Calvino and Primo Levi, as well as the new generation of writers. Aspects of Sicilian and Italian life are explored by Leonardo Sciascia and Goffredo Parise. The focus of the class will be on learning new vocabulary and Italian words. An electronic copy of the story will be provided in advance upon registering. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, March 24 at 12:00pm.
March’s Book Club Selection is Here!
Our online book club is an opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary
Italian literature while learning Italian. Join us for the winter 2021 sessions, where we
will embark on literary adventures with extraordinary works by acclaimed prize-winning authors. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, March 24 at 7:00pm as we read “La lunga vita di Marianna Ucrìa / The Silent Duchess” by Dacia Maraini.
Don’t Miss the Final [Re]Connected Seniors Virtual Workshops
[Re]Connected Seniors is a digital learning project by Villa Charities, funded in part by the Government of Canada and United Way of Greater Toronto. [Re]Connected Seniors has initialized an iPad lending library within Villa Charities’ apartments for seniors (Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto, Casa Abruzzo) and has continued their series of virtual workshops to improve the digital literacy of seniors throughout the GTA! To book a place in one of the workshops, contact Matteo Brera at or by phone at 416-789-7011 ext. 333.
Book Your Virtual One-on-One Meeting for Friday Chats with the CEO
You can have a virtual meeting with Marco DeVuono, Acting President and CEO of Villa Charities Inc., for a one-on-one conversation to answer any questions or to share your thoughts on our programs and services. These informal chats with Marco will be held using GoToMeeting on the 2nd Friday of every month, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Appointments are 20 minutes each and must be scheduled in advance. The next Friday Chats is scheduled for Friday, March 12. Contact us today to schedule your virtual meeting – call 416-789-7011 ext. 240 or email
On-Site Operations for Villa Charities and Columbus Centre Remain Suspended
Please be advised that as per the current direction from the Ontario government and public health authorities, on-site operations at Villa Charities and the Columbus Centre remain suspended. Online programs and services continue to be offered. Stay tuned for any updates and visit our COVID-19 Updates page for full details.
Apply Now for the 2021 Villa Charities Scholarship Program!
The Villa Charities Scholarship Program is available to students of any heritage who help further Villa Charities’ mission of enriching lives through experiences and services that honour Italian culture and heritage. Four awards of $2,500 are available to Undergraduate students and four awards of $5,000 are available to Graduate level students. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

Master the “Rocks of Georgian Bay” with our Painting Masterclass Series
Join professional artist and multi-award recipient Sam Paonessa for our newest series of masterclasses for adults. Sam will guide you on creating your very own masterpiece while enhancing your understanding of specific painting techniques. Classes are suited for students with prior painting experience. Register for the next class on Thursday, May 13 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm for “Rocks of Georgian Bay” and learn to paint rocks and convincing reflections. Focus will be on techniques that create depth and edge quality. Enroll now!
Columbus Centre Athletic Club Introduces Two New Virtual Yoga Programs
Columbus Centre Athletic Club continues to expand their virtual programs and will be offering Restorative Chair Yoga starting Thursday, March 11, and Vinyasa Yoga starting Sunday, March 14. Restorative Yoga is a deeply relaxing practice of supported poses, guided relaxation, yogic breathing and an extended final resting pose. Vinyasa Yoga (a root form of Ashtanga Yoga) is characterized by a focus on dynamic connecting posture that creates a flow between the more static traditional yoga postures. Both classes will be taught virtually with groups of 5 – 15 participants. For pricing and to learn more, visit our website today!

Virtual Group Fitness Classes are the Perfect Workout from Home
For at-home fitness workouts, the Columbus Centre Athletic Club continues to offer Virtual Group Fitness classes. Our certified instructors are offering courses six days a week! Check out Wednesday’s class - Total Body Challenge. This class targets all major muscle groups in the body. Each circuit includes three or four exercises that alternate between upper body and lower body as well as bilateral and unilateral for a unique quick-paced workout. Monthly membership fees are only $24.99 + HST and include access to our full fitness class video library. For more information, visit our website and register today.
DanzArts Recreational Dance Classes Continue to be Offered Online
The recreational program is designed to develop technical skills and foster artistic expression. Students may choose to enroll in one or several classes of any style. Placement is based on skill level and age and it is with careful consideration that each child is placed in the class that best serves the student and allows them to flourish. Dancers are continuously assessed to ensure they are in the level most appropriate for them. For more information about recreational dance programs, including schedules and registration, please contact DanzArts Toronto at the Columbus Centre by March 8th.