Festa Italiana: Home Is Where The Pasta Is

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The 2nd Annual Festa Italiana Frederick will feature fabulous homemade Italian food and beverages, kids’ activities, entertainment, contests, exhibitors, special evening concert with Roberto Pomili String Orchestra, and so much more!

Download the Schedule At A Glance

100% of proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County, MD

Rose Hill Manor 05.17.14 11am–8pm

11:00am – 5:00pm
Advance Ticket Sales: $5
(Kids Under 2 Free)
$10 at the Gate

5:00pm – 8:00pm
Advance Ticket Sales: $10 for Roberto Pomili Concert
$15 at the Gate

Sorry, no pets or outside food or beverages allowed. Free parking.

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Food & Beverages

What’s an italian festival without fabulous food!?

An Authentic Italian Feast!

  • Fat Frankie's Pizza: Mobile wood fired brick oven. Watch the pizzaiolo at work and in 90 seconds you can enjoy the taste of handmade Italian pizza.
  • Meatball Sandwich- A toasted Italian garlic bread, topped with meatballs, sauce, and cheese.
  • Grilled Sausage Sandwiches
  • Baked Rigatoni - Authentic Italian recipe! This casserole combines rigatoni pasta, meat sauce and three kinds of Italian cheeses.
  • Eggplant Ziti- Authentic Italian recipe! Vegetarian eggplant is sautéed in olive oil until it is soft and then tossed with pasta and cheese.
  • Cold Cut Sub- Traditional Italian deli meats and cheese make this a mouth-watering selection.
  • Caprese Sub- Fresh mozzarella topped with red roasted pepper, tomato, balsamic, and olive oil.


  • Gelato Cart – Italian-style ice cream.
  • Pizzelle – Thin, crispy cookies with a subtle anise flavor that are delicious with gelato or by themselves.
  • Zeppole- A deep-fried pastry, sprinkled with either cinnamon sugar or powder sugar.
  • Cannoli- Tubular pastry shell stuffed with a sweetened filling of whipped ricotta mixed with nuts, citron, and bits of chocolate.

La Cantina:

Enjoy tastings of selected Italian varietals or a glass of your favorite vino. Imported beers also available.

Wine making demos throughout the afternoon!


Which restaurant will be called the Festa Italiana Sauce Cook-Off Champ? Local restaurants have been invited to share their most outstanding sauce that is award-worthy and compete for the 1st or 2nd place People’s Choice “Champ” award. Judging and sampling: 12:30-2:30 p.m. Awards: 3:00 p.m.

Download Application


Cultural Pavilion

Join us as we celebrate our Italian and Italian American Heritage!

While you are enjoying the sounds of Italian music filling the air, peruse the array of books on Italian art, cooking, architecture and literature provided by the Frederick County Public Library.

Take a photo journey of the 48 UNESCO Italian landmarks and watch clips from iconic Italian films from "La dolce vita" to 2014 Oscar nominee "La grande bellezza.”

Band Bios:

Hosting three amazing acts, Festa Italiana is one of this summer's most vibrant and diverse entertainment destination ranging from traditional Italian music to orchestra and pop.

Headliner: Roberto Pomili Orchestra

Time: 6:30 – 8:00pm
Admission: ADVANCE SALES: $10 after 5:00pm (kids still $5). AT THE GATE: $15

Roberto Pomili will conduct a string orchestra in a mix of Italian opera, classic, jazz, and tango. Italian performer, composer and conductor, Roberto Pomili, is considered one of the best double bass players of his generation. His personal musical style has developed throughout the years as a result of his interest and experiences playing gypsy, tango and flamenco music. Since 1995 Roberto has had the pleasure of performing in some of the most important concert halls in the world. His last CD concerTango recordando a Piazzolla, which is a tribute to the famous Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla, sold over 10,000 copies in the USA, predominantly in New York. Click here to learn more.

The Monaldi Brothers

Time: 11:30 – 1:30

In 1948, 28-year-old Olindo Monaldi came to America from Pesaro, a small seaport town on the Adriatic coast of the Marche region of Italy. Olindo was an only child and decided to leave home to become a merchant seaman. However, when he got to Norfolk, Virginia and reached the land of plenty, he decided to jump ship. All he had in his pocket was three dollars, the name of an Italian friend in Baltimore (who had jumped ship in 1939,) and his trumpet. Olindo’s friend helped him find a job and also introduced him to many musicians in the area. Eventually a 15-piece big band, “The Aqua Bells,” was formed around 1950.

When Olindo’s sons, Pete and twins Joe and Frank, became of age, he taught them to play music—Pete, the accordion; Joe, the trumpet and Frank, drums. Olindo and his three sons played through the 60’s and 70’s at numerous events. Soon, the younger sons, Olindo and Mario, learned to play bass guitar and sax, respectively, and joined the band, which was then named “The Monaldi Brothers.” The band continued to gain widespread fame and popularity within the Italian community and throughout the area. Olindo Monaldi, Sr. passed away on July 5, 1987, but his legacy continues. Click here to learn more.


Time: 2:30-4:30

i-Talians perform a repertoire of Italian pop-rock from the 60’s to the present. Based in Washington DC, the band’s components are all professionals brought together by their passion for music: the group formed when the “Italians in DC” announced their intention to organize an Italian Festival in May 2011. Since then, the i-Talians have performed at the 2011 and 2012 Italian Festival in DC, Union Jack’s, Acre 121, The Matchbox, and at numerous private parties always sharing a highly enjoyable repertoire with Italian ex-pats and American audiences alike. Click here to learn more.

Grape Stomp contest

Stomp them, crush them and make some “wine” at the Festa Italiana Grape Stomping! This is how wine was made the old-fashioned way- with a pair of bare feet.

Contest participation is first come, first stomp at 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm in the Amphitheater.

The challenge is to see who can produce the most juice from the grapes in the barrel in just two minutes.

Winners of each round will receive a fun prize.

Cost: FREE

All stompers are required to sign the Grape Stomp Waiver-Release.

Participants will stand in the wine barrels, hold onto a rail, and stomp the grapes with their bare feet. The contestant whose carafe has the most juice after the stomping round is the winner. So come and take off your socks, and let the juices flow!

Cooking Demonstrations

Pasta Sauces

Massimo Vicidomini
Massimo Vicidomini is a chef with vast experience; he is currently the Chef de Cuisine at the lovely Italian restaurant Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda, MD. There he uses his expansive background and multicultural experience to head a great team of chefs giving guests the ultimate Italian fine dining experience. Massimo's background has included positions from London to Italy, with experience in Michelin starred kitchens, as well as the world-renowned Café Milano in Washington DC.

Homemade Pasta

Maria Concetta Vieri
Maria Concetta Vieri was born and raised in San Vito, a small pretty town on the Adriatic coast in the region of Abruzzo in Italy. She graduated from the University La Sapienza in Rome and moved to the United States in 1996 to work as a NIH scientist. Along with science, Maria Concetta has a passion for cooking which goes back to her childhood as her parents were, and still are, the owners of "Ristorante il Promontorio" in her hometown of San Vito, where she spent many hours learning the art of Italian cuisine from her mother and grandmothers. In her family big kitchen she has some of the her sweetest and happiest memories.

Bocce Ball Competition

This ancient game whose modern adaptation most closely resembles bowling, requires skill, strategy and just a little luck. Bocce ball is a great game to play outside on a beautiful day, so gather your closest friends and family to form a team and compete in our first ever Festa Italiana Bocce Ball Tournament!

Tournament Details:

  • Time: 2:00 – 4:30
  • COST $25 per team. Each team member receives admission to the festival.
  • Winning team receive 1 set of bocce ball/person. Fun prizes awarded to 2nd place.

Click here to download the application.

Kids Stuff

The emphasis that Italian-Americans, and Italian immigrants in general, place upon "family" means that Festa Italiana has something for everyone! From 11:00am- 5:00pm, kids can enjoy in any and all of the following activities:

  • Macaroni art
  • Pizza dough tossing demonstration
  • Grape stomp
  • Face painting
  • Bocce ball
  • Soccer World Cup Tournament (Inflatable Soccer Court) with prizes!
  • Make an Italian carnival mask

Tarantella workshop with Esperanza Alzona (2–2:30pm and 5–5:30pm)

Esperanza Alzona has had an extensive professional dance career as a soloist and principal dancer of the Baltimore Ballet Company, the Center Dance Ensemble, Prince George’s Ballet Company, the Greg Reynolds Dance Company and the American Dance Ensemble of Pittsburgh, along with numerous appearances as a guest artist with various companies in the United states and Italy. An award-winning choreographer, Ms. Alzona holds a teaching diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance, an AA in Humanities & Social Science, a BA in Psychology and an MA in Public Communications. She taught dance, performed and choreographed in northern Italy for six years, and from 1987 to 1991 she directed her own contemporary dance company based in Turin. She returned to the USA in 1991 and joined the staff of MMPAC where she continues to set choreography on her students, independent artists and professional dance companies. Ms. Alzona has been an adjunct professor of dance at Shepherd University, where she also holds the position of Music Operations Manager.

KeeKee’s Big Adventure

Join author Shannon Jones as she shares KeeKee's Big Adventures, a children's picture book series featuring KeeKee, the adventurous calico kitty who travels the world in her hot air balloon. Her second stop? Mamma Mia! It’s Rome, Italy! Join KeeKee as she explores the sights, sounds, and—yum yum!—tastes of Italy's beautiful capital city! Young readers will share KeeKee’s delight as she makes new friends, discovers exciting places, and immerses herself in the Italian culture. 40% of all book sales will be donated to your Frederick Habitat!

Click here to download a free coloring page »


Bravo! Presenting Sponsor

State Farm Insurance
Capital One

* State Farm Insurance gave $2,500 and each of the following agents gave $250 for the combined gift of $5,000:
Claudia Lara   •   The Mark Agency   •   Dean Rose   •   Tom and Kathy Schultze   •   Dale Clabaugh   •   Missy Baker   •   Danielle Leonard   •   John/Dana Forney

Bellisimo Cultural Sponsor


Bellissimo! Sponsor

Frederick News Post
PNC Bank
Key 103
106.9 Eagle

Grazie Sponsor

AOPA   •   Find It Frederick   •   Food Pro   •   Frederick County Public Library   •   Frederick Gorilla
Frederick Indoor Sports Center (FISC)   •   Grand Rental Events   •   Graphcom

Friend Sponsor

Backyard Inflatables  •  Frederick Coin Exchange  •   Fredericktowne Rotary Club   •   New Market Carpets   •   Tire World   •   Triangle Motors   •   Wegmans   •   Woodsboro Bank



We are currently accepting a limit number of Italian-themed exhibitors. If you are interested in participating, please send us a note using the Contact Us form. We will get back to you promptly.



Want to help with Festa Italiana? Click here to volunteer.

Maria Giovanna, Event Chairwoman

Maria Giovanna Galasso Melillo was born and raised in Avellino, a small city in the Campania region of Italy. She received a degree in architecture from the University of Naples, and in 1991 she moved to the United States with her two sons to follow her husband who was pursuing a medical-research career. She and her family have been residents of Frederick ever since!

Maria Giovanna worked in the architectural profession in PA and MD for over 15 years before starting Sharing My Italy, a home-based business providing services in Italian language, cooking and travel. In addition, Maria Giovanna is an instructor for the Institute of Learning in Retirement (ILR) at Frederick Community College. She will be leading her first ILR group tour to Italy this spring.

Watch Maria Giovanna’s interview on Comcast Newsmakers!

Habitat for Humanity

100% of proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County, MD

Founded in 1993, Frederick Habitat is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Since 1995, our affiliate has built and renovated dozens of homes in Frederick County. We work in partnership with many local non-profits, businesses, and government, like the Builder's Association and the Frederick housing Trust. We have a missions program to aid regions struck with natural disasters, such as the Gulf Coast, and have tithed over $100,000 to the House For House Program, supporting construction of over 38 homes in Mexico.