Cultural Italian American Organization 144 Genesee Street, Suite 102-240 Auburn, New York 13021
Cultural Italian American Organization144 Genesee Street, Suite 102-240Auburn, New York 13021


Seventh Annual Recognition Dinner

Sunday, October 9, 2022


Congratulations to Father Frank Lioi and Father Louis Vasile as the honorees at the

CIAO Seventh Annual Recognition Dinner!


Click on the picture to enlarge, and use the arrow on the picture to scroll.

Thank you to

Kathy DeJoy Genkos and Jay Elice for the pictures!



CIAO in Salem Oregon

June, 2021


In the spirit of their motto “Cultura e Caritas” (Culture and Charity), The Cultural Italian American Organization of Auburn extended their assistance to a fundraiser for the South Salem Church of the Nazarene, in Salem, Oregon.


CIAO members Paolo and Anna Saltarello traveled to visit and assist son Joe (a west coast CIAO member), his family, and members of the South Salem Nazarene Church, to prepare and serve a traditional Pasta Dinner for a fundraiser to support the church’s youth program to provide scholarships to a Christian summer camp. Maria Saltarello Lentini personally baked three different types of homemade Italian cookies (totaling 550 cookies) which were brought to Oregon and served with the pasta dinner.


The event took place on Sunday, June 6, 2021, with about 150 dinners served, and over $2,000 was raised. Food was prepared by CIAO members Paolo and Anna Saltarello; Joe Saltarello, his wife Heidi, his children, Anthony and Tessa; and Joe’s brother Mario Saltarello.

After the church event, the Saltarello family delivered the remaining cooked pasta dinners to a local homeless camp at a Salem park.


Pastor Aaron Middleton expressed thanks and appreciation for the effort of all who prepared and provided support for the event, saying, “An amazing time was had by all, as the authentic Italian dinner was served. The smiling faces and the servants’ hearts put this meal over the top. This will definitely be happening again at South Salem Church of the Nazarene.”







CIAO Cuccina Crew made CIAO's traditional pizza fritte for the children who attended the 2021 summer camp at Booker T. Washington in Auburn. 




October 12, 2020


The Cultural Italian American Organization held a flag raising ceremony at the Christopher Columbus monument in Auburn. The Stars and Stripes was raised to “The Star Spangled Banner,” as the Tricolor flag was also raised to the Italian national hymn, “Fratelli d’Italia.”


As in many cities of the USA, many Italian organizations commemorate Columbus Day with events such as CIAO’s annual Testimonial Dinner, at which we honor a local person for their dedication to the betterment of the community. Due to these difficult times during the pandemic, CIAO postponed this event until 2021.


The flag raising took place by the Christopher Columbus monument erected in 1992 by the St. Francis Parish in Auburn, honoring the early Italian immigrants who settled in Auburn.


Participants were Tony Gucciardi, Vito Charella, Dick Paulino, Paul Saltarello, Paul Vitale, and Tony Tesoro.



We also once again helped the Old Erie Canal Heritage Park, located on the New York State Thruway, with their fundraiser on September 3, 2020, by again making and selling our traditional Pizza Fritte; all net proceeds were given to the park.




CIAO Cuccina Crew was busy this summer with several events. On July 31 and August 28, we made CIAO's traditional pizza fritte for the children who attended the summer camp at Booker T. Washington in Auburn. 



  • December - Buon Natale Christmas Party held at Osteria Salina, Auburn

  • September - Grape and Wine Making Festival at State Street Mall, Auburn

  • June - Limoncello and Italian cookies given out at admission to attendees of opening night of the musical "Light in the Piazza" at Merry Go Round Playhouse, with music provided by Paolo and Felice. 

  • Memorial Day - pizza fritte sold in front of Knight's of Columbus

  • March - San Giuseppe Day - A traditional St. Joseph's Table Dinner was held on Sunday, March 15 at Springside Inn in Auburn, with over 100 people attending. Ceremonies related to the Festa San Giuseppe took place during dinner. The altar of St. Joseph was adorned and set up. Homemade bread shaped like a shepherd's staff and zeppole were prepared by CIAO members and distributed during dniner. Click here for Auburn Citizen newspaper article.


  • March – San Giuseppe Day – A traditional St. Joseph's dinner was held on March 19 at Osteria Salina in Auburn. This event will be an annual feast of St. Joseph's Day with traditional food served for this day and will include live music for everyone to enjoy. Canned food items collected are brought to the St. Alphonsus Food Pantry.


  • A Pasta dinner was held at Genesee Elementary School in Auburn to raise money for the Odyssey of the Mind competitive teams.


  • June/July – Bocce League, with a banquet to conclude the season. This will be an annual league.


  • August – A concert was held August 11 at the Emerson Auditorium of Auburn Junior High School featuring the New York State National Guard Army Band from Kingston, New York.


  • September – The First Annual Grape-Wine Making Festival took place on September 28. This family event was held on the State Street Mall.


  • October – The Christopher Columbus Day Recognition Day Dinner was held on October 13 at the Springside Inn and honored Jack and Jerry Bisgrove, and Matteo Bartolotta. This sold out event was attended by 280 people. Mistress of Ceremonies was Carrie Lazarus of NewsChannel 9. This annual event will honor distinguished citizens of the Auburn community. From the proceeds of the dinner, C.I.A.O. donated $1,000.00 to the Brian Bisgrove Home of Courage at Everest Park. The goal of this center is to provide a retreat from the struggles of life, and foster growth and faith with a deeper understanding of God's presence in daily life.


  • December - The 1st Annual Buon Natale Christmas Buffet was held on December 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn. A wonderful buffet was enjoyed by all in attendance, and zeppola and homemade cookies were served for dessert. Music was provided by Paolo and Felice, and included a sing-a-long and caroling. 


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