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Novi Retirees Immerse Themselves in Italian Culture and Cuisine at Fox Run

July 10, 2012

NOVI, MI (July 10, 2012) - Novi is thousands of miles away from Italy, but you'd never know it at Fox Run retirement community where a newly-formed Italian-American club by residents is quickly attracting new members who are to immersing themselves in Italian culture and cuisine.
Resident Joe Jones, an organizer of the club who is not Italian by birth, speaks some Italian, has visited Italy about 30 times, and cooks Italian meals like risotto and Fegato alla Veneziana, a dish of calf's liver and onions served over polenta, whenever he gets the chance, sharing his meals with his neighbors.
When Jones moved to Fox Run, he was happy to discover many Italian-Americans live there. He began hosting Italian lunches, preparing the main course, while his friend and neighbor Bruno Morelli brought the cannoli.
Jones and his friends at Fox Run have enjoyed sharing the culture and food so much that they formed an official Italian-American club, which they named La Bella Vita.
"It's very new. We've only had a couple of meetings, but it's growing every meeting, and more people are coming, including non-Italians, which is good," Jones said. "Those of us who are involved are really happy about it."
Lori Lyon, a fellow Fox Run neighbor and the vice president of the La Bella Vita club, comes from a traditional Italian family. Her father was born in a small town outside Rome, and her Italian grandparents lived in the house next door to her while she was growing up in the United States.  She speaks enough Italian to get by when she visits the country. She has taken eight trips to Italy and has been to every region except Sicily.
"We hope to form a family, the way Italian families share and the way they do things together," Lyon said. "We thought we would bring that to Fox Run." She said  the La Bella Vita club plans to host Italian language classes to teach basic phrases. It also will bring in speakers to teach residents about Italian art, culture, music, and food.
"We want it to be fun and give people some new experiences," Lyon said. "Italy is roughly the size of Arizona, and when you stop and think about what came out of that culture---from Michelangelo to the roads the Romans built---there is a tremendous amount of culture there, and most of us have never studied Italian history."
As the La Bella Vita club becomes more established, Jones said the group hopes to raise some money that it will donate to local Italian organizations. He said it will also host other activities like a Columbus Day event and other gatherings that celebrate Italian culture and heritage.
Whichever direction the La Bella Vita club  decides to take, at its core will remain the simple concept of camaraderie among people interested in Italian culture.