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Read about us on the New Yorker!

The best sandwich at this FiDi hole-in-the-wall is the No. 26, the Pisillo, a madcap omnibus of flavors that includes prosciutto di parma, porchetta, mozzarella di bufala, and roasted red peppers. Then again, there’s the No. 16, the Perugia, in which tart balsamic dressing plays off the saltiness of coppa pork cuts. The Trento, No. 9, is true bliss, however, dripping with truffle oil and stacked with speck, smoked mozzarella, and arugula. Pisillo is filled with customers who will swear by their order to the detriment of all others. That said, nearly every one of the giant sandwiches approaches, and even attains, perfection.

Antonella Silvio and Carmelo Nazzaro opened Pisillo almost three years ago, as a white-tiled homage to Silvio’s home town in Italy, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, an arresting stone bastion nestled in the hills above Naples. Sant’Agata, which Italian TV once called “a counterweight to our industrial society,” was also once the home of Giovanni de Blasio, the grandfather of New York’s current mayor. Pisillo’s proximity to City Hall quickly insured that Bill de Blasio became a loyal customer. Pictures of him visiting for a quick bite adorn the walls. The Mayor’s order? The No. 32, the Sant’Agata, a sandwich designed by de Blasio himself: mortadella, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, arugula, and extra-virgin olive oil. Thinking about it, it’s probably the best.

On any weekday at Pisillo, between about noon and one-thirty, it’s hard to move, and even think, amid the scrum of union reps, bankers, and City Hall workers baying orders to a background of solid nineties Eurodance hits (think “Rhythm of the Night”). They choose their bread, baked fresh every day in Bensonhurst: huge, fluffy focaccia, chewy sfilatino, and fourteen-inch loaves strewn with sesame seeds that burst in the mouth like the serrated beat of an Italo-disco classic.

In days past, the generally accepted protocol was to grab your ginormous sandwich when your name was called, and then devour it with a friend on a nearby park bench. Three months ago, however, Pisillo snapped up the lease from the struggling coffee shop next door, where it now sells espresso, pignoli cookies, and crisp sfogliatella pastries, shaped like lobster tails and filled with cream, in an environment bedecked with memorabilia of the Turin football team Juventus. If you eat in, you’re liable to hear the occasional bit of City Hall gossip. The other day, three men with sausage-size fingers sat around a table, bickering in low voices. “O.K., then, do we really want mass labor disruption in New York City?” one asked. He waited a beat. “I’m assuming that means a no.” They then went back to arguing about who had the better sandwich. (Sandwiches $8.50-$13.90.) ♦

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The Beautiful Montesarchio!

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The Beautiful Montesarchio!

Montesarchio is the site of ancient Caudium, an ancient city of Apulia et Calabria, situated on the road from Beneventum (modern Benevento) to Capua. It seems probable that it was in early times a place of importance, and the capital or chief city of the tribe called the Caudini; but it bears only a secondary place in history. It is first mentioned during the Second Samnite War, 321 BCE, when the Samnite army under Gaius Pontius encamped there, previous to the great disaster of the Romans in the neighbouring pass known as the Caudine Forks (Livy ix. 2); and again, a few years later, as the headquarters occupied by the Samnites, with a view of being at hand to watch the movements of the Campanians. (Id. ix. 27.) The town of Caudium is not mentioned during the Second Punic War, though the tribe of the Caudini is repeatedly alluded to.

Niebuhr supposes the city to have been destroyed by the Romans, in revenge for their great defeat in its neighbourhood; but there is no evidence for this. It reappears at a later period as a small town situated on the Appian Way, and apparently deriving its chief importance from the transit of travellers (Hor. Sat. i. 5. 51; Strabo v. p. 249): the same causes preserved it in existence down to the close of the Roman Empire. (Ptol. iii. 1. § 67; Itin. Ant. p. 111; Itin. Hier. p. 610; Tab. Peut.) We learn that it received a colony of veterans; and it appears from Pliny, as well as from inscriptions, that it retained its municipal character, though deprived of a large portion of its territory in favor of the neighboring city of Beneventum. (Plin. iii. 11. s. 16; Lib. Colon. p. 232; Orelli, Inscr. 128, 131.) The period of its destruction is unknown: the name is still found in the 9th century, but it is uncertain whether the town still existed at that time.

The position of Caudium is fixed by the Itineraries, which all concur in placing it on the Appian Way, 21 Roman miles from Capua, and 11 from Beneventum; and as the total distance thus given from Capua to Beneventum is perfectly correct, there can be no doubt that the division of it is so too.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, in the 7th century a Lombard nobleman called Arcolo founded a shelter and fought against Charlemagne. In that occasion the burgh was fortified and a tower, still visible today, was built at the summit of the hill.

Later the castle was rebuilt, but the Normans destroyed it. It was again rebuilt in the 15th century. Feudataries who held Montesarchio include, starting from the 13th century, D'Aquino, Della Leonessa, CaraccioloCarafa and D'Avalos, who owned it until the abolition of feudality in 1805.

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Auguri Juventus!

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Auguri Juventus!

Juventus win the 2015 Scudetto! 

There are few certainties in life. One of these is Juventus.

Seasons and shirts change, players come and go, but the Old Lady is always resplendent whenever she steps out. The belle of the ball. Years go by, and with them come new challenges, but one of life’s certainties is that Juventus will always be up to the task, stunning as ever.

The club were up to the challenge again this year, winning an incredible fourth straight league title, the 33rd of its glorious history. There were changes in personnel and playing style but the substance was just the same.

Our 33rd Scudetto comes courtesy of an extraordinary group of players and coach tailor-made for them. It also belongs to the Juventus supporters who overcame any initial doubts and scepticism, continuing to love the Old Lady, no ifs, no buts. It’s the Scudetto we dedicate to you, Bianconeri fans: #4Ju33.

In the last few seasons, Juve first triumphed amid enthusiasm, against all odds, before confirming their dominance with pride the following year. The third league title saw the Bianconeri break all records that stood before them, while this year they harnessed all of the confidence they have in their own endless ability. The club won the Scudetto again with the swagger of champions and the patience of a great side.

That’s where Massimiliano Allegri made his mark. He charted the route and the new signings needed to reach the finish line.

The coach conveyed calm to the team and led them to the Scudetto with a result against one of the surprise packages of the season, a team who had held us to a draw at Juventus Stadium.

Twenty games unbeaten, from Empoli to Empoli. An 18-game unbeaten home run, the best attack, the best defence and 19 clean sheets. Seasons come and go but Juve are the same as ever.

The 2014/15 side is a majestic symphony. A group that have produced football which is out of this world.

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Pisillo Featured on NY Daily News!

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Pisillo Featured on NY Daily News!

Only in New York could an Italian-American mayor find a piece of the minuscule mountain village his family left a century ago just steps from City Hall.

Mayor de Blasio frequently grabs lunch at Pisillo Italian Panini shop on Nassau St. , which Antonella Silvio opened in November 2012 — the same month de Blasio was elected mayor.

She took that as a good sign.

“I said, ‘I think this — it is my destiny,’ ” said Silvio, who co-owns the shop with her husband, Carmelo Nazzaro .

Silvio knew de Blasio’s grandfather Giovanni de Blasio was from her hometown, Sant’Agata dei Goti — everyone there knows who the mayor is — but he didn’t know her.

So her family told the mayor’s distant cousin Roberta Mongillo, who they knew well. Mongillo quickly informed de Blasio that there was a hometown cook within walking distance of City Hall.

Shortly after he was inaugurated, the mayor came by to say hello and sample the paninis, which are served cold on freshly baked bread.

“It was so nice,” said Silvio. “He wished me good luck.”

Since then, de Blasio has become a regular, with his staff stopping by several times a week to pick up his food.

His typical choice is something he concocted — prosciutto, porchetta, bufala mozzarella, roasted peppers, arugula and balsamic dressing. It’s now on the menu, dubbed the “Sant’Agata.” Top aides also frequent the shop, which is decorated with framed prints of Italian scenery, a Juventus soccer team banner and a picture of Silvio and de Blasio.

Silvio, who lives with her husband and two kids in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, said she opened the restaurant because she couldn’t find an authentic Italian sandwich shop she liked.

“I always said to my husband, what kind of sandwich do they eat here?” she said.

Many of their ingredients are imported from Italy — conveniently, as Silvio’s husband also runs an import-export business .

New Yorkers seem to appreciate the Italian touch. The shop had a 41/2-star Yelp rating Friday from 127 reviews.

And perhaps more important for de Blasio, it also has an “A” rating from the city Health Department.

Silvio said she and her husband left Italy eight years ago because they struggled to find work.

“New York, they give a chance for everybody,” she said. “It’s a beautiful country.”

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Pisillo Featured on Eyewitness News!

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Pisillo Featured on Eyewitness News!

By Lauren Glassberg

A small Italian shop in Lower Manhattan is getting a lot of attention thanks to Mayor de Blasio.

The Italian-American mayor found the restaurant run by people who happen to be from the village his family left years ago.

Pisillo on Nassau Street is a slice of Italy.

Here it's all about the panini, imported meats, and cheese on fresh bread. And unlike most paninis served in America, the sandwiches here are served cold just like in Italy.

"In the beginning, they want it hot and then they taste it and say it's very good," said Antonella Silvio.

She and her husband Carmelo Nazzaro opened their 600 square foot spot in November of 2012, just blocks from City Hall, a fortuitous time and location for the couple, as Bill de Blasio had just been elected mayor.

"So I say maybe it was good luck for us too because he's from my same village, I was so excited," said Antonella.

Yes, Mayor de Blasio's family is originally from Sant Agata de Goti, Antonella's own village, a connection that led to an invite to his inaugural, and quickly the mayor became a customer.

"He came inside and said, oh, you're from Sant Agata, right? So we started to talk and he gave me a picture with him, and he speaks Italian," said Antonella.

Pretty good Italian, she says. And as for his order?

"When he came here, he make a sandwich, mozzarella with pistachio nuts, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, arugula, and extra virgin olive oil," said Carmelo.

It was soon the sandwich became #32 on the menu, named for that tiny village. And the mayor is onto something.

People have their favorites, and they don't waver.

"What if I told you that Mayor de Blasio gets the Sant Agata," we asked one customer. "He's got to try the New Yorker, it's New York," he said.

Well said.

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Pisillo Featured as Top 5 Italian Paninis in NYC on CBS!

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Pisillo Featured as Top 5 Italian Paninis in NYC on CBS!

Pisillo is one of those places you’d never notice by simply walking by, but gets its wide praise and following through word of mouth. It’s rather perfect for a quick lunch pick-up, although they do have several tables if you wish to sit in. Be warned that Pisillo is known for its huge portions, so it is probably best (and more fun) to share. We also found out that it is owned by an Italian family from a town near Napoli, can you get anymore genuine than that?

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Sant'Agata

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Sant'Agata

is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Benevento in the Italian region Campania, located about 35 km northeast of Naples and about 25 km west of Benevento near the Monte Taburno.

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