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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Caffe Torino -- Food, Fun, And Friday Piano Music



Friday evenings here in Stresa can be a lot of fun! Like last Friday, when we ate dinner at Cafe Torino, on the full-to-capacity terrace, listening to the engaging piano music and songs of Joe Diverio.


Caffe Torino is a staple in Stresa, having held its place in Piazza Cadorna for many years. And Joe Diverio is a staple at Cafe Torino, playing piano and singing to crowds there many summer weekends since he returned to Stresa in 2002.


Joe was born in Italy, trained in music at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music, and then began his career as an accordion instructor and, at that time, the youngest concert performer in Italy. By 1960 he was performing in Italy, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Holland and Luxembourg. In Beirut, Lebanon he began working at the famous Caves Du Roy Nightclub, eventually remaining there several years, playing music, managing the club, and releasing records.
(   Continued ...   )


The following years took him away from Lebanon due to civil unrest there and travel and work around the world, but Joe always found himself returning to Beirut. And although that's his 'home away from home', since 2002 he has been back here on Lago Maggiore, to the benefit of patrons who get to hear him at Caffe Torino. 

Cafe Torino has an even longer history here in Stresa than Joe. Originally it had a different location in Stresa, near the Comune building, but it has been in the larger piazza location for many years now. Arguably the heart of the piazza restaurants, the restaurant has a large indoor room that is open year-round, and a terrace that opens with the first warm day and stays open as long into the autumn as possible. The menu, translated into several languages, offers many standard favorites and some of their own interpretations. On this evening I had a caprese salad. They also offer another version, with avocado slices. I followed that with a very classic and delicious eggplant parmigiana.


During all the time we ate, Joe played. I heard songs in Italian, English, French, and possibly other languages. The crowd was loving it! There was some singing along to favorites, such as "Those Were the Days". We had a reservation on the early side, but very soon every seat was taken and there was a waiting list. I definitely advise reservations on Friday evenings when Joe is playing.



 You can learn more about Joe on his bio on his Facebook page, but even better, just come and hear him play!  Caffe Torino is in Piazza Cadorna, and is open almost always for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, snacks, caffe, etc.


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