By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 22, 2006 at 8:52 AM
Tony Piacentini is a Milwaukeean with Tuscan roots and Wednesday night he brought an old Sienese tradition to Brew City.

At about 9 p.m. at Libiamo, Piacentini and his Wednesday night gang held what might be the first ever Panforte toss in Milwaukee (to be sure, we'd have to ask some of the older Groppis or other Tuscans in town).

"Dean Cannestra (Libiamo owner) stated this will be an annual event for Libiamo, open to all," Piacentini said, "with weather permitting even holding it outside.  As you can see we moved tables and played in the bar area, watching the Packers game at the same time."

The object of the traditional holiday game is to launch the flat, dense -- but oh so sweet -- Panforte fruitcake -- a Christmas treat -- across a table and get closest to the edge without said cake crashing to the floor. This is the first in what Piacentini hopes will be an annual event. All are welcome to come and join the fun, learn the game and work out the kinks.

The fruitcake -- not exactly a Panforte -- was made by Piacentini's cousin Paul Piacentine of Piacentine's Artisan Bread in the Milwaukee Public Market.

"Once we all 'dialed in' there were multiple 'hangers' per round over the edge," said Piacentini, who is pictured above.  "We used an 8-ft. table .... static was built up on the Panforte while the landing and slide occurred."
Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.