In 1953, Giovanna Aquia, along with her father Pasquale, her mother Rosa, and her little brother Salvatore (Sammy) embarked on a journey that would forever change their lives. The family boarded the famous Italian luxury liner the “Andrea Doria” and made their way to America from Cefalu, Sicily. They entered the U.S. via NYC and arrived to their final destination, Little Italy, Baltimore on June 23, 1953. Giovanna likes to say “At a time when no one liked to move around, our family traveled 3500 miles and we haven’t moved 200 feet since.” Yes, they came to Little Italy and stayed, and would, in time, create an eclectic Baltimore Italian Restaurant! In the years that the Aquia family has lived in Little Italy has made their lives a great deal easier to cope with since they couldn’t be with their family in Italy.
The family life always revolved around the dinner table. It was there that a great appreciation of simple Sicilian cuisine became rooted in them. Their house was always open to many friends and family. On Sundays and Holidays, Nonna Rosa, would cook up a feast. They all just sat together, enjoyed each other and talked and laughed while they were “feeding their faces.” Giovanna married Albert Blattermann, a neighborhood “boy” and because they wanted to instill an ethnic life style in their children, they stayed and raised them in Little Italy. Until 2016, our family was the only family with 4 generations still living in Little Italy. It was the desire to share our Sicilian heritage and Sicilian cuisine that prompted the family to buy an older neighborhood diner. Giovanna along with her daughter Gia created a new, warm, comfortable Italian restaurant in Baltimore’s Little Italy. At Cafe Gia, we strived very hard to recreate a Sicilian bistro, a place where one feels like they are in Sicily while dining. Our walls and tables are embraced with hand painted colorful murals while the exterior echoes an old Sicilian bistro. We have created a little bit of Italy with fresh, delicious Italian food and friendly service. My daughter and partner Gia Fracassetti and son in law, Executive Chef Gianfranco Fracassetti, and I welcome you to our ristorante to experience a true trip to Italia via Piccola Italia. Buon Appetito! Buon Divertamento!