An Easton couple share a life filled with art and cooking
By Reen Waterman
An English language class in Milan, Italy brought Easton residents Rosario and Constance Del Niro together decades ago, but it is their shared passion for art and Italian food that has inspired them ever since.
Constance grew up in New York City and Rosario grew up in Argentina and Italy. Visiting Italy between her junior and senior years in college, she loved it so much that upon graduation she moved to Milan to teach English as a second language. Rosario met Constance when he attended the language school where Constance taught. “When I met Rosario it was love at first sight — for him, it just took a little longer,” Constance says with a sparkle in her eye.
Living now in Easton, where they moved 10 years ago, the couple continues to pursue their passions. Constance is the Director of Children’s Education and Community Programs at the Academy Art Museum in Easton. “Visual arts have always captivated my heart. An artist’s job is to notice and record that noticing in meaningful ways,” says Constance, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art and a Master of Education degree in fine art education.
Rosario is a culinary artist with a passion for creating gastronomic masterpieces. He is a research and development chef who in his professional-grade gourmet kitchen (one of their requirements in a new home) creates products for retail and wholesale distribution. He also is a spokesperson for the National Pasta Association.
“We are both artists — we just work in different mediums,” Rosario says. “Respecting ingredients is just like respecting art materials. Both culinarians and visual artists learn how to use their materials to connect with others and build on their craft to improve their message.”
After a brief period during which Rosario served as a petroleum geologist in Italy, the couple moved to the United States. Seeking a career change, and with no formal culinary training, they opened and then ran a restaurant in Ipswich, Massachusetts, for the next 30 years. In 1987 they received Boston Magazine’s Super Food Award for restaurants north of Boston. After selling their restaurant, Rosario became a corporate chef and later vice president for Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizza and Pasta.
The couple moved to Easton for a job opportunity. Though the job for Rosario did not work out, they decided to stay. “After surviving decades of brutal New England winters, seeing friendly people strolling around town in light coats and sipping coffee outdoors in February really appealed to us,” Rosario says.
Shortly after moving to Easton, Constance walked into the Academy Art Museum seeking a position as an art educator. To her delight, she was hired shortly thereafter. “I’ve always loved museums and the whole idea of coming up with a theme and displaying objects of interest for others to see is very rewarding,” she says.
Closely aligned with Constance’s love of museums and displays is her passion for exposing children to art. She designs programs based on the museum’s exhibits and gives tours to school groups. “I try to light the fire of possibility in students, wanting them to realize that creativity springs from making observations and then experimenting in translating those observations into visual arts,” she says. “The arts instill elasticity of mind, which is essential to succeed in any field.”
Constance and Rosario are a couple with unbridled enthusiasm for finding new ways to expose people of all ages to art, lighting a creative spark in new students, or creating the next amazing epicurean delight for restaurants. They mirthfully describe their current phase in life as “having a blast without worrying so much.” As Constance concludes, “The kids are through college, we’re not ready to retire, we still have plenty of energy, and our curiosity is undying.”