In Their Own Words

For many people, just to hear the voice of a loved one again is worth more than gold itself. When historian and author Anthony V. Riccio set out to record Italian immigrant stories in Boston’s North End nearly 40 years ago, he did not know that these voices would one day prove to be that…

The Voice of My Past

Every October, the more than 15.7 million Americans of Italian descent celebrate National Italian American Heritage Month. For every single one of those Italian Americans, there is a story as to why they are proud of their heritage and what their ethnic origins mean to them. I’m no different from my Italian American brothers and…

The Entry to Hell and the Cult of Mephitis

It is the place that Virgil described more than 2,000 years ago when he wrote, “Est locus Italiae medio sub montibus altis, nobilis et fame multis memoratus in oris, Amsancti valles” or, in English, “There is a place in the middle of Italy beneath high mountains, noble and celebrated for fame in many places, the…

Roger II, the Assizes of Ariano and the Kingdom of Sicily

Before the Unification of Italy in 1861 following the Risorgimento, the Italian peninsula was divided into several nation-states, the largest and most important of which was the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was formed when the Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples in 1816. Founded by…

La Pigna di Pasqua: An Avellinese Easter Treat

Throughout Southern Italy, especially in the Campania Region, Easter food traditions are dominated by Pizza Chiena (Also known as “Easter Pizza,” “Pizza Rustica,” “Pizza Gain,” etc.) and Pastiera (a citrusy grain or rice pie). While both of these dishes are beloved staples of the Irpinian Easter table, there are a few more dishes that grace…

After the Earthquake: Meet Stefano Ventura

As previously mentioned on this blog, the November 23, 1980 Earthquake decisively split Irpinia into a “before” and an “after.” (Click here and here for two related articles.) For Stefano Ventura, reconstruction in Irpinia goes beyond the act of rebuilding– it includes the reconstruction of a cultural identity that dates back centuries and placing that…

90 Seconds: An Interview with Giuseppe Rossi

Ninety seconds on November 23, 1980 split Irpinia into a “before” and an “after.” Now, 40 years later, documentary film maker Giuseppe Rossi is commemorating that life-changing event in a newly-released documentary. Rossi, who is originally from Guardia Lombardi (AV), has been passionate about films and cartoons since his youth. While in high school, he…

Nusco’s Role in Combating COVID-19

Situated between the Ofanto and Calore Rivers, the Lombards built a castle in Nusco to defend the valley from invaders. Now, Nusco is helping defend the world from an invader of another kind. DESMON SpA is a manufacturer of professional refrigeration equipment. According to its website, DESMON was founded in 1994 as a company for…

Who Was Saint William of Vercelli?

On June 25, Irpinians all celebrated the Feast Day of Saint William of Vercelli, also known as William of Montevergine. While I’ve mentioned him before in Irpinia: The Land of the Wolf and in our list of the Top 10 Places to Visit in Irpinia, I thought it would be fun to dive a little…

The Languages of Campania

COVID-19 lockdown for those of us in the United States meant that pre-planned trips to Italy had to be postponed, collectively breaking the hearts of many Italian Americans who live for their summer trips back to their ancestral lands. While the lockdown, now slowly lifting, was difficult for many, for others it provided a time…