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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…

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…

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…

Saint Rocco: A Saint for These Times

During these times of COVID-19, many people are turning to Saint Rocco for protection. He is one of the most venerated saints in Irpinia— a quarter of the towns in the Province of Avellino have some sort of devotion to him. But who is Saint Rocco? Saint Rocco protects against the plague, disability, and natural…

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…

Top 10 Places To Visit in Irpinia

This past week, the Region of Campania released its new tourist map, highlighting must-see locales for visitors— including such well-known sites as Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Paestum, and others. What was striking, as seen below, was that the map excluded must-see locations in Avellino Province. I have been told that this map highlights…

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…

Irpinia: The Land of the Wolf

One of the most enduring and beloved symbols of Irpinia is that of the wolf. While the she-wolf who raised Romulus and Remus may be Italy’s most famous wolf, it’s the Irpinian wolves who have protected our land and its people for millennia. The name “Irpinia” derives from the Oscan word “hirpus”, which means wolf,…