Italian American Responses to the 1980 Irpinia Earthquake

My mother was pregnant with me on November 23, 1980. By this time, my Nonno Joe had been dead for seven, going on eight, years. She remembers hearing the news that an earthquake hit Italy, but did not put two and two together that the quake had hit her father’s home region. The 1980 Irpinia…

Preserving Cultural Heritage for All

Tradition flows through Irpinia like the waters of the Ufita or the Ofanto— it is just as much a part of the area’s history  as its own natural landscape. For Valentina Taccone and Nunzio Gaeta, preserving that cultural heritage in a way to reach modern audiences has become a passion. Their latest project, Etn.ia, plays…

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…

On the Trail of the Lombards

One of the Irpinian towns I know quite well is Grottaminarda, as I stayed there several times while visiting when lodging was unavailable in Guardia. Grottaminarda is a beautiful city in the area surrounding the Ufita River– it’s also the access point from the autostrada to most of the Irpinian towns, including Guardia Lombardi, that…

La Repubblica Italiana As Seen From Irpinia

La Festa della Repubblica Italiana (Italian National Day) is celebrated annually on June 2 in commemoration of the 1946 referendum where Italians went to the polls to decide on what form of government they would like to have following World War II and the fall of fascism. On this day, 12, 717,923 votes were cast…

The Art of Tombolo

One of the most striking traditional art forms I saw while in Irpinia was that of “tombolo,” a form of lace making that requires special needles, a skilled eye and a lot of patience. In the town of Santa Paolina, nicknamed “the town of tombolo,” the old tradition is alive and well– in fact, there’s…