“Zì Vicienzo”: Bonito’s Resident Mummy

“I am Vincenzo Camuso,” with these words, the soul belonging to Bonito’s resident mummy has revealed his identity to the living in dreams. For more than 200 years, “Zì Vicienzo” (Uncle Vincenzo) has been on display for the faithful who live in and around Bonito to venerate as if he was a canonized saint. Camuso’s…

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…

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…

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…

Irpinia Needs Your Vote

Which places are in your heart? That’s the question that FondoAmbiente Italia (FAI) is asking in its tenth “I Luoghi del Cuore” (“Places of the Heart”) campaign. I Luoghi del Cuore was created in 2003 by FAI in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo as a way to involve Italians in preserving and promoting cultural and historic…

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,…