Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month

Italian-Heritage-Month

October is Italian-American Heritage Month in the United States– designated as such to coincide with the celebration of Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus is credited with the discovery of the New World in 1492 and was born in Genoa.

There are more than 15 million Americans who identify themselves as Italian-American, which makes our ethnic group one of the most robust nationally. When presenting about Italian-American history and culture, I always say that every one of us has at least some tie to Italy– either through bloodlines or perhaps a favorite food or piece of art. Italian life, art, culture and cuisine has touched us all in some way and the month of October pays tribute to the spirit that permeates through Italian blood.

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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 on the word “ethnicity,” bringing people to a fuller understanding of what it means to be from Irpinia and how the region’s traditions can, and should be preserved for everyone, with the ultimate goal of encouraging the area’s young people to stay as well as to encourage tourism. In this week’s post, Valentina Taccone shares the vision for Etn.ia. Continue reading

‘Crystel’ Blue Persuasion

blue

Maria Dora Giovino as Queen Edwine in Giuseppe Rossi’s “Blue Crystel.”

A young director originally from Guardia Lombardi has taken the cinematic world by storm with his latest short film.

Giuseppe Rossi’s 2018 work, “Blue Crystel,” tells the story of Crystel, who lives in a science-fiction world populated mostly by women. Crystel must find the legendary Blue Crystal in order to break the curse on men and to help all of humankind survive. Continue reading

Top 10 Places To Visit in Irpinia

Abbazia del Goleto

Abbazia del Goleto, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi (AV)

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 only UNESCO sites,  but it is not clear on a first glance. (It does, however, raise the question– how do we get Irpinian locales on the UNESCO World Heritage map?)

As an American of Irpinian descent, I do not profess to have all of the answers to when it comes to a “must-see” list for all of Avellino Province. I believe that name “Irpinia” should be just as well-known as Tuscany, Rome, Sicily, Venice, or any other heavily-traveled location throughout Italy. I started this blog because I firmly believe that this incredible section of Italy deserves its rightful place among more well-known locations and that it should be a destination for all, not just for those who claim heritage from the region.

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On the Trail of the Lombards

grottaOne 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 are closest to my heart.

I follow the Facebook page for the Comune di Grottaminarda on Facebook and was happily surprised recently when I saw that the town recently put its guide, “Grottaminarda within Longobard ways across Europe” on its website. As the Lombard tribe is the tribe from where my ancestral town of Guardia Lombardi derives its name (it means “lookout of the Lombards”) and my own last name, “Longo,” directly comes from the tribe’s name, I knew I had to take a look. The Lombards did settle in Irpinia and several towns, such as Guardia Lombardi, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, and Torella dei Lombardi, recognize their influence in their names. Continue reading