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…

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,…

Cooking Up Culture: Meet Raffaella DiStefano

If you were to follow Raffaella DiStefano on Instagram (@raffaellasara), you would realize two things– number one, she’s extremely proud of her Italian heritage, and number two, her feed will make you hungry! Raffaella grew up in the Boston area, which is known for having a heavy Italian American population. Her family is originally from…

A Song for Guardia

Sometimes music is the best way to express a feeling– such is the case with the song “Uardia mia bella” (“My Beautiful Guardia”) by Emanuela Sica, which pays homage to the town of Guardia Lombardi by recounting how it came to have two patron saints and encouraging people to remember their roots. This song was…

A Virtual Tarantella

The Tarantella of Montemarano is not just a symbol of the town itself– it is a symbol of Irpinia in all of its glory. Now, a group from the Ministero di Tarantella of Montemarano has decided to bring the Tarantella’s beloved rhythms online in order to uplift anyone who chooses to listen. Battista Salvio, Roberto…