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…

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…

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…

A Helping Hand for Criscuoli Hospital

While all of Italy is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Irpinia is also seeing its share of cases. As of this post, there are 369 cases of COVID-19 in Irpinia, with the region’s hotspots being Ariano Irpino and Lauro. To date, there have been 128,948 confirmed cases in Italy, which…

Irpinia Comes Together Over Coronavirus

  It’s a simple, yet profound, image that has been widely shared on social media outlets throughout Irpinia. Don Rino Morra, pastor of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Morra De Sanctis (AV), is seen consecrating a host during a Mass on Friday, March 13, yet he is the only one in the church, his solitary…

Folk Tales from Irpinia

It has been quite hectic on my end lately and, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I had wanted to this blog. The most positive happening over the past few months was that I got my dream job with the Italian American Podcast (seriously, check them out!) and have been…

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…