A Way to Say I Love You (North End Series, Part 2)

A streetside Mass provided one of the most moving moments of St. Anthony’s Feast in Boston for me this past weekend. The outdoor Mass in honor of St. Anthony is held the Saturday evening of St. Anthony’s Feast, where Via Di Santa Lucia and Via Di Sant’Antonio meet. This year’s Mass was presided over by…

Ties that Remain: Celebrating Guardia Lombardi in Pennsylvania

More than one hundred years ago, a group of Italian immigrants arrived in what is now known as the “Bunker Hill” section of Dunmore, Lackawanna County. These immigrants came from the small Southern Italian town of Guardia Lombardi, located east of the city of Naples in the Province of Avellino, and with them they brought…

The “Feast of All Feasts” in Boston’s North End

More than 100 years ago, immigrants from Montefalcione brought Saint Anthony’s Feast to Boston’s North End, continuing their hometown’s veneration that dates to the 14th century. This year’s feast will be held from August 25-28. Saint Anthony became the official patron saint of Montefalcione because of his protection during the 1688 Sannio Earthquake, which severely…

“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…

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…

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Italian-American 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…

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…

My Grandfather, My Hero

It’s a story I never get tired of telling. My grandfather, Joseph Anthony Longo (Giuseppantonio Luongo in Italian) arrived in the United States in 1927. He was 11 years old. The only thing he ever really wanted to do was go home to his birthplace, Guardia dei Lombardi, Avellino Province. He never made it.