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Glorious Island Exile Elba's Radiant Beauty

The Restaurant that Frank Sinatra Made Famous Patsy's Italian Restaurant

For the Love of Figs Italy's Fig Trees Find a Home in the U.S.

A Race Not to be Lost Italy's Historic 'Mille Miglia'

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a or l l a ? seb mily a a B ed lian F h p a gra y It o t M Au rom ils o i f gg age Deta a r DiM Pack 0 fo e 2 o h a J earc age n es ee P wi S to gy R t n alo ITALIAN AMERICA a W ne e G




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Italian America


T h e O ff i c i a l P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e O r d e r S o n s a n d D a u g h t e r s o f I t a l y i n A m e r i c a ®





Elba Radiates Beauty that Few Americans Experience By Peter J. Ognibene


Italy’s Historic ‘Mille Miglia’ Continues its Run By Barbara Torre Veltri, Ed. D.


THE RESTAURANT THAT FRANK SINATRA MADE FAMOUS Patsy’s Italian Restaurant and Red Sauce Recipes By Miles Ryan Fisher



Italy’s Fig Trees Find a Home in the U.S. By Emily Wade Will

ON THE COVER: Along Via Bolognese in Florence, Italy, during the 2013 Mille Miglia. (luca85)

D e pa r t m e n t s

8 Regions of Italy 9 Our Story 18 Book Reviews 20 Bulletin Board 21 Speakers Bureau 26 OSDIA Nation

2 High Profile 4 National News 5 Oggi in Italia 6 Pagina Italiana 7 Mangia

31 From the National 32 Foundation Focus 33 Fighting Stereotypes 34 Letters to the Editor 35 The Last Word 36 Piacere

Italian America is published by The Order Sons and daughters of Italy in America 219 E Street NE • Washington, DC 20002 • Phone: (202) 547-2900 • Web: Editor-in-Chief: Miles Ryan Fisher Writers: Martha Witt; Peter J. Ognibene; Barbara Torre Veltri, Ed. D.; Emily Wade Will Translator: Serena Lonigro Proofreaders: Peggy Daino, Marlene Palazzo Graphic Designer: Diane Vincent To advertise: Contact (202) 547-2900

Italian America Magazine is published by the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA), the nation’s biggest and oldest organization for people of Italian heritage. To subscribe, see or call 1-800-552-6742. FALL 2018



High Profile

Italian Americans making an impact

From GITMO to Hollywood Donald Marcari’s First Trial Inspires Award-Winning Film Donald Marcari stood in the court room, beside United States Marine David Cox, who’d been charged with attempted murder. His client had even confessed, yet still maintained his innocence. So there Marcari was, a 28-year-old attorney in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defending his very first case since graduating Campbell University Law School in Raleigh, North Carolina. What he could not have possibly imagined was that his experience would one day become known to the nation as the award-winning motion picture A Few Good Men.

Marcari flew down to Cuba and met with the Colonel in command, who said that he’d reduce the charge to a criminal discharge, meaning all ten Marines could go home with no criminal record or jail time. After the meeting, Marcari walked out thinking, ‘Damn, I’m a hero.’ But when he told Cox of the deal, Cox’s reply was simple and direct. “I can’t do that, sir,” he said. “What do you mean you can’t?” Marcari asked. “You made a confession.”

“I was following orders,” Cox said. Marcari came from humble beOf the ten Marines charged, Cox ginnings. His paternal grandfather, was one of three who refused the plea Angelo, emigrated from Bari (Puglia Marcari during his four years in deal, forcing Marcari to try his first region) in 1911 and worked as “an ice the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate ever case at GITMO. “It was pretty and coal man,” lugging blocks of ice General Corps (JAG). intimidating down there,” Marcari and sacks of coal up stairwells. Three decades later, when Marcari’s father, Dominick, volunteered said, referring to the intensity of the base and the Marines to serve in World War II, they couldn’t find any record of stationed there. “But what kept me going was my client, him—his parents had never learned to read or write. He David Cox. He was really the strong one. He believed in was finally placed in the U.S. Marine Corps and sent to the what he was doing. He believed he was right. That gave Pacific Islands, becoming part of the Marine Fighter Attack me more courage knowing I was the only one he had.” Squadron 211 known as the “Wake Island Avengers.” Unlike in A Few Good Men, Marcari won the case As Marcari grew up, his father made it clear to him that although he never got a high school diploma himself, Marcari and his twin sister would. “I can remember from a young age how education was so important to him,” Marcari reflected. “I knew from my earliest memories that I was going to college.” Not only did Marcari graduate college, he went on to earn a master’s degree and then a law degree, joining the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) in 1986 because he “wanted to be in the court room.” Stationed at Oceana Naval Air Base in Virginia Beach, he was quickly sent by his commanding officer to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (GITMO), where ten Marines had been charged with attempted murder after performing a Code Red—extrajudicial punishment—on a fellow Marine. All of them had confessed to it. FALL 2018


outright (as did David Iglesias and Chris Johnson, the lawyers for the other two Marines who refused the plea). Rather than being dishonorably discharged—which the movie would lead you to believe—the three Marines were found guilty of simple assault, a misdemeanor that meant they were given credit for time served while on trial and received no reduction in rank. David Cox was able to continue his service. Marcari served his four years in JAG—two as defense counsel, two as prosecution. The trials involved situations much graver than the one at GITMO—cases involving rape, drugs, and murder. However, it was the case at GITMO that would resurface in Marcari’s life when, years later, he received a message from one of the GITMO Marines that a play called A Few Good Men was running on Broadway. ITALIAN AMERICA

High Profile

Italian Americans making an impact

Marcari later learned that it was written by an aspiring young playwright named Aaron Sorkin, who’d heard about the story from his sister, Debbie, a defense attorney who’d represented one of the seven Marines who’d taken the plea. While Sorkin didn’t consult with Marcari or the other lawyers who went to trial, Marcari is quick to note that Sorkin “did an excellent job with the story.” While some of the story was authentic and some of it fictionalized for dramatic effect, Marcari says that the most realistic character in the movie wasn’t Tom Cruise portraying the defense counsel—it was Jack Nicholson portraying the Colonel. After serving his tour in JAG and then working six years in a general practice, Marcari opened his own firm— Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban—in Chesapeake, Virginia. He still works there today, three decades after his very first trial inspired an award-winning Hollywood film. Yet, the most important reminder of his past that sits in his office has nothing to do with a movie at all. In fact, it goes back to before any of the film’s actors and actresses were even born. Sitting in his office is an old ice box, the kind that his grandfather once placed blocks of ice inside after hauling them up several flights of stairs.

Marcari with the old ice box that sits in his office.

Conduct Unbecoming by Donald Marcari Commander Mike DeMarco, the Navy’s most successful criminal defense attorney, is fed up with the bureaucracy and contemplates retirement. However, he takes one last case for a young sailor, Joshua Miller, who is charged with the murder of a marine war hero and is facing the death penalty. The evidence is largely circumstantial, yet Miller, for some reason, refuses to cooperate in his own defense. DeMarco presses on believing he can win an acquittal without his client’s help. Shortly before trial Miller has a change of heart. He tells DeMarco a bizarre story about falling in love with a beautiful, rich college student who unexpectedly called his barracks. He and his ‘girlfriend’ talk for weeks but, despite several attempts, never meet. Miller becomes frustrated and they break up. The next morning she calls alleging she was raped by three marines but refuses to give Miller more information. Shortly thereafter, Miller, while in the cafeteria, notices a marine named Williams giving him a ‘funny look.’ Initially the girlfriend denies Williams’s involvement but later says he was a party to the crime. Miller impersonates an NCIS agent and on New Year’s Day tries to obtain a confession from Williams, who denies knowing the girl or being involved in a rape. Miller now wants to take the stand and tell his story. DeMarco tries to convince him to remain silent and allow him to do his job. When Miller refuses, DeMarco knows the only way to save his client’s life is to find this girl and get to the truth about what really happened.



National News

Italian American issues and events

Rochester’s Little Italy Mural Adds Basilio, Mangione The Italian-American mural marking the east entrance of Rochester’s Little Italy has just gained two new members: boxer Carmen Basilio and jazz musician Chuck Mangione. Both Rochester natives, Basilio and Mangione join the mural’s six original members. Basilio, a professional boxer, was the world champion in the Welterweight and Middleweight divisions and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. Mangione, a flugelhorn and trumpet player, has won two Grammy Awards and is known for his jazz song “Feels So Good.” The addition of Basilio and Magione commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Italian-American people and culture in the city of Rochester (1868-2018). The first Italian immigrant to register as a Rochester resident was Domenico Sturla in 1868.

Rochester’s Little Italy Mural with (L. to R.) Frank Sinatra, (Whiteaster) Mario Cuomo, Madonna, Antonin Scalia, Rocky Marciano, Basilio, Liza Minelli, and Mangione.

The mural was designed by Rochester-based artist Domenico Colaprete.

Italian American to Compete in World Chess Championship For the first time since Bobby Fischer gained world renown in 1975, the United States will compete for the World Chess Championship. Twentyfive-year-old Fabiano Caruana won the As of September, Carruana was Candidates tournaranked as the #2 in the world in ment in Germany, chess—behind Carlsen. (Wolfgang Jekel) sending him on to the championship match that will be held in London beginning November 9. He will face the highest ranked player in the world, Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Carlsen has won the past two world chess championships. Caruana, who was born in Miami, Florida, has competed for the United States and Italy in the past.

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Italian Cheese is the new American For nearly a century, the most cheese produced in America was American-style cheese. The main driver behind this was the popularity of cheddar cheese, whose current production is three times that of all other American cheeses combined. But now, American cheese has a new definition: Mozzarella. Since 2010, the Italian-style cheese has been the most produced in the United States. The reason mozzarella’s rise in production is simple: pizza is that popular. According to food scientist and cheese historian Professor Paul Kindstedt at the University of Vermont, the rise of pizza’s popularity through the late 20th century is a combination of the desire for convenience, financial prosperity, and pizza’s natural versatility. “You have a pizza pie with mozzarella cheese, which is a very mild cheese that can be merged with almost any kind of ingredient to make an almost infinitely varied product,” he explained. While mozzarella remains the fastest growing cheese production in the United States, the second fastest is another Italian-style cheese: Parmesan. It will, however, be difficult for Parmesan to outpace mozzarella, particularly because, unlike authentic mozzarella, authentic Parmesan—which we know to be Parmigiano-Reggiano—must be made in Italy. ITALIAN AMERICA

Oggi in Italia

Italy’s news, politics, and culture

Fiat Chrysler CEO and Former NELA Honoree Sergio Marchionne Dies One of the most well-known executives in the world, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne died on July 25, 2018, age 66, from complications following shoulder surgery. He’d been CEO of Fiat since 2004 and was honored at the Sons of Italy Foundation’s 2013 National Education and Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala with the Award for Excellence in Global Business. “He was a wonderful humanitarian and a great officer of his company,” remarked Sons of Italy Foundation President Joseph DiTrapani. “It was tremendous to have him as an honoree at the NELA Gala.” Marchionne was born on June 17, 1952, in Chieti, Italy (Abruzzo region), where his father worked in the paramilitary Carabinieri police force. When he was 13, he and his family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where they had relatives. There, Marchionne gained his dual Canadian and Italian citizenship and earned his B.S., J.D., and M.B.A. degrees. His first job after graduating law school in 1983 was as an accountant and tax specialist. In 2004, Marchionne was appointed CEO of Fiat, taking over after the death of Umberto Agnelli, whose family founded Fiat in 1899. Marchionne was the first individual outside of the Agnelli family to become CEO of the Turin-based auto manufacturer. Early on, Marchionne made sweeping changes, reducing middle management positions and lowering wages to stanch the billion-dollar losses that the company was experiencing at the time. Two years after he was appointed CEO, Fiat turned a profit.

Sergio Marchionne (middle) accepts his award at the 2013 NELA Gala from Sons of Italy Foundation President Joseph DiTrapani (left) and OSDIA National Past President Vincent Sarno (right). During the 2009 United States recession, Marchionne engineered a merger with Chrysler, which had filed for bankruptcy and was on the brink of extinction. Within two years, Chrysler turned a profit and was able to pay back its $6 billion federal bailout six years before it was due. Known for his blunt approach, Marchionne could frequently be seen wearing black sweaters in part due to his aversion for neckties. This was not his only departure from the customs of the executive world—Marchionne also refused to occupy the chairman’s office on the top floor of Chrysler’s headquarters. “I’m on the floor with all the engineers,” he once said in a “60 Minutes” segment. “I can build a car with all the guys on this floor. That’s all I care about.”

The World’s #1 Travel Experience? A Cooking Class in Tuscany TripAdvisor released its 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Experiences, which ranks the world’s 345 best travel experiences. Topping the list was a Tuscan Farmhouse Cooking Class. The cooking class, which is organized by Walkabout Florence Tours in Florence, Italy, is a sevenhour tour that consists of touring San Lorenzo’s Mercato Centrale to buy ingredients, making traditional dishes (like bruschetta, handmade pasta, and tiramisu), and eating the prepared meal while overlooking the Tuscan countryside. For its Travelers’ Choice Awards for Experiences, TripAdvisor used product reviews and ratings posted by millions of travelers in the past year. FALL 2018 5 ITALIAN AMERICA

Handmade pasta and the hills of Tuscany. (Trip Advisor) ITALIAN AMERICA FALL 2018 5

Pagina Italiana

Per chi studia la nostra lingua

Pane e Circo

“Bread and Circuses”

Written by Martha Witt Translated by Serena Lonigro

“Lascia passare trenta giorni per un mese,” è l’espressione che dobbiamo tradurre in inglese. Mia madre insiste con “Dai tempo al tempo.”

è pane e circo, Amanda.” Mi stizzisco nel sentire il vecchio detto di mio padre, anche se lui aveva sempre usato il latino “panem et circenses.”

“Dai tempo è più adatto,” rispondo. “La ripetizione mi sembra poco felice.”

*** Quando avevo detto a mia madre che sarei andata via per due notti, lei aveva semplicemente risposto “Hai quarantasette anni, vivi in un altro continente, lui è sposato e ha due figli.”

La strada fuori dalla nostra finestra è tranquilla, ma Piazza Barberini è vicina abbastanza da non Una finestra a Roma. (Michael R. Evans) permetterci di sfuggire al trambusto. Siamo a Roma Non risposi. Chiusi solo da appena tre settimane, però, ed è un gran vantaggio la porta e partì per Salerno, la città più vicina al paesino essere al centro. Possiamo sopportare un po’ di rumore. di Montemurro, e a due ore e tredici minuti di viaggio da Solo due ore fa sono rientrata dal mio weekend con Roma. Avevamo diciotto ore e quarantatre minuti in totale Vincenzo. Tra un altro paio d’ore sarà ora di cena; io e per stare insieme. “Il nostro essere insieme è un cerchio mia madre sorseggiamo il Campari da bicchieri sottili e senza fine”, disse Vincenzo. Io esaminavo quella parte del suo avambraccio in cui il polsino blu della sua camicia sgranocchiamo noccioline. colpiva la liscia pelle olivastra. “Mesi separati. Poi insieme. Mia madre, che non si sarebbe mai presa del tempo Lontani per mesi di nuovo.” Lui diceva alcune frasi in dilibero con una scadenza imminente, è rimasta a lavorare aletto ed essendo state le stesse negli ultimi sei anni, ormai da quando me ne sono andata. Aveva finito due interi riuscivo a capire un buon numero di parole in Montemurcapitoli da sola; questa discussione sulla scelta delle parole rese legate al desiderio, alla perdita, all’insoddisfazione. pendeva fortemente a suo favore. Non aveva fatto una *** sola domanda a proposito del mio viaggio. Mettendo una Guardo le suore sparire dietro l’angolo. nocciolina tra i denti anteriori, la frantuma, con gli incisivi più affilati che mai. Tiene il suo Campari su, in aria, per “Dai tempo al tempo,” mormora mia madre, creando qualche secondo, come se stesse silenziosamente brin- magicamente una sibilante dove non ce n’è alcuna. dando alla sera, alla discussione, al mio ritorno. Poi lo fa “Va bene,” dico, tenendo il mio Campari che, con la fuori in un sorso. “Adatto è un brutto termine,” è quello giusta angolazione, riesce a catturare i raggi di sole del trache mi dice infine. “Dai tempo è adatto,” ripete affinché monto, rosso su rosso. “Bella, se la metti in questo modo.” io possa sentire la frase come la percepisce lei. Distolgo lo sguardo. Fuori la finestra passano due suore con l’abito, chiacchierando, e mi chiedo se siano felici, anche se la felicità non mi sembra una categoria di sensazioni che interessi le suore. Io sono americana; interessa me. Mia madre, il cui sguardo segue il mio, mette un’altra nocciolina tra i denti e sorride. Poi esclama: “La vita non

Martha Witt, author and translator, is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at William Paterson University. Serena Lonigro was born and raised in Napoli. She graduated from the University of Naples “L’Orientale” with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures and now works in marketing and news media.

To read the English version, visit and sign in to access the digital copy of Italian America. FALL 2018



Pagina Italiana

Per chi studia la nostra lingua

Bread and Circuses by Martha Witt

“Lascia passare trenta giorni per un mese,” is the phrase we must render in English. My mother insists on “Give time time.” “Give time it’s due,” I counter. “That repetition strikes me as infelicitous.”

br ead and circuses, Amanda.” I bristle at my Dad’s old saying, though he’d always used the Latin, “panem et circenses.” ***

Back when I told my The street outside our mother that I’d be gone window is quiet, but Piazza two nights, she’d simply Barberini is close enough responded, “You’re fortythat we can’t escape the seven, you live on another ruckus. We’ve been in continent, and he’s married Rome barely three weeks, Una finestra a Roma. (Michael R. Evans) with two kids.” though, and there’s great I had no reply. I simply closed the door and left for advantage to being in the center. We can put up with a Salerno, the closest big city to Montemurro, and a twolittle noise. hour and thirteen-minute ride from Rome. We had eighOnly two hours ago, I returned here from my weekend teen hours and forty-three minutes together in total. “Our with Vincenzo. In another two hours, it will be dinnerbeing together is a circle with no end point,” Vincenzo time; my mother and I sip thin glasses of Campari and said. I studied the place on his forearm where the blue snack on peanuts. cuff of his shirt hit smooth, olive skin. “Months apart. My mother, who would never have taken time off Together. Months apart again.” He says certain phrases in with a deadline looming, has been working since I left. dialect, and since they’ve been the same each year for the She finished two whole chapters on her own; this argu- past six, I understand a good number of words in Monment over wording is weighted strongly in her favor. She temurrese related to yearning, loss, discontent. has not asked a single question about my trip. Fitting a *** peanut in between her front teeth, she cracks down on it, incisors sharp as ever. She holds her Campari in the air a I watch as the nuns disappear around the corner. few seconds, as though silently toasting the evening, the “Give time time,” my mother whispers, magically prodiscussion, my return. Then she polishes it off in one swalviding a sibilant where there is none. low. “Due is an ugly word,” is what she finally tells me. “Give time its due,” she repeats so I can hear the phrase “Fine,” I say, holding my Campari so it catches the evening sunlight at just the right angle, red within red. the way she does. “Lovely, when you put it that way.” I look away. Outside the window, two nuns in habits pass, chatting, and I wonder whether they are happy. But happiness doesn’t strike me as a category of feeling that Martha Witt, author and translator, is currently an Associate interests nuns. I am American. It interests me. Professor of Creative Writing at William Paterson University. My mother, whose gaze follows mine, places another peanut between her teeth and smiles. Then she says, “Life’s not all


from the italian cookbook

Red Bell Pepper Sauce

Ricotta Cheese Sauce



4 large red bell peppers

1½ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese, well drained

Salsa di Ricotta

Salsa di Peperono Rosso

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

Fine sea salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 pound pasta of your choice

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup minced fresh basil or thyme • Preheat the broiler. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. • Place the peppers on the baking sheet and broil them, turning them occasionally, until blackened all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer them to a large paper bag, close the bag tightly, and let the peppers cool for 20 minutes. • Working over a bowl to catch any juices, peel away the blackened skins. Do not be tempted to rinse the peppers, as the valuable juices will be lost. Remove the ribs and seeds, using a paper towel to wipe away the seeds. Transfer the peppers and any accumulated juices to a food processor or blender and puree them until smooth. Set aside. • In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.Add the garlic and cook until it softens. Add the pepper puree and mix well. Lower the heat and gradually stir in the heavy cream. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil or thyme. Toss immediately with hot pasta or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

If you liked these recipes, find more in Mary Ann Esposito’s Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy. For more delicious recipes, be sure to FALL 2018 7 ITALIAN AMERICA

• In a large bowl whisk together the ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper until well blended. Set aside. • Bring a large pot of pasta to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. • Return the pasta to the pot and add the ricotta cheese mixture, the reserved pasta cooking water, lemon zest, and grated cheese. Mix everything well over low heat and serve when hot.

Yellow Tomato Sauce Salsa di Pomodoro Giallo Ingredients 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 large clove garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 2 cups coarsely chopped yellow cherry tomatoes 1 teaspoon sugar Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the red pepper flakes, if using. Add the yellow tomatoes and sugar, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.The sauce is best when freshly made but can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Italian America Magazine’s new Facebook page! ITALIAN AMERICA FALL 2018 7

Regions of Italy

Italy’s Twenty Regions


Land of the Lakes One of the more influential regions of Italy, Lombardy is located in the north, where the Alps run along the border it shares with Switzerland. The Po River flows along the border it shares with the Emilia-Romagna region to the south. Lombardy borders Piedmont to the west, and Trentino Alto-Adige and Veneto to the east. Lombardy is both the most populous and wealthiest region of Italy. Its population is almost double that of the second most populous region (Lazio). Meanwhile, its annual GDP—which exceeds 350 billion euro—accounts for about 20% of Italy’s total GDP. Of course, much of that has to do with Lombardy’s capital: Milan. Known for being the center of Italian fashion, Milan is a bustling metropolis regarded as Italy’s most important financial city. Historically and culturally speaking, Milan is much more than that. It is home to the fourth largest church in the world—The Duomo di Milano—which took five centuries to complete. Finishing touches were added in 1805 by none other than Napoleon, who was being crowned King of Italy (he even ordered the French treasury to pay for the church’s completion). The world famous opera house, La Scala, is also located in Milan as is da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” which spans the back wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery’s dining hall.

Scagliero Castle on the Sirmione peninsula that extends into Lake Garda. (Danny Iacob) Jutting north from the southern shore of Lake Garda is the Sirmio peninsula, known for its thermal springs, the ‘Grotto di Catullo’ (2,000-year-old ruins of a Roman villa), and the Scaligero Castle. Built in the 13th century, the castle is only accessible by water or one of its two drawbridges. It remains one of the most well-preserved castles in all of Italy. FUN FACT: Milan was once a city of waterways with five canals inside the city and one circular canal from which radial canals would extend. The entire system took 700 years to construct and was completed in the 19th century only to have the canals covered over in the 20th century. Three remain, though they are not navigable: the Naviglio Grande, Naviglio Pavese and Naviglio Martesana. Lake Como gains constant attention as a place frequented by the rich and famous, something that has been the case since Roman times. However, with a shore length of nearly 100 miles, it’s safe to say that Lake Como—and all of the lakes that Lombardy has to offer—is a place for everyone to enjoy. Lombardy (Lombardia)

The Duomo di Milano, or Milan Cathedral, and the monument to Victor Emmanuel II on the Piazza del Duomo. (Kirill Neiezhmakov) Lombardy’s natural beauty undoubtedly comes from the many lakes that cover its landscape. The region is known for Italy’s three largest lakes—Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Como—in addition to other notable lakes, such as Lake Iseo, Lake Lugano, Lake Varese, and Lake Idro. This gives Lombardy the distinction of containing half of Italy’s 14 largest lakes. FALL 2018


Capital: Milan Population: 10 million (1st of the 20 regions) Size: 9,206 square miles (4th of the 20 regions) Provinces: Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco Lodi, Mantua, Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese ITALIAN AMERICA

Our Story

Italian American history and culture

Paese Fantasma The Ghost Village By Paul Salsini

People were picking their way through the mud amidst the ruins of what looked like a medieval village. Only the walls of the stone houses were visible, but a church and a bell tower seemed relatively untouched. As I watched the video, I wanted to know more about this place known as Paese Fantasma Fabbriche di Careggine: The Ghost Village of Fabbriche di Careggine. Fabbriche di Careggine, situated on the Edron River in the Garfagnana region of northern Tuscany, dated back to the 13th century. It was known for its iron works and then marble manufacturing. In 1941, the Fascist company, SeltValdarno, decided to construct a hydroelectric reservoir nearby. Between 1947 and 1953, the company constructed a huge dam, one that would redirect water and submerge the entire village of Fabbriche di Careggine. The residents, 146 of them living in 31 homes, were ordered to vacate their tiny houses, homes that had been passed down for generations. They would have to relocate to what authorities insisted were identical homes in the nearby village of Vagli Sotto. Reluctantly, the residents moved and the water poured down. The lake that formed over the village was drained for maintenance in 1958 and again in 1974, 1983, and 1994. The former residents, along with tourists, were allowed to visit, and then the floodgates reopened and what was left of the village was again underwater. On a trip to Italy, I arranged a visit to the site with my friend, Ivano, a photographer living in the area. He had explored the ruins when the lake was drained in 1994. We stood on the bridge that had just been constructed and as we gazed at the lake that had been created, we tried to make out the bell tower. No luck; the huge expanse of water covered everything. Nestled among the green hills, Fabbriche di Careggine must have been so peaceful prior to its fate. We imagined the villagers preparing to move. Packing their clothes, their food, their cases of wine, their books, their family photographs, their pets, their treasures. Going to the Romanesque Church of San Teodoro for the final Mass. Hearing the bells from the adjacent bell tower tolling one last time. Visiting the cemetery to say good-bye to their loved ones.


The ruins of Fabbriche di Careggine. (Ivano Stefani) I asked Ivano why Fabbriche di Careggine is now called Paese Fantasma, the Ghost Village. “Some people, he said, “say ghosts have been seen and strange events have occurred since the old village was flooded. On cold winter nights, the bells in the bell tower can be heard.” “Weren’t the bells removed when the village was flooded?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “They were.” Paul Salsini is the author of the six-volume A Tuscan Series and plans to set his next book in the region of Garfagnana.


By Peter J. Ognibene

Popularity bedevils Tuscany. Cross the Arno River on the historic Ponte Vecchio, and you may wind up elbowto-elbow with exuberant swarms of fellow visitors to Florence filling the width of that narrow bridge. The predominant language you hear above the din will not be Italian but American-accented English. Yet there is a glorious piece of Tuscany that few Americans visit. Elba, Italy’s third largest island, is the heart of the Tuscan Archipelago, which encompasses seven islands and

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covers 230 square miles of land and sea. Elba is just an hour’s ferry ride from the Tuscan port of Piombino. When my wife and I began planning our visit, I was struck by the number of regular visitors to Italy who had no idea where Elba was—or that it was even part of Italy. Though greatly treasured today by European vacationers for its beaches, mountains, and stunning seaside towns, Elba is more than a resort; it is a land with fascinating history. The Etruscans discovered copper and iron on Elba and were well established in the 8th century B.C. when the Greeks tried, but failed, to conquer them. Its mines and smelters made Elba an invaluable arsenal at a time when military might demanded boundless supplies of bronze and steel. Too valuable to be allowed to

control its own destiny, Elba became a trophy that was sometimes conquered and other times traded by one Italian city-state to another—Pisa, Genoa, Piombino, Florence, and Naples among them. Elba is, of course, best known as the island where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled in May 1814 following the decimation of his army in Russia and his disastrous defeat at Leipzig the previous year. Finding himself in chastened circumstances, the erstwhile emperor humbly declared: “I want to live there like a justice of the peace.” Upon arriving at Elba’s chief port and capital, Portoferraio, the new sovereign formally presented his subjects with a banner that had three golden bees splayed across a red diagonal stripe with the Napoleonic crest above it. People cheered as he disembarked. ITALIAN AMERICA

A short time later, the flag was flying on the hillside above the harbor. In the cathedral, an organ and choir celebrated his arrival with Te Deum, the early Christian hymn exalting “Thee, O God, we praise.” Ever the military tactician, Napoleon got right to work, repositioning long-range artillery above the harbor to strengthen the island’s defenses against seaborne raiders. In addition to placing cannons in the garden of his principal residence—the hilltop Villa dei Mulini—he placed bronze and iron batteries in Forte Falcone and Forte Stella, the 16th-century fortresses built by Cosimo de’ Medici that extend from the high hills down to the sea. But like Corsica, the island of his birth some 30 miles west of his new home, Elba proved too small to contain Napoleonic ambition. In February 1815, after attending a masked ball during Carnevale, he escaped by ship, returned to France, and raised an army. After his defeat at Waterloo, he was exiled in October 1815 to Saint Helena, a desolate island in the South Atlantic that he referred to as “this cursed rock.” He would die there in 1821, lamenting on his death bed, according to one account: “I came to Elba Island. It was raining.


I could recover, if only I could feel that rain again.”

TOP: Villa dei Mulini, Napoleon’s former residence. (FotoMonkey) MIDDLE: Teatro dei Vigilanti, the chapel Napoleon converted into a theater, which still puts on concerts and plays. BOTTOM: Portoferraio, the capital of Elba. (Martian977) OPPOSITE: The harbor and village of Porto Azzurro. (Balate Dorin)

Visitors can still find traces of the island’s past emperor. Elba still flies the flag he designed. Teatro dei Vigilanti, the chapel he converted into a theater, still puts on concerts and plays. Visitors can tour the many rooms where he lived, dined, and entertained at the Villa dei Mulini, overlooking the harbor of Portoferraio and adjacent to the Medici fortifications. But what most attracts visitors to Elba these days is its sheer beauty complemented by a relaxed pace and variety of sights and activities. The island is 86 square miles with beaches wrapped around nearly its entire coast. In addition to beachfront hotels, the island has hundreds of coves, many


and pendants from hematite, pyrite, and elbaite, the island’s native rock known to stone jewelers worldwide. Blessed with rich soil, the island’s farms and orchards supply much of the produce that graces hotel and restaurant tables. At the Hotel Plaza, where we stayed in Porto Azzurro, the honey at the breakfast buffet could not have been fresher (it was still dripping from the honeycomb).

The cableway to the summit of Monte Capanne. (Paolo Querci)

with unspoiled sandy stretches that invite private exploration. The island’s interior is rocky and steep. Though the roads are well maintained, driving inevitably entails one hairpin turn after another with only an occasional straight stretch in between. At 3,340 feet, Mount Capanne dominates the western third of the island. There are rugged trails for those

who want to hike the three or so hours it takes to reach the summit. But for a few euro, one can take a 15-minute ride in an old-fashioned, two-person cable lift and wave to those trekking below. The mineral riches of the mountains no longer sustain military foundries. You find them instead in small stores, many with artisans in next-door workshops, fashioning necklaces, bracelets,

With the Ligurian Sea to the north and Tyrrhenian Sea to the south, the catch of the day comes—no surprise— from each day’s catch. The restaurants we sampled ranged between excellent and outstanding, and I lost count of the number of gelaterias that I failed to resist in the piazza facing Porto Azzurro’s harbor. Like most visitors to Italy, I enjoy bringing something home from my trips—whether it’s a substantial block of cheese from Parma, a lacquered vintage photograph from my grandparents’ Sicilian hometown (Mussomeli), or a t-shirt commemorating a stop on our itinerary. During our stay in Elba, we wandered through the streets and shops in Portoferraio and Porto Azzurro. My wife found an elegant but modestly priced green stone necklace. I was less fortunate. Though I hunted through a dozen or more shops, I never found what I really wanted: a t-shirt with an image of Napoleon and the words Avrei dovuto rimanere all’Elba. “I should have stayed on Elba.” I know I would have. Peter Ognibene (pjognibene@gmail. com) has authored two books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. This is his eighth feature article for Italian America magazine.

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A Race Not to be Lost Italy’s Historic ‘Mille Miglia’ Continues its Run By Barbara Torre Veltri, Ed. D.

A 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder RS on Furlo Pass (Gola del Furlo) in the Marche region gives a glimpse of what the original Mille Miglia would have looked like. (Massimo Campanari) In the medieval Tuscan city of Siena, visitors and locals alike line the narrow streets and press against the 12th century chiseled stone buildings to give space for the classic cars. We garner an up-close-and-personal look at each passing model. In a city accustomed to horses, pedestrians strolling along narrow streets, and throngs of tourists, idling engines take today’s center stage. The annual reenactment of the Mille Miglia (1,000 Miles) runs once again.

a city and province in the eastern part of the Lombardy region. It was formed when a 23-year-old Northern Italian aristocrat, Count Aymo Maggi, and his compagni, Franco Mazzotti and Giovanni Canestrini, sought to replace the

Spectacularly preserved vintage autos glisten in the midday sun. Each vehicle is a collector’s dream. Authentic radiant steel frames, polished chrome, sparkling headlights, and trademarked insignia identify iconic brands. They parade in single file. These certified vintage treasures are a museum on wheels. Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia, and Maserati from Italy; Aston Martin, Healy, Jaguar, Lagonda, and Triumph from the United Kingdom; BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen from Germany; Bugatti, Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault from France; Buick, Chrysler, Ford, and La Salle from the United States. Today’s re-enactment is a far cry from the original Mille Miglia. The legendary race, once defined as “the most beautiful race in the world,” debuted in 1927 in Brescia, FALL 2018


A red 1951 Ferrari 212 Export driven by Bernhard Sieber during a time trial near Buonconvento, Siena. (Roberto Cerruti) ITALIAN AMERICA

Vintage cars in Brescia at the 2017 Mille Miglia. (Paolo Bona) Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio d’Italia) that relocated from their beloved town of Brescia to Monza (north of Milan), where it continues today. Back then, speed racers navigated hairpin turns at perilous speeds, drove through the dark of night, and sped on rain-slicked roads with one goal in mind: finishing first in their class. The motorcar race was a sporting event in which investors and racers hailed from veritable royalty. The race captured the world’s attention and gained international press. On April 12, 1931, the front page of The New York Times heralded the race that was “watched by more than 1,000,000 spectators who lined the all-Italy route” from Brescia to Rome and back.

The Mille Miglia served as a testing ground for auto designers to outperform their international rivals. Back then, every crash and winning performance was being analyzed by engineers who used the race to develop future

Automotive history was made in the 1940 Mille Miglia, a race limited to only nine laps (that MM purists are not eager to validate), when Enzo Ferrari, formerly designer/racer at Alfa Romeo, debuted two of his own red racers under the banner, Auto Avio Costruzioni.

Over the years, Italians dominated the race, with most wins by manufacturer (Alfa Romeo), driver (Clemente Biondetti), and even car color (racing red). Meanwhile, Italian crews piloted many international entries to victory. Vintage sport car O.M. 665 SMM Superba (1930) in Colle di Val d’Elsa, Tuscany. (Ermess) FALL 2018 15 ITALIAN AMERICA


designs. The open road speed and endurance race was notably cavalier, boasting no speed limits, no restrictions, no protective barriers, no safety gear, and for all intents and purposes, no brakes. “All the original qualifier models had drum brakes, which would get hot while racing and burn up,” stated Bob Torre, owner of two vintage cars that qualify for today’s Mille Miglia. “That was a huge risk for the drivers, who probably calculated how to preserve brakes by not using them.” The risk was not limited to just those in the driver’s seat. In 1938, ten spectators were killed prompting Mussolini to suspend the race for the following year. In 1957, tragedy struck again. With ground to make up and no time to attend to a jutting bumper that eventually punctured a tire, 28-year-old Spanish aristocrat Alfonso De Portago—godson of the King of Spain—lost control of his 12-cylinder Ferrari going at a reported speed of 120 mph. The vehicle crashed into a telegraph pole and then flew into the audience, killing five children, five adults, de Portago, and his co-driver. The legendary Mille Miglia speed race was no match for the public outcry that ensued. With the support of the church and state officials, the race was put to an end. It was two decades before the Mille Miglia’s revival, although no longer in the same format. Today’s race is slower (and saner), though drivers do have the opportunity to crank up the engine and drive their vehicles at speeds they were designed for once they reach Italy’s autostrade. Nick Soprano of Westchester County, New York, is a car collector and racing enthusiast who participated in four of the modern Mille Miglia races between 1986 and 2002.

A red 1938 Fiat 508 and brown 1940 Alfa Romeo 6C drive by Piazza San Pietro in Rome. (Roberto Cerruti) “In Italy, auto enthusiasts and artisans keep the dream alive,” Soprano said. “Driving my 1957 Ferrari 250 GTO in the Retro Miglia Mille was a multi-dimensional sensory experience. There was the driving, sound, look, and feel. I was reliving my passionate dream for cars from when I was three years old.” The Mille Miglia’s vintage autos represent passions turned investments, the cars themselves worth millions. Each of today’s entries traces its auto lineage (and perhaps even its chassis) to models that raced in one of the original 24 Miglia Mille races that took place between 1927 and 1957. Getting the cars there, however, can be quite the journey itself. “For the 2002 race, we sent the car by Air Transport,” Soprano said. “Our shock absorbers collapsed. We had them rebuilt in Italy by experienced automotive experts. The craftsmanship dates back generations. It confirms a sense of artisanship of the Italian people.”

In 1955, the race was completed in 10 hours by an Englishman driving a Mercedes. Sir Sterling Moss beat the competition from 520 other race participants to complete the 1,000 miles, averaging 100 miles per hour!

An old Fiat transit in Tuscany on the second leg. (Alessandro Colle) FALL 2018


Entrants are assigned a race number and also a rating, known as a co-efficient. The composition of the final co-efficient, which contributes to points necessary for a win, considers: Period (year of construction), Class (engine’s cubic capacity), MM factor (models that won ITALIAN AMERICA

in their category during 1927-1957 speed races), MM bonus (chassis ran in original races), and Categories (such as Touring (T), Grand Touring (GT), Production Sport (SP), Sport (S), Super Sport pre-war (SS), and Race Sport (post-war) (SC)). This safer version of the Mille Miglia makes it more crowd-friendly as well. Local police cars serve as escorts for the racers who access pedestrian-only streets. They also serve to keep the drivers and autos moving on schedule. These rare, vintage, high-end European automobiles receive applause and cheers from the crowd of onlookers.

list of Mille Miglia race years—eight in total. This race was its ninth, and I think to myself, This car must know the route to the finish line in Milano by heart. A 1931 Alfa Romeo shifts into low gear in front of me as it prepares for the uphill climb. “Che bellisima!” I yell to the race team.

The route for the 2018 Mille Miglia.

Drivers and navigators—decked out in period race gear, caps, gloves, and colorful jackets—take selfies with random tourists. They relish the opportunity to pause and take in the crowd, as their regimented schedule requires them to hit the road at 5:00 a.m. and make stops in every location. The route crisscrosses Italy in four separate legs:

The driver waves and the co-pilot shakes my hand—we are that close. He shouts out details about his precious, high-end collectible, before continuing in the procession.

“Avanti!” he shouts. Barbara Torre Veltri, Ed. D. is an associate professor of Social Studies Education at Northern Arizona University who led an Education Study Abroad in Italy in 2018. She thanks Nick Soprano and Bob Torre for contributing their expertise to this article.

1st leg - Brescia – Ferrara – Cervia – Milano Maritime 2nd leg - Cervia – San Marino – Arezzo – Orvieto – Roma (for the night parade across the eternal city) 3rd leg - Roma – Radicofani – Monteriggioni – Lucca – Siena – Sarzana – Parma 4th leg - Parma – Lodi – Autodromo di Monza – Brescia As I look on in Siena and racers take a scheduled break for pranzo, my gaze focuses on the magnificent entry in front of me: #44, a vintage Lagonda British Luxury model from the Aston Martin car family. The car and its drivers are Mille Miglia veterans. Etched in white paint on the forest green passenger’s side door panel is a sequential


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The Mille Miglia Museum in Brescia. FALL 2018 17 ITALIAN AMERICA

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Book Reviews

FALL 2018 Selections

BITTER CHICORY TO SWEET ESPRESSO: THE LIFE VESPA By Eric Dregni Survival and Deliverance from WWII in the Naples, Italy, Area, 1940-1949 The Vespa has not always By Carmine Vittoria

A mixture of personal memoir and general history, Bitter Chicory to Sweet Espresso takes you through the lens of a young child who experiences the destruction of World War II. Author Carmine Vittoria revisits his childhood in Avella, a small town outside of Naples. Through skinning cats and selling them as rabbits to hiding in a cesspool from Moroccan soldiers, Vittoria describes the most desperate measures one will take to survive. As a child in war-torn Italy, Vittoria provides insight into what he refers to as “collateral damage”—the many warrelated casualties that were not directly caused by warfare (such as his sister who died because of a penicillin shortage). Bitter Chicory to Sweet Espresso and its many engrossing anecdotes will illuminate lesser known parts of the war. The scugnizzi, or Italian orphans, who faced off with the Germans and drove them from Naples. The partisans who attacked the Germans in Rome along Via Rasella, where bullet holes in buildings still exist today. And perhaps the most poignant part of the memoir tells of the Gourmiers, Moroccan soldiers brought by the British who were so brutal that Italian shepherds castrated them in the mountains. Vittoria then recounts the immediate post-war years, describing the chaos that followed the destruction—a time when police were absent from the streets, corruption overtook society, and a form of anarchy set in. During this time of lawlessness, however, capitalism began to blossom and businesses grew in ways that fascism would not allow. Through these personal experiences set against the backdrop of history, Vittoria is able to place readers in a child’s shoes while offering them the perspective of an aging man.

DID YOU KNOW? The Gourmiers were trained by the French army, but were not permitted on French soil.

been synonymous with carefree culture. Rather, as author Eric Dregni highlights in The Life Vespa, it was originally borne out of war and became a symbol for burgeoning capitalism. The Vespa debuted in 1946, manufactured by Piaggio, which had produced planes during the war and were forbidden from continuing to do so by a postwar treaty. So the company switched gears and started producing the Vespa. Taking advantage of the political and economic climate, Piaggio championed the Vespa as “the best way to fight communism” while paying low wages to Italy’s desperate workforce. Dregni explores these rather grim beginnings and follows the Vespa as it makes its foray into popular culture, gaining such popularity that the Vespa became a culture in

DID YOU KNOW? The first official Vespa club was established in 1951 in Germany. and of itself. It represented youth. It represented freedom. It represented femininity. It represented rebellion. And it became a source for experiment. For Italian America readers who enjoyed Dregni’s feature “How the Vespa Set Imaginations Free” in the Spring 2018 issue, the “Oddities” chapter of this book is a can’t-miss read. The Life Vespa’s journey through history and culture is complemented by many fascinating photographs that span every decade of the Vespa’s existence. Some colorful and vibrant, others black and white and dated, the photographs help tell the Vespa story, and certainly make The Life Vespa perfect for coffee tables around the world. A book for Vespa-lovers and Vespa-novices alike that will make every reader want to turn a sunny day into a Vespa day.

Visit to find a selection of recent books written by OSDIA members! FALL 2018



On The Bookshelf Books by and about Italian Americans

Recipes My Nonna Taught Me by Francena Hall

THE HOUSE ON GREENE STREET Life and Times of a First Generation Italian American Starting life in historic Wooster Square

Celebrate Italian Heritage Month and Columbus Day with favorite harvest vegetables including many eggplant and zucchini recipes. Recreate the aromas and tastes of my nonna’s kitchen with old world recipes from Recipes My Nonna Taught Me. Francena Hall 125 Boyce Road Centerville, OH 45458 947-433-7313

A book of short stories depicting Leo Marino’s ascension from poverty and of the many people who have befriended him. Stories of humor, sadness, and his loves! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leo Marino is first born generation Italian American, WWII Navy Veteran, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He began his business career as a factory worker with a high school education. Later in life he worked as a bakery salesman and at the age of 52 became the founder and President of AMI Bakery Distribution.

Send $10 to:

My cookbook is a tribute to the heart and soul of my Nonna’s cooking and the love she added to her food.

Available for purchase on

Any inquiries, please contact


by Anthony Thomas DiSimone

Murder in the Gardens By Robert Trotta Murder in the Gardens is a well-written crime novel by first time author Robert Trotta, a retired Detective from the New York City Police Department. Aging mobster Rocco DeAngelis is paroled from prison after spending twenty years behind bars for the sensational Drake Hotel New Years Eve robbery in 1993. Forced into retirement, Rocco moves to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where he plans and executes the heist of a famous Marc Chagall painting at the behest of the NY Russian mob. Fearing the locals who abetted Rocco might not stand up to an interrogation, the mob has them murdered. The crime is investigated by Rocco’s former nemesis, retired police captain Dio Bosso, and Palm Beach County Sheriff ’s Homicide Detective Lydia Martinez. As the two sleuths join forces, a relationship of mutual respect and romance ensues. Rocco, who has been a loner all of his life and never has had a relationship with a woman, also finds romance in Palm Beach Gardens. The reader will know who committed the crimes detailed in the story, but will enjoy seeing how the author develops the leads and clues to solve the theft of the paintings and the murders that follow. They will also gain insight to the exclusive lifestyles of the uber-wealthy of Palm Beach County, Florida

Available on in paperback and kindle editions


Inspiration for this story came from my ancestors in Corleone, Italy, for over 400 years. Bloodline traces events from the 1860s in Italy to the 1970s in New York City. Murder, mayhem, adult content, and political power – some fictional and some very real – compels the reader to imagine living in those times. Much is based on real life.

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Archway Publishing.

A Sweeping Series Set in Stunning Tuscany

An epic narrative spanning each decade from WWII to the 1990s by award-winning author



Bulletin Board

What’s new: discounts, services and events

Win a Joe DiMaggio Autographed Baseball A Free Giveaway on Facebook!

Do You Know Your Italian Roots?

Don’t miss the chance to win your Italian Family Tree (valued at $2,000) for only $35!

In honor of Italian-American Heritage month and baseball’s Fall Classic, Italian America magazine and the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America are giving away a Joe DiMaggio autographed baseball! An iconic Italian-American baseball player, DiMaggio was not simply one of the greatest to ever play the game, he was a positive representation of Italian heritage who became a national figure in American culture.

In honor of Italian American Heritage Month, the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) is holding a contest to win a genealogy research project donated by My Italian Family (valued at $2,000). Through the entire month of October, individuals who join, renew, or gift a $35 OSDIA national At-Large Membership (ALM) online will be entered for a chance to win one of two available research projects:

The contest will start at 10:00 a.m. EDT on October 29, 2018 and end at 5:00 p.m. on November 2, 2018. It will be held on Italian America magazine’s Facebook page (@ItalianAmericaMagazine), where the following question will be posted: “Who is your all-time favorite Italian-American baseball player?” To participate in the contest, simply answer the question in the comments section of the contest Facebook post.

Discover your family history all the way to the late 1700s! The winner of the “5 Generations Back” Research Project will learn his or her ancestors’ names, occupations, where they grew up, and many more amazing historical details.

For complete contest details, please visit our Facebook page:

Sons and Daughters of Italy Scholarships Applications Available in November! Every year, The Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF) awards scholarships that assist outstanding Italian-American students with their college and graduate studies. Grants awarded are up to $20,000 per student. Each applicant will also receive a one-year At-Large membership to the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, which includes a one-year subscription to Italian America magazine. Scholarship information and application can be found on starting in mid-to-late-November. Contact for questions or assistance.

Reconnect to your living relatives! The “Living Relatives” Research Project will identify the winner’s Ancestor’s descendants in his or her town of origin in Italy. A great opportunity to discover potential Italian cousins. Complete research results will be provided in both printed and electronic versions. The contest will run from 12:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 1, 2018, through 11:59 p.m. EDT on Oct. 31, 2018. Individuals who renew their ALM, purchase an ALM for themselves, or purchase the gift of ALM for someone else online through will automatically be entered to win*. We extend very special thanks to Bianca Ottone, owner of My Italian Family, LLC, for generously donating the research project for this contest. Not the winner of the contest? Visit the Members Only community of for details about a special discount on research and other services from My Italian Family for OSDIA members. Visit for more information. OFFICIAL RULES: Only At-Large Membership (ALM) transactions (new, renewed, or gift) processed online through between 12:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 1, 2018, and 11:59 p.m. EDT on Oct. 31, 2018, are eligible. Mail, fax or phone ALM transactions are ineligible for this contest. Individuals who give (purchase) an ALM gift membership are eligible to be entered, but the gift recipient will not be entered. There is no limit to the number of memberships an individual may purchase in accordance with the rules above; each membership purchased during contest period earns one automatic entry. The winner will be randomly selected on or around November 5, 2018, and contacted directly by the Order Sons and Daughters *

The 2018 SIF scholarship recipients. FALL 2018



Speakers Bureau

learn more about your culture & history

Sons & Daughters of Italy Speakers Bureau Need a speaker for your club meeting or a special event? Contact these experts directly. Some may require travel expenses and/or honorariums. For more speakers see: at “Culture & History.” To apply as a speaker, contact Miles Fisher at • CALIFORNIA Award-Winning Actor and Author Michael Dante speaks about his six decades of show business experience, during which he appeared in 30 films (Kid Galahad, Winterhawk, Seven Thieves) and 150 television shows (Maverick, Six Million Dollar Man, General Hospital, Perry Mason). He has authored an autobiography (Michael Dante: From Hollywood to Michael Dante Way) and two novels (Winterhawk’s Land and Six Rode Home). In honor of his accomplishment, his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, named a street “Michael Dante Way”. Book and memorabilia signing. Contact: (760) 773-2785 Email: Website: www. • CALIFORNIA Author Margo Sorenson speaks about writing about beautiful Italy and celebrating Italian life and culture. She grew up in Bari and Napoli, and has authored 30 published books, including the Positano-based young adult novel Secrets of Translation (Fitzroy Books) and the children’s book Spaghetti Smiles (Pelican Publishing). Book signing and special discount on her books through her publisher. Contact: (760) 702-1182 Email: ms@margosorenson. com Website: Will also travel to: Anywhere United States • NEW YORK Author and educator Marianna Biazzo Randazzo speaks about Italian immigration to New York City and about Sicily in World War II. Historian/Media Specialist of Father Capodanno Lodge #212 (Staten Island, NY), she serves as Commissioner of the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. She has recently published Italians of Brooklyn (Arcadia Publishing) and memoirs Given Away: A Sicilian Upbringing and Given Away: The Rest of the Story. In 2016, she won


the NYS Order Sons of Italy Literary Award. PowerPoint presentation and book signing. Contact: (917) 609-3318 Email: Will also travel to: Anywhere United States • NEW YORK Author and financier James Pavoldi, ARM, ALCM speaks about investing and finance. He recently published Investing Kindergarten: The $imple Truth That’s Worth a Fortune. Lectures and book signing. Contact: (518) 356-3866 Email: Website: Will also travel to: Anywhere United States

Is your lodge interested in starting a Meetup account? National is here to help!

Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America has created a Meetup Grant for lodges, where National will pay for ½ of a 6-month unlimited organizer subscription ($45.00). Members can learn more by watching our online webinar (login to the Members Only section) or by sending an e-mail to


The Restaurant that Frank Sinatra Made Famous Patsy’s Italian Restaurant and Red Sauce Recipes

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant located on 236 West 56th Street in New York City. FALL 2018



When Pasquale Scognamillo arrived on Ellis Island in 1928, he called himself Patsy. He started driving trucks for Macy’s before getting a job at the Grotta Azzurra (The Blue Grotto) restaurant in New York City’s Little Italy. There, he started at the bottom, busing tables and washing dishes, and gradually worked his way up to become manager. He managed a few different restaurants in the area before he and a partner opened The Sorrento in 1942. The restaurant sat close to Broadway, a convenient location for its performers.

Pasquale “Patsy” Scognamillo, who emigrated from Bari, Italy (Puglia region) in 1928.

the restaurant’s pay phone by the entrance. “Patsy’s, this is Frank Sinatra,” he’d answer. “Stop kidding around and put Patsy on the phone,” he’d hear back. Ten years later, Patsy’s moved next door to 236 West 56th Street, where it still is today. It moved into the bottom of a two-story building, the second floor occupied by the original office of The bronze statue of Atlantic Records. Patsy, who now Frank Sinatra that sits owned the building and wanted on the bar in Patsy’s. to expand, put Atlantic Records out and took over the second floor, a portion of which became Frank’s domain. After performances, he would go to Patsy’s, entering by a separate entrance, and sit behind a curtain by the front window. Of course, Frank wasn’t the only one who frequented Patsy’s. People from all over the city came to enjoy the “red sauce restaurant,” known for its tomato basil and marinara garlic sauces, Neapolitan recipes brought over from the old country. And like its recipes, the restaurant would get passed down too—from Patsy to his son, Joe (in 1957); and then from Joe to his son, Sal (in 1985). Today,

A player of the piano and mandolin, Patsy had an affinity for musicians and struck up friendships with those who came to dine. One of those familiar musicians was Tommy Dorsey. In the same year the restaurant had opened, Dorsey walked in and alongside him was a singer he introduced to Patsy as “a skinny kid from Hoboken.” It was a babyfaced Frank Sinatra. “I want you to fatten him up,” he told Patsy. So Patsy took “the kid” in and before long, a close friendship formed between the two. Soon after opening The Sorrento, Patsy and his partner parted ways. In 1944, Patsy opened his own place: Patsy’s Italian Restaurant. It was in a one-level building located on 238 West 56th Street, and it was there that Frank Sinatra, with his popularity skyrocketing, felt at home. He felt so comfortable that when Patsy and Concetta, Patsy’s wife, were in the kitchen, he’d take it upon himself to cover FALL 2018 23 ITALIAN AMERICA

A classic look at the long ago staff of Patsy’s. ITALIAN AMERICA FALL 2018 23

Sal, who remains the restaurant’s chef, still remembers his formative years in the business—especially the time the New York Yankees came to celebrate their World Series championship.

When the New York Yankees won the World Series in 1977, Joe Scognamillo received a call from the Yankees rabble-rousing skipper Billy Martin. He wanted to bring the whole team—the likes of which included Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Lou Piniella—to celebrate on the second floor of Patsy’s.With two sections on that floor—Frank’s section by the window that held 35 people, and the general section in the back that held 50 people—Joe seated them in the back. Billy, never short on words, took him to task for it. “Joe, what the heck are you doing,” Billy said. “I want to sit over there, near the window.” “That section’s reserved.” “I know it is. For me and the team.” Then Joe made a mistake. “It’s reserved for someone really important,” he said to Billy Martin. “Oh yeah, Joe?” Billy asked. “Who’s more important than my team after we just won the World Series?” Billy’s tirade continued for the next ten minutes until Joe and Sal got the call that Frank had arrived. Sal pulled the curtain back and opened the side door for him. Billy came rushing up. “I gotta see who’s more important than me!” he exclaimed.Then he came face to face with Frank Sinatra. “What the hell are you doing here,” Frank said the moment he saw Billy. A lifelong Dodger fan since back when the team hailed from Brooklyn, Frank wasn’t particularly happy about the Yankees having won the World Series. After all, they’d just defeated his Dodgers. Billy froze. He started stammering for perhaps the first time in his life, and Frank brushed past him to his curtained section. Billy crawled back to Joe and pleaded with him, “Joe, please, you gotta introduce me. I want to meet Frank Sinatra.” “You met him already,” Joe replied wryly. “But I got tongue-tied. I couldn’t talk.” So Joe spoke with Frank about the special request. While Frank was tired from just having flown in from the West Coast, he consented. “Bring him back here,” Frank said. “But just him.” Joe went to Billy and whispered, “Come on, Billy, I’ll take you back to meet Frank.” Upon hearing this, Billy leapt on top of a table and shouted to the whole Yankee team, “Come on, boys, we’re gonna meet Frank Sinatra!” FALL 2018


Patsy’s upstairs dining room with Frank’s curtained room at the far end. Frank graciously accommodated all of them, meeting with them individually, each Yankee going behind the curtain one at a time as if going into Confession. For the rest of the night, the Yankees team was buzzing, celebrating their World Series championship and meeting Frank Sinatra. After a couple more hours, Frank pulled the curtain back, waved to the team, and left through his side door. Billy went up to Joe. “Oh my God, Joe, what a special night. Not only did we win the World Series, we got to meet Frank Sinatra,” he said. “We didn’t want to leave until Frank left. Now that he left, we can go. Bring me the check.” Joe hesitated for a second. “I’m sorry, I can’t do that,” he told Billy. “Frank picked it up for you.”

While the allure of “the restaurant that Frank made famous” continues to draw a crowd, including musicians who make the pilgrimage to pay their respects to “The Voice,” it’s the southern Italian dishes that keep them coming back. “This is the food that we had in grandma and grandpa’s basement,” Sal says. “It’s the same food as what they made in 1944.” In fact, Sal’s grandfather, Patsy, made sure of it. In 1985, the year that Sal took over the restaurant, his then 83-year-old grandfather came to the restaurant for what turned out to be the very last time. He arrived at three o’clock, the time when family would gather to eat during the break between lunch and dinner. While the whole family was embracing at the entrance, he walked right by ITALIAN AMERICA

32 littleneck clams 3 tablespoons olive oil 6 garlic cloves, halved 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about ¼ cup) 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with juice Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional) ¼ cup chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

Sal Scognamillo, Chef of Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, is Patsy’s grandson. Currently perfecting the craft from him is his son, Joseph.

everyone and disappeared into the back of the restaurant. When he finally came back, Sal asked him, “Pop, where’d you go?” “Down to the basement,” Patsy said. “I wanted to make sure you were still buying the same veal I told you to buy.” While Patsy’s name adorns the restaurant’s façade, for Sal, it’s more than a name—it’s what that name represents. “It’s about food and family and keeping traditions alive,” Sal said. Simply put, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant keeps Italian culture alive—in many ways by keeping it the same. Nothing is more reflective of that than the time Sal received what he considers the greatest compliment he’s ever gotten. With many patrons frequenting Patsy’s for years, bringing their children and then their grandchildren, Sal sees many familiar faces. He greets them, saying that he hopes they enjoy the meal that they’re sitting down to eat. “Sal,” one patron said, “I know what the food’s going to taste like before I sit down. That’s why I come back.” As Patsy’s prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary in the coming year, one thing can be sure: just as Frank wouldn’t have changed a thing about his music, Patsy’s won’t change a thing about their recipes. Miles Ryan Fisher ( is the Editor-in-Chief of Italian America magazine. He would like to thank Frank Ruggiero of Per Sempre Lodge #2344 in Lynbrook, New York, for his contributions to this article. FALL 2018 25 ITALIAN AMERICA

Scrub the clamshells, rinse thoroughly in cold water, and place in a large pot. Add cold water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a large bowl. Discard any clams that have not opened. Strain the cooking liquid through a chinois or a strainer lined with a coffee filter, and reserve ¾ cup of this liquid as clam broth. Return the clams to the pot, add cold water, and stir to remove any remaining sand. Drain and rinse. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame and sauté the garlic halves until golden, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove and discard the garlic. Add the onions to the saucepan and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add with their juice to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste (if using) and add the basil and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the reserved clam broth and clams to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the clams are heated through. Spoon the clams and sauce into a large serving bowl, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.


OSDIA Nation


south carolina Myrtle Beach Lodge #2662 recently appeared on Patrimonio Italiano TV, a station located in Rome, Italy. Lodge members Tom Spada, Sam Mastandrea, and Marina Franco were featured guests of the station’s “Italian Heritage” live video broadcast, which airs every Tuesday evening. Their interview was in Italian, discussing various subjects including the lodge’s summer and fall Festa Italiana Festivals. The Myrtle Beach Lodge #2662’s interview can now be easily accessed anywhere in the world!

The “Italian Heritage” broadcast can be found at The program is hosted by Michele Pilla and Luigi Liberti, who tell the stories of the many emigrants from il bel paese. The broadcast is primarily in Italian. Patrimonio Italiano TV tells the stories of Italians who have settled abroad successfully, establishing themselves in their respective professions. It explores the richness of Italian heritage, values, and cultural traditions, and how they have contributed to history and continue to evolve.

new york Last June, Joseph G. Zingone was honored by the Wappingers School District for his many contributions to education. For the past 30 years, Mr. Zingone has chaired the Joe DiMaggio Lodge #2248 of East Fishkill, which provides scholarships and awards to Italian language students. Mr. Zingone has been instrumental in working with the school district to make the Italian language part of their curriculum. In addition, Mr. Zingone has provided financial assistance to the Italian Honor Society at John Jay High School. As a result of his generosity, the students have named the society the Joseph G. Zingone Chapter in his honor. Mr. Zingone and his wife, Elizabeth, have provided numerous scholarships to students in the Honor Society.

Michele Pilla of Patrimonio Italiano TV interviews Myrtle Beach Lodge #2662 members (L. to R.) Marina Franco, Tom Spada, and Sam Mastandrea.

ohio Addison (10) and Brook (7), two sisters from Cleveland, held a fundraiser for the Grand Lodge of Ohio’s youth initiatives. They received donated items from their grandmother (Josephine Kovach, At-Large Member) and made homemade Italian ice with their aunt (Mary Kovach, Cincinnatus Lodge #1191 Member and State Delegate) to sell during their event. Between Addie’s promotional strategies and Brooke’s original song “Come and Get Italian Ice,” their FALL 2018


fundraiser was a huge success! Their door-to-door sales tactics raised awareness for the Order and proudly represented their Italian heritage. Joseph G. Zingone (left) displaying his plaque alongside Jose Carrion, Superintendent of the Wappingers Central School District.

Addison (left) and Brook display the Order’s banner proudly.

Have you or your lodge done something remarkable that makes a difference to your community or promotes our heritage and Italian studies? If so, send details including your lodge’s name/number, a brief write-up, and digital photos of 300 dpi to Editor Miles Fisher at


OSDIA Nation




One of the newest lodges in the Order, Leonardo DaVinci Lodge #2992 of Glendale celebrated its 2nd anniversary this year. The lodge was chartered in May 2016, founded by Antoinette Trifiro (who served as its first president), Marie Chiaramonte, Santo Chiaramonte, Cathy Quagliata, and Joe Quagliata. It started with 28 members and has grown to 72 members, making it one of the fastest growing lodges in the country. In addition to its anniversary celebrations, the lodge hosts picnics, Carnevale di Venezia parties, and other events that celebrate Italian roots and customs. The current president of Leonardo DaVinci Lodge #2992 is Nick Battaglia.

Last August, Youngstown Lodge #858 celebrated its 100th anniversary. At the anniversary, President of Youngstown Lodge #858 Timothy Komara was presented with the lodge’s “Certificate of Appreciation” by Terry Lattavo, National Trustee of the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America.

At the 2nd anniversary celebration are (L. to R.) John Iannucci, Grand Lodge of Arizona Past President and member of Old Pueblo Lodge #2349 of Tucson; Karen Iannucci, Grand Lodge of Arizona Past Treasurer and member of Old Pueblo Lodge #2349 of Tucson; Joyce Battaglia, Recording Secretary of Leonardo DaVinci Lodge #2992; Nick Battaglia, President of Leonardo DaVinci Lodge #2992; Marianne Di Palma, President of Albert Bilotti Lodge #2540 of Mesa.

Lodge President Timothy Komara (left) and National Trustee Terry Lattavo with the lodge’s Certificate of Appreciation.

washington In 1923, a group of Italian male immigrants met in a basement in Tacoma, Washington, to establish a fraternal organization. At the meeting, they chose to establish a lodge under the Order Sons of Italy in America. They were granted a charter—the

first in Washington State—and the Sons of Italy Lodge #1175 of Tacoma was born. A few years later, a group of Italian female immigrants formed the Virtus Lodge #1243 of Tacoma. In the 1960s, the two lodges merged under the name Tacoma

Lodge #1175. Since then, the lodge has continued to hold meetings, enjoy food and music entertainment, organize bocce and baseball games, host golf tournaments, and much more. This year, they celebrated their 95th anniversary.

Known as “The Mother Lodge of the Northwest,” Tacoma Lodge #1175 in a group photo before celebrating the lodge’s anniversary. FALL 2018 27 ITALIAN AMERICA


Italy’s Fig Trees Find a Home in the U.S. By Emily Wade Will

As a child in Cleveland’s Little Italy in the late 1950s, Jane Aluni Nedley looked forward to each new school year—the season she’d find a yummy fresh fig from her Uncle Donato Trigiani’s tree in her lunch box.

Those who settled in the Northeast devised extraordinary measures to sustain their Ficus carica—common, or self-pollinating, fig trees. These trees of the sunny Mediterranean now had to endure their new homes’ frosty winters.

Some 60 years later, Nedley still enjoys the honey-sweet taste of sun-warmed figs, their deep-red flesh robed in royal purple, plucked from her own Cleveland backyard. They bear a genetic stamp engraved more than a century ago and postmarked 4,700 miles away in Italy’s southern Foggia province. She harvests them from a cloned “child” of Trigiani’s tree, which he grew from a cutting he brought when he immigrated in the early 1900s.

Today’s fig-tree keepers, including Nedley, continue the labor of love. Come late fall, they dig a trench in which to bury shrubby trees—arching, joining, and bending flexible branches. They might also build a structure around upright trees, filling it with straw and raked leaves to keep roots warm and tarping upper limbs.

Like Trigiani, many southern Italians—in both the early 20 century and post–World War II emigration waves— tucked pencil-thick cuttings of their beloved fig trees into the belongings they carried to the New World. th

FALL 2018


A harvested fig thus embodies the perfect symbol of the southern Italian immigrant experience: determination to adapt and thrive in new soil, and willingness to work hard to do so. Behind every fig tree in the United States is an individual who shares this challenge.


Mary Menniti of New Castle, Pennsylvania During her teen years, Mary Menniti confessed to mild embarrassment over the outhouse look-alikes her grandfather built to overwinter three fig trees that he nurtured on her parents’ homestead in New Castle, Pennsylvania. As a child, though, she eagerly helped him insulate the shelters with leaves each fall.

Ferzoco cherishes video footage of himself as a three-year-old helping his grandfather, after whom he was named, in a huge garden. His nonno died when he was just seven, but upon learning of the boy’s interest, local Italian Americans stepped in to mentor the budding Green Thumb. By his early teens, Ferzoco had learned to prune and graft, and he now grafts multiple fig varieties onto single trees. Among his valued specimens is one he grew from a cutting of the tree planted in Italy over a century ago by his great-great-grandfather.

“I adored him and wanted to be Mary Menniti with her fig trees with him whenever I could,” Menniti in Pennsylvania. reminisced. “I sensed the immense Ferzoco has propagated so many Ficus—some of which he satisfaction and contentment that he experienced in his sells to help pay tuition—that he said, “I’m gradually teaching garden. It fed his soul as well as his body.” Her paternal grandfather, Antonio Martone, had emi- myself that it’s okay to throw away branches from pruning!” grated from the southern Caserta province in 1912. His passion for gardening and fig trees inspired Menniti to inaugurate her own Italian Garden Project in 2011, nearly a century later. Her online site ( shares experiences, advice, and photos. On it, she devotes a section to a “Fig Tree Gallery” of photos and stories of Ficus caretakers to record this tradition before it fades into history as post–World War II immigrants retire and downsize.

Lauran Qualkenbush of Chicago, Illinois Out in the Midwest, Lauran Qualkenbush, Director of Northwestern University’s Office for Research Integrity, babies a now-three-year-old offshoot of her great-uncle’s Foggia tree, planted when she and her husband bought their first house with a yard.

In 2014, Menniti also inaugurated a Legacy Fig Garden of live heirloom Italian-American fig trees, now with 11 specimens, on private land donated for their use in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania. Menniti’s interviews of Italian-American gardeners cast additional light on Italian Americans’ love affair with figs. The skill to cultivate fruit trees—and extensive vegetable gardens—represents self-sufficiency, a know-how needed to survive in Italy’s agrarian society and during World War II. “If they had nothing else to eat, they could count on figs, both fresh and dried in the winter,” Menniti said.

Alessandro Ferzoco of Boston, Massachusetts Meanwhile, some of the younger generations are keeping up their forebears’ tradition. Alessandro Ferzoco, 22, a senior history major at Harvard, is a respected blogger for the Italian Garden Project. In one column, he shared how he overzealously wrapped some of his Boston fig trees in 2016, leading to limb loss from mold. He urged others to allow for air circulation to avoid such “smothering.” FALL 2018 29 ITALIAN AMERICA

A fig tree in the Puglia region. (Cogi66)

Their four children, ages four to twelve, are growing up with this small piece of family history. “They help care for it. They water it, watch it, and help bury it, too,” Qualkenbush said. Even with the interring, keeping the sapling alive over Chicago’s bitter winters is proving a challenge. The weather, as well as hungry critters, have kept the family from harvesting fresh figs as yet. ITALIAN AMERICA FALL 2018 29

“Our fingers are crossed for signs of life in the spring,” Qualkenbush said.

Nick Ranieri of Mattituck, New York Nick Ranieri grew up on a farm in Mola di Bari, Puglia, during World War II. He recalls how his family dried quantities of figs, pocketing an almond in each one, and

marketable figs in the United States, some 31,700 tons of the fresh fruit in 2014, according to the Agricultural Marketing Research Center. Gladwin was the third generation and first woman of the Simone family to cultivate figs, each generation starting from scratch on their own land. Her grandfather, Mauro Simone, emigrated from Puglia’s Bari province in the 1920s when he was 16. After college, Gladwin worked as the financial controller of her dad’s business, winning respect in a virtually all-male field. She and her husband bought their own ranch in 1999. They named the 51 acres “Passion Fruit Farms” to reflect Gladwin’s love of fruit and the family-farm lifestyle. A gifted entrepreneur, Gladwin sold her product under the “Fig Lady” brand and developed a market in immigrantrich Canadian cities. The couple purchased an additional 74 acres and leased another 125 acres.

Nick Ranieri, who grew up in the Puglia region, preserves his heritage and love for figs.

filling earthen crocks with them—nutritious, tasty, highenergy snacks for a hard-working family with 11 children. In 1965, Ranieri settled in the farming town of Mattituck on Long Island, where, through the years, he and his wife raised much of their own food. He rejiggers his overwintering techniques for his seven fig (and two Italian bay leaf) trees as needed and has it down to a science. Although 2018 blew in the harshest winter Ranieri can recall, he’s guardedly optimistic that his trees, of which he’s not yet lost any over the decades, will continue to survive. “I never go lighter,” he said. In the summer, he encases entire trees in netting to keep birds and other critters from growing fat on his labors.

Tonetta Simone Gladwin of Merced, California Italians who settled in California encountered a warm, dry climate similar to southern Italy’s; they can scarcely believe the “mollycoddling” their paesani in the Northeast willingly endure to produce a fresh fig. That’s not to say California fig producers aren’t experiencing challenges of their own. Ask Tonetta Simone Gladwin. Until recently, she was one of five Italian-American commercial fig growers in the Fresno area. The quintet produced 98 percent of all FALL 2018


Then came three years of drought. California State’s Water Board allocated groundwater to Passion Fruit Farms in 2014 and 2015, but not in 2016. With no well on the land—and drilling a new one is prohibitively expensive— Gladwin witnessed the death of her trees and lifestyle. “I watched the dozers come in and uproot them,” she said. “I watched as they piled up the dead trees and lit them on fire.” However, if there’s one thing Gladwin—like all the other fig tree growers across the country—have on their side, it is the ability to persevere. Italian Americans and their beloved figs have proved resilient through many decades and across many miles. With apologies to fig lovers, Emily Wade Will (eswadewill@ confesses that peaches are her favorite fruit. Her maternal grandparents raised large vegetable gardens in Rochester, New York, after they independently left Zagarise, a mountainous village in Catanzaro province.

In addition to a photo gallery of Italian American Fig Trees on her own website, Menniti is submitting documentation of individual Italian-American gardens required for inclusion in the Smithsonian’s online Archives of American Gardens. The first, submitted in 2014, was of Giovani and Maria Macchione’s backyard paradise in Sewickley, Pa., and it includes photos, sketches, plant listings and personal stories. (To view some photos, go to http://collections. and enter “Macchione Italian Garden” in the search box.) ITALIAN AMERICA

From the National


From the President’s Desk

By Vera Ferrara Girolami

It’s incredible that one year of this administration has gone by so quickly! So much can be accomplished when the stars align and everyone is in agreement. My belief is that this is occurring because of the monthly committee conference calls. I would like to thank Grand Lodge of New York State President Robert Ferrito and Grand Lodge of Massachusetts State President Tony Sestito for co-chairing the State & Subordinate Lodge Presidents conference calls, Commission for Social Justice President Kevin Caira for chairing the CSJ’s conference calls, and Mark DeNunzio and John Carochi for co-chairing the Membership Committee calls. Many questions are being answered and concerns are immediately addressed.

Francisco on Sunday, October 7. There will be a formal ball the evening before at the Palace Hotel, honoring Columbus and his Royal Court. Mass on Sunday morning will OSDIA National President Vera be at Saints Peter and Ferrara Girolami and OSDIA Paul Church in North National Recording Secretary Philip Beach followed by the J. Privitera, Esq., who received the Grand Lodge of California’s 2018 parade and dinner Humanitarian Award. at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club. A truly amazing weekend where the Blue Angels fly and the fleet is in. All sites to behold! PLEASE celebrate the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus during Italian-American Heritage month!

The National Plenary Session was held in Crystal City, Virginia, August 9-12. It was a very informative and productive session. Each of the National Vice-Presidents and committee chairpersons presented their reports, which were discussed and approved. The generosity to our charities has been overwhelming, and we should all feel proud of our members’ support. The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America is a truly generous organization and yet we are a big secret! Sharing the good that we do with the public may entice others to join our organization and be a part of our amazing accomplishments.

I will be traveling to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Oct 24-28) to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Methuen Lodge #902! I am looking forward to attending the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum Luncheon Fundraiser on Staten Island (Nov 3) and then the Grand Lodge of Connecticut’s Columbus Luncheon (Nov 4). I truly appreciate having California State First Vice-President Arlene Nunziati and Garibaldi-Meucci Museum Overseer Joy Bruno as traveling companions.

The financial picture for the Supreme Lodge and the Sons of Italy Foundation are very positive! The SIF’s Direct Mail program was very successful this past year and is looking for the same results in 2018. The October Calendar fundraiser is progressing nicely. National First Vice-President Nancy Fiore Quinn stated that almost 1,000 have been sold! National Trustees from four states conducted an audit of the books and inventory of the National Office as prescribed in our by-laws. All was found to be in good order. Thanks to the efficiency of our incredible staff: Carly, Katie, Miles, Adam, and Emily. Travelling since the plenary session has taken me to many lodges, including visits with my own brothers and sisters throughout California. I have been invited to ride in the 150th Anniversary Italian Heritage Parade in San FALL 2018 31 ITALIAN AMERICA

I would like to extend a special thanks to the Past National Presidents Phil Boncore, Frank DeSantis, Joseph DiTrapani, Paul Polo, Joseph Russo, Joseph Sciame, Joanne Strollo, and Peter Zuzolo, who are a constant means of support and are always ready to lend a hand when needed. In the past year of this administration, I hope we have exceeded your expectations and made you proud of OSDIA’s many accomplishments. A journey that began with a thousand steps has led me throughout this great country, meeting with so many incredible members and making lifelong friendships. We must continue our efforts to grow our membership. Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro, our great founder, said 113 years ago that he wanted all Italian Americans to come together to reap the benefits of this great country and give back our talents. Let’s not let him down!



The Sons of Italy Foundation



A Tribute to Our Heritage

By Joseph DiTrapani, President

As we near the end of another year of giving, there is a lot to be proud of. This year, the Sons of Italy Foundation once again supported Help Our Military Heroes, giving a donation that provided minivan grants for two veterans. It was such a wonderful experience to have the van recipients attend our NELA Gala. In addition to supporting the military, the SIF continued its ongoing support for the Order’s national charities: Alzheimer’s Association, Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, and The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. Our contributions to these causes have spanned decades—Cooley’s Anemia Foundation has been one of our national charities since 1974 and Alzheimer’s Association since 1993! The SIF has donated what amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars to these foundations, and our ongoing contributions show such dedication to these foundations that face diseases that will not be easily overcome. Our relentless support is undoubtedly thanks to the Order’s Grand Lodges, Filial Lodges, and every member who donates his or her time, energy, and money to the SIF’s causes.

I’m happy to report that the SIF’s Direct Mail Program continues to be a great success. This year, we anticipate that the Direct Mail Program will raise as much if not more than last year. These funds are important in allowing us to make the contributions—such as those to Help Our Military Heroes. For those who are unfamiliar with the program, the Direct Mail Program sends out Sons of Italy t-shirts, calendars of Italy, address labels, reusable bags, and holiday greeting cards to potential donors. If you would like to be added to the Direct Mail Program, please email your name and address to or call the National Office at (202) 547-2900. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, we have a lot to be thankful for. The charitable contributions that we have made in the past year are a result of the fortunate opportunities our ancestors worked hard to give us—something we must never forget!

Design the SIF 2018 T-Shirt! How would you like a chance for your artwork to appear on thousands of t-shirts that are distributed to help a great cause? Through its direct mail program, the Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF) will send t-shirts in 2019 as gifts to individuals who support the SIF’s charitable initiatives. Skilled graphic designers are encouraged to submit artwork to be considered for the shirt’s final design.

Entry requirements: • Original design (containing no copyrighted material) must include “Sons of Italy®” and “2019” and reflect Italian-American heritage and pride. • Design should be created for use on a white t-shirt. • No entries will be accepted by mail. • A low-resolution preview version of the design file must be submitted to by December 7, 2018. (Winning designer will be asked to submit a final high-resolution design file according to specs below.)  • Final artwork resolution must be 300 dpi designed at minimum dimensions of 8” wide X 10” high, and submitted as a .jpg, .tif, .psd, .eps, or vector art file. 

The 2018 SIF t-shirt designed by Clentin Martin. FALL 2018




The Commission for Social Justice

fighting defamation

The CSJ Perspective By Kevin Caira, President

A lot of the CSJ’s attention and efforts have focused on preserving Columbus Day. We have taken part in radio interviews, written letters to public officials, and advocated at town meetings. Some of our most important work has been engaging Columbus Day supporters across the country, notifying them of places where Columbus Day is under attack and who they can contact to voice their opposition. There is another very crucial part of protecting Columbus Day that I would like to focus on: the education of Columbus. While we continue our fight for Columbus Day, it is important that we come armed with facts to educate others about Columbus and the courageous life he lived. The CSJ has recently designed promotional flyers and talking point cards to help all Columbus Day supporters do just that. These materials are important not just for us to use as references, but also for us to give out at festivals, parades, and other events. The materials are free. Since my last column, we have already had several requests for these materials. If you are interested in receiving these free materials, please send your request to the CSJ National (


We are also asking for donations to help us continue our efforts to protect Columbus Day. In return, we are sending Columbus Day posters to donors of $25 or more. With a donation of $25 or more, you may request up to 25 Columbus Day posters. These posters are perfect not just for your own homes and offices, but also for community centers, libraries, schools, and anywhere the public may see them. Lastly, I would like to thank those who have decided to get engaged and help us in our work to preserve Columbus Day. Saving it is a collective effort!


Italian America Magazine … The Perfect Christmas Gift! The Perfect Gift Looking for a unique present for family or friends? Give the gift of Italian-American heritage with a oneyear subscription to Italian America magazine, the most widely read publication in the U.S. for people of Italian descent. We will contact your gift recipient to tell him/her of your present and also send them a complimentary copy of the most recent issue.

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Letters to the Editor I just finished reading the article in Italian America magazine summer issue. I enjoyed it very much, but you left out the only true digestive—Nucino, a liqueur made from the whole walnut. I personally use it for any digestive problem I might have including hiccups. I find it works better than any over-the-counter or prescribed medicine. I have a black walnut tree on my property and I make my own. 12 whole walnuts crushed 2 liters of grain alcohol 1 cinnamon stick 6-8 whole cloves Zest of one lemon Combine them and let soak for 2-3 weeks. Strain. Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of boiling water and let cool. Then add to the mixture. Usually about 6 cups will do and you can adjust to your own taste. Tastes and works great. In Italy, there is one brand known as Padre Peppe Elixir Di Noce. Not as tasty as my recipe, but it also works. There are some other brands from California that work as well. Richard Ramadei Treasurer, New Haven Lodge #37 New Haven, CT FALL 2018


I enjoyed your thoughts in “The Last Word.” The Depression generation worked hard and did not expect someone else to care for them. Later on, they never forgot what they had to do survive. These people would not pay retail for anything for themselves, but would for their children. In my opinion, the word “hero” is used too much. It has lost its meaning, but those people who go on every day doing without so their children and families can have more are truly HEROES. Frank Dambrosio Prince of Piedmont Lodge #475 Wilmington, DE STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION (required by Act of August 12, 1970: Section 3685, Title 39, United States Code). ITALIAN AMERICA MAGAZINE (ISSN 1089-5043) is published quarterly at 219 E Street, NE; Washington, DC 20002. The annual subscription price is $20. The complete mailing address of Known Office of Publication is located at 219 E Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. The general business offices of the publisher and the editor are at same address as above. Publisher: Order Sons of Italy in America, same address as above. Editor: Miles Ryan Fisher, same address as above. Owner full name is Order Sons of Italy in America, 219 E Street, NE; Washington, DC 20002. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees and other Security Holders Owning or holding 1 percent or more of total amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: None. Tax status: has not changed during preceding 12 months. Publication Title: Italian America. Issue Date for Circulation Data below: SUMMER 2018. The extent and nature of circulation is: A. Total Number of Copies (Net press run). Average number of copies of each issue during preceding 12 months: 30,400. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 29,750. B. Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions. Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 29,870. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 29,195. C. Total Paid Distribution. Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 29,870. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 29,195. D. Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County. distribution by mail, carrier or other means. Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 430. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 255. E. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution. Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months: 430. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 255. F. Total Distribution. Average number of copies of each issue during preceding 12 months: 30,300. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 29,400. G. Copies not Distributed. Average number of copies of each issue during preceding 12 months: 100. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 300. H. Total. Average number of copies of each issue during preceding 12 months: 30,400. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 29,750. I. Percent Paid. Average number of copies of each issue during preceding 12 months: 98.58%. Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to filing date: 99.30%. I certify that the statements made by me above are correct and complete. Filed August 10, 2018. Miles Ryan Fisher, Editor-in-Chief.


Italian America®

Italian America Magazine is produced by the national headquarters of the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America®, 219 E Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 202/547-2900. Email: Editor-in-Chief Miles Ryan Fisher Administrative Assistant Emily Heinrich Bookkeeper Adam Jacobs Director, Operations and Programming Carly Jerome Project Coordinator Katie Vivian Italian America® is the official publication of the Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America® (OSDIA), the largest and longest-established organization of American men and women of Italian heritage. Italian America provides timely information about OSDIA, while reporting on individuals, institutions, issues, and events of current or historical significance in the Italian-American community nationwide. Italian America (ISSN: 1089-5043, USPS: 015-735) is published quarterly in the winter, spring, summer and fall by OSDIA, 219 E Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C., and at additional mailing offices. ©2015 Order Sons & Daughters of Italy in America. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any method without permission of the editor is prohibited. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily imply an opinion on the part of the officers, employees, or members of OSDIA. Mention of a product or service in advertisements or text does not mean that it has been tested, approved or endorsed by OSDIA, the Commission for Social Justice, or the Sons of Italy Foundation. Italian America accepts query letters and letters to the editor. Please do not send unsolicited manuscripts. Italian America assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Annual subscriptions are $20, which are included in dues for OSDIA members. Single copies are $4.95 each.OSDIA MEMBERS: Please send address changes to your local lodge. Do not contact the OSDIA National Office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Italian America, 219 E Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Subscriptions are available through the OSDIA National Office, 219 E Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002. OSDIA membership information is available at (800) 552-OSDIA or at www. Archives are maintained at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn. Printing by Printing Solutions Inc., Sterling, Va. To advertise: Contact (202) 547-2900. Also see for advertising rates, specs, demographics, etc. FALL 2018 35 ITALIAN AMERICA

By Miles Ryan Fisher Editor-in-Chief, Italian America Magazine

The first time you drive through Italy, there’s nothing quite like it. Climbing behind the wheel of a tiny Fiat, shifting the car into gear, and piloting from one calendar photo-worthy city to the next. In just three hours, you go from the stone roads of ancient Rome to the cliffs overlooking Sorrento. Over the ten days that you’re driving through the big cities and small towns of Italy, you learn a lot of lessons that you weren’t taught in Driver’s Ed. You learn not to trust the GPS navigation. Sure, you’ll need it to get from one city to another, but once you’re already inside a city, you realize that you and the GPS in your Fiat don’t have the same definition of what a road is. You peel in the side view mirrors because you decided to take the dubious left that the GPS told you to take, and as it turns out, the road is akin to a narrow corridor more suitable for Vespas and bicycles. After you scrape one of the mirrors, and hope that it’ll go unnoticed when you return the rental car, you decide: no more corridors. You stay on main roads and let your GPS reconfigure itself when you don’t take the dubious left that it tells you to take. You learn that Italians don’t drive as maniacal on the highways as you were told they do. You pass several speed cameras along the highway and you and the Italian drivers around you abide. Once you return stateside, you find yourself trying to educate others about this—that Italians don’t drive as if they’re driving a Maserati in an action film. You learn to be more grateful that your dad taught you to drive manual. Unlike in the United States, in Italy having a stick shift in your car isn’t a natural anti-theft device. Everyone drives manual. And so you drive manual, too—up winding roads, through tiny villages, navigating Italy’s many terrains. You feel fortunate that your dad not only taught you to drive manual, but that he also directed you onto the most bustling road the moment you knew the basics (where you eventually stopped for pizza). You learn that the Italian authorities have a whole year to send you a ticket in the mail. It arrives two months before the year is up. You look at the $120 ticket and consider putting it through the shredder. But then you reminisce about what it felt like to drive through Italy, through its varied landscapes that transform in such short amounts of time. You imagine how it’d feel to experience driving through regions of Italy you hadn’t visited—over the hills of Tuscany, through the greenery of Umbria, past the olive groves of Calabria. So you decide to pay the ticket. Because … You learn that Italy isn’t simply a country you go to—it’s a country you go back to.




Mary Ann Esposito Mary Ann Esposito is the host of PBS’s Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, which first aired in 1989 and is the longest-running cooking program on television. Initially an elementary school teacher, Mary Ann returned to her alma mater—the University of New Hampshire—to earn a master’s degree in history, writing her thesis about Italian Renaissance cooking. She began to teach cooking at the university and launched her cooking show on New Hampshire Public Television in 1989. She has since authored 12 cookbooks, including Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy released this month. In 2013, she was the only American to be honored by the President of the Italian Republic with the Calvaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy). Her paternal grandparents emigrated from Sicily, while her maternal grandparents emigrated from Naples, both in the 1890s. Tell us about the role your mother played that led to your interest in cooking. My mother was a “from scratch” cook who rarely used recipes. She had a natural affinity for making things, and I imagine part of that was out of necessity to feed our large family. She could cook several things at once. I think I inherited this from her. As you were developing your cooking techniques, what sort of frustrations did you encounter in the kitchen? Timing foods to all be ready at once and at the proper temperatures. How much did your degree in teaching and experience in the classroom aid you in developing your cooking show? Tremendously. I like teaching and being with people so talking to a camera lens was as if I had a classroom full of students. In teaching, the goal is to keep the students interested, so a teacher needs to be creative and thoughtprovoking.

When creating a recipe, what do you focus on to make it manageable for a person at home to cook? I try to give substitutions for pricey ingredients and offer cooking shortcuts while realizing that not everyone has the latest food processor or other pricey tools to work with. How much importance do you place on the history behind food and how recipes tell a cultural story? For me, this is crucial and the basis for my show. I tie in the history of a recipe, its name, the kind of ingredients used, the geography of where it comes from, and the folklore behind it. How would you inspire a young person who lacks interest in learning how to cook? I would focus on the importance of a healthy diet and the role that the Mediterranean diet can play in their life. I have invited many a young person over to my kitchen to learn how to make pasta, frittata, and quick sauces. They are always surprised at how easy it is to cook something once you know how. What are some easy ways for Italian America’s readers to make their diet healthier? First, have a plan. Next, cook in season with as close to home local foods as possible. Keep staple items in your pantry and refrigerator for go-to suppers in a hurry; like eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, healthy grains like farro, and legumes like chickpeas and cannellini beans. Adopt some quick cooking techniques like using a grill or broiler to cook fish or vegetables in less time. If you took someone to one region in Italy (just one!) strictly for cuisine, what region would you take him/her to and why? I would take them to Sicily because it is such a minestrone soup of many cultures that has defined its cuisine from the Greeks to Arabs to Romans, Spanish and Normans, among others. Plus, the food is still made according to traditional means. Commercially prepared foods are more prevalent on the mainland than in Sicily.

Find recipes for two of Mary Ann’s easy-to-make sauces from her new cookbook on page 7. FALL 2018



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ADRIANA TRIGIANI New York Times bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife and Kiss Carlo

Love, ambition, and the consequences of both lie at the heart of this spellbinding epic of two working-class kids set in the big band era of the 1940s.

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Italian America Magazine Fall 2018  
Italian America Magazine Fall 2018