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Sunday, February 19th, 2017
Venetian masks
The art and history of venetian mask making tradition   We are in the midst of Carnevale celebrations and we can't help thinking- or for the luckier ones, experiencing  in reality - about how beautiful and artistic some of the masks worn around are.    Mind, I’m actually talking about the physical masks you place on your face, rather than the characters we associate to Commedia dell’Arte and that became, throughout the centuries, symbols of human quirks and geographical locations. Well, if you’
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
italian family tree
Doing your own genealogical research can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences you can have. With each layer uncovered, with each relative pulled from the forgotten past you discover another piece of your own personal puzzle. The rewards of researching your Italian family tree do not stop with personal discovery, but will continue to benefit your descendants for generations to come.   At times your work will seem tedious or downright futile, but a little patience and
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
italian american architects
Many of America's most beautiful buildings are a result of the creativity and tireless efforts of Italian American architects. Who can forget the influence that Mario Joseph Ciampi had on buildings and public spaces in the San Francisco's Bay area? Or the genius of Romaldo Giurgola, instrumental in the designs of buildings like the Lang Music Building, the United Fund Headquarters Building, Penn Mutual Tower and the INA Tower? Then there is Thom Mayne, recipient of the Pritzker Prize,
Monday, September 19th, 2016
San Gennaro
San Gennaro: A Traditional Catholic Neapolitan Feast   If you go to Naples on September 19th you will find the city celebrating its patron saint, San Gennaro, a bishop and a martyr from Pozzuoli, canonized by the Catholic Church. The feast of San Gennaro involves prayer, processions and celebrations, and is usually based around a fixed program held in the Duomo of Naples. One of the most important events is linked to an emotional ritual, rich in hope and devotion: the
Friday, June 10th, 2016
Italian American Superstitions
If you grew up in an Italian-American household, you have very likely been witness to a series of bizarre rituals and beliefs practiced by parents and grandparents. Many of these were never fully explained to us: you just went ahead with them because you were supposed to. These rituals and superstitions are shrouded in a mist of mystery and time, and have been practiced by Italians for countless generations. Some may seem silly in our modern world, but these
Monday, April 18th, 2016
italian american associations
  New York's Little Italy (WillVision Photography/Flickr)   National Italian American Foundation NIAF has been working closely with the national government in Washington DC for the well being of the Italian American community for more than 30 years. The foundation offers grants and scholarships to Italian American students, supports the teaching of the Italian language and the continuation of Italian traditions and culture. Part of this mission is to monitor the
Sunday, February 21st, 2016
UNESCO intangible cultural heritage
Lifeintaly has often dedicated articles to Italy's UNESCO sites (check the bottom of this page for links!): UNESCO's list is not only important because it makes the beauties of the world known, but also because sites within it are often entitled to receive financial support for their upkeeping and preservation, as cited on the UNESCO website itself.    Opera dei Puppi di Alcamo (wikimedia) What many may not be aware of is that UNESCO does not only protect works of art and architecture or
Monday, February 16th, 2015
st. joseph's
St. Patrick may get all the attention with the famous parades and green beer, but for some Italian Americans (including me) it means only two more days until St. Joseph's Day. Growing up in an Italian American family, St. Joseph's Day was always one of my favorite holidays: I could take the day off from school and all I had to do was visit relatives and eat! The tradition was brought over with the first immigrants and is still celebrated in both the old Italian American neighborhoods in
Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Italian Surnames   Names are important because they identify people, and surnames are doubly important because they also tell of the origins and history of a family through the centuries. In fact, researching your surname, also known as last name or family name, is an exciting way to learn more about your family history. When researching Italian surnames you will quickly find that each family name was created for a particular purpose. Italy has always been known for its lively and
Saturday, September 27th, 2014
italian discrimination
Anti-Italian Cartoon of the 1880's   In today’s world, being Italian can be a very good thing: you dress well, live well and speak with a sexy accent (just ask Paolo). The world looks to Italy and Italians for their opinions on food, fashion, cars and whatever else is cool. Sadly however, there was a time, at least here in the United States, when newly-arrived Italians were treated worse than animals. This is a glimpse into some of the struggles that Italians had to endure in
Friday, May 16th, 2014
Boston's North End     The North End section of Boston was one of the early arrival points for Southern Italian and Sicilian immigrants. Many Italian-American families can trace their American roots back to this small warren of narrow streets and alleyways. These pioneers brought with them local traditions and beliefs, including the festivals they knew from home: after all, being strangers in a strange land, these people could use all the help they could get from their patron
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  The Legend of Tarantella & The Dance of the Spider Italian weddings, festivals and celebrations would never be the same without the dance of the Tarantella. It proves highly popular, and excels high above all other great Italian songs. With its lively and graceful tempos the Tarantella Dance can be considered a mix of gracefulness and fast movements, and an added string of passionate gestures. Its origin dates back to the Middles Ages. It might as well be considered "The Song of
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Australia has been heavily influenced by its many Italian immigrants and Australians of Italian descents. Italians are the third largest ethnic group in the country and Italian is the third most commonly spoken language. Since Italian immigration began in the 1850's, there have been many successful Italian-Australians in all areas of life, and Italians have influenced our food and our culture. Some of our best known and most distinguished actors are of Italian-Australian descent, such as
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Life in Italy Video: Salento Music The music of Salento is the result of centuries of varied foreign domination, but more importantly, of exchanges with other Mediterranean cultures.       Officina Zoe was born in the spring of 1993 out of a group of musicians from Salento with a common need to rediscover the traditional popular music of their own land. Zoe's performances are the result of long and in-depth research on the music of Salento. Popular music by
Friday, June 1st, 2012
A Time When Italian Influences Affected America's taste for Glamour During the 1950s and '60s, what America wore, what its citizens drove, and how they looked, was, in a large part, dictated by Italy's trend setters, which included fashion designers, film directors and auto makers. If it originated in Italy, and the designer's name ended in a vowel, the American public was buying it. Even our First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, was enamored with Oleg Cassini fashions. She set
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Parents may be the most important people in our lives, but certainly grandparents are no less so. Grandparents are a family's history, and through them a family's origins are handed down to new generations. Cakes cooked together, experiences and stories told near a fireplace, holidays together...these are only some of the things usually shared with grandparents that grandchildren will always remember and perhaps will in turn pass on to their own future grandchildren. The important role
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The first generation of brave individuals and families who left the Italian homeland faced many hardships towards their goal of a better life. Often the men of the family would arrive first at one of the major ports and have to find food, shelter and a job in a strange new land before the whole family would arrive. As waves of immigrants flooded the waterfronts of cities such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans, they often pushed the earlier arrivals of Irish, German, Jewish and
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The Internet has made researching family history easier than ever and it has become very popular among Italian Americans. Not only do these services allow you to discover the past, but also the present as you can look up other branches of your family tree that have been out of contact. Italian immigrants spread out over the world so it is not surprising for Italian Americans to discover long lost cousins in Argentina, France, Spain, North Africa and Australia by using these websites. There
Friday, June 1st, 2012
O SOLE MIOOOOOOOOOOOOOO .... STA 'NFRONTE A TTEEEEE'................   Italians emigrants   During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands and thousands of Italians (mostly from the south) left their homeland to find a better life across the sea in the Americas. Many found their way to the ports of New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston, and especially New York, where they immediately sought  for their Italian brethren. Eventually, these enclaves became full-fledged
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Much has been written of the Italian male immigrant - of his intrepid desires and accomplishments. But what of the tenacious Italian woman who came to America in search of success - her numbers are also strong and many. Between 1901 and 1910, nearly nine million immigrants came to the United States. Large ratios of these immigrants were young Italian women, who bravely left their small towns and villages to follow the shadows of their ancestors. In 1910, both my Italian grandmothers were
Friday, June 1st, 2012
For those of us who live in Italian American communities, festival time can be better than Christmas. Whether a festival for a patron saint, traditional foods or ethnic pride, Italian American festivals bring out the best in the community and in many places are the highlight of the year. Everywhere the early Italian immigrants settled they brought with them their traditions and the strongest of these bonds to the Old Country was the Catholic faith and its adherents to its calendar of saints
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Surnames and their Meanings Delving into the research of surnames, also known as last names or family names, is an exciting way to learn more about your family history. When researching Italian surnames, you will quickly find that each family name in Italy was formed for a particular purpose. Italy has always been known for its lively and extraordinary land and people, and Italian names exhibit these same qualities. In the age of ancient Rome, individuals were named in three parts. These
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Gil Amelio - Photo courtesy of Italian-Americans have made their mark on the business scene in America since their arrival in the late 19th century. From Gil Amelio, former CEO of Apple and National Semiconductor to Samuel DiPiazza, the current CEO of Pricewaterhousecoopers, it is a long list, which just goes to show the entrepreneurial spirit of Italian-Americans.      Banking and Finance We would probably never have gotten our paycheck had it not been for Blasé Thomas
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Little information on self-publishing and Italian American literature was readily available 40 years ago when Ralph Ferraro wrote his first book, Child of Wonder, an Italian religious novel about a child visionary. He remembers the discouragement of all those trying years of rejection of his manuscript by many of the best-known publishers in the United States. Based on the comments of editors, he rewrote his book at least ten times, all to no avail. Today, though still not published, Child
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Setting the Standard for Fraud... There are few fraudulent financial schemes out there today that reverberate through history quite like the infamous Ponzi Scheme. Although this term has made recent headlines, this con is not new and stirs up so many emotions due to the fact the scheme only works with a very charismatic con-man. The trickster that would set the standard for this kind of fraud was an Italian immigrant that went by the name of Charles Ponzi.   Carlo Pietro Giovanni
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The Popular Card Games Origin Milan is the birth place of the Tarot, where it originated in the 15th century as the game of Tarocchi. Ordinary playing cards were already in existence, having been introduced to Europe from the Middle East by crusaders in the 14th century. But Tarocchi added new cards, called Trumps, or Triumphs, to the familiar 52 card deck. These hand painted cards were not intended for divination, but by the 18th century, various divination systems had been devised
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Follow the fingers of sun from the sky to the pavement where a lifetime of furniture waits to be tossed into a truck and trundled away. Ducking under a wobbling mattress I grab a couple of cases to add them to the pile as a clasp cracks open and papers flood onto the driveway. I'm left with half a suitcase swinging in my left hand. I swear under my breath. No matter how many suitcases you destroy, swearing in front of parents is always poor form. "Good one, Anna" my brother grins,
Friday, June 1st, 2012
"We were like the Letters of the Alphabet. Alone, we had Little Meaning, but together we were part of a Great Meaning"   My grandfather was never a man of many words, but when he spoke we listened. Though his words were few they were filled with wisdom. He would often say to us: "Pray for the things you want, but work for the things you need". If grandpa said that phrase once, he said it a thousand times. Like many of his generation , who came to America during the great migration,
Friday, June 1st, 2012
By Gina Paone Kulch-Stritch     Often Italian-American culture is portrayed in a stereotypical light. Current examples of this are evident in reality television programs. While there can be truth in stereotypes the Italian-American takes a hard hit. There is no need to go back to the Renaissance to illustrate the creative genius of Italians and Italian-Americans. Carlo Levi's 1930s masterpiece Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cristo si è fermato a Eboli) is a literary gem that was made into an