Culture & Heritage
"Grazie mille, UNICO National, for your enthusiastic support of the
programs of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in
America at Montclair State University. A rewarding partnership indeed!"
Cav. Mary Ann Re, PhD
Director—Coccia Institute, Montclair State University
WHAT COLUMBUS DAY REALLY MEANS
If you think the holiday pits Native Americans against Italian Americans, consider the history behind its origin:
THE HISTORY OF THE ITALIAN FLAG
The Italian tricolor was first established during the Napoleonic Wars by French republics in northern Italy, who styled it after the French tricolor. In 1848 the design was adopted by the house of Savoy, which went on to lead the Italian unification. The present flag was adopted in 1946, when Italy became a republic and the royal arms were removed.
THE HISTORY AND TRADITION OF EASTER IN ITALY
The historic event that decided when we celebrate Easter in the Catholic tradition was the First Nicean Council of Christian Bishops in 325 A.D. Roman Emperor, Constantine, convened this council in Nicaea wish is part of Turkey. It was here that the decision was made to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon to rise after the Spring Equinox. Unless the first full moon also rose on a Sunday, in which case Easter would be celebrated the Sunday after that. Wow, I hope you understand that because I am not sure I do. Anyway, let’s continue…Click Here to Read More About Easter In Italy!
THE HISTORY OF PIZZA
There are many theories about the origin of Pizza. There is agreement, though, that Pizza was developed by peasants in Naples, Italy. This early pizza consisted of flattened bread dough topped with olive oil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (another product of the Naples area).
Anthony Michael "Tony" Lazzeri was born on December 6, 1903. He was an Italian/American Major League Baseball player during the 1920s and 1930s. He played predominantly with the New York Yankees. The native of San Francisco, California, was a member of the original American League All-Star team in 1933.
ITALIAN-AMERICANS IN THE CIVIL WAR
Between the Census of 1850 and the Census of 1860, the number of Italians immigrating to America jumped by 7,000, so that on the eve of the Civil War just over 11,000 Americans listed themselves as having been born in Italy. Many of them came to escape from stifling poverty, only to find it pursued them to the crowded cities of the East Coast of the United States Most Italians were simply looking for peace, for their homeland was torn by wars of its own.
GENERAL ITALO BALBO
Very politically active from a young age, at only fourteen years old he joined in a revolt in Albania under the leadership of Ricciotti Garibaldi, the son of Giueseppe Garibaldi, the father of a United Italy. As World War I broke out and Italy declared its Neutrality, Italo Balbo supported joining the war on the side of the Allies. Once Italy eventually joined the war, he served with the 8TH Alpine regiment and earned one bronze medals and two silver medals. He reached the rank of Captain due to courage and bravery under fire.
THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF THE FEAST OF ST PAOLINO DE NOLA - A.K.A. THE FEAST OF THE GIGLIO
As the story goes, during the waning years of the Roman Empire in 409 A.D., Southern Italy was overrun by conquerors known as the Huns. San Paolino was able to escape the rage and rampage with many of the children of the town. The men of the town were captured, indentured as slaves and brought back to North Africa.
SALVATORE "TURI" GIULIANO
In 1942, with his family struggling partially because of the corrupt government in Palermo, Turi Giuliano established links within the Sicilian Black Market and began transporting prohibited goods across the mountain range. In September of 1943, Giuliano shot a member of the Carabinieri who was suspicious of Giuliano's cargo. From this point on he became a fugitive, living out in the hills of Montelepre. He established his head quarters on Mount Sagana. As his fame or notoriety grew, his band of fugitives also grew. Some of the best-known bandits of this area became members of his group.
Italian actress, Silvana Mangano, was born on April 21, 1930, in Rome, Lazio, Italy. Her father, Amedeo, was a Sicilian train conductor. Her mother, Ivy Webb, was from England. She was raised in poverty in Rome during World War II and trained as a dancer and worked as model to support herself. In 1946 she won the "Miss Rome" Beauty Contest. A year later, she became a contestant in the "Miss Italia" beauty contest. This led to work in films. Her first notable success was "Riso Amaro," better known in English as "Bitter Rice," in 1949. She would continue to work in films for the next twenty-plus years. Some of her most notable films were Anna (1951), the Gold of Naples (1954), Mambo (1954), Ulysses (1954), 5 Branded Women (1960), Barrabas (1962) and Death in Venice (1971.)
LT. GIUSEPPE "JOE" PETROSINO
Lt. Joe Petrosino was a New York City Police Officer who was a pioneer in the fight against organized crime. The various crime fighting techniques that Petrosino pioneered during his law enforcement career are still practiced by various agencies in the fight against organized crime.
THE LEGEND OF "LA BEFANA"
La Befana is the benevolent old woman with magical powers who brings gifts to the children of Italy on the eve of Epiphany. Like most legends there are many versions. This is just one of them. The name Befana is derived from the word epifania, the Italian name for the religious festival of the Epiphany.