May 29, 2014

A Look at the 2014 Festa di San Cono, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Evviva San Cono!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
We couldn’t ask for a better day for Sunday’s Festa di San Cono in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With clear blue skies and a balmy breeze, conditions were perfect for the procession. Making our way through the neighborhood, we were greeted by many locals before reaching Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (275 N 8th Street). Mass was celebrated in Italian and English by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who spoke at length about the life of Saint Cono during his inspirational homily. After Mass we returned to the society clubhouse for some delicious food, live music and an all around good time. I offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the San Cono Society for their hard work and generosity.
The Color Guard lead the way
Proud Standard Bearer 
The Procession wended its way through the neighborhood
San Cono Society officers pose for a photo 
Along the parade route, we visited a private shrine dedicated to San Cono 
As always, Tony and Son's Festival Band were fantastic
Ascending the steps of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
Friends and family gathered at the church to honor Teggiano's glorious patron
Departing Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church 
Back at the clubhouse, revelers celebrate into the night
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May 28, 2014

A Look at the 2014 Feast of Sant'Antonio da Padova, New York City

Evviva Sant'Antonio!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Organized by the Society of Saint Anthony of Giovinazzo, Inc., the annual Feast of Saint Anthony of Padova will continue through Sunday, June 1st. There will be plenty of food, music, games and amusements every night on Mulberry Street, between Canal and Broome Streets. Proceeds to benefit Most Precious Blood Church, Saint Jude Hospital, Sandy Storm Relief, Old Bridge High School, St. Anthony Novena, American Diabetes, St. Anthony of Padova Church, St. Rocco Society, Public School #75, C.F.S. Children Malformation, Philippino Disaster Relief Fund, Communion of St. Anthony and the Society of Pozzallo. Mass will be celebrated at Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter Street, NY 10013) on June 1st at 11:00 am.

For more information visit the Society of Saint Anthony of Giovinazzo, Inc. on Facebook
The Stars and Stripes lead the way
Adorable Little Saint Anthony with proud papa
Sant'Antonio emerges from the church
This year's Grand Marshals, David and Maria Pisani
The procession wends its way through the streets of Little Italy
Festival Queen Marina Goffredo with her lovely handmaiden
Fr. Fabian Grifone offers a benediction to the participants
The procession crawls up bustling Mulberry Street
NYC's Little Italy was definitely the place to be on Saturday
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Sicily Revisited: Musical Performance by Laura Campisi and Alberto Fidone

Sunday, June 1 (6:30 PM)
Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10013

You are cordially invited to attend a special performance by award-winning Sicilian singer and songwriter Laura Campisi at the Italian American Museum on Sunday, June 1.  
With "Sicily Revisited", Laura Campisi brings together a deepened knowledge of American Jazz and contemporary music (the fruit of almost three years as a professional singer in New York) with her mastery of Sicilian musical traditions, for a fresh point of view on Southern Italy’s repertoire.  She has chosen a peculiar instrument as a companion, doublebass (not at all traditional of Sicilian sounds, but very dear to the young singer), and an excellent player to make it possible, Alberto Fidone, Sicilian himself, born in Catania, and visiting New York for the first time.
Born and raised in Sicily, and surrounded by the traditional Sicilian sounds and melodies, singer and songwriter Laura Campisi has developed a deep knowledge of the musical tradition of this beautiful island. A knowledge that her family passed on to her from childhood, and that has found a long and successful path both in and out of the Academy, with a degree in Musical Arts and a thesis on well-known Sicilian singer Rosa Balistreri, together with countless musical projects she has created through the years which were presented to audiences in both Europe and the United States.
Through her sincere passion she was also able to win many competitions and awards dedicated to Sicilian music such as the "Rosa Balistreri e Alberto Favara" Award in 2011, for her active role in spreading Sicilian music and culture around the world. She also appears in the documentary film "La Voce Di Rosa" ("Rosa's Voice") by director Nello Correale.
Suggested donation of $10
To reserve a place for this event, please call the Italian American Museum at (212) 965-9000 or email:

May 25, 2014

Remember Bitonto!

Charles of Bourbon, 
Palazzo Reale, Napoli 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

May 25th marks the anniversary of the Battle of Bitonto (1734), the key engagement between the Spanish Bourbons and Austrian Hapsburgs over the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738).  The battle and its aftermath (the Treaty of Vienna) brought Austrian rule in Southern Italy to an end and won "the most beautiful crown in Italy" for Charles of Bourbon, the eldest child of King Philip V of Spain and his second wife, Elizabeth Farnese.

Under the command of Captain General José Carrillo de Albornoz, the Count of Montemar, the Bourbon forces defeated the Austrians (who had ruled Naples since 1707 and Sicily from 1720) on the field of battle near Bitonto in Puglia. 

The Duke of Montemar, 
José Carrillo de Albornoz
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
For his part, Count José Carrillo de Albornoz was made a Duke. A towering obelisk was constructed in the town square in his honor and to commemorate the victory.

After 230 years of provincial servitude to Spain and Austria, Charles of Bourbon, "The great restorer of the kingdom," made the Regno an independent and sovereign state once again. The Bourbon dynasty ruled the Southern Kingdom for 126 years until 1860, when Victor Emanuel II of Savoy conquered and annexed it to the nascent Kingdom of Italy.

May 24, 2014

Who’s Happier than Me?

The Biography of Eduardo De Filippo

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
By Niccolò Graffio
"What can one be but frivolous about serious things? Without frivolity they are simply too tremendous." – G.K. Chesterton (as quoted in Gilbert Keith Chesterton by Maisie Ward; Sheed & Ward, 2005)
The process of centralizing the film industry in Italy, begun by the proponents of the Risorgimento almost from the time of that industry’s creation and expedited by the Fascists, virtually snuffed out the embryonic film companies that had sprung up in places like Naples and Sicily.  That and the advent of sound film (along with its vastly increased costs) insured that only films produced in the movie studios of Rome or Northern Italy would ever see the light of day.

The cultural hegemony of the Padanians succeeded in relegating the local cultures of Southern Italy into second, no, third class status!  This was due to the fact Northerners regarded the art, music, languages and cuisines of their newly acquired peons in the south as being inferior to even that of non-Italian Europeans. Continue reading

May 23, 2014

Janine Coyne's "Napoli" at the Italian American Museum

A sneak peek before the grand opening
Photos by New York Scunizzo
What better way to celebrate the official opening of the Italian American Museum's new gallery than with an exhibit of Janine Coyne's captivating photos of Napoli? Mulberry Street, of course, was where large groups of Neapolitan immigrants settled and it was to their memory that Museum President Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa dedicated the opening.
Professor Coyne’s photographs brought back memories from my last trip to Naples. The honest images captured a flavor that is usually only experienced with one’s own eyes. Her work will be on permanent display at the museum until next Autumn.
The venue was packed with visitors. Allesandra Belloni performed the Tarantella tammurriata Uè femmene and a Neapolitan chant in honor of the Madonna delle Sacro Monte. Afterward refreshments were served and the guests mingled.
Coyne’s work can be found in the permanent collections of several museums, and it is always a pleasure to see her work (In 2006 the IAM exhibited her “Sicilian Journey”). The IAMs new gallery is a welcome addition to the museum and the Italian cultural community.
A full house 
Allesandra Belloni entertains the crowd 
A picture of Pulcinella catches their eye
Professor Coyne thanks the audience 
Guests mingle and admire the photographs

May 21, 2014

A look at the 2014 Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, Kansas City, Missouri

Viva Maria!
Photos courtesy of Robert Kearney
This year’s Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, in Kansas City, was a great success. We are grateful to our friend Robert for sharing these photos with us so that we, from a distance, could also feel part of the event. 
The Knights of Columbus escort Our Lady from Holy Rosary Church
Devotees dutifully carry The Madonna to the expectant crowd
The Altar Society Standard
A canopy is raised above the Madonna before she is showered with rose petals
Rose petals and cotton are distributed to the faithful
The faces of Mary and Jesus are ritually wiped
Delicious desserts bring cheer to all
The people of the parish gather and celebrate. A scene warmly familiar to those of our culture
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May 20, 2014

Updated Speaking Schedule For "Farms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut" With Anthony V. Riccio

Author Anthony V. Riccio will discuss his latest book Farms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut. For updates and additional speaking events please visit 

• May 18th, Sunday, 2:00, Woodbridge Historical Society 
• May 28th, Wednesday “Connecticut Style” New Haven, Channel 8
• May 30th, Friday, at 7:00 Dante Alighieri Society, New London

• June 1, Sunday at 1:00 Naugatuck Historical Society
• June 7th, Saturday, 2:00, Waterford Library
• June 17th Tuesday, 6:30 Prospect Library
• June 24th, Tuesday at 6:00, Waterbury UNICO
• June 25th, Wednesday at 7:00 Blackstone Library, Branford, CT
• June Friday 26th & Saturday 27th 6:00-10:00 - Saint Andrews Festival New Haven
• June 29th , Sunday, 1:00 at Bale Bookstore, Waterbury
• June 29th Sunday 4:00-7:00 “Festa al Fresco” Greenwich, Historical Society
• June 30th, Monday, Fox News Morning Show, Hartford, Channel 61, 9:00

• July 2nd, Wednesday, 6:00, Salas Bronson Library, Waterbury
• July 9th, Wednesday, 7:00 Branford, Saint Mary Women’s Guild
• July 19th, Saturday, 1:00, Westerly Library, Rhode Island
• July 23rd, Wednesday, 7:00, East Lyme Library

• September 21, Sunday, 2:00, Saint Anthony’s Church Hall, New Haven

• October 15, Wednesday 6:30 Southington Library

Click here for book description

Also see:
Anthony Riccio's "From Italy to America" Travels to Ravello, Italy
Anthony Riccio Featured in 'Act Two' Magazine
A Look at Anthony Riccio's 'From Italy to America '
Preserving Living History: Interview with Oral Historian and Photographer, Anthony V. Riccio

May 18, 2014

Diogenes Need Have Looked No Farther

The Biography of Giovanni Falcone
P.M. Giovanni Falcone
By Niccolò Graffio
“The Mafia is a human phenomenon and as all human phenomena it has a beginning, an evolution and it will also have an end.” – Giovanni Falcone
"He [Diogenes of Sinope] used to call the demagogues the lackeys of the people and the crowns awarded to them the efflorescence of fame. He lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as he went about, 'I am looking for a man.'" – Diogenes Laërtius: Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, Book VI (translated by Robert Drew Hicks), Loeb Classical Library, 1925
The American fascination with criminals has always been something of a mystery to me. Criminals rob, rape and murder with impunity, yet somehow the worst of them all too often manage to garner the best press. This is not a recent phenomenon in American history. As far back as the 19th century, “dime novels” chronicled the exploits, real and imagined, of various unsavory types such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Cole Younger and the Dolan Gang. Rather than denounce the anti-social proclivities of these sordid characters, more often writers held them up as people to be admired, if not in fact to be emulated. Continue reading

May 17, 2014

Feast of Santa Restituta

Viva Santa Restituta!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
May 17th is the Feast Day of Santa Restituta, virgin martyr and patroness of Lacco Ameno, a town in northwestern Ischia. According to legend, in 284 AD (during the reign of Emperor Diocletian) Santa Restituta was tortured and sentenced to death for her faith and piety. Brought out to sea, she was placed in a small boat, lashed to a pyre and set aflame. However, a strong wind blew the burning pitch onto her executioners' ship, consuming their vessel in flames instead. She died from her wounds while adrift. [An alternate version of the legend states that she was cast overboard with a millstone tied around her neck. The stone is said to be embedded into the wall of the Chiesa di Santa Restituta in Lacco Ameno.] Continue reading