May 31, 2017

A Look at the 2017 Festa di San Cono da Teggiano in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Evviva San Cono!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo and Rosanna Minervini
I joined my Teggianesi friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday afternoon (May 28th) to celebrate the Grand Feast of their beloved patron, San Cono da Teggiano. Mass was celebrated in Italian by Fr. Vincenzo Chirichella in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, which is currently under renovation. It was great to see members of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, the Societá Gioventú Quagliettana, the Our Lady of the Snow Society, Club Sassinese D'America and the San Rocco Society of Potenza, among others, come out and show their support. 
After Mass, devotees processed with the statue through the neighborhood with much fanfare. After a couple of hours we returned to the San Cono Clubhouse (231 Ainslie St.) for a spectacular luncheon. 
Many thanks to President Rocco Manzolillo and all the members of the San Cono Society for their hard work and dedication. It is an honor and a privilege to celebrate our faith and culture with you. Special thanks to my friends Giorgio, Antoinette and their beautiful family for inviting us to break bread with them. We had a terrific time and look forward to celebrating again next year. Evviva San Cono!
The Color Guard lead the way
(L) Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George show their support. (R) A young man flies the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
(Above & below) Members of the San Cono Society saunter behind the Saint
(Above & below) The procession wends its way through the neighborhood
Our friends Franca, Elena and Vinnie of the Our Lady of the Snow Society 
Michael Aromando and the Metropolitan Festival Band
(L) Ascending the steps of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
(R) The statue is placed next to the altar
Ladies look after the putti while the men carry the statue into the church
(L) Despite the renovations, devotees pack the church to celebrate Mass
On behalf of HE John Viola & the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Rosanna Minervini & Cav. Gangone extend warm regards & best wishes
(L) After Mass, we met our confratello Carmelo.
(R) The statue is returned to the float
Members of the Società di San Cono pose for a commemorative photo
Cav. John Napoli and Cav. Vincent Gangone enjoying the festivities
Joanne opens her home for us so we can venerate the relic of San Cono
(L) Along the parade route, we visited a private shrine dedicated to San Cono. (R) Back at the clubhouse, the Gangone men are ready to party
(L) Rev. Msgr. Jamie G. Gigantiello, Pastor of OLMC, offers a benediction.
(R) Cono sings a heartfelt rendition of Ave Maria

May 30, 2017

Photo of the Week: Cinerary Urn in the Museo del Duomo di Ravello

White marble cinerary urn dating back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Museo del Duomo di Ravello, Salerno. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

May 28, 2017

Arba Sicula Presents an Evening of Sicilian Music, Poetry and Dance at St. John’s University

The enchanting Michela Musolino
I’m a firm believer that if the remnant of our community is to survive we need to participate in culturally relevant and edifying social gatherings to help strengthen our faith, family and community ties. Last Monday, I attended such an event at St. John’s University in Queens, New York organized by Prof. Gaetano Cipolla of Arba Sicula and Michela Musolino of Rosa Tatuata. Two titans of our community, Prof. Cipolla and Michela do an incredible job promoting Sicilian culture and folkways through literature, lectures, travel, dance, music and more. 
To the delight of the audience, Room 416A in the D’Angelo Center was momentarily whisked away to the jewel of the Mediterranean, as Michela and Rosa Tatuata performed their heartfelt brand of Sicilian roots and folk music. The setlist included an array of traditional love songs and laments, including A’ Virrinedda, Mamma vi l'Haiu Persu lu Rispettu, O Nici, and Tiritera di Bagheria, a child's nursery rhyme about the Holy Family.
Halfway through their set, the band took a brief intermission so Prof. Cipolla could recite Nino Martoglio’s “Cummattimentu di Orlandu e Rinardu,” a poem written in Sicilian based on the epic duel between the Paladins Orlando and Rinaldo to conquer princess Angelica’s heart. It was recited dramatically in English by poet Stanley Barkan.
Visiting from Catania, Sicily, Maestri Giuseppe and Giovanni Bonaccorsi joined the band on stage to demonstrate their prowess in Santamaria, the ancient Sicilian art of short fencing. The brothers masterfully twirled their cudgels and fighting staffs while parrying their opponent's blows to the rhythm of the music.
Afterward, attendees mingled and enjoyed some complimentary refreshments. Copies of Prof. Cipolla’s many books about Sicily were also available for purchase.
It was an amazing night, which once again left me wondering why so many of our people are surrendering their time-honored traditions and culture for an atomistic, materialistic, and deracinated existence. We commend the efforts of Arba Sicula, Prof. Cipolla, Michela Musolino and all the other groups and individuals that promote our rich culture and identity. Your important work is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Prof. Gaetano Cipolla and just a few of the many books he has written and published about his beloved Sicily
Rosa Tatuata enthralled the audience with their performance
Michela used several types of frame drums during the performance
(Above and below) Maestri Giuseppe and Giovanni Bonaccorsi
demonstrate their martial prowess
Photos by New York Scugnizzo

May 26, 2017

Commemorating the Battle of Bitonto in NYC

Attendees take a commemorative photo outside ACQUA
Photos by New York Scugnizzo and Cav. Charles Sant'Elia
For the ninth year in a row, tri-state area neobriganti, Borbonici and friends came together in solidarity to commemorate the Battle of Bitonto (May 25, 1734), the pivotal engagement between the forces of HM Carlo di Borbone and the Austrian Empire for the crowns of Naples and Sicily. The Bourbon victory redeemed the ancient kingdom (il Regno) and ushered in the Golden Age of Naples. 
Normally held in Brooklyn, this year the event was moved to ACQUA Restaurant (21 Peck Slip) in Manhattan’s historic South Street Seaport. The change in venue coincides with Chef Giuseppe Marrone’s move to the restaurant. In addition to being a great admirer of Giuseppe’s cooking, he is a fellow traveler and brother, and we wanted him with us.
Our celebration began a little early at the bar with aperitifs and toasts to our ancestors and our once and future kings. When all our guests arrived, we were seated and treated to a sumptuous repast, replete with southern Italian delicacies, including arancini, burrata di bufala, pizza Margherita, and polpo alla griglia.
The beer and wine flowed, as did the laughs and interesting conversation. Our party even did a little singing with Neapolitan American entertainer Marcantonio Pezzano leading the way. Among others, Marco sang a beautiful invocation to the Madonna di Monte Vergine, with the rest of us joining in the chorus.
This year's invitation
Before calling it a night, we capped off our enjoyable evening with some shots of limencello and amaro (my favorite digestivi), and awarded the door prizes.
This year’s prizes included a Salvatore Argenio lacquered wood jewelry box embellished with the Cross of the Constantinian Order of St. George; a Salvatore Argenio blue silk tie with coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; a Salvatore Argenio white face watch with royal stemma and black leather wrist band; a bottle of Mastrodomenico Mos from Basilicata; a bottle of Fontana Reale falanghina del Beneventano from Campania; a bottle of Aitala Etna Bianco from Sicily; a fifty dollar gift certificate for Acqua Restaurant and a couple of CD’s of the Concertos for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (Hyperion, 1999). The prizes were generously donated by Il Regno, Tribeca Vini and Acqua Restaurant.
Once again, I cannot thank Chef Marrone enough for hosting our celebration in his wonderful restaurant. He is a true friend and lavish with his hospitality. Dinner, of course, was delicious and the service was great. Luca, Daniele and the rest of the hardworking staff accommodated our every need and did an incredible job making us feel right at home. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
Special thanks to my esteemed confratelli and consorelle for your much appreciated support and friendship. It was an honor and a privilege to celebrate our history and culture with you and I look forward to doing it again next year at the Tenth Annual Battle of Bitonto Commemoration. Viva ‘o Rre! 
Marco regaled us with a few Neapolitan folk songs
Classic bruschetta with diced tomato and onion, and the more adventurous, but oh so delicious, red caviar and salmon mousse 
Affettati e formaggio
Burrata di bufala e prosciutto di Parma 
Pizza Margherita
Polpo alla griglia
This year's big winners: (L) Stephen won the Salvatore Argenio jewelry box and (R) Michael went home with the Salvatore Argenio silk tie
Rosanna won the bottle of Aitala Etna Bianco from Sicily
Bruno walked away with the smart looking Salvatore Argenio white face watch with royal stemma and black leather wrist band
For dessert we enjoyed some torta di ricotta, cannoli, sweet strawberries and torta di lava cioccolato

Congratulations Robert on your Graduation!

Robert Nash
St. Francis College Class of 2017
Caps off to our friend Robert Nash on his graduation from St. Francis College; an impressive academic achievement! We couldn’t be happier for you!
An Accounting Major with a Minor in Economics, Robert was the recipient of the Robert B. Catell Endowed Scholarship for academic success, Franciscan spirit and community service. He was also inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society ΑΛΔ and the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Economics Society ΟΔΕ.
From all of us at Il Regno, we wish you the best of luck and much success in your future endeavors. Congratulations and God Bless you.

May 25, 2017

Celebrating the 2017 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey

(L) The Madonna del Sacro Monte. (R) Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary  Photos by New York Scugnizzo
In what had to be the nicest day of the year so far, over two hundred pilgrims gathered at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey Sunday morning for the Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte. Unable to attend this glorious celebration of our Duesiciliano faith and culture the past two years, I was thrilled to return and happy to say that the feast has not only grown in numbers but also in quality.
Celebrant and homilist the Very Rev. Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio (Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark, New Jersey and Chaplain of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George) sung Mass outside the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary located in the serene grove behind the church. 
Afterward, worshippers processed with great fanfare around the monastery grounds with the statue of the Blessed Mother three times before settling in the picnic area, where revelers enjoyed a festive luncheon with traditional southern Italian fare and music. 
In addition to my fellow Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, it was great to see members of the San Rocco Society of Potenza, San Cono Society, the Our Lady of the Snow Society, Club Sassanese D’America and the Knights of Columbus, among others, come out and show their support. 
On top of the fellowship, good food and dancing, partygoers also enjoyed a very competitive game of “pass the provolone,” a humorous take on “hot potato,” where the winner gets the cheese. T-shirts, southern Italian food products and religious articles were available for purchase.
The fête was organized by the friendly and welcoming Sandu Manghesi del Cliento Club and the Società Organizzata da Gioiese in Nord America (SOGNA), who uncompromisingly maintain their special devotion to the Madonna del Sacro Monte. 
As always, it was an honor and a privilege to celebrate our faith and culture together; God willing, we shall do it again next year. Evviva Maria!
Members of the Sandu Manghesi del Cliento Club 
Cavalieri Vincent Gangone and John Napoli flank HE Cav. John M. Viola
Celebrants make their way to the chapel for the Missa Cantata
(L-R) Cav. Gangone and Cav. Tom Portelli flying the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
(L) Devotees with a beautiful candle house. (R) Members of the Knights of Columbus color core in full regalia show their support 
The Missa Cantata was celebrated by the Very Rev. Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio 
Worshippers line up for Holy Communion 
After Mass, these cute-as-a-button flower girls line the procession path with rose petals 
Devotees pin donations on to the statue of the Blessed Mother
Our pal Brian McGuire served as crucifer during the procession
(L) Our pal Robert and adorable Catherine enjoying the festivities. (R) Msgr. Ambrosio accompanied by his Constantian brethren 
Members of the congrega carry the statue of the Madonna del Sacro Monte
The Tony Neglia Band 
(L) We ran into our dear friends Elena and Vinnie. (R) Neapolitan American singing sensation Marcantonio Pezzano had partygoers dancing
Revelers danced the tarantella 
It was the perfect day for a picnic
Marinated sliced pork and peppers sandwich 
Sausage and peppers hero
Some delicious zeppoli for dessert