The term little Italy evokes different kinds of memories and images. A lot of Italian migrated to America in hope to find a better life. They’ve settled here, founded their families and started their business. Italians have become the part of the American culture, and they have built here a unique lifestyle. Bringing their culture, food, music, speech, you cannot imagine America without Italians. It is like some scene from the Godfather, they’ve created here clans, communities and they are determined to stick together. Across the America, you can find small communities of Italians in larger American cities.
New York City
In New York, you can find the biggest number of Italian communities and the most famous is the Little Italy. Once it was much larger, but Chinatown and NoLiTa took most of the place. The whole neighborhood now takes only four blocks. Here you will find Italian products, such as food, drinks, ceramics, a lot of restaurants and cafes. Also, here is located St, Patrick’s Old Cathedral. One of the most popular times to visit this community is in the two last weeks of September. Thousands of people gather here to pay tribute to Patron Saint of Naples. The whole celebration is followed by the Italian food and music; even the cannoli eating contest is organized.
Italian community regarding Boston is located in the North End. From the beginning of the 18th century, Italians have flocked this part of America. Nowadays, this community is spread over two square miles. Some historicists claim that North End was the epicenter of America revolution, as well as the main stand of Italian cuisine and culture. Today, there are over 80 restaurants and cafes here. The old charm of Italy can still be noticed in here, despite modern times.
There are several Italian communities in Chicago. The most important are the ones around the Tailor street. Even though, it is not exclusive as it was before, it still offers Italian spirit. A lot of restaurants and café shops with Italian food and customs.
In the late 1800s and at the beginning of the 1900s started great migrations from Europe to America. Most Italians who came to America were from the poorer parts of Sicily, Campania, Calabria and Abruzzo. Americans back then saw Italians as not so good fit to their democratic society; they were given the worst jobs. Working in mines, shoveling all day, they were seen as unskilled laborers. Also, a lot of people back then believed that Italians were violent people. Nearly half of Italians who came to U.S. returned to its original state. The other half who stayed here, fought their way to the top, creating communities and unique lifestyle here.
How was Italian American Identity established
In 1924 the Immigration Act nearly slashed Italians who were living in America. The annual quota was reduced from 42,000 to 4,000 of Italians who are allowed to migrate to U.S. Because of this Italians Americans were forced to move to suburbs and to create neighborhoods. They were under a great influence of American culture.
The second reason was the World War II. It created a strong feeling of national unity, even though they weren’t the same people. Nearly a half million of Italians served in American army while the Second World War lasted. With this act, they destroyed popular stereotypes that followed them. They found their way to American life and culture, and the most important thing is that Americans accepted them. With that acceptance, they have enriched the American culture.
The food is a powerful source
In the early 20th century Italian food wasn’t well accepted in America. Since they used garlic in their cuisine, Americans found that as uncivilized because of the strong smell. You can just look at American cuisine and markets and see how drastically things have changed now. Italian cuisine has given a special meaning to American life. Nowadays, you cannot find a place in U.S. that doesn’t have some Italian dish. People have accepted Italian cuisine with the opened hands into their homes. Pizza, meatballs, spaghetti, red sauce all originating from Italy, have become the part of American heritage and culture.
Rome, – Every time there is an “important political event” in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela it is accompanied by a peak in visits to the website www.mequieroir.com. That was the word to Il Velino from Esther Bermudez, the director of the portal that offers Venezuelans (and Latin-Americans in general) information to help plan a stay – or an entire life — abroad. It happened when the government decided to nationalize oil resources and again with the referendum that confirmed Chavez in power, to cite but two examples. El Paнs reported on this phenomenon recently. And it is no accident: “Spain is the number one European destination for Latin-Americans, for evident linguistic reasons”, Bermudez explained. And Italians on the continent? “Many are looking for a way back to Europe: it’s a phenomenon that concerns Italo-Venezuelans (as it does Italo-Argentinians, to cite one of the most significant communities) of the second and third generations.” Fathers and grandfathers born in Italy, in general, don’t return. Sons and grandsons “count on dual nationality for the chance of a future in the European Union”. Outside Europe, preferences go for Canada and Australia, Bermudez said. Information on the bureaucratic procedures required for emigration come from embassies and are re-elaborated by mequieroir to make them more readily understandable.
Is Italy a desirable destination for Latin-Americans?
“In general, Italy is chosen as a destination for study trips. People go to learn the language and for the culture. It’s less interesting as a place to work.” The picture is substantially confirmed by a spokesman for the Italian embassy in Caracas. “There have been moments when we have received very many requests for passports. That doesn’t mean the Italians of Venezuela are planning to leave the country, but just that they want to have their documents in order,” the embassy source told Il Velino. The desire to leave is not necessarily dictated by economic consideration, since alongside high inflation there has also been strong economic growth since 2003. It is rather the ideological tendency of the Chavez government that feeds the anxiety affecting the Italian community, he said.
Among the 130,000 Italians registered with the Italian authorities in Caracas and Maracaibo, and a similar number who are not registered but who could recover their citizenship, people are not necessarily looking to return to their land of origin. “Many young people are interested in Italy as a place to study,” the source said. The Italian community is highly productive, having in large part emigrated to Venezuela in the inter-war period, and is made up of technicians, builders, and engineers who help to maintain the country’s infrastructure. “Their serenity is disturbed by structural problems, such as the security issue, and by others relating to contingent circumstances, such as the frequent ideological seizures of the Venezuelan president,” the source said.
Italo – Venezuelans and their presence in modern Venezuela
Before it was discovered that Venezuela has a huge deposits of oil, not many Italians dared to migrate to this Latin country. Everything started in the first half of the 20th century where large numbers of Italians choose Venezuela as their future country and then the migrations started. During the 40s and 50s, the president of Venezuela Marcos Perez Jimenez, aware of the situation in his country which was struggling with a lack of people, decided to popularize migrations from Europe to this country. During that time more than 300.000 Italians moved to Venezuela. But, a large number of them returned to Italy later.
In the 60s, Italians founded the largest European community in Venezuela, called Venezuelan census. In the 70s there were more than 200.000 Italians in Venezuela and during the 80s that number grew up to 400.000. This also includes second generation descendants who continued to live here. At the beginning of the 21st century, some estimates say that there is a nearly one million of Italians living in Venezuela. And they have at least one descendant from Italy. Nowadays, that number has decreased for a 50,000 people. Some of them have died and some of them returned to Italy, due to an economic crisis that is currently shaking Venezuela. Italian ambassador in Venezuela says that 5-6% of Venezuelan population has Italian origin. The Italian population is mainly engaged in agriculture, and that is their main way of income. Forming Italian communities all over the state.
Janet Napolitano may be as familiar face in Florence, Italy, as she is in Florence, Ariz. The selection of “Janet, the Italian sheriff” – as the daily La Stampa put it – to become the nation’s next Homeland Security secretary sparked interest and excitement in the country from which Napolitano’s grandfather emigrated from in the early 1900s. Italians are fascinated not only by Napolitano’s cultural heritage but also by what they view as her innovative strategies as a border-state governor, hence the term “sheriff,” said Maurizio Molinari, the Torino-based newspaper’s U.S. correspondent. “The general perception . . . is that she is in the first row facing illegal immigration,” a hot-button issue here and there, Molinari said. “Her decision to work more to prevent the illegal immigration from inside Arizona (is) a strategy that is very similar (to) the one Italy is trying to apply.” As far as Italian-American celebrities go, the governor is as well-known in Italy as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lagging only slightly behind former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Molinari said. That may in part be due to her sharing the same last name with Italy’s head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano. “It’s a kind of strange coincidence,” Molinari said, given the name is spelled in some different varieties.
Accepting and cherishing
The namesakes even got to meet when Napolitano, the president, invited Napolitano, the governor, to the presidential Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome in September 2007. The governor cherishes her Italian heritage, said Joseph Del Raso, executive vice president of the National Italian American Foundation and a host of a 2007 reception of the foundation held in honor of the then-chair of the National Governors Association. “The Italian-American community has been very proud of her achievements,” he said. Knowing about the challenges Italians coming to the United States faced in past centuries may have given Napolitano a more nuanced understanding of immigration issues, Del Raso said. The fascination with Napolitano in Italy, meanwhile, seems unique, particularly given neighboring Austrians’ apparent lack of interest in their country’s most famous emigrant, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“People didn’t take (him) seriously for a long time,” said Paul Zabloudil, foreign-policy editor of the Austria Press Agency. If anything, Schwarzenegger sparked controversy because of his support for capital punishment and by calling Austria a “socialist” country, he said. Italians, on the other hand, care very much about the likes of Giuliani and Napolitano because they perceive them as their countrymen, even though they live outside the borders of the Boot, La Stampa’s Molinari said. “The issue is the definition of national identity,” he said. “For us, (it’s) ‘the people.’ ” And given that definition, Molinari predicts that while the governor’s impending promotion could further boost coverage about her, Italians’ interest in all things Napolitano will keep up no matter what. “There is this kind of curiosity,” he said, “that goes beyond politics.”
Janet Napolitano – a new Homeland Security Secretary
When Janet Napolitano was first appointed to this function in 2009, she was in charged overseeing critical situations. Preventing terrorist attacks, securing its borders, dealing with natural disasters and building the resistance of the country. She also put a great effort in fighting a cyber-criminal, as well as creating better flight conditions, eliminating the threats before they appear.
She is the first woman and the longest serving secretary in the history of the United States. Before joining Obama’s administration, she was the governor of Arizona. She was the first official how started new homeland strategies and implementing them. She opened the first terrorist center as well as enforcing the immigration policies and laws. Even though she has Italian origin, she was well received in the United States as Governor and as Secretary of Homeland Security.
Napolitano always had an emergency plan for every situation.
The Italians are deeply rooted in the religion of Christianity. Now, with Pope Francis being Italian himself, that bond has been stronger than ever.
There have been a lot of debates regarding the role of religion in society. Both factions of the argument have a lot of good points, though both sides also have flaws. Given that the issue is still being argued upon, one cannot simply cover the whole thing in a single article. Continue reading →
It’s been said over and over: the tuition in America is ridiculously expensive. So expensive that it’s affecting the racial diversity of students enrolling in colleges and universities, with white students making the bulk of the enrollees. Not only is this disheartening, it’s downright affecting the future of the country. Continue reading →
People think of Italian Americans either as Renaissance scholars or ‘Sopranos’. But we’re so much more diverse, we’ve got scientists, industrialists, and people in every walk of life where there have been contributions.
We can vividly imagine that not too long ago, the Italian community, like many ethnic groups found in huge cities, enveloped by actual or imagined “boarders” tended to limit the outlook of occupational contingency. These enclaves of first and second generation Italians were generally populated by workers in every facet of the building trades, various shops, and city workers in one office or another. Simply put, the focus of Italians then, was not the world of academia. Continue reading →
Stereotyping is among the top issues that Italian-American face today. Efforts have been, and are currently, being implemented to greatly lessen this issue or finally put an end to it. And the people who are behind it are those that are being affected themselves. Continue reading →
The two decade festival held nearby Fresh Pond Road in the middle of Menahan and Woodbine streets in Ridgewood has been struck down with a decision of 22-12 vote by its Community Board 5 last Wednesday. The reason for the festival –held from September 3 to 6 – being denied is due to the concern for the residents living within the scope of this late-summer celebration. Continue reading →
There is a multitude of races populating the United States. This diversity is one of America’s many unique aspects. One of the many foreign people that immigrated to the U.S. were the Italians, who brought with them their beautiful culture and have shared it with the rest of the country ever since. Aside from their influence in food, the Italians have a lot more to offer to Americans. Continue reading →