The Italian Americans

Being Italian

Being Italian

Share memories of your Italian Heritage with The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and they could be featured on the website for the upcoming documentary series, The Italian Americans, set to debut February 17th and 24th on PBS (check local listings)!

  • Entries can be in the form of text, photo, or YouTube Video and stories should support the website’s mission to celebrate Italian American culture and history (recipes, celebrations, family traditions, sports, music, family, neighborhood, military service).
  • Submitted entries must be relevant to the topic of the site; may not include profanity, personal attacks or hate speech; may not promote a business or raise money; and may not be spam. Anything you submit should be your own original work, photo or video.
  • You can send your entries to NIAF via Direct Message on Facebook or by using the hashtag #ItalianAmericansPBS on Twitter.

1952 Christening. Me Baby. All others my mom and cousins who were from Italy

Submitted by:  Dolores Porziella

Dolores Porziella

My Italian Family circa 1953

1926 in Rochester, NY 

Submitted by: Jacquelyn Russo Alesi Borrelli

This was taken in 1926 in Rochester, New York. Our family came from Polizzi Generosa, Sicily in 1906.

The Santa Rosalia Feast, Brooklyn, NY 

Submitted by: Donna

This photo is from The Santa Rosalia Feast on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Joe Pollari was the owner of Caffe' Bella. He cooked Sicilian traditional dishes like stiglioli, and octopus salad, as well as his famous steak sandwiches, grilled chicken sandwiches, homemade sausage, clams, shrimp, and much more.  The Santa Rosalia Feast has been a significant part of the Bensonhurst Community. This feast represents our Italian American heritage.

Sundays at Rocco's:

Nicholas Petron remembers family dinners at his grandfather's place and how everything changed when the city made new plans for their neighborhood.

Family picture of Italian Ancestors

Submitted by: CS

This picture is of the Leav Brothers who came to Philadelphia from Tutto Colli  A Voiturno. It was taken in Philadelphia between 1903 and 1919  Their names from left to right: Ernest ( Teofilo my Great Grandfather) Furey Emiddo and Emilo  I am very proud of my Italian / American Heritage 

The 50th Wedding Anniversary of Pietro and Maria Ferraro 

Submitted by: Pete Ferraro

Click image to play video

Above is a video I produced for my mother and father's 50th wedding anniversary celebration 5 years ago. Pietro and Maria Ferraro were married in San Pietro in Guarano near Cozenza in Calabria. My father Pietro Ferraro passed away just 4 weeks ago. It's the end of a beautiful era in our family and community. He was a friend to all and well-known in Sharpsburg, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh) where they have lived since 1966 when they moved to America with my older brother. Pietro spent his retirement after many years as an industrial mechanic helping EVERYONE in need. He volunteered at his church, visited the ill and shut-in's, transported people to work and the doctor's office and so much more. He was very skilled at home repairs and fixing cars so he was often seen helping neighbors and friends with remodeling their homes or repairing their vehicles and never asking for anything in return. He was once featured in an article of a large newspaper for helping flood victims dig out from a devastating disaster. After his passing, we found a stack of about 50 thank you letters from charitable organizations for his donations. He loved to make wine, Italian sausage and Soppressata - and gave most of it away to whomever he came into contact with! My mother is recovering from a hospital stay but doing well. She can't wait to get back in the kitchen (the basement kitchen - isn't that where all Italian Nana's cook?) and bake some bread. My parents taught us values, respect and of course wonderful traditions including how to speak Italian (with a Calabrese dialect of course)! Viva Italia!

Canning Tomato Sauce – A Family Tradition 

Submitted by: Teresa Intranuovo Drucker

Canning tomatoes

Canning tomatoes

Every August, the Intranuovo family from Long Island, New York continues the tradition of bottling jars of tomato sauce. We usually purchase 14 bushels of tomatoes and our sauce lasts is the entire year. It is all natural and uses three ingredients. We preserve the jars naturally by boiling them for several hours after the sauce is bottled. E' buonissima!

Above are some photographs of my children helping Nonna. They are putting basil in the jars. We first wash all the tomatoes in a big tub. We inspect each one by hand to assure freshness. We then cook the tomatoes in large pots over two outdoor burners. The tomatoes are then put through a machine that separates the skin and the seeds from the sauce. The sauce goes into a large round white tub. We add salt to taste and then pour the sauce into mason jars filled with some basil. The flat lids from the mason jars are boiled and dried before being placed on the jar and secured with the ring. We tighten the rings and then, place the jars on top of each other in tall, large round barrel pots and boil them overnight. When we need sauce for pasta or anything else, we always have a jar on hand. You cannot open a jar of sauce and heat it up, you must cook it for at least a half hour seasoning it to your liking. The longer you cook it the better it is! There is no such thing as fast food in Italian cooking, only slow food, made with love!

John & Joe

Retired firefighter John Vigiano Sr. lost both his sons on September 11, 2001--John Jr., also a firefighter, and Joe, a police detective.