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.

Italian Stories

Submitted by: Rosalba Ursino

I would like to submit my daughter Monica's story for your consideration: 

Monica represented Massachusetts in the Miss Italia Nel Mondo in 2005 and was a guest on RAI CRISTIANITA IN 2006 singing her original Italian hit, "Dove Sei"..that speaks or rather asks that eternal question, Where are you God, when all this bad is happening around us.

We, the Ursino's of Boston, keep the Italian legacy alive, through the inspiration of my mother and father, Francesco and Nina Ursino...

My Italian memory

Submitted by: Brian Falasco


My grandfather Carlo Falasca (on the left) he is from Carovilli and came to the U.S. and worked in a coal mine in Oklahoma then moved to Akron Ohio. He then got a job at the Quaker oat factory. He worked there for over 25 years. He will always be remembered for working hard to support his family. I hold duel Italian citizenship and will always remember our family history and how he lived the American Dream.

She was the One

Brooklynite Richie Pecorella remembers the love of his life, his fiancée Karen Juday, who was killed in the September 11th attacks.

My Mom 1948

Submitted by: Dolores Porziella

My Mom

My mom when she first came to America in 1948

Paulies Luncheonette 

Submitted by: Anthony Monica, East Orange, NJ

Orange, NJ

Orange NJ

Former residents of Orange, N.J. get to enjoy a night of reminiscing at  Paulies Luncheonette's Christmas ,in store, party.The store is on So.Essex Ave. & Freeway Dr. East Orange. The walls are full of memories of the neighborhood .I've been making people happy with my Facebook site "Orange Nostalgia" with photos & videos from days gone by. Best of luck with your program.

My grandfather, Michele J. Marcelli, a tailor

Submitted by: Shelley Marcelli Greggs, Sanibel, Florida

Joseph Marcelli

I really enjoy your NIAF Face Book posts and have been intrigued by the idea of submitting something to you for the Italian Heritage Project. I have lots of recipes and photos but one item stands out and that is something my grandfather made for my father during World War I. It is a child's WWI uniform. I have attached a picture of my Dad wearing it. I donated the uniform in 2011 to the National World War I Museum.

Here is the little bit of history I have on the child’s WWI uniform. It was made by my grandfather, Michele J. Marcelli, a tailor (1876-1955) for my father Joseph D. Marcelli (1911-1981). My guess is that my dad is 4 or 5 years old in the picture where he is wearing the uniform. My cousin reported that the buttons on the child’s uniform came from one of my grandfather’s “home reserve” uniforms. 

Here is an excerpt from a family record written by my aunt about my grandfather’s life and community participation during the WWI era.

“Grandpa had a custom tailor shop in East Orange, which was very much like Rumson (NJ) is today. He was very well liked and he became a very big businessman. A large clothingfactory invited him to some of their display affairs. They liked Grandpa and his workvery much. The result was one show a month and they gave him the material for a suit,which he had to model for them at their shows. They built a deluxe store and tailor shop,which employed 3 or 4 young tailors to work with him. He also bought several lovely houses to rent out. He was very active during WWI. He was in the reserves and went to drills 2 times a week. The family would go and watch the drills. He would also go to Penn Station in Newark to check and inspect the men who passed through the station to see if they were all properly registered. In Morgn, NJ (near Perth Amboy) there were a lotof ships there. Apparently germs of some kinds were aboard these ships. Grandpa was called to serve but could not go due to sickness. Many of the men who went were friendsand they died that night in a battle with the germs.

Grandpa was very well like by all. At one time he was the President of 8 organizationshe belonged to. Grandma did not see much of him, so he started to slow down a little bit.  

Later after the war, his younger brother came to stay with him. He was also a tailor, but he did not like it much. He bought a laundry in NY and married in NY. At times when he came to see us, he respected Grandpa so much, he did not smoke in front of him. They lived in East Orange for many years, then moved to Newark. Grandpa got sick; he had astroke that affected his face so they moved to Long Branch in 1929. Doctor said that the salt air would help him and it did. Grandpa got better and worked part-time for WoolleyClothing store for several years.”

My mother making gnocchi 

Submitted by: Elizabeth Mozzillo-Howell

Mother making gnocchi

This is my dear mother, Zeffira Marsiglio Mozzillo, making gnocchi this Christmas. She came to America from a small town near Naples in 1957 - the flight over had about five stops before she arrived in New York where she married my father. Nothing ever stops her. She has worked from the age of 7 in Italy, then raised us in the US, and once all 5 of us were in school she worked in the garment and electronics industry for a number of years. At the age of 77, she gets up 5:30 to 6 every morning to prepare breakfast for my (little) sister who goes off to work. Here she is making gnocchi for me and my English husband. Because of the hard work of my mother and father I was able to go to Harvard University for a doctorate in Italian studies. I now live in Cambridge, England, where I have taught Italian literature to the undergraduates of Cambridge University.