The Italian Americans

Being Italian

Mazzocchetti Family in Italy, 1973

Submitted by:  Kathleen Mazzocchetti Hoffman

Attached is family photo of the Mazzocchetti Family taken in 1973 in Italy.

Attached is family photo of the Mazzocchetti Family taken in 1973 in Italy.  My father had won a trip there and we went to a toga party.  He had owned a Lincoln Mercury dealership from 1952-1996 in PA.  We did get to see family and visit where my grandparents were from;  Pescara and the City of San Angelo.  They both immigrated to the US in the early 1900s.  Thank you.

Why Joe DiMaggio was born in California

Submitted by: Michael Latino

Hello, my name is Michael Latino. My grandmother’s name is Grace DiMaggio and her grandfather and Joe DiMaggio’s father were brothers. They came from Italy to America together, side by side to port at New Orleans, my grandfather decided he wanted to stay in New Orleans, while Joe's father felt there was nothing to be made in New Orleans so he moved to California.

Sisinio Pandiani and Gemma Novaretti

Submitted by: Sue Pandiani

Picture of grandparents

My grandparents, Sisinio Pandiani, Brescia, arrived 1902 and Gemma Novaretti, Biella, arrived 1905. My grandfather started a glass business in Worcester, MA, National Glass Works where my father Orlando learned the art of stained glass. Sisinio's brother Giovanni remained in Italy. When we visited our family in Italy, his grandson Giovanni and his children showed us the Pandiani glass business in Milano. If you are interested, I have photos from our visit to the shop in Milano.

Growing up Italian in W. Massachusetts

Submitted by: Harold L. Wolfe, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations, WGBY

Here’s an interview with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and businessman Tony Cignoli.

New Year's Eve at Grandma's House

Submitted by: John Frank

My last name is Frank, but it was changed at Ellis Island (or so family legend goes) from Casafranc, so I am fiercely proud to be Italian-American. 

Two years ago I wrote a play about my mother's side of the family, the Smaldone's, and their annual New Year's Eve party.

To start the play, I created a video (with music I bought the rights to) to open the show. Attached is the link, all video is family footage which I edited together. It begins when the family home in Brooklyn was being sold in the early 1990s with two aunts recalling the family history, then segues into parties the family had there in the 1940s.

I hope you'll be able to post this as we celebrate the new PBS Italian-American special.

You can read about the play at:

New Year's Eve at Grandma's House 

Three Roseto Brothers Win Promotions in WWII

Submitted by: Joe Casciano

3 Roseto Brothers

An article from a local newspaper shows photos and descriptions of three Casciano brothers from Roseto who were serving in WWII.

Mushroom hunting with Grandfather

Submitted by: Dora D'Agostino-Finamore

I have wonderful memories of being a young child and going mushroom hunting with my grandfather and my grandmother in the woods near my house in Colts Neck, New Jersey. My grandfather cherished his garden and my grandmother of course cooked the most wonderful fresh foods. We would all get into the car and drive to the woods my grandfather and I would go off my parents in another direction with my grandmother several hours later we would all converge with bushels of mushrooms. Along the way my grandfather would tell me stories half English half Italian of the old country and all our relatives. I so appreciated these lovely stories and he was a very optimistic man and always smiling and laughing he loved life! One time when we went mushroom hunting they all came home and got sick from the poison. After they finished being sick they laughed all night! Thank goodness when I was young I did not eat the mushrooms;  now I love them. Fiore passed this optimism right along to me thank goodness. I have passed the stories along to my daughter who never had the opportunity to meet my grandparents but she knows them through the stories. She's a 29-year-old oncology pharmacist with a heart of gold who carries the heritage of her ancestors and loves everything old. Thank you for this opportunity to share some family memories. By the way, my daughter was a NIAF merit scholar who used the financial award very well toward her doctoral degree! The family is very proud of her and her heritage!