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Mario Batali

(Chef)

batali_hpthumbMario Batali is one of the country’s most celebrated chefs. He has opened six highly successful restaurants in New York City, including Esca, Del Posto and his flagship Greenwich Village establishment, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca. Batali is a familiar television personality, from his Food Network cooking show, Molto Mario, to his recent PBS series, Spain…On the Road Again, and his appearances as a competitor on Iron Chef. Among his many accolades, Mario was named GQ Magazine’s 1999 “Man of the Year” in the chef category and, in 2002 and 2005 respectively, he won James Beard Foundation awards for “Best Chef: New York City” and “Outstanding Chef of the Year.” Mario is also a recipient of the 2001 D’Artagnan Cervena prestigious lifetime achievement award, “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.”

Mario grew up in Seattle, Washington, one of three children born to Marilyn and Armandino Batali. He spent his childhood watching his grandmother make oxtail ravioli and other Italian specialties passed down in the family. Mario’s father, an engineer for Boeing for 30 years, opened a meat-curing shop in Seattle as a retirement project, attempting to recreate the Italian foods store Mario’s maternal great-great grandparents opened in 1903. The Batali family’s roots are almost entirely in the West. Mario’s great-great-grandfather left Italy for Butte, Montana in 1899 to work in the coal mines and eventually moved further west to settle in Seattle.

  • Rosa

    I love this site! Mario…bravo!

  • Lara

    Can’t wait to see the series. I loved the Sundance Iconoclasts episode with Mario Batali and Michael Stipe.

  • Barbara Ames

    I was surprised to learn you were not born in Italy..thats what makes this program so great to learn about favorite people.. watched Molto Mario and enjoyed recreating the dishes on the show. Dined at the restaurant in Port Chester and enjoyed it.In other words I love to eat and drink. Thanks Dr. Gates and Thanks Mario

  • Andrea

    There ARE redheads in Italy……

    Mario does “look” Italian.

    I was surprised that Mr. Gates didn’t address that notion more correctly.

  • Andrea

    There ARE redheads in Italy……

    Mario does “look” Italian.

    I was surprised that Mr. Gates didn’t address that fact more effectively!

  • Andrea

    As a genealogy expert, it would be wonderful if Mr. Gates could address preconceived notions and stereotypes such as this.

  • Chef Shady

    As a fourth generation Italian American Seattleite, I can relate to Mario Batali on so many level!

  • Neil

    Where can we get Mario’s grandmother’s ravioli recipe?

  • Vincenzo’s Granddaughter

    (raising hand) Here’s another red-headed Italian! OK, so I’m half Italian, but it’s a recessive trait. My Italian-American mother had to have the gene. One of our Italian surnames (Mirci) is said to be derived from a Slavic man named Miroslav who emigrated to Italy long ago. I don’t know if that’s where it came from or through some Celtic soldier in the Roman army :-)

  • mjkelldog

    Being a boy from Butte, Montana, I am thrilled to hear Mario’s ancestors were here working in the mines. To clarify the synopsis of Mario above, the mines in Butte are (were) COPPER mines and not coal. There are many stories of those like Mario’s great-great grandfather coming to Butte. It must have been something else back then. I am in awe of the copper miners and all the immigrants. Fascinating series! Thank you Professor Gates!

  • hswschultz

    Mjkelldog, I feel sure that the mention of the coal mines was just an oversight because the people who came to Butte to work on this series were wonderful. I don’t think they will get it wrong on television. Did you notice the gallows frame behind Mario Batali in the opening sequence? I hope that he will come to Butte at some point…for the Folk Festival or for the opening of the Archives building when it is completed. We loved learning his story.

  • Cynthia

    Believe it or not: there are redheads in Afica! But the highest percentage of redheads in the world is in Scotland at 14%!

  • Maree

    This series is no way as fascinating as African American Lives 1 & 2. Most were predictable with no long history of being in America. I did enjoy the history of the Native American. You should do a series on people from the various native american tribes. The fact that the participants come from diverse backgrounds didn’t seem to make the discoveries all that revealing. Nothing revealed surprised me. I was disappointed.

    Chris Rock with a great uncle in the USCT wow! Tina Turner’s ancestor’s land owner’s and builder’s of a school,awesome! The African -American’s had ancestors who really helped build this country! I recently found out that an ancestor worked on the team who developed the automatic bobbin at Singer Sewing Co. and this revolutionized the sewing industry.We have a copy of the patent!

  • beny dictus

    anyhow,with the guidance of the volunteers,,,

  • Maryann

    My sicilian father had red hair, blue eyes and fair complection. He married my mother, brown hair, brown eyes, olive complection, of sicilian parents — They are acually 3rd cousins. My parents had a freckled, red haired , green eyed daughter and son, and a daughter with black hair brown eyes that was actually nicknamed ‘blackie”. So I know firsthand that Italians and Sicilians had red, blonde hair (from the Norman invaders)and brown hair (from Greek and Turkish invaders).
    I took my son and daughter to Poggioreale, Sicily with me in 2009, to trace my heritage. After locating long lost relatives and going to the cemetery and seeing our family name on gravemarkers, (my maiden name is Lo Longo)my son who is 42 said he finally felt that he belonged. He had always heard his grandparents and great grandparents speak of their homeland but he could never form a true link in his heart to those stories. After actually walking the land and seeing the graves of his ancestors he was then able to feel he’d returned to his homeland.

    As Mario tells in the video, I too could not understand why my ancestors left this beautiful island. On my visit, we traveled over the whole island by car. The land and people were so hospitable that I long to move here. My maternal grandmother had told stories of always being hungry and of her father farming the rocky soil. She told me that it was a ‘big deal’ to get a penny to buy crochet thread so that she could sit on the stoop with other girls and crochet in the evenings.

    My maternal great grandparents arrived here in 1860 in New Orleans and settled in Texas. When my mother was 5 and had 2 sisters younge , her father built a sturdy wooden trunk and filled it with farming implements that he had seen used in farming in Texas. His plan was to take them back to Sicily and manufacture them for sale. To pay for the trip, he packed up the family and that tool trunk and worked the railroad towards New York and then back to Sicily. While he was in Pittsburgh, he contracted pnuemonia, died and was buried. My grandmother could not speak english, but railroad officials helped her telegraph her brother back in Texas to come get her and the children. To this day, I have not been able to find my grandfather’s grave, but I will continue to search til I find it. My family and I wonder what prompted my grandfather to leave America which offered so much and go back to Sicily. Was he so sure that those tools would make him wealthy? Did he plan to return a rich man? We can only guess.

  • Cynthia

    My maternal and paternal ancestry is Italian. My ancestors came to the US around 1900 and settled in the Boston area were we have been for 6 generations now. I, like Mario, continue to feel and enjoy my Italian connections. So much so that I recently obtained an Italian dual citizenship. My main reason for replying here is to ask those who still have no answer for ‘Why They Came’ to reseach the history of Italy during your ancestor’s immigration years. I think that journey would be extremely rewarding and eye opening as you peel away the romantic onion. May I suggest for a starter the recent book by Stephen Puleo titled: The Boston Italians, A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani…from the years of the great immigration to the present day. This book has a Boston focus but is universal in Italian immigrant experiences. Then as you wipe away the tears of appreciation you may choose to research further. Read European and Italian history, especialy for the South of Italy, starting in the mid 1800’s. I write this not as a put down but as a challenge towards a better understanding of our deep and tangled roots. I think you’ll enjoy some amazing discoveries that are not limited to the celebs profiled in this fine program.

  • Sanscœur

    Too bad Professor Gates didn’t get his research associates to dig just a little deeper into the history of mining in America. He and Mario both acted shocked that Italians came to the New World to dig mines. The natives of Krebs, OK would be disappointed in the collective ignorance of two prominent celebrities on screen. Immigrating Italians were a common source of mine labor in the the late 19th and early 20th century American west. I suspect that an investigation of hardrock mining in Colorado and California, during the same time period, would reveal the same demographics – pioneer Welsh and British miners leaving way for Italian successors. I beg Professor Gates not to leave those of us in the viewing audience awash in history LITE while he stands atop such a prominent pulpit.

  • Toni

    My grandmother and grandfather were both from Lucca Italy. My grandfather worked in the coal mines in West Virginia. He was diagnosed with black lung disease, relocated to the Chicago area. He worked for the railroad loading huge cubes of ice into the refrigerated box cars.

    My aunt told me my grandmother was blond. She had this creamy, ageless skin. My mother has the same skin. She’ll be 89y in April had hardly a wrinkle!

  • Gian

    There are all Caucasian hair types and eye colors (Sinatra’s trademark, after all) in Italians but the lighter shades are certainly not as prevalent in Italy as they are in Ireland / Scotland / England / etc. In Mario’s case his red hair comes from his English / French Canadian Mother.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5451579

    “Batali was born in 1960 and grew up outside Seattle: a suburban kid with a solid Leave It to Beaver upbringing. His mother, Marilyn, is English and French Canadian — from her comes her son’s flaming red hair and a fair, un-Italian complexion.”

    Just thought people here would want to know, seeing as so many comments are about it. Either way, I enjoyed the episode yesterday.

  • Toni

    I interviewed many family members for a cultural anthropology course. My grandmother’s niece was my main informant of my mother’s side. They were from the Tuscany area. She said to me, it wasn’t like it is now. Things changed very much. It was very, very poor. There was no jobs. One had to travel many miles for a job, but then there was no transportation to get to that job. People left their homes. After the war, wealthy people purchased the homes, rehabbed and the rest is history.

    My grandmother’s brother went to San Francisco (the only one so west) for work. He developed tuberculosis and died. We were told he was buried in a common grave. Their was no family members there with him. His daughter was never able to locate where he was buried.

  • Merry

    The most surprising aspect of the series — and of most of our stories — is how little we know about family separated from us by only one generation. One would think we’d know why grandpa came to America, but it turns out that usually we don’t know. We’ve heard hints, stories, and we piece together a narrative, but often it’s wrong. Example, Batali didn’t know about his grandfather leaving Butte because of a mining accident that scared the bejeebers out of him. How fascinating! How human!
    Wish Skip Gates would work his magic on my family.

  • m.

    My understanding of lay persons genetics is that both of Mr. Batali’s parents had to have carried the recessive gene for red hair, as well as blue eyes . Someone can correct me if I’ve mixed this up(no pun intended). If the mother and the father are both Hybrids , each carrying a recessive and dominant gene(dark hair,brown eyes etc., there is a one in four chance that their offspring will have the recessive genes in their appearance .

    One child recessive, two dominant ,and one hybrid . I remember a question in high school biology. How can two brown haired ,brown eyed parents produce children with blue eyes etc. It was because both of the parents carried the recessive traits .The Mother was a hybrid and Father was a hybrid This helped me to explain to my own family members the red hair and hazel blue eyes that “ran” in our family.
    There may not be alot of us but there are very brown people in our country with dark red hair and freckles. Gian you may not have noticed but they are distinctive . I wanted to give you an example or two of famous people .Malcolm ‘X’ Little is one,his nickname was Red (Detroit red I think) Because of his hair color . And from what I can see, Nat King Coles family, Just look at daughter Natalie’s eyes .Those amber eyes are real. Nat was very dark and his wife brown.
    The recessive eye traits could be brown, or golden flecked or hazelblue, green.Depending on the number of siblings ,More than one child can have that “look’ . African-Americans who carry those genes and, other families regardless of outward appearance or national origins manifest the traits .Ancestors on both family trees gave them to them. Sorry Gian ,But I don’t believe your explanation is correct.

    Thanks Prof Gates for another gratifying foray into the human saga.

  • Gian

    Granddads most of all seem to love passing down these “big fish” stories. Directly inventing ‘em, or are passing them down from someone passing them down from someone passing them down….

    Same with me, I suspect. I know Mr. Gates will never do my family…. that’s why I love this series (and those before it) so much. I get to live vicariously through every person’s history he “investigates.” I have no idea where he and his crew dig this stuff up but I have a feeling that if he worked for the CIA we wouldn’t have nearly the amount of problems we have now.

    Investigative ability of himself and his crew is completely nuts, just absolutely insane.

  • Gian

    I don’t really have any “explanations?”

    So many people were commenting on it, I just remembered an article on NPR…. they said he looked like his Mother…. thought it was interesting…

    That long winded genetic speach isn’t really necessary, it isn’t a huge surprise that he’s Italian and has “Red hair,” English / French Mother or not. Tons of Italian people with two Italian parents have light hair and light eyes., especially in Northern Italy.

  • Gian

    By the way, after just looking into it for about 1/2 minute it turns out what we were taught in High School Biology class isn’t that simple ( I remember the Red Pea Pod / White Pea Pod lecture) … obviously humans are more complicated than was taught when we went to school, and are more complicated than what kids are taught now…. and what will be told in classrooms for many years from now most likely… it isn’t as simple as “Large B” / “Small b”…

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070222180729.htm

  • Pat Dailey

    Italy wasn’t all olive skinned, dark haired people since time began. With a wall across the north. Greeks and other Eastern Med. peoples traded and settled in the south. Huns, Celts, and other European tribes invaded and traded up north. Northern Italy borders on France, Switzerland and Austria. Many people north of Rome are light haired, light skinned, and blue eyed, south more dark haired, olive skinned, with brown eyes

  • Maria R

    In the case of Mario Batali, his coloring may be attributed to his English/French Canadian mother, but it’s not at all unusual to see red haired, blue/green eyed full blooded Italians in Italy. I’m 100% Sicilian. Very faired skinned, green eyes and light brown hair. All thanks to my maternal Grandfather. I have relatives on my father’s side, with green eyes and red hair. All 100% Sicilian.
    Most Americans don’t know Sicily’s history. Thousands of years of invasion and colonization. Normans, Greeks, Romans, Turks, Spaniards, Arabs, English, Germans. They’ve all come thru and left their stamp on Sicily.

    As for Marios’s comment on how could his ancestors leave such a beautiful place as Italy. I have to say that I was a bit surprised at his ignorance. How does he not know of the poverty and misery that most of the populace dealt with?!

    Anyone who wishes to know a little more on the history of Sicily and the Italian Immigration to America, I would recomend these two excellent books.

    “La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience” by Jerre Mangione
    “Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History” by Sandra Benjamin

  • m

    Please don’t take it personally,it wasn’t intended as an insult . The long windedness , it helps me to express myself. It IS interesting… but frustrating.Even NPR admits that the limited time money and resources preclude them from presenting the detailed backstories that older people listen for,and Public supported media is the best this country has to offer at this time in history. Kudos to it and to you for sharing.

    Tons of People however do not understand the frustration (anger) masked by individuals who daily hear others express popular notions of ethnicity that open up old wounds. My son inlaws say get over it. Just wear your”Kiss me I’m Irish ” sweatshirt on Saint Paddy ’s Day parade holding the hand s of your two blond haired ,white grandkids and two brown skinned ,kinky haired ones . We are a family and yet prejudiced people feel we must” explain” ourselves .”What are YOU?” We are Americans.

  • JAH

    Well, if you already knew everything, you wouldn’t be shocked by anything.

  • Aunt Susan

    Hi Mario-I so enjoyed hearing about your family history. Things about the family I never knew. Watching this really put a smile on my face. We are so very proud of you.

    xoxo

  • Arlene & Stan Fleischer

    After sitting next to Mario Sat nite at “The Flying Karamazov Brothers” last nite, my kids told me they absolutely love watching Mario cook on tv and going to his restaurants…One of then mentioned they are going to one in Port Chester, NY…..What a great talent….can’t wait to watch the tv cooking channel…I happen to love to cook.
    Arlene Fleischer

  • Rosemary Halaby Karam Davila

    Hi Mario,
    What an excellent program. Very informative. How are you related to HM Queen Noor? I am also related to Her Majesty, since we share the same great-grandfather, Elias Halaby. Maybe we are distant cousins???
    That might explain my love of cooking!
    All the best

  • Gingerspice

    Why didn’t they show Mario’s DNA pie chart?

  • Barbara

    My great-grandfather was a red-headed Italian. He came to the USA in 1865 and settled in Dayton ,Nevada. He and his brother raised vegitables and sold them in Virginia City. My daughter has red hair also. Must be in the genes.

  • Giani

    He ate it before it could be filmed.

  • ndp

    Of course, this series, on the genetic makeup of non-African people in America, is really, about, Louis Gates. The questions begs itself: why an African-American would be so interested in the genetic makeup of others, who have cultural roots very different from his? Listen very carefully at some of the off-hand remarks he makes about himself (one example, that he has more white ancestors than black ones, just to mention one), and the remarks he makes to the people he interviews. His remarks to Batali’s left me wondering just what is it that he trying to prove? What Louis Gates shows in this series, and in his series on Africa, is that he differs not too much, generally speaking, from other African Americans in his ignorance of world history. And there is something else that he trying to portray, which I would rather not mention

  • Justin

    Mario Batali isn’t Italian, he’s half Italian on his Father’s side. That’s where his non-Italian looks come from… this guy is a faker!

  • Loretta

    That is one of the most erroneous “facts” about Italians. I am 100% ITALIAN, and my entire family is blond haired (strawberry blonde) with green or hazel eyes. We are from Northern italy near the alps where there is alot of influence from the Scandinavian countries. Northern Italy is geographically where the majority of industry is located and the population is very educated.
    The dark olive skinned tv stereotype is more common in southern italy where it is more rural, uneducated and where the Mafia was born.
    We love our look and consider ourselves Italian…..

  • Gordies

    koopa?

  • Gordies twin brother

    Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzzy had no Hair, then Fuzzy Wuzzy wore underwear. Ya Digg

  • ndp

    Justin, you’re and idiot! Have you ever been to Italy? Obviously not. Have you been anywhere outside the U.S. for that matter?
    You learn your history from liberals in this country, Henry Louise Gates types? The “special” ones.

  • Birke-Beiner

    Buttte, Montana? Yay!!!

  • Mark

    @Loretta

    Central and southern Italians are far from “uneducated” hillbillies as you portray.

    Archimedes and other great Sicilians were more advanced than your Barbarian ancestors who destroyed the Greco-Roman philosophical schools and substituted the wicked and wretched catholic church.

  • Mark

    “Justin, you’re and idiot!”

    At least he is literate unlike you.

    Watch out, those evil liberals and libertarians our coming for your children!

    Paranoid idiot go watch the three stooges of alarmists – Beck, Hannity and O’Reilly.

  • Gallio Grandaughter

    I found out just in the past 2 years, that my dad’s family were all miners in Roundup, Montana. My grandmother was a single mom of 3 and was quite the bootlegger. When she moved to California, her knack for running successful businesses continued … legally. They are blonde, hailing from Gallio in Northern Italy. I cant imagine moving to another country, then losing your husband and trying to raise 3 kids on your own; it had to be scary!

  • ndp

    A single type-O, stupid, does not qualify someone as an illiterate!

  • scott

    Actually this series was real, the African American lives show had to be taken with a grain of salt, because it left out too much, facts about slavery, the history of sub-Saharan africans, their tribal existence, the slaves they took amongst themselves, the benefit that blacks in this county have over their ancestors back in the mother land. This reality of blacks enslaving other blacks is still existent in black Africa today, but how many times do the black elite intellectuals in America care to talk about it. Anyway, have you ever noticed how blacks in America or anywhere else, will always focus on their long ago white or Asian ancestor and are proud of the fact that they are 5% or whatever, white or asian. I have had blacks tell me that they are not black at all although they looked more African than some Africans. This is what has made me,(I have lived in Africa) very suspicious about claims made by many blacks in the U.S.
    By the way, why are you talking about Afro-Americans, Chris Rock and Tina Turner, on a site about Mario Batali?? What percentage white or native American are you?

  • Priscilla

    I truly miss seeing this guy on the cooking channels, but I’m glad he’s doing well.

  • ndp

    I just watched another television program by Mr Gates, interviewing a black military drill sargent, who is pointed out by Gates as they stroll around the base, of a recruits truck with a Rebel Flag license plate. The sargent who, given his position of power, is going to “deal” with the recruit later. Watching that scene made me realize that Mr Gates( an “intellectual” with “clout” given he’s from Harvard U) does have an agenda, and that whites in this country better realize this sooner, than later.

  • Marina

    I can’t stand racist remarks made about southern Italians by the “superior” northern Italians. The reason why Italy is the way it is today (more industrially developed North, less so in the South) has to do with Italy’ s complex history and which foreign powers dominated Italy before its unification. It’s unfair to blame the problems in the south on the “dark olive skinned uneducated” masses. There are uneducated people all over Italy,including in the rural areas of the Alps. You can’t just confine that to the south, where there happen to be many educated people and universities.

    I am also 100% Italian, though with rumors of Jewish and French ancestry if you back far enough, (can anyone really say they are 100% anything?). My family is from central/ southern Italy (I’d say we’re culturally more southern), some members dark, and some light, some more educated than others, all hard working good people.

    I’d say that in the Italian Alps, there more of an influence from Germanic, French, and Slavic cultures, than the Scandanavian countries. And you can see that in the northern bordering regions through their customs, food, and dialects.

  • Michelle

    I’m 100% Italian as well and I’m olive skinned with dark hair and eyes. Simply because someone made an erroneous assumption about what Italians should look like doesn’t give you the right to imply that if you look stereotypically Italian and are from central or southern Italy you’re stupid and a criminal. that was an incredibly insulting statement. It is true that northern Italy is more industrial and southern Italy is more agricultural but the type of livelihood practiced in the region has nothing to do with the looks or the intelligence level of the people who reside there.

    next time when you respond to an overarching assumption make sure you’re response doesn’t include one of its own.

  • jerk off

    Big AL had a red wop dick

  • fff

    his food looks like puss and for all you grease balls you all are alike

  • John Mascitelli

    Though he doesn’t know it, Mario is cousin of mine on my paternal grandfather’s side. His great-grandmother (Carmella Mascitelli) is my grandfather’s (Joseph Mascitelli) sister. My dad told me and my brothers that we had red-haired relatives on his father’s side. That characteristic may have come the Gauls that lived in Italy in Antiquity. But, that’s pure speculation.

  • C.J.

    Your comments give the impression of arrogance and denotes a certain level of disdain for Blacks. All people have a right and a natural curiosity about who they are. It just that Europeans, like yourself can rely on records and generally know for the most part what their heritage consist of. This is not the case for Africans throughout the New World due to slavery. But, I guess they should not’ care about that, because only European deserve to know about their heritage.

  • karen c

    saw mario today 1/2/11, in greenwich village-he shook my husbands hand, kept walking while I was saying how big a fan I am- I know you’re busy mario but you could have said thanks. I take my compliments back.

  • Francesca

    Well, Loretta is actually right. In southern Italy, we do have much lower levels of education and income in comparison, and it is more rural.

    Whether or not she feels “better than” is her own business, but her statements are factual.

    Also, in the south, we tend to have the “darker” Italian stereotype that is proposed on US television, In the north, they tend to be more light-skinned/haired/etc. The explanation for the US stereotype may be because the poorer classes of Italy, those of us from the south, made up the majority of immigrants from Italy to the Americas.

    And yes, the mafia is most prevalent in the south. The sooner we admit it, the sooner we can find solutions.

  • Francesca

    I agree, this was fairly boring to watch – the only one that was really interesting to me or fascinating was Eva Longoria’s story. Maybe that’s because her family had colonial roots in the country.

    This was just reading paper trails of documented families, mostly new to the country. And the usual claims to “blue blood ancestry”. Very sleep-inducing.

    I’ll wait again for the next American show about African-American ancestry. They are amazing people who triumph over the worst time and time again. I don’t know how they do it.

  • Trcia

    What an ignorant comment! Hardly anyone can be classified as 100% anything, so if you can’t claim a heritage from whatever your majority ancestry is – what would you claim?

    I myself am HALF italian on my father’s side, and a mix on my mother’s side. I was raised as italian american – and all my siblings would consider themselves to be primarily Italian.

    Mario is much less a faker than you are an idiot.

  • Mary

    French? I don’t think so. They are not as fair. As for not being as fair as English, etc. you are ignorant. There are many italians who a even fairer than the English etc. You have preconceived and ignorant notions. Met many from those countries, especially Irish with pitch black hair, dark brown eyes etc.

    More enlightened than you
    Mary

  • christian marotta

    i’m italian from caserta with red hair, its common in italy as is fair hair light eyes and dark hair dark eyes, these old sterotypes are nonsense.its as simple as that

  • jan

    wow. racism in Italy…from other Italians. Italians, like many other nationalities are varied in appearance. There is no such thing as 100% anything. Though your lineage may be Italian…if you take a DNA test, you will find other backgrounds, i.e. Middle Eastern, Scandinavian as you suggested, Perhaps Romany, the point is that your folks originated somewhere other than Italy. You have paper trail lineage and you have DNA lineage and the two may be different. I am about 30% Italian, Tuscan and Silician. I have Red hair, amber eyes and fair skin that tans easily. Yes I am mixed, like you are if you did the test you would find that so. As to looking down on Sicilians, you might want to further review your history and get of your high horse. Sicilians are Italian and deserve the same respect that the Northerners seem so eager to withhold. Why is that? I here that over and over by “Northern” Italians as though you think you are superior. Sad. By the way, the mafia is present all through Italy, not to mention the church which has lied, killed and stolen from people for hundreds of years. Do the history of Catholic church- not what they tell you, but he actual History. How does the church differ from the mafia? Oh, right…they wear pointy hats and big robes and big gaudy jewelry professing to be “men of god”. Right. Jesus did not like greed and money driven temples and churches. Remember? so stop criticizing Southern Italians and get off your high horse.

  • test

    ugh

  • Patrick Pregiato

    I am 100% Southern Italian and proud of it. My father’s parents were born in Naples (city). My father had dark hair, green eyes and fair skin. His parents and siblings all had fair skin. My mother’s side was from Messina (city), Sicily. My mother had light red hair and hazel eyes, her mother had very dark hair and eyes and fair skin, her father had blond hair, hazel eyes and a pink complexion. One of her sisters had a darker red hair and brown eyes, her brothers and one sister had dark hair and fair skin, and two sisters had dark hair, dark eyes and medium complexions that were called “dark” because they were the darkest in the family. My two brothers and I were all born blond – later turned dark – one has blue eyes, the other hazel and I have green. My sister has my two grandmothers’ coloring; very dark hair and eyes and very fair complexion.
    Just had to get this off my chest to explain how diversified we are in the south of Italy for whatever reasons – much too complicated to explain here. And remember, what we DO know from recorded history, is only the last 3,000 years – the tip of the iceberg considering the fact that humans settled and were moving around for HUNDREDS THOUSANDS OF YEARS and we have very little idea what they looked like!
    In addition: I mention that my grandparents were from cities (Naples and Messina) because not all Italian immigrants were from poverty-stricken rural backgrounds – and no disrespect to those who were – but there were those from other social classes and who came due to circumstances.
    Anyway, Sicilian or Neapolitan, Roman or Venetian, Tuscan or Calabrese – we have an incredibly beautiful culture and some damn good food too!!

  • Nunzio

    I’m half-Sicilian through my father’s side and a European mix (including some northern Italian – Florentine to be exact) through my mother’s side. I really enjoyed Mario’s commentary, and I’ll also chip in and say that Italians vary widely within the Caucasian/European spectrum. I have dark hair, green eyes, and a fair/medium complexion that tans well. My Sicilian father has dark hair, hazel eyes, and a medium/light olive complexion, which is much like the stereotypical Sicilian/southern Italian, but I have several relatives on his side with very fair skin, and some with blue/green eyes and blond/light brown hair (no redheads to the best of my knowledge, but I’ve also known a few redheaded Sicilians). Conversely, a few of my father’s cousins (also fully Sicilian) could easily pass for Lebanese or even North African. Also, my maternal Florentine great-grandmother was blonde as a child (turned darker brown into adulthood), and had fair skin and blue eyes. Yet, she still looked Italian because her facial features were very “Romanesque.”

    I also get annoyed when people stereotypically assume that all Italians have to be dark, when this is hardly the case at all. This is even true for Sicily and the south, which was invaded and conquered by people from all over Europe and the Mediterranean. Greeks, Romans/mainland Italians, Arabs, Normans, French, Spaniards, and others all made their way to Sicily over the millenia, each contributing to the gene pool of the population. It’s likely that blond/redheaded and/or light-eyed Sicilians owe their traits to Norman or French ancestors, though some Greeks and even a few Arabs and other Middle Easterners show lighter hair or eyes too, so it’s all just one big mix in the Mediterranean region. That said, the average standard Italian appearance seems to be brown/dark brown hair and light skin (not pasty white but not olive either), in my experience.

    Also, to the northern Italians who feel the need to bash Sicilians and southerners, first off, stick the racism, and secondly, pick up a credible history book and read about Italian history to understand why the north has generally been more affluent and industrialized than the south. The south had fewer natural resources to take advantage of, and was also always being invaded and conquered by various foreign nations, which stifled economic development and led to secret societies which eventually evolved into the corrupt criminal organization we know as the Mafia. The north also exploited the south throughout much of its history, especially during the early years of united Italy, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All that led to the massive emigration of southerners to America and elsewhere, like my own great-grandparents who left Sicily for a better life here in Pennsylvania.

  • Rick

    The Batali portrait is by and large a wash and doesn’t fully reflect the experience and sufferings of Italians in America. The fact that more of us fought and died in WW2 than any other ethnic group. The fact that they used to fry us in New England and hang us in New Orleans. Many other profiles admit discrimination and yet this is largely left out where it pertains to olive skin. To this day the media is still filled with negative hateful stereotypes.

  • Kevin

    reading this it said that his father went to butte montana to work the coal mines, well never were coal mines in butte just copper and other precious metals

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  • jack

    I have hearded his mom is French Canadian??? From Yakima??

  • Jeanne

    Add this one: “The Normans in Sicily” by John Julius Norwich

    My Dad’s family emigrated from Menfi/Sciacca in the early 20th Century. Both of my grandparents had blue/grey eyes and dark brown hair and fair complexions and more than half of the children had blue/grey eyes. My grandfather’s grandfather arrived in Sciacca in the 1830s having left Venice by ship — we don’t know if they were from Venice or if it was a stop on the way.

  • Betty Mauro Williams

    I am 100% Sicilian with fair skin and red hair. My grandmother was born in Corleone and she a blue eyed blonde. Other grandmother from Cefalu was fair with red hair. Grandfather from Busaquina. (Sp>) fair but darker hair. My other grandfather from Calabria was dark skin, dark hair and eyes.
    The Normans from England, Sweden, Spain and other Northern European countries invaded Sicily in the early 1100’s. It is maybe because we are beautiful people that others want to label us. We may be uncommon but we are 100% Sicilian. Thank you very much!

  • Grazia

    Wow, Loretta
    You really are not educated to write stereotypical comments. My family is from southern Italy and educated and NOT in the mafia. Also the “Stereo type” dark skin and dark features you speak about exist all throughout Italy. I have red hair and pale skin and am educated so what does that say about southern Italians. Both my maternal grandparents had Green eyes. My father’s side of the family is dark and Guess what? His mother was Swiss Italian. Yes, the mafia has it’s origins in Sicily but, it thrives quite well all throughout Northern Italy especially from Milano to Lugano. You see Loretta; it’s your narrow thinking that fuels the ignorant ideologies of the past.

    I am an Italian citizen and drive through the country from North to South and I speak Italian and many regional dialects from North to South. And I have written many papers on organized crime so when I speak I come from a place of knowledge.

    I love Northern Italy and my best friends are from the north and I can tell you they don’t have the arrogant attitude that you portray in your comment. You should also know that Northern Italy had great difficulty with employment and many northern Italian immigrated to Germany, Argentina, The United States, France and Canada because of this. I have met many uneducated Northern and Southern Italians and they are all wonderful people that were victims of circumstance. You should also look up the hisory of Bari, Naples etc.. and see the pattern of the House of Savoy and many of the Rothchilds made there home in Southern Italy. The north also had Rural areas, and the people like in south work the land and have to travel into citites.

    I want you to remember that when you say 100% Italian that is very vague as you must know Italy has many different cultural influences and you may very well have Germanic roots and that is where you’re physical features descend from. I suggest you complete a DNA genealogical test and, remember when Italians crossed the ocean to North America there was no difference everyone was treated the same with prejudice they didn’t have a distinction of Northern and Southern Italians.

    My Southern Italian Grandmother’s house provided a home for many Italians both Northern and Southern. Remember not to judge a book by its cover there is no “standard” idea of what and Italian or any other cultural race should look like we all vary and that is what makes us individuals. I wish you all the best and I suggest you visit Ellis Island if you haven’t and Pier 21 in Halifax to see what hardships immigrants had to endure to make a better life and leave the fascists and prejudices behind them.

    Grazia

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