Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa purchasing iconic Butler Mansion for $3.3 million

The Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa is buying the property at 2633 Fleur Drive on contract for $3.3 million, according to Polk County real estate records. The transaction was recorded Dec. 28.

“We are really happy with where we are and now, where our future will be,” said Paolo Bartesaghi, president of organization. “We needed a bigger place. It’s still on the south side [of Des Moines]. … It’s a perfect location for us.”

Italian-American club celebrates 100th anniversary in Rockford – MYSTATELINE

The Saint Ambrogio Society Club celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday. The Saint Ambrogio Society began as a club exclusive to those Italian-Americans who migrated to America from the Ferentino region of Italy, but today opens its doors to all peoples and cultures.

Source: Italian-American club celebrates 100th anniversary in Rockford – MYSTATELINE

Italian American groups call for renaming of holiday formerly known as Columbus Day

San Francisco Italian American groups launched a referendum campaign Thursday to reclaim the former Columbus Day as “Italian American Heritage Day” following a Board of Supervisors decision last month to rename it as Indigenous Peoples Day.

The board voted 10-1 in January in favor of the name change. The national holiday was named in honor of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering the Americas but also with contributing to Native American genocide

Source: Italian American groups call for renaming of holiday formerly known as Columbus Day

Group Calls For Firing Over Eataly’s ‘Bring Home an Italian’ Advertisement – NBC Chicago

Why is this controversy involving Eataly in Chicago continuing?

The advertisement placed in the window of the River North marketplace reportedly reads “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, WORTH THE SMELL” in large print, followed by an image of white truffles.The sign, which some believe to be an offensive message about Italians, continues with smaller print, “Fresh white truffles are hunted in the wild forests of central Italy only a few months out of the year. Once you taste the aromatic tuber, you will want to bring this well-shaven Italian with you everywhere.”

Source: Group Calls For Firing Over Eataly’s ‘Bring Home an Italian’ Advertisement – NBC Chicago 

Here’s a link to more details about additional offensive ads used by Eataly Chicago, including: “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, GREAT LEGS, BETTER BODY,” a sign displaying wine, and “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN, THE NEW HUNK IN TOWN,”  advertising salami.


Photo credit Lou Foglia, Chicago Tribune

National Italian American Foundations Celebrates 40 Years

A Celebration of Family, Culture, Song and Food

The National Italian American Foundation recreated its 40th Anniversary Awards Gala Weekend into an extravaganza of song, homage to heritage, family ties, and passion for food. The Foundation’s celebration of its 40-year milestone united Italian American and Italian cultures of the past with an eye to the future. The NIAF gala was presented by Alitalia in an unpresented partnership between the Italian airline carrier and NIAF.

NIAF Board member and Emmy Award-winning Fox News Anchor and Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo, and NIAF President John M. Viola, co-hosted one of the most popular black-tie galas in our nation’s capital at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on October 17, 2015.

Global music sensation Il Volo – Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble – captured the guests’ attention on stage singing the popular Italian song “Volare.”  They closed the evening with “Grande Amore,” their orginal song that won the Sanremo Music Festival in 2015, to a standing-only audience.

“The only reason I am here tonight is because of my father, he taught me the importance of heritage,” said 12-time MLB All-Star Mike Piazza. He encouraged the guests to pass our rich heritage and culture to the next generation. Piazza was joined by actor Chazz Palminteri, who shared a similar message: “I beg you to give to NIAF; this Foundation represents leadership in the Italian American community,” said Palminteri, urging guests to not forget NIAF’s mission and help students through scholarships.

This year’s 40th Gala Dinner Chair and a NIAF Board Member J.J. Cafaro, welcomed a sold out ballroom of more than 1,700 guests from across the United States and Italy.  Patricia de Stacy Harrison, 40th anniversary celebration chair, NIAF vice chair, and president and CEO of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, introduced a video highlighting what it means to be an Italian American from its leadership, past and present.

NIAF Gala honorees included Italian American musical singing legend Connie Francis, who was inducted into the Italian American Hall of Fame. Accepting the award on her behalf, Viola urged guests to nominate Ms. Francis to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

NIAF awarded the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Business and Health to Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., founder and director of Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology. “It has been my lifelong goal to make a difference in people’s lives, and I’m grateful that I’ve had an opportunity to do so.” Caruso said.   He was introduced by Peter J. Arduini, president and CEO of Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation, and a member of the NIAF Board of Directors.

Steve Perillo, president and owner of Perillo Tours, America’s largest travel company, received the NIAF Achievement Award in Business. Perillo was the longtime apprentice to his father, the legendary Mario Perillo, “Mr. Italy.” He spoke about the family-owned company that is now celebrating 71 years in the travel industry.

Between award presentations, Italian classical guitarist Tom Sinatra passionately serenaded guests to popular Italian songs.

The Foundation’s former executive director and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Alfred M. Rotondaro, Ph.D., received the Italian American Community Leadership Award. Rotondaro remembered the early founders of NIAF: “NIAF is a place that nurtures Italian Americans.

The Sicilian Tenors, including Aaron Caruso, Elio Scaccio and Sam Vitale,  stepped on to the stage to serenade the guests to “O Sole Mio” before NIAF Executive Vice President and chair of the Italian American Leadership Council (IALC) John F. Calvelli introduced the IALC’s work in finding the next group of leaders.

NIAF’s Co-Chair of the Education and Grants Committee and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors Anita Bevacqua McBride welcomed the 40 under 40 list of Italian Americans, and introduced NIAF’s new Italian American leadership fellows from universities across the country.

Three prominent Italian and Italian Americans, who have distinguished themselves in the fields of government, finance and business received NIAF 40th Anniversary Awards for Leadership and Service.  They were Amato L. Berardi, founder of Berardi & Associates Inc., and former member of the Italian Parliament; Mario J. Gabelli, founder, chairman of GAMCO Investors Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed company; and Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC and owner of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C.

Upon receiving his award, Berardi spoke about the importance of the support and love he received from his family as the best medicine after a recent accident.  Gabelli dedicated his honor to his father.  He explained the importance of the scholarships NIAF awards to young people and giving back that opportunity for others to achieve.

From the podium, Nuschese dedicated his award to his mother and the mother of his son, Gianfranco. “They taught me the value of life, love, respect and honesty,” said Nuschese.  He also recognized the late Terrence Lanni, former CEO of MGM Resorts International, who shaped my life and career. “His memory and spiritual legacy is part of my life.”

When Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V., came to the stage, he explained, “I am merely here to plead my case, my outfit tonight is an international dress code.” Since he spends most of his time on an airplane, he wears the classic white shirt and a black pull over sweater. “Our sense of place stays with you where you go. My father taught me integrity, civil engagement and sense of duty.  My mother taught me strong will and sensitivity,”  said Marchionne, who received the NIAF Special Achievement Award in International Business.

“I am a legal immigrant, blessed to be born in Italy and adopted by the United States,” was the message from Josephine J. (Gargiulo) Templeton, M.D., trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.  NIAF awarded Templeton with the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Philanthropy. She thanked Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. for recreating and writing the speech he gave at the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Alito welcomed the men and woman who bravely served in the military. He recognized them as the “voice for Italian Americans.” Alito also introduced a video chronicling the activities of the NIAF’s Public Policy program.

Dignitaries from Italy at the Gala included Italy’s Ambassador to the United States Claudio Bisogniero, who led an Italian delegation of business executives.  From the United States, special guests included: U.S. Representatives Tom Marino, Joe Heck and Mike Pompeo; Anthony Fauci M.D., director of the National Institutes of  Allergy and Infectious Diseases;  Lawrence Romo, director of the Selective Service System; and actors Vinny Pastore and Tony Lo Bianco.

Guests rose to their feet when Carlo Rotunno sang “Inno di Mameli,” Italy’s national anthem and singer and songwriter Giada Valenti sang the U.S. national anthem.  During the Gala dinner, a selection of red and white fine Italian wines were served from Italy’s Northern regions that complimented Barolo braised short ribs with polenta and chicken Scarpariello with Italian sausage.

To kick off NIAF’s Gala Weekend, the Foundation partnered with the Italian American Studies Association (IASA) to host a series of conferences on Thursday, October 15, through Saturday, October 17.

Beginning on Friday, NIAF and the Italian American Leadership Council (IALC) hosted a NIAF on Campus Conference with industry experts and 30 Italian American college students and professors selected as Italian American Fellows. They were joined by NIAF’s leadership, including Ken J. Aspromonte; Gabriel A. Battista; Robert E. Carlucci, Arthur J. Furia; Marie L. Garibaldi; Gerard S. LaRocca; Patricia de Stacy Harrison; Anita Bevacqua McBride; George Simeone; Salvatore Salibello; and John P. Rosa, who gave their perspectives on successful career practices.

Friday evening, SNL legend, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador, actor, entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo launched the weekend’s evening celebrations with “Joe Piscopo and Friends Celebrate Sinatra’s 100th Birthday.” Piscopo was joined by Valenti and Deena Martin, daughter of the late Dean Martin, as the Radio King Orchestra stepped up the beat throughout the evening. NIAF auction chairman, Rosa was on hand to encourage guests to bid on one-of-a-kind items during the live and silent auctions and to purchase a chance to win a Fiat 500 L Lounge.

Beginning Saturday, NIAF and the IALC hosted a leadership forum to discuss potential strategies to address the contentious issues surrounding Columbus Day. Noted journalists, representatives from the National Christopher Columbus Association and the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, as well as leaders of the Italian American community joined the panel.

Popular weekend events included a documentary screening of “The Tale of the Other Italy,” produced by Rai Italia and directed by a Luigi Maria Perotti. The film tells the Italian emigration story through the various entry ports. It shows how Italian Emigration Museums around the world with their projects, pictures and documents plays a key role in preserving and understanding the past as well as understaning the new Italian emigration in the world.

NIAF also hosted its signature wine tasting featuring 11 Amarone wines from Italy’s Northern regions with a sommelier on hand to lead guests through a spectrum of Italian wines. Wines were assembled by Patrizia Marin, president of Marco Polo Experience; representing the 11 vineyards were Marie Sabrina Tedeschi of Tedeschi Wines and Antonio Cesari of Brigaldara Wines.

The weekend also featured a medical conference, “Health and Research: Beyond The Eyes” with a panel discussion about the latest research and common eye conditions with Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D.,  president and founder of Sbarro Health Research Organization Inc., and a NIAF board member, and other notable speakers including Michele Masucci, Ph.D.; Vito M. Campese, M.D.; and Paul Tapino, M.D.  Giacomina Massaro-Giordano M.D. and Dolores Del Raso presented the 2015 Giovan Giacomo Giordano NIAF Award for Ethnics and Creativity in Medical Research.

Also during the weekend, Viola hosted “NIAF – Ieri, Oggi, Domani,” an engaging panel discussion focusing on the current state of the Italian American community and its challenges as we move forward. Viola was joined by the Foundation’s Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso, board leaders Calvelli, and Harrison; board members Nicholas R. Caiazzo and John P. Rosa: and Jeff Browning, president of the Italian American Staff Association.

Expo Italiana, a showcase of the sights, sounds and products of Italy and Italian Americans, included Mike’s Deli, the original Arthur Avenue Italian Deli, with David Greco serving complimentary old-fashioned sandwiches, pasta, and Italian delicacies. Peroni Nastro Azzurro served samples of Italy’s finest beer; espresso at Lavazza Café as well as coffee to guests on Friday and Saturday evening. Guests also relaxed and enjoyed many products displayed by companies including Dolce Gelato, La Famiglia Del Grasso; Amina Rubinacci, and Petrone Antica Distilleria, to name a few.

To conclude the Gala program, NIAF Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso thanked the Board of Directors, honorees, staff and supporters. “What a party and the best is yet to come,” Del Raso said. On stage, a three-tiered birthday cake from Carlo’s Bakery, of the Cake Boss fame, was presented to celebrate the Foundation’s 40 incredible years.  Del Raso led the guests in singing “Happy Birthday to us.”

Immediately following the Gala, guests proceeded to attend the Foundation’s famed After Hours Celebration featuring live entertainment with singer and songwriter Ciro Di Lorenzo, and others in the Marriott Lobby Lounge.

International Business Entrepreneur and Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese to be honored at NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Gala

Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC, and owner of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C., will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 40th Anniversary Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Nuschese will receive the NIAF 40th Anniversary Award for Leadership and

Franco Nuschese

Franco Nuschese

Service on October 17, 2015, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. The black-tie event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony.

Honorees joining Nuschese include Amato L. Berardi, founder of Berardi & Associates Inc., and former member of the Italian Parliament; Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., founder and director of Integra
LifeSciences; Connie Francis, Italian American music legend; Mario Gabelli, founder, chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors Inc.; Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.; Steve Perillo, president and owner of Perillo Tours; and Alfred M. Rotondaro, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former NIAF executive director; and Josephine J. (Gargiulo) Templeton, M.D., trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.

Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Nuschese began his professional career in marketing in London and Las Vegas. From 1983 to 1991, he managed restaurants for Caesars Palace and later opened two restaurants at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino. Nuschese arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1991 and was general manager for the Italian restaurant, Bice. A year later, Nuschese opened Cafe Milano, using his marketing background to propel the restaurant to top-ranked status. In addition to serving as president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC providing professional services focused on public relations, strategy, marketing and organization, Nuschese is president of Capital Wines LLC, a producer of fine Italian wines. One of his personal achievements was hosting a lunch for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday at the Vatican Embassy during the Pope’s visit to the nation’s capital.

Nuschese is active in organizations that support Italian culture in America. He serves on the boards of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology; the Global Virus Network; the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute; and the Atlantic Council. He also contributes to Spanish Catholic Charities, and to events benefiting American military troops and veterans.

Besides NIAF’s distinguished honorees, celebrities and entertainment take center stage during NIAF Gala Weekend to celebrate a milestone in its history. As part of NIAF’s lineup of celebrities, actors Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri and Annabella Sciorra; singer and songwriter Giada Valenti; performer Tom Sinatra; The Washington Chorus; The Sicilian Tenors, Aaron Caruso, Elio Scaccio and Sam Vitale, will join Il Volo’s Piero Barone and Ignazio Boscetto, and Gianluca Ginoble, as part of the weekend performances.

NIAF Board Member and Emmy Award-winning Fox News Anchor and Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo and SNL legend, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador, actor, entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo will co-host one of the most popular galas in our nation’s capital. To open the weekend festivities on Friday evening, October 16, Piscopo and celebrity guests will celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday and honor the legacy of Sinatra with the crooner’s celebrated melodies from his songbook.

NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Weekend is presented by Alitalia, the airline that brings the best of Italy to the world. Tickets to Saturday’s Gala begin at $400 per person. Young professional tickets cost $200 per person available only by phone. Tickets to Friday evening’s celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday cost $200 per person. Proceeds benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202-387-0600 or, or register online at


Joseph Sciame to Receive the Sons Of Italy 2015 Guglielmo Marconi Award

Congratulations to Joseph Sciame, a great Italian American who has been selected by the Sons of Italy to receive the 2015 Guglielmo Marconi Award.   Sciame is currently the Vice President for Community Relations at St. John’s University, the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, and a Trustee of the Sons of Italy Foundation.  He is the National Past President of the Sons of Italy, the Past President of the Sons of Italy Grand Lodge of New York, and the past Chair, National Association of Student Aid Administrators.

joseph_sciame-1Sciame has been a promoter and supporter of Italian American causes at the national and local level for almost 50 years. He has received more than 150 awards. The Republic of Italy has recognized his contributions by honoring with the rank of Cavaliere and then Ufficiale in the Order of Merit.  He was also invested as Commendatore by Prince Vittorio Emmanuele of the House of Savoy in the Order of Merit.  Sciame served as President of the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit, an organization of Italian Americans, and Americans, who have been honored by the Republic of Italy.

The Guglielmo Marconi Award is the Sons of Italy’s highest honor and is named for the Nobel prize-winning Italian physicist who invented wireless telegraphy. It’s presented biennially to an Italian American who has made significant contributions to the United States. The award will be officially presented at the Marconi Gala on August 22, 2015, during the Sons of Italy’s 54th Biennial National Convention in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Lido Civic Club of Washington DC to Host Annual Past Presidents Night, November 22, 2014

The Lido Civic Club of Washington, DC will honor their Woman and Man of the Year for 2015. They are Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett Co., Inc. and Joseph A. Martore, President & Chief Executive Officer of CALIBRE Systems Inc. The Lido Civic Club will also honor Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, with the National Public Service Award

The Lido Civic Club of Washington, DC, an 85 year old Italian and American civic and charitable organization, will be honoring this Saturday, November 22, 2014, at the Italian Embassy, a dynamic Italian-American couple as their Man and Woman of the Year for 2015. They are Gracia Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gannett Co., Inc. and Joseph A. Martore, President & Chief Executive Officer of CALIBRE Systems Inc. The Lido Civic Club will also be honoring Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, with the National Public Service Award.

Gracia Martore

Gracia Martore

Gracia Martore became CEO of Gannett in October 2011. Ms. Martore is the chairman and president of Gannett Foundation which supports non-profit activities in the communities which Gannett serves. The Foundation invests in the future of the media industry, encourages employee giving, reacts to natural and other disasters and contributes to a variety of charitable causes. Ms. Martore champions and actively participates in USA WEEKEND’s annual Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of community service.

Joe Martore joined CALIBRE in March 2004 as part of its acquisition of Strategic Management Initiatives, Inc. (SMI), which he co-founded and served as President & CEO. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Mr. Martore serves as a principal consultant to the U.S. Army. Mr. Martore currently is a member of the MIT Engineering Systems Division Alumni Advisory Council, and serves on the Boards of Directors for the Professional Services Council (PSC), the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Easter Seals Serving DC | MD | VA, and the Laurel Grove School Museum Association.

Gene L. Dodaro is the eighth Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). As Comptroller General, Mr. Dodaro helps oversee the development and issuance of hundreds of reports and testimonies each year to various committees and individual Members of Congress. These and other GAO products have led to hearings and legislation, billions of dollars in taxpayer savings, and improvements to a wide range of government programs and services.

“We look forward to honoring these three outstanding individuals who have given much to our community and who make us all proud of our Italian heritage,” said Francesco Isgro, President of the Lido Civic Club.

“We are honored to host Lido Civic Club of Washington DC at our Embassy for the Annual Past Presidents Night – said Ambassador of Italy to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero – This organization enjoys a great tradition in keeping Italian heritage alive among Italian Americans in the D.C. area and beyond, and in supporting Italian culture and the study of Italian language especially among young generations”.

About the Lido Civic Club: The Lido Civic Club is an Italian-American organization serving the Washington metropolitan area since 1929. Through the Lido Civic Club Charities, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, it has awarded $417,000 in scholarships to Italian-American students in the area. The Lido Club also funds Italian cultural programs, supports wounded warriors, and performs other philanthropic activities in the Washington D.C. area and beyond. Lido has no paid staff and does not employ or retain lobbyists.


NIAF Hosts Second Annual Congressional Bocce Ball Bash

On May 29, 2014, the National Italian American Foundation hosted its 2nd Annual Congressional Bocce Ball Bash on the rooftop of the Offices of Venable LLP, in Washington, DC.


Bill Pascrell, Pat Tiberi, John Viola, Fucsia Nissoli

We watched U.S. Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Pat Tiberi, pitted against Italian Chamber of Deputies Representative Fucsia Nissoli, and NIAF’s President John Viola.  Among the guest players Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero and NIAF board member Mark Valente.

Pat Tiberi and Gabriella Mileti teamed up against Fucsia NIssoli and Bill Pascrell



Government Shutdown Not Stopping National Columbus Day Celebrations in Washington, DC

The National Columbus Celebration Association has announced that the annual ceremony will be moved from its traditional site at the Columbus Memorial Plaza at Union Station to the Casa Italiana Christopher Columbus courtyard adjacent to Holy Rosary Church, the national Italian parish.  The Columbus Memorial across from Union Station remains closed due to the federal government shutdown.

The Casa Italiana Cultural Center and the Columbus courtyard are located at 595 Third, NW, Washington, DC 2001. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 am on Monday, October 14, 2013.

Columbus Day Ceremony across from Union Station

The program for this year’s ceremony will include :

  Tributes to the Great Explorer delivered by representatives from the Embassies of Spain and Italy
 The Honor America Corps of the Knights of Columbus will present the 27 official flags of the United States
 Reading of the Presidential and Mayoral proclamations
 Presentation of the National Youth Essay Winner, cosponsored by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and National Italian American Foundation
 Wreath presentations by the embassies, partner organizations, patriotic and heraldic organizations, civic organizations, and scouts.

This year’s wreath presentations will be at the beautiful statue of Christopher Columbus in the courtyard of Holy Rosary Church adjacent to Casa Italiana. This unique annual event commemorates the life and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, the history of the Americas, and is designed to emphasize both the patriotic and educational aspects of this federal holiday.

A religious commemoration of Columbus Day with Mass will be held at Holy Rosary Church, 595 3rd St, NW, Washington, DC, on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at Noon. This event is co-sponsored by the Lido Civic Club of Washington, DC, and the District of Columbia State Council of the Knights of Columbus. A short program will take place after Mass at the Columbus statue in the courtyard of Holy Rosary Church.  This statue of Columbus was donated by the Lido Civic Club, an Italian American organization founded in 1929.

Casa Italiana, 595 Third St., NW
October 14, 2013 – 11:00 am


Assistant to the President, Lisa Monaco, Speaks About Her Italian Roots at Bonaparte Ceremony

Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, was the keynote speaker at the 53rd Annual Ceremony honoring Charles J. Bonaparte, the 46th Attorney General and founder of the Federal Board of Investigation.

Lisa Monaco

Lisa Monaco

The ceremony was held at the U.S. Department of Justice on August 23, 2013.  Ms. Monaco spoke first about the importance of tradition in growing up in an Italian American family, and then pointed to the significant accomplishment of Charles Bonaparte in setting up an investigative force that evolved into the FBI.

Luca Franchetti Pardo, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C., delivered special remarks, noting the historic and continued cooperation between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their Italian counterparts.  Also speaking were Judge Francis Allegra and Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis.
Maria Marigliano, a senior official with USAID opened the ceremony with the singing of the national anthems of the Republic of Italy and the United States. Fr. Ezio Marchetto, Pastor of Holy Rosary Church, delivered the invocation.   The program was organized by Francesco Isgrò, Chair of the Friends of Charles Bonaparte, and an attorney at the Department of Justice.

Following are excerpts from presidential assistant Lisa Monaco’s prepared remarks, delivered at the 53rd Annual Ceremony honoring Charles J. Bonaparte.

“. . .why is it important that we keep coming together to honor our 46th Attorney General?

Many answers, but mine is: Tradition. Tradition is important–particularly for those of us from Italian families–and it’s worth preserving. It reminds us where we come from and how we got to be who we are. I’ve come to appreciate that more and more as I’ve gotten older.

Being Italian-American didn’t seem like something that made me special when I was growing up. Growing up in a Boston suburb, sometimes it made me feel different. But over time, my identity as an Italian-American, and my family’s traditions, have become a source of great strength and enduring pride.

My father tells me that my grandfather was just 16 when he came to the United States from Biccari, a little hilltop town in southern Italy. He arrived in Philadelphia and took a room at a boarding house that was run by a family who had emigrated from a neighboring hilltop back in Italy. Eventually he opened up a barbershop at 6th and Pine, married the innkeeper’s daughter, and together they raised four children, including my father, on South Broad Street as independent, first-generation Americans.

Many years later, when my grandfather passed away, my father wanted to make sure that his own children knew about their history. So he packed us up–me, my three brothers, mom, dad, and grandma–and took us all to Italy. It was like the Griswold’s family vacations, only with better food.

I was ten at the time, but I remember visiting Biccari and being welcomed home. The whole town felt like family, literally. The mayor of the town was a Monaco and so was the bishop. And I remember how special it was for my grandmother to reconnect with the heritage and traditions–like the nightly passeggiata (the walk around the town square) that was such a critical part of her story, and mine.

That trip made me appreciate my Italian heritage and importance of history and tradition, so I’m honored to be part of another fine Italian-American tradition, celebrating Charles Bonaparte and remembering this chapter of our history.

And it’s particularly meaningful to me not only because of Bonaparte’s Italian roots but because of his legacy in the Justice Department of founding the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

U.S. Congressman Tom Marino to be Honored by the Order Sons of Italy’s in America

The Order Sons of Italy will honor U.S. Congressman Tom Marino with the Guglielmo Marconi Award on August 17, 2013, during its 53rd Biennial National Convention in Philadelphia. The Guglielmo Marconi Award, the OSIA’s highest honor, is named for the Nobel prize-winning Italian physicist who invented wireless telegraphy. It is presented biennially to an Italian American who has made significant contributions to the United States.

Rep. Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino (Pa. 10th District) was first elected to U.S. Congress in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. He promptly went to work on behalf of his constituents serving on the Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Judiciary committees, along with six subcommittees. The congressman served as a district attorney, a U.S. Attorney and a private-practice attorney prior to being elected to Congress. A second generation Italian-American who grew up in Williamsport, Pa., Mr. Marino celebrates his blue-collar roots; his father was a janitor and fireman, his mother was a homemaker and, before entering law, he worked in manufacturing. Congressman Marino is a three-time cancer survivor. He and his wife Edie have two adopted children and live in Cogan Station, Lycoming County.

For nearly 10 ten years, Mr. Marino has been a member of OSIA’s Celebrando il Nostro Retaggio Lodge 2786 in Williamsport. He has served as lodge Orator and spent two years as State Treasurer for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

OSIA lodges and the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), award nearly $1 million every year to Italian American college-bound students. The SIF also funds cultural programs, medical research and disaster relief – more than $125 million to date. Proceeds from the Marconi Gala support these OSIA and SIF programs.