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 In honor of the Italian immigrants who came to the United States of America, we are committed to record and preserve the contributions of our Italian Heritage and culture to our society through our newsletter, cultural programs, activities, exhibits, and outreach programs.

Prosecco Wine
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Prosecco long ago surpassed champagne as the world’s most popular sparkling wine.
But now, Franciacorta, another northern Italian sparkling wine, is nipping at the heels of Prosecco’s popularity.


Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport, also known as Fumicino, has been rated Europe’s best airport for the second year running by Airports Council International (ACI). The airport was recognized for its “outstanding levels of quality” in service and infrastructure, according to the ACI. Just five years ago the airport hit the bottom of the ranking for quality, and it was becoming known for disruptions and incidents including a fire in 2015 that seriously damaged terminal 3 and temporarily reduced the airport’s capacity by 40 percent.

According to Eurostat’s latest consumer price comparison, costs in Italy for many basic items exceeds the European Union average. Despite being a major food producer, groceries are 13 percent more expensive in Italy than the European average. Home furnishings are more costly in Italy than anywhere else in the Eurozone, 11.9 percent higher than the average. Other above-average costs include phone and internet (10.4 percent), restaurants, bars and hotels (4 percent), and automobiles (2.4 percent). On the plus side, the cost of housing in Italy is 8.8 percent lower on average, and the cost of alcohol, tobacco and narcotics are 5.1 percent cheaper.

The precarious state of Rome’s finances are laid bare for all to see in a recent row between the Catholic church and city officials over who will keep the $1.7 million in coins that are fished out of Rome’s famous Trevi fountain on an annual basis. AIHA MembershipTraditionally, the annual proceeds are given to a Catholic charity to help the city’s destitute. But this year, Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi wanted the money spent on the city’s crumbling infrastructure instead.

It seems that Italy is for saleAIHA Membership from north to south as depopulated hamlets across the peninsula compete to attract new residents with extremely enticing offers. The beautiful little Alpine town of Locana, in Piemonte, is offering new residents more than $10,000 to move there as long as they have at least one child and a minimum annual income of 6,000 euros. Meanwhile, Sambuca, an equally picturesque town in Sicily, is selling vacant homes for just over $1 provided the new owners commit to investing a minimum of $17,200 in renovations to the structures.

“The Eternal City is filled with some of the most extraordinary works of ancient art; one of the most beautiful is surprisingly one of the least visited. It’s the summer dining room from the Villa of Livia, who was the wife of Emperor Augustus. Life-size frescoes of trees, flowers, fruit, and birds decorate four walls to create a continuous 360 degree view.”

The tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City on March 25, 1911, resulted in the death of 146 young women workers. Most of them were Italian and Jewish immigrants.

Two Sicilian Heritage Markers went up at a park near the New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrating Sicilian contributions to music in the genres of jazz, swing, and rock ’n’ roll. The markers mention Nick La Rocca, Louis Prima, and Cosimo Matassa. Visit the “AWE news” YouTube channel to learn about the history of Sicilian migration to New Orleans, LA. There are eight playlists which are thirty minutes each.

The seven most common Italian last names in the United States are: Russo, Marino, Bruno, Romano, Rossi, Esposito, and Gallo.

Many people believe that insensitive Ellis Island workers changed their family’s names when they arrived. The recording of immigrant’s names occurred before people ever left Italy. Every transcription of information afforded an opportunity to misspell or alter a name. Many immigrants were illiterate and could not spell their surname. Some changed their name to get work and discourage discrimination.

One hundred years ago Vico Magistretti was born. He was an acclaimed Italian designer and architect. He was mostly known for his popular design objects – such as the “Atollo” table lamp (1968), his vastness and ecclecticism of his oeuvre in the fields of both design and architecture.

The American consumer is expecting high quality products and long-standing family traditions behind Italian food products. One of the most difficult challenges are those Italian companies that do not deliver on the quality and standards demanded by American consumers. At the same time there is a lack of understanding by American agencies of the culture, traditions and values of Italy and their brands and products.

“Freedomland USA,” sometimes referred to as “Disneyland of the East,” had many Italian American designers who built the amusement park in the Bronx and then worked there. Among Freedomland’s designers was Paul Ashley (nee Pasquale Sposeto of Des Moines, IA). Among the Italian American owned businesses that were involved was Lawrence Labriola Nurseries, which provided more than 50,000 trees and shrubs for the theme parks landscape. Also, a number of Italian American entertainers performed at Freedomland USA.

This year marks 500 years since Raphael’s death. Rome’s Scuderi del Quirinale and Florence’s Uffizi Gallery collaborate on creating the most extensive exhibition of one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, bringing together works never before exhibited together. It will be the biggest Raphael show in history. We will honor Raphael during October and November in our Special Exhibit Room.

To circumvent chocolate shortages and make wartime sweets more affordable, Pietro and Michele Ferrero started stretching recipes by mixing cocoa with locally grown hazelnuts in the confectionary business and Nutella was born. Michele Ferrero is the man who build Ferrero SpA into the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer. The Nutella produced in one year weighs the same as the Empire State Building. The hazelnuts that the company uses in two years could fill a basket the size of the Colosseum. Michele’s fortune was estimated by Forbes at 26.5 billion, the 22nd richest man in the world. The company has never had a strike, the company subsidizes worker’s medical expenses, provides company buses for communities, and offers in-factory childcare. Michele Ferrero died on February 14, 2015.

Ralph’s Italian restaurant is the oldest Italian restaurant in the United States. Even more impressive, Ralph’s in Philadelphia, PA, is still run by the same family that founded it in 1900. The Rubino & Dispigno families, today the fourth and fifth generation, opt to stick with recipes passed down over the years. The floor of the restaurant is the original from 1900, and they haven’t changed much about the menu either.
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Arabs ruled Sicily for more than a century and they are credited with giving Sicilians their taste for desserts and introducing ingredients such as pistachios, almonds, cinnamon, citrus, and sugar.

Lambrusco flooded the market with treacly sweet and aggressively fizzy commercial wines in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Emilia Romagna has re-energized the brand. A younger generation of vinters are producing dry iterations with a higher alcohol content that have a balanced, fresh acidity; carefully controlled fermentation to reign in the fizz, and variety that ranges from a rose’ light enough to rival Prosecco.


 In honor of the Italian immigrants who came to the United States of America, we are committed to record and preserve the contributions of our Italian Heritage and culture to our society through our newsletter, cultural programs, activities, exhibits, and outreach programs.