September 1, 2015

The Poetry of Giovanni Meli

Professor Gaetano Cipolla
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Presented by Prof. Gaetano Cipolla
You are cordially invited to attend a special program at the Italian American Museum this Friday evening, September 4th.  Professor Gaetano Cipolla will present "The Poetry of Giovanni Meli", volume XIV of the successful series “Pueti d’Arba Sicula/Poets of Arba Sicula.” The goal of the series is to present the best poetry written in Sicilian as a way of introducing the Sicilian soul to the English-speaking community. The poets are the best ambassador of a people and it is through their voices that Sicily speaks to the world.
Giovanni Meli is undoubtedly the greatest Sicilian poet of all time. Professor Cipolla who has already translated Meli’s Origini di lu munnu, Favuli morali, Don Chisciotti and Sanciu Panza as well as many other single poems, has assembled an impressive anthology that includes most of his Odes, a sampling of the Buccolica and many other poems never translated before. This 356-page bilingual anthology (with the Sicilian and English translation on the same page) offers readers a wonderful opportunity to marvel at the breadth of Meli’s interests and the depth of his learning, while savoring his wit, charm and wisdom. Giovanni Meli was called the “perfect Sicilian poet” by his French translator because he embodied the best of Sicilian values. Meli’s poetry is a must for anyone who wants to understand Sicilian culture.
Friday, September 4th (6:30 PM)
Italian American Museum 
155 Mulberry Street
(Corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets)
New York, NY 10013
Suggested donation of $10 per person
For reservations please call the Italian American Museum at 212.965.9000 or Email:

To the Champion of Champions

“The Brockton Blockbuster”
Photo courtesy of
Marciano the Undefeated
By Niccolò Graffio
“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” — Jack Dempsey
During the time our people have spent living here in America, a number of figures, both real and imagined, have risen from our ranks to achieve icon status. These figures in turn helped to inspire future generations, either for good or bad. Of all of them, one of the most popular and enduring is the fictional boxer Robert “Rocky” Balboa, created and portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky series of movies (1976-2006).
The saga of “Rocky” Balboa (as told in the original movie, Rocky) is the story of a man of Italian heritage, born of humble origins in the slums of Philadelphia, PA, who through sheer force of will plus back-breaking labor (in the form of training) manages to rise up from his lowly background and find himself facing the champion of the world in the ring. Though he loses the climactic final match, in the process he earns accolades and respect from his peers, plus a begrudging respect from his superiors (personified by boxing champ Apollo Creed). Continue reading

Announcing the 2015 Fiaccolata di San Rocco, Queens, New York

For more info visit the Societá Gioventú Quagliettana on Facebook

New Books

Some new and forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at

• Oscan in Southern Italy and Sicily: Evaluating Language Contact in a Fragmentary Corpus by Katherine McDonald 

Publisher: Cambridge University Press 
Publication Date: October 31, 2015 
Hardcover: $99.99 
Language: English 
Pages: 302 

Read description

Naples (Artistic Centers of the Italian Renaissance) edited by Marcia B. Hall and Thomas Willette

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: January 31, 2016
Hardcover: $180.00
Language: English
Pages: 400

Read description

Click here to see more books

August 31, 2015

A Look at the 19th Annual Festa di San Donato in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Viva San Donato! 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Friday after work, I made my way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the 19th Annual Feast of San Donato. Organized by Francesca Mazza (and her gracious family) the ceremony took place outside their beautiful home at 158 Conselyea Street.

Normally held on August 7th, this year's celebration was postponed a few weeks because Franca and her family made a pilgrimage to Sassano (SA) for the Feast of San Rocco. Little by little the intimate celebration continues to grow, attracting new devotees every year. Thankfully, the change in date did not adversely affect this year's turnout.

Thank you Franca for your hard work and dedication. As always, you did a magnificent job. It was an honor and a privilege to celebrate with you and I look forward to doing so again next year. Viva San Donato!
An altar is erected in front of the Mazza residence
The reliquary sits on the altar
A close-up of San Donato's relic
Before Mass, we pray the Rosary
Nearly one hundred pilgrims celebrated Mass
Father Tom gave an impassioned homily
After Mass, devotees venerate the relic
We were treated to some delicious refreshments
Pastiera di spaghetti (spaghetti pie)
Le Chiacchiere
Thank you to the Mazza family for your kindness and generosity
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Photo of the Week: Statue of Roberto Guiscardo at Montecassino

Robert Guiscard (the Cunning), Duke of Apulia and Calabria, Montecassino Abbey
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Announcing the 2015 Saint Padre Pio Festival, Tuckahoe, New York

Also see:

August 30, 2015

Feast of the Madonna Della Luce

Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
The last Sunday in August is the Feast Day of Maria Santissima Della Luce (Our Lady of Light), Patroness of Palermiti, Calabria. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to the Madonna della Luce.* The accompanying photo was taken at Sacred Heart Italian Church in Boston, Massachusetts. In nearby Hingham, where large numbers of immigrants from Palermiti settled, the Feast is celebrated each Sunday before Labor Day. 
O Regina dei Martiri, Addolorata Maria, eccomi ai vostri piedi a supplicarvi del vostro patrocinio. O Madre pietosissima, non respingete la mia preghiera, non guardate i miei peccati che piango ai vostri piedi. Io sono indegno dei vostri benefici, ma la bontà vostra, che non ha limiti, mi dà speranza e, Madre vi chiamo, Madre tenerissima e potentissima Regina. Molte lacrime avete asciugate, molti dolori addolciti in virtù dei crudelissimi dolori vostri, in essi dunque ripongo la mia fiducia. Per questi dolori, lenite le mie pene ed impetratemi dal vostro divin Figliuolo Gesù la grazia particolare che qui prostrato vi domando... e di poter meritare una corona di gloria immortale nel S. Paradiso. Amen.
* Thank you Madonna Della Luce Society of Hingham, Massachusetts for providing us with the prayer

Knight Without Fear and Without Reproach

Giuseppe Petrosino - a true “supercop”
Lt. Joe Petrosino, NYCPD, Badge #285
Photo courtesy of
By Niccolò Graffio
“When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death – this is heroism.” — R.G. Ingersoll: Speech in New York, May 29, 1882
Growing up, like many American-born boys, I was enamored with tales of superheroes, men with “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men” who used their powers in the fight against evil. The names of these fictitious heroes no doubt would ring a bell with many who are reading this article: Superman, Spiderman, Thor and Daredevil, to name just a few. To a young boy like me it was exhilarating to read of the exploits of these people in comic books, even if in the back of my mind I knew they didn’t really exist (except in the world of imagination). Of all of them, my favorite was always Batman.
Why Batman, you say? Simple: unlike the others, Batman wasn’t blessed with extraordinary powers no real human could possess. True, he was highly intelligent, very athletic and a capable fighter, but nothing about Batman (except perhaps, some of the technology he utilized) was out of the realm of the possible. In short, Batman was a “normal human.” I guess then you could say he was my favorite because I could most identify with him. Continue reading

Announcing the 103rd Pilgrimage and Feast in Honor of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Utica, New York

August 29, 2015

Assunta Spina (1915)

Festival of Contemporary Music: Ensemble Dissonanzen
Monday, September 14 (6PM)

Italian Cultural Institute
686 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 879-4242

Ensemble Dissonanzen will feature a live sound track of the silent film masterpiece "Assunta Spina," also known as "Neapolitan Blood," which this year marks the centenary of its production.

It was, in fact produced twenty years before the birth of Cinecittà, with shooting in the streets of Naples, offering impressive views of the city (Mergellina, Pal. Donn'Anna in Posillipo, Nisida, etc.) by a team of extraordinarily talented professionals lead by director and actor Gustavo Serena, but mainly by a bubbling Francesca Bertini, diva of silent film. Continue reading

Announcing the 2015 Feast of Saint Padre Pio, Glendale, New York

August 28, 2015

Back For More

Scenes From the 40th Anniversary Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Arancini, stuffed with peas and ragù
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Last night, after work, I decided to stop by the Santa Rosalia Feast one more time before Sunday's procession and Mass. Unable to go on Friday (because I'll be attending the Feast of San Donato in Williamsburg) or Saturday (because I'll be attending the Feast of San Rocco in Astoria) this was going to be my last chance to partake in the festivities and enjoy the delicious Palermitano street fare.
Sfincione, Sicilian focaccia topped with tomatoes, onions and anchovies
Without my Friday Fast restrictionsI was able to enjoy the grilled meats 
Marinated peppers 
I was going to try something different for dessert,
but I couldn't resist having another Baked Iris
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see:
Back For Seconds: Scenes From the 40th Anniversary Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Opening Night at the 2015 Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
A Look at the 39th Annual Festa di Santa Rosalia, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Opening Night at the 2014 Santa Rosalia Feast, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
A Look at the 2013 Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Opening Night at 'The Feast'
It's Back! The Santa Rosalia Feast Returns to Bensonhurst
The Twilight of the Feast
The Feast of Santa Rosalia (18th Ave Feast)

Congratulations Therese and Giuseppe!

Announcing the 5th Annual Feast of San Donato, Montclair, New Jersey

For more info visit the St. Donato Society of Montclair, New Jersey on Facebook

August 27, 2015

August 26, 2015

The Light of Southern Italy: Paintings from the 19th Century Neapolitan School

October 8th through November 5th
Monday through Saturday, 10:00am—5:00pm

Italian Cultural Institute
686 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 879-4242

Opening at the Italian Cultural Institute, The Light of Southern Italy, is a carefully selected exhibition, curated by Marco Bertoli, of 34 beautiful paintings rarely seen in New York and the United States. This is the second exhibition from this collaboration at the Institute following The Macchiaioli in October 2014. And is the next step in Bertoli’s project to bring 19th-century Italian painting, in all of its diversity and splendor, to an American audience while paying tribute to the artistic heritage of the many Italians who built the dynamic Italian-American community. The exhibition highlights artists from across Italy’s southern regions including Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily. Mastering light and chromatic effects, these painters created landscapes, seascapes, genre scenes, and portraits of great beauty.  The intensity of the light in these images transports the viewer to the Mediterranean and conveys the aura of the south of Italy which was characterized by the excavations at Pompeii, the grandeur of Vesuvius, the rugged coastline, and the humble allure of the local people. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, in his celebrated Voyage in Italy, Naples and the surrounding countryside “… have left an indelible impression.” Continue reading

Announcing the 67th Annual Feast of the Madonna Addolorata, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

August 25, 2015

Feast of Santa Patrizia, Patroness of Naples

Saint Patricia by Leonardo Carpentiero
Photo courtesy of Electra Napoli*
By Giovanni di Napoli
August 25th is the feast day of Santa Patrizia (Saint Patricia), patroness of Naples. Each year the faithful gather at the Chiesa di San Gregorio Armeno (Church of St. Gregory of Armenia) to venerate the saint and view the miraculous liquefaction of her coagulated blood. The church, believed to have been built by Saint Helena (c. 246-330 AD) on the site of the Roman Temple of Ceres, underwent several significant renovations and is the latest resting place of Santa Patrizia and her relics.
Interestingly, the legend of Santa Patrizia has become conflated with that of Parthenope (the mythical founder of Naples) in what has been described as a Christian "refounding" of the city. In Virgil's Golden Egg and other Neapolitan Miracles (Transaction Publishers, 2011) Michael A. Ledeen writes:
"The creative genius of Neapolitan chaos juxtaposes and merges the two female archetypes, and tosses in an element of ancient sorcery for piquancy. Both Parthenope and Saint Patrizia are virgins and have noble ancestry. Both have power to control natural elements. Both came from the East and died on the shores of the Gulf of Naples. Patrizia landed on the island of Megaride, where Virgil cast his saving spell on the Castel dell'Ovo, where the ancient Cumans built the first Neapolitan buildings, and where they believed Parthenope arrived, dead or dying. And in the seventeenth century, at the height of the Baroque, the body of Saint Patrizia was carried to a monastery atop the hill of Caponapoli, where, centuries earlier, the tomb of Parthenope was located. Patrizia was proclaimed a patron saint of Naples from Parthenope's old temple." (p. 38-39)
It should be noted Parthenope is a synthesis of the ancient Greek myth about the deadly enchantress who failed to seduce Odysseus (Ulysses) and the charming medieval love story between Cimone and the chaste princess from Greece, whose "finite brow of a goddess" and "huge black eyes" were said to resemble the vigorous beauty of Juno and Minerva. The tale is eloquently retold in Matilde Serao's Leggende napoletane (Neapolitan legends). Continue reading
* Photo reprinted from The Treasure of San Gennaro: Baroque Silver from Naples, Electra Napoli, 1987, catalogue for the exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum of Art (Oct. 28, 1987 - Jan. 18, 1988).

Announcing the 2015 Ferragosto in The Bronx

August 24, 2015

Feast of Sant'Audeno Vescovo di Rouen

Evivva Sant'Audeno! 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 24th is the Feast Day of Sant'Audeno (St. Ouen, Archbishop of Rouen), patron saint of Serra di Pratola, Avellino. The cult of Sant'Audeno was introduced to southern Italy by the Normans, who founded several churches in his honor, including the small sanctuary in Montaperto, Avellino; the Chiesa di Sant’Audeno in Aversa, Caserta; and the Apulian-Romanesque Church of Sant’Audeno in Bisceglie, Puglia. Built in 1074, the Church in Bisceglie is one of the oldest consecrated to the French Bishop in southern Italy. An architectural treasure, the church houses a small relic translated from Normandy.
Southern Italian devotion to Sant'Audeno was immortalized in the Miracula Sancti Audoeni, a collection of Saint Ouen’s miracles written after 1047 in Normandy. Included are stories of pilgrims from Andria and Monte Gargano in Apulia who visited the saint’s shrine in Rouen and were miraculously cured of their ailments.
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Sant'Audeno. The accompanying photo was taken at Our Lady of Good Council Church in Inwood, Long Island.
Prayer to Sant'Audeno
God our Father, enable us who honor the memory of Sant'Audeno, archbishop and confessor, to share with him in the joy of eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Feast of San Bartolomeo

Viva San Bartolomeo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 24th is the Feast Day of San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew), Apostle and martyr. He is the patron saint of tanners, plasterers, cheese merchants, and those who suffer from nervous tics and neurological diseases. Widely venerated across southern Italy he is the principal patron of Lampedusa (AG), Lipari (ME), Giarratana (RG), and San Bartolomeo in Galdo (BN), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to St. Bartholomew. The accompanying photo was taken at Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary and Saint Stephen's Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Prayer to St. Bartholomew

Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your Word: Grant that your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

The Legacy of Our Buried Past

Vesuvius looming over the temple of Jupiter at Pompeii
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Lucian

The anniversary of the destruction of Pompeii reminded me of my visit to the ruins. It was easy to feel that greatness while walking among the stones of the ancient city, preserved for centuries by the deadly ash of Vesuvius. It also humbled me to behold the legacy of the eruption, a destructive force of nature that, within a day, turned a vibrant city into a tomb.
Vesuvius has erupted several times since Pompeii. The last was in 1944, destroying a B-25 Bomber group located in Capodichino Airport (Aeroporto di Napoli, Capodichino) in Naples. The Allied occupational forces, which had taken the city a few months earlier, assisted in evacuating nearby villages. This was a relatively minor eruption compared to 1906, 1872, or 1631. Earlier eruptions during the Roman Empire caused ash to fall as far as Constantinople. In 1845 the Osservatorio Vesuviano (geological observatory) was opened in the Kingdom of Naples, and is the oldest scientific institution dedicated to studying volcanoes. Surviving the Risorgimento, it was allowed to continue its work, and can still be seen today after miraculously escaping the lava flows of the 1872 eruption. Continue reading
Also see:
Preserving Our History, A Capitalist Perspective
Pompeii the Exhibit
A National Disgrace

August 23, 2015

Photo of the Week: Arcangelo Michele at Villa San Michele in Anacapri, Capri

Arcangelo Michele at Dr. Axel Munthe's Villa San Michele in Anacapri, Capri
Photo by New York Scugnizzo