This is, quite simply, a web site about Italy, and Italians.
I am Italian, for the most part, and most of my family is as well. It is a heritage that we share, and a history that we try to honor.
Being Italian has it good points. Great food. Excellent parties. And if you need a job, there is always someone in the family that will give you work to do. But we have our stereotypes as well, some well earned, others not so much.
We are victims of bigotry and profiling, but we are also proud of the things that make us Italian.
We’re not perfect, but who is. But we do have fun. We do enjoy life.
Among the many aspects of Italian Heritage, I will be discussing Italian History and their contribution to society as a whole. Sometimes, admittedly, those contributions were not always positive. But on the other hand, the effect of Italians on industry, invention, medicine, politics and even fashion and art is undeniable.
I will, for the most part, be focusing on our history in the modern times, from the end of the 1800’s to the present. That’s not to say that I won’t name drop a few 18th-century composers and 19th century opera stars, but for the most part, I am interested in Italy since the industrial revolution.
For instance, everyone knows about Marconi and the radio, but did you know that during World War II:
- Members of Mussolini’s army who were unwilling to participate in the atrocities dictated by the Nazis, broke off and formed a counter belligerent force and fought for the Allies. Those that weren’t imprisoned themselves.
- Many of the persecuted people, Jews, Gypsies and others, who survived the Nazi pogroms during World War II, did so with the help of their Italian neighbors who shielded them, hid them and taught them how to blend in with rest of the town, including lessons on how to look like a good Catholic.
- While German U-boats get all the attention in the World War II movies, Italy had one of the best and largest fleets of submarines in the world.
What would the world be today without the contribution of the Italians through history to art and culture.
Opera, the go to entertainment venue of pre industrial Europe, was dominated by the Italians. Rossini, Puccini, Verde, and Vivaldi, to name a few.
Entertainment would be a very different thing, especially in the US, were it not for the success of artists like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon, Tony Bennett, Connie Francis, Liza Minelli, and James Darren. The defined popular culture for multiple generations.
In movies, people like Selena Gomez, Stanley Tucci, Alyssa Milano, Al Pacino, and Frank Langella defined the cinema and the theater for decades.
And Food. For Italians, it always comes back to food. Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, Mario Batalli, Guy Fieri. Big names in modern food centric television, and bastions of Italian culinary tradition.
So if you are Italian, know Italians, like Italians, or are lucky enough to be part of an Italian family, join me and learn what it means to be Italian.