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CulturePublic Figure

Setting the Record Straight on Christopher Columbus with Author and Expert Rafael Ortiz

Interview by Mary Kovach, Ph.D. Rafael Ortiz is a highly sought-after expert on Christopher Columbus. He authored four books on Columbus (three in English, one in Spanish). He’s done his due diligence reading the actual journals written by Columbus himself as well as the memoirs from Columbus’ son, and can point-by-point clarify any misinformation. He’s a member of the National Christopher Columbus Association and is currently collaborating with the National Columbus Education Foundation on their new website. He was recently a featured guest on the OSDIA Interviews LIVE: View the… Continue Reading…

CultureItalian Heritage MonthPublic Figure

Happy Columbus Day

Be Sure to do something that’s Italian American Today! Enjoy the slides Visit our Christopher Columbus page Visit These Websites – Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations www.copomiao.org The National Columbus Education Foundationwww.knowcolumbus.org Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Commission for Social Justicewww.osia.org/commission-for-social-justice Italian American One Voice Coalitionwww.iaovc.org To Join Us As We Unite Italian Americans Across The United States, Visitwww.italianamericaonline.com Christopher Columbus page

Public Figure

The Ice Cream Cone

The ice cream cone is said to have originated at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904. But that leaves out an important part of history: the story of the cone inventor. The patent for cone-making was awarded to Italo Marchioni (1868-1954) in 1903. Marchioni was a street vendor on Wall Street where he sold lemon ices from a pushcart to Wall Street brokers and runners. He had been working on a cone-making device since 1896 and filed for a patent in 1902. Thanks to an article… Continue Reading…

Public Figure

Lee Iacocca

Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca  October 15, 1924 – July 2, 2019 Lee Iacocca was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Nicola Iacocca and Antonietta Perrotta, Italian Americans from San Marco dei Cavoti, Benevento. They settled in Pennsylvania’s steel-production belt. He was said to have been christened with the unusual name “Lido” because he was conceived during his parents honeymoon in the Lido district in Venice. However, he denied this rumor in his autobiography, saying that is romantic but not true; his father went to Lido long before his marriage and was traveling with his future wife’s brother.Iacocca became an Italian American automobile executive. He… Continue Reading…

Public Figure

William Paca

The official seal of the state of Maryland reads Fatti, Maschii, Parola Femine, which is Italian for “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.” It is the only state motto written in Italian, and Maryland also was the only state that was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was of Italian heritage. His name is William Paca William Paca’s ancestors came to America during the mid-1600s. Robert Paca was the first to arrive, coming to the colonies from England. He married an English woman, received a grant of land… Continue Reading…

EntertainersPublic Figure


Wladziu Valentino Liberace was born in West Allis, Wisconsin. On May 16, 1919. Liberace received his middle name, “Valentino” because his mom’s favorite actor was an Italian named Rudolph Valentino. Wonder if she knew Liberace was destined for greatness. Wladziu, was know as Lee to his friends, and Walter to his family. His Father, Salvatore Liberace was an immigrant from Formia, in the Lazio, region of central Italy. Frances Zuchowska was Polish. Liberace had an identical twin who was still born. Liberace was 1 of 4 children, a sister, Angelina,… Continue Reading…

Public Figure

Bonnie Tiburzi

Bonnie Tiburzi (born August 31, 1948), is an American aviator. In March of 1973, at age 24, she became the first female pilot for a major American Commercial airline. At the same time, she also became the first woman in the world to earn a Flight Engineer rating on a turbo-jet aircraft. Bonnie Tiburzi is an Italian American and was born on August 31, 1948, in Connecticut. Her father was a pilot during WWII with the Air Transport Command and TWA. He later started his own regional airline called Tiburzi Airways, which… Continue Reading…

Public Figure

Amadeo Pietro Giannini

Amadeo Pietro Giannini was born in San Jose, California, to Italian immigrant parents. He was the first son of Luigi Giannini and Virginia (Demartini) Giannini. Luigi Giannini immigrated to the United States from Favale di Malvaro near Genoa, Liguria in the Kingdom of Sardinia to prospect in response to the California Gold Rush of 1849. When Amadeo’s Father was murdered by an employee over a payroll dispute, his mother took over the operation of the produce business. In 1880, Virginia married Lorenzo Scatena who began L. Scatena & Co. Giannini… Continue Reading…

Italian American Basketball PlayersPublic FigureSports

Gino Auriemma

Luigi “Geno” Auriemma (born March 23, 1954) is an Italian-born American. Auriemma emigrated with his family from Montella in Southern Italy to Norristown, Pennsylvania when he was seven years old, and he spent the rest of his childhood there. He did not speak English when his family emigrated and he was tutored in 2nd grade at St. Francis of Assisi by a classmate named John. He is a college basketball coach and the head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team. He has led UConn to eleven… Continue Reading…

Public Figure

Ella Grasso

The election of Ella Grasso in 1974 gave Connecticut its first female governor and its first governor of Italian heritage. Her election also gave the nation the first woman of any state to be elected governor in her own right, without having run on the record of a husband who had also been governor. Born Ella Giovanna Oliva Tambussi, her parents James and Maria (Oliva) Tambussi were Italian immigrants who valued education highly and made it possible for her to attend private schools. She attended St. Mary’s School, Windsor Locks,… Continue Reading…

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