The Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society of the Washington, D.C. area was established in June 2000 by a small group of Abruzzesi and Molisani (natives and descendants of immigrants) who eventually settled in the Washington, D.C. area.
Although the community of Italians and Italian-Americans in the Washington D.C. area is rather modest, it has a relatively large number of Abruzzesi and Molisani who recognized the need to foster the cultural heritage of these two regions specifically, as well as Italy broadly.
The Society welcomes anyone who has an interest in preserving and sharing in the rich traditions and values that are unique to Abruzzo, Molise, and to Italy in general to join!
AMHS Spring/Summer Programs for 2023-Due to the ongoing renovations at Casa Italiana, we adapted and rescheduled our next in-person event for June 25, 2023. In the meantime, we have also scheduled two very interesting virtual programs which we hope our members will enjoy.
A Message from the President-Dear members and friends: I hope that you are enjoying the warmer weather and longer days of Spring. For me, the unusually mild Winter that we had does not make the Spring season any less anticipated or less enjoyable. As some of you know, we closed out our Winter activities with a visit on March 11th to Don Ciccio & Figli, a distillery of Italian liqueurs located in northeast Washington. Some AMHS members and friends had a sweet time tasting the liqueurs and enjoying each other’s (and the owner’s) company. Look at Immediate Past President Maria D’Andrea-Yothers’ article inside this newsletter for a picture and description of the delightful afternoon. We had to postpone our planned second general meeting of 2023 due to the renovations taking place in Casa Italiana. The new date for the program will be June 25th and the speaker remains the same – Daniel A. Piazza, the Chief Curator of the National Postal Museum. It will start at 1:30 p.m. in Casa Italiana. Prior to Dan’s presentation, we will hold two virtual programs that we hope you will find interesting. On Saturday, May 20th, at 3 p.m., we will feature Stephanie Longo, who is a writer specializing in Italian-American regional history, heritage, and culture. On Sunday, June 4th, at 7:30 p.m., clinical psychologist, John Michael Howard, B.A., M.A., will deliver a virtual presentation on the book “Living to be 100” by Dr. Michael E. Howard. John will discuss the five “blue” zones in the world, including Sardinia, where there is a high concentration of centenarians. He will also speak about the Mediterranean diet. You can find additional details on these events in an article inside this edition, written by 1st Vice President-Programs, Nancy DeSanti. Be sure to check it out so that you know about our upcoming attractions. The brainstorming group assessing the operations of our Society is continuing its work. As I mentioned in my last message, the group was commissioned by the AMHS Executive Committee and was tasked with reviewing how we are organized internally, whether we might be able to facilitate better the organization of events and perhaps even diversify those events, and how we can better interface with other Italian-American organizations in the community. We will keep you apprised of the outcome and any recommendations approved by the Executive Committee. The application period for our scholarships has drawn to a close and the Scholarship Committee is in the process of reviewing all the documentation submitted by the applicants. As you may recall, the AMHS is now managing an additional scholarship program — the Angela Lastrico Raish scholarship for students majoring in the music arts field. That program is off to a good start. We will announce the winners of both scholarship programs in the next edition of the Notiziario. On March 28, AMHS founder and President Emeritus Lucio D’Andrea celebrated his 90th birthday! What a special day for him, his family, and us! You can view an article and photo of the family celebration in the Siamo Una Famiglia section inside. Belated wishes to Lucio and many happy returns! I am sure that you do not need me to point out that our many delightful programs and events over the years, as well as all the beautiful friendships we have made inside our Society, would not have been possible without Lucio’s initiative and perseverance. Finally, do not forget that we have an online AMHS store that offers unique gifts displaying our logo for every season of the year and many special occasions. Click on the Our Heritage/Shop tab on the Society’s website: The Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society – Celebrating Italian Culture & Community Since 2000 (abruzzomoliseheritagesociety.org) Thank you for reading and have an enjoyable rest of your Spring! Best regards,Ray LaVerghetta
Siamo Una Famiglia-The D’Andrea Family Celebrates 90th Birthday of AMHS Founding President By Maria D’Andrea-Yothers On Friday, March 31, 2023, 29 members of the D’Andrea (Pitassi) family gathered to celebrate Lucio’s 90th birthday. The D’Andrea children hosted the family celebration at Osteria da Nino in Shirlington, Va., where owner Nino Pino and his team took exceptional care of the group with food, wine, and celebration. In attendance were Lucio’s loving wife, Edvige; his six children Candida, Maria (Sam), Sandra (Rial), Lisa (Dave), Laura (Lenny), and Paul (Susanna); his seven grandchildren Angela (Daniel), Sydney, Mikayla, Chiara, Justin, Tyler, and Gabriel; his great granddaughter Lillie (and Sam’s children Mara, husband John, and daughter Lauren); and nieces Rebecca (Russ) and Leda (Jeff), who celebrated Lucio’s life, love, and longevity, and made it a birthday to remember, “one for the ages.” Lucio’s Brief Immigrant History & the Founding of the Abruzzo Molise Heritage Society (AMHS) Lucio was born on March 28, 1933, in the village of Roccamandolfi, province of Isernia, in the region of Molise. He immigrated to the United States in 1948 along with his brother Joseph and Mother Candida to join his father, Gaetano, who lived in McKees Rocks, Pa., (just outside of Pittsburgh). Upon completion of his secondary school education, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering and a commission as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Following his military service, he moved to Wyoming to work for an oil company. He later accepted a position with the Federal Power Commission in Washington, D.C. He served in a number of government agencies and, in 1986, he accepted an appointment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to serve as Senior Economic Officer with the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) in Geneva, Switzerland, becoming Deputy Director of its Energy Division. He retired from the ECE in 1983 and entered private practice as an energy consultant. During his long professional and military career, Lucio received numerous awards and recognitions. One which he is particularly proud of is the “Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy,” which he received in 1972 for his involvement with the Italian Cultural Society in promoting Italian culture in the Washington, D.C., area. He has maintained a steadfast commitment to the promotion and development of Italian culture, traditions, and values. A testament to this commitment is Lucio’s creation and launch of AMHS. In 1999, Lucio and his wife, Edvige — long-time members of Holy Rosary Church, along with Lucio’s brother Joseph, attended the “Primo Congresso Mondiale di Molisani di Nord America” (the First World Congress of Molisani in North America). The Congress was an occasion for Molisani in Canada to celebrate their success and achievements. Lucio, Edvige, and Joe were impressed and inspired by what they saw. It prompted Lucio and Edvige to explore the possibility of establishing a heritage society in the Washington, D.C., area. To launch the Society, Lucio sought the help of Father Charles Zanoni, who was Pastor of Holy Rosary Church at that time. He agreed to place a notice in Voce Italiana, inviting readers to respond to the idea of establishing an Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society. The response was encouraging. A core group of Abruzzesi and Molisani that Lucio and Edvige had come to know in their encounters at Holy Rosary Church and Casa Italiana was asked to join this initiative, namely Mario Ciccone, Ennio DiTullio, Tony D’Onofrio, Sergio Fresco, Gloria Sabatini, and Omero Sabatini. They all shared a common purpose for the creation of a society, to promote and perpetuate a common cultural heritage. In June 2000, the inaugural meeting of the AMHS was held at Casa Italiana. Present were about 70 potential members including Joseph D’Andrea, President at the time of the Molisani Societies in the United States, Father Charles Zanoni, and First Counselor of the Embassy of Italy, Giampaolo Cantini. From a modest beginning, the society has grown and has pursued a host of activities and programs, becoming one of the most highly regarded Italian-American organizations in the Washington, D.C., area.I hope that the members of AMHS will send Lucio their congratulations, not only for celebrating a milestone birthday, but also for founding the society. Without Lucio, most likely, AMHS would not exist. Buon compleanno Lucio! AMHS Outing to Don Ciccio & Figli By Maria D’Andrea-Yothers On Saturday, March 11, a group of 16 AMHS members and friends went to Don Ciccio & Figli, a distillery of Italian liqueurs, located in the Ivy City neighborhood of Northeast D.C. The group tasted 17 liqueurs, from bitter to sweet, all of which can be used to mix with liquor for Italian cocktails. Aaron, an associate, took great care of our group, describing each liqueur that we tasted and what they are best to mix with for cocktails. After the tasting, a group of us enjoyed Don Ciccio & Figli cocktails and light snacks at the company’s Bar Sirenis. A lovely time was had by all. Special thanks to Francesco Amodeo for taking good care of our group. Francesco told us that he looked us up and thoroughly enjoyed perusing our website. Thanks also to AMHS members Chris Renneker, Mark Lino, and Maria D’Andrea-Yothers for planning and organizing the outing. We highly recommend a visit to this distillery for anyone who lives in the Washington area or for our associate members, when you are in D.C. for a visit. The distillery is only open to visitors on Saturdays from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Roccaraso-By Nancy DeSanti Province of L’Aquila, Region of Abruzzo The picturesque small town of Roccaraso is located in the province of L’Aquila. It has approximately 1,524 inhabitants, known as Roccolani. The town, in the Alto Sangro ski area, is the largest ski resort in the central Apennines, 195 kilometers from Rome. It is among the most renowned mountain resorts in central and southern Italy, and it offers tracks for cross-country and downhill skiing. Roccaraso is the most popular ski resort in Abruzzo, considered as good as the most beautiful ski areas in northern Italy. Thanks to the efficient links to the other ski resorts, such as Rivisondoli, Pescasseroli, Pescocostanzo, Barrea, and Castel di Sangro, the resort of Roccaraso is part of a wider area, called “Comprensorio Sciistico dell’Alto Sangro e dell’Altopiano delle Cinque Miglia,” thus offering more than 150 kilometers of ski slopes and 60 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. The different resorts are linked by more than 30 modern ski lifts and are accessible by using the same ski pass. This ski area is said to be perfect for all level of skiers, with slopes for beginners, intermediates, or advanced. These slopes are also the site of many national and international ski competitions and are equipped with snowmaking systems in case the weather does not ensure a perfect snow condition, as has happened recently. The 1,000-meter difference in altitude from the town to the peak, called Toppe del Tesoro, provides skiers with an awe-inspiring view of the charming surroundings. In Roccaraso, there is a popular ice-skating rink and the area is equipped with two snow parks, a children’s area with a playground, and other areas for different activities–snow tubing, sledding, bobsledding, snow-racket walks, stationary biking on the snow, and Nordic walking. Roccaraso is important historically, too. The town is on the site of a route through a nearby mountain pass, where Hannibal’s army is recorded to have travelled. The great strategic importance of the area since antiquity is shown by the presence of Caracini (an Italic population) as indicated by tombs from the 5th-4th centuries B.C. In the Middle Ages, Roccaraso was under the control of the Benedictine monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno. Later, Saracen raids obliged the local inhabitants to build castles where they could take refuge. But the plague in 1656 wiped out one-fourth of the population. There is a legend that a miracle by San Rocco saved the rest of the inhabitants and, miraculously, the church they built in his honor is the only building that survived the destruction of World War II. The town was destroyed by the bombing, which caused the loss of “Interalia,” a theater built in 1698 and one of the oldest in Italy. Earlier, a flourishing textile economy had developed over the centuries and created prosperity, but the decline of the agricultural and pastoral economy in the latter part of the 19th century started a mass emigration. The darkest moment in the town’s history came in 1943 when the Germans established their headquarters there. A massive bombing by American forces destroyed 98 percent of the place. For revenge, the Germans destroyed nearby Pietransieri, killing 127 civilians. After the extensive destruction by WW2 bombings, today the small center has been completely modernized, except for the district called Terra Vecchia (the ancient fortified borough) with remains of a tower, and in the lower part, the small church of San Rocco. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, a steady recovery began with the tourism industry, thanks to a favorable position on the railway line to Naples. The first ski race was held in 1910 and the first ski lift was built in 1936. Roccaraso was in the news recently when a wild bear known affectionately as Juan Carrito died after being struck by a car. The incident occurred on a highway leading to Castel Di Sangro, near the Roccaraso tunnel. Known as the “biscuit-loving bear,” Juan Carrito was famous for his playful nature and raids in search of food. The animal’s increasingly daring forays into urban areas in search of food prompted park authorities to relocate him — twice — to a remote area of the mountains. However, Juan Carrito surprised everyone by making the 150-kilometer trek back to his stomping ground of Roccaraso. Tracked by a radio collar, the Marsican bear was noted for his lack of fear of humans and his playful nature towards dogs. Aside from the region’s sentimental attachment to Juan Carrito, his loss is a further blow to the critically endangered Marsican bear, a subspecies of the brown bear. There are reportedly only about 30 of the animals left in existence, compared to 100 in 1980. What to See Church of Santa Maria Assunta The Church of San Rocco was built in 1656 to give thanks to the saint who saved the population from a terrible plague Important Dates August 13 — Feast of Sant’Ippolito of Rome, the patron saint. Italiano Tradotto da Ennio Di Tullio Provincia dell’Aquila, Regione Abruzzo Il pittoresco paesino di Roccaraso si trova in provincia dell’Aquila. Conta circa 1.524 abitanti, detti Roccolani. La località, nel comprensorio sciistico dell’Alto Sangro, è la più grande stazione sciistica dell’Appennino centrale, a 195 chilometri da Roma. E’ tra le località montane più rinomate del centro e sud Italia, e offre piste per lo sci di fondo e di discesa. Grazie agli efficienti collegamenti con le altre località sciistiche, come Rivisondoli, Pescasseroli, Pescocostanzo, Barrea e Castel di Sangro, la località di Roccaraso fa parte di un comprensorio più ampio, denominato “Comprensorio Sciistico dell’Alto Sangro e dell’Altopiano delle Cinque Miglia”, offrendo così più di 150 chilometri di piste da sci e 60 chilometri di piste per lo sci di fondo. Le diverse località sono collegate da più di 30 moderni impianti di risalita e sono accessibili utilizzando lo stesso ski pass. Si dice che questo comprensorio sciistico sia perfetto per tutti i livelli di sciatori, con piste per principianti, intermedi, o avanzati. Queste piste sono anche sede di numerose gare sciistiche nazionali ed internazionali e sono dotate di impianti di innevamento programmato nel caso in cui le condizioni meteorologiche non garantissero un innevamento perfetto, come è accaduto di recente. Il dislivello di 1.000 metri dal paese alla vetta, denominata Toppe del Tesoro, offre agli sciatori una vista mozzafiato sull’incantevole paesaggio circostante. A Roccaraso è presente una rinomata pista di pattinaggio sul ghiaccio e la zona è attrezzata con due snowpark, un’area bimbi con parco giochi e altre aree per diverse attività: snow tubing, slittino e bob, passeggiate con le ciaspole, cyclette sulla neve , e nordic walking. Roccaraso è importante anche storicamente. La città si trova sul sito di un percorso attraverso un vicino passo di montagna, dove si dice che abbia viaggiato l’esercito di Annibale. La grande importanza strategica dell’area fin dall’antichità è dimostrata dalla presenza dei Caracini (popolazione italica) come testimoniano tombe del V-IV secolo a.C. Nel Medioevo Roccaraso era sotto il controllo del monastero benedettino di San Vincenzo al Volturno. In seguito le incursioni saracene costrinsero gli abitanti del luogo a costruire castelli dove rifugiarsi. Ma la peste del 1656 spazzò via un quarto della popolazione. Narra la leggenda che un miracolo di San Rocco salvò il resto degli abitanti e, miracolosamente, la chiesa da loro costruita in suo onore è l’unico edificio sopravvissuto alla distruzione della seconda guerra mondiale. Il paese fu distrutto dai bombardamenti che portarono alla perdita di “Interalia”, teatro costruito nel 1698 e tra i più antichi d’Italia. In precedenza, una fiorente economia tessile si era sviluppata nel corso dei secoli e aveva creato prosperità, ma il declino dell’economia agricola e pastorale nell’ultima parte del XIX secolo diede inizio a un’emigrazione di massa. Il momento più buio nella storia della città arrivò nel 1943 quando i tedeschi vi stabilirono il loro quartier generale. Un massiccio bombardamento da parte delle forze americane ha distrutto il 98% del luogo. Per vendetta i tedeschi distrussero la vicina Pietransieri, uccidendo 127 civili. Dopo le ingenti distruzioni causate dai bombardamenti della seconda guerra mondiale, oggi il piccolo centro è stato completamente rimodernato, ad eccezione del quartiere denominato Terra Vecchia (l’antico borgo fortificato) con i resti di una torre, e nella parte inferior, la chiesetta di San Rocco. A ll’inizio del ‘900 iniziò una costante ripresa dell’industria del turismo, grazie ad una posizione favorevole sulla linea ferroviaria per Napoli. La prima gara di sci si tenne nel 1910 e il primo impianto di risalita fu costruito nel 1936. Roccaraso ha fatto notizia di recente quando un orso selvatico noto affettuosamente come Juan Carrito è morto dopo essere stato investito da un’auto. L’incidente è avvenuto sull’autostrada che porta a Castel Di Sangro, nei pressi della galleria di Roccaraso. Conosciuto come “l’orso amante dei biscotti”, Juan Carrito era famoso per la sua natura giocosa e le sue incursioni in cerca di cibo. Tuttavia, Juan Carrito ha sorpreso tutti facendo il viaggio di 150 chilometri per tornare al suo terreno calpestante di Roccaraso. Seguito da collare radio, l’orso marsicano era noto per la sua mancanza di paura degli umani e per la sua natura giocosa nei confronti dei cani. Si dice che siano solo trenta degli animali rimasti inesistenti, rispetto ai 100 del 1980. Le attrazioni del luogo: Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta Chiesa di San Rocco fu costruita nel 1656 per ringraziare il santo per aver salvato la popolazione dalla grande peste Date da ricordare: 13 agosto — Festa di Sant’Ippolito di Roma, patrono Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roccarasohttps://www.italyheritage.com/regions/abruzzo/laquila/roccaraso.htmhttps://www.touring-italy.net/tours/tour-details.php?recordid=68https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/italy-abruzzo-juan-carrito-bear-dead.html
Acquaviva Collecroce-By Nancy DeSanti Province of Campobasso, Region of Molise The small town of Acquaviva Collecroce is located in the province of Campobasso, between the Biferno and Trignorivers. It has approximately 644 inhabitants, known as Acquavivesi. The town is known for the cultivation of small, dark zerniza figs, as well as fennel and white celery. Acquaviva Collecroce is one of the three municipalities in Molise of Croatian origin (Montemitro and San Felice del Molise are the other two). The presence of Slavic peoples was first noted in the 16th century. They arrived in Italy at the same time as the Albanians, between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, coming perhaps from the valley of the Neretva River, in current Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia. Most of the Molisani Croats speak a particular Croatian dialect (known as simply na-našo or naš jezik, meaning “our language”) as well as Italian. There are differences in the dialects of the three towns, but they all descend from the Shtokavian–Ikavian dialect of Dalmatia. Linguists consider the dialect to be an endangered diaspora language. Earlier, in the 12th century, Acquaviva was a base for the Knights of Malta. Although there is evidence of an earlier Slavic settlement in 1297, it is believed that the current inhabitants are not their descendants, but rather come from later migrations in the 15th and 16th centuries. Historians think these migrations may have been caused by Ottoman incursions into the Balkans. The presence of abundant fresh water had evidently determined both the choice of the site for the settlement and the name of the town Acquaviva, which subsequently added Collecroce to distinguish it from other towns in Italy with the same name. The village has preserved some beautiful traditions of its Slavic heritage. On the first of May, there is the Festa del Maja, when a puppet (the pagliara maja) is carried along the alleys as a good omen for the harvest. A large straw basket, decorated with green fronds, fresh flowers, and first fruits, parades through the streets of the village bringing good wishes accompanied by songs and dances. At Christmas time, the Slavic custom of the Smarceka is repeated, when a torch is lit on a huge tree trunk near the door of the parish church. Many of the town’s inhabitants emigrated in two flows during the 20th century. The first emigration took place between roughly 1900-1920, with the emigres heading towards the United States and Argentina. The second major flow took place in the 1950s, chiefly to Australia. What to See A medieval stone, of unknown origin, with the famous “magical square” containing the five-letter words “Rotas Opera Tenet Arepo Sator”, can be read right to left, left to right, top to bottom, and bottom to top. Santa Giusta is an ancient church that was the refuge of Abruzzese shepherds. Important Dates May 1 — Festa del Maja September 29 — Feast of St. Michael the Archangel Italiano Tradotto da Ennio Di Tullio Provincia di Campobasso, Regione Molise Il piccolo comune di Acquaviva Collecroce si trova in provincia di Campobasso, tra i fiumi Biferno e Trigno. Conta circa 644 abitanti, detti Acquavivesi. Il paese è noto per la coltivazione di fichi piccoli, neri zerniza, oltre a finocchi e sedani bianchi. Acquaviva Collecroce è uno dei tre comuni molisani di origine croata (Montemitro e San Felice del Molise sono gli altri due). La presenza di popoli slavi fu notata per la prima volta nel XVI secolo. Arrivarono in Italia contemporaneamente agli albanesi, tra la fine del XV secolo e l’inizio del XVI secolo, provenienti forse dalla valle del fiume Neretva, nell’attuale Bosnia ed Erzegovina e Croazia. La maggior parte dei croati molisani parla un particolare dialetto croato (noto semplicemente na-našo o naš jezik, che significa “la nostra lingua”) oltre all’italiano. Ci sono differenze nei dialetti delle tre città, ma tutti discendono dal dialetto stocavo-icavo della Dalmazia. I linguisti considerano il dialetto una lingua della diaspora in via di estinzione. In precedenza, nel XII secolo, Acquaviva era una base per i Cavalieri di Malta. Sebbene ci siano prove di un precedente insediamento slavo nel 1297, si ritiene che gli attuali abitanti non siano i loro discendenti, ma piuttosto provengono da migrazioni successive nel XV e XVI secolo. Gli storici pensano che queste migrazioni possano essere state causate dalle incursioni ottomane nei Balcani. La presenza di abbondanta fresca acqua aveva evidentemente determinato sia la scelta del sito per l’insediamento, sia il nome del paese Acquaviva, al quale successivamente si aggiunse Collecroce per distinguerlo da altri paesi in Italia con lo stesso nome. Il paese conserva alcune belle tradizioni del suo retaggio slavo. Il primo Maggio, si svolge la Festa del Maja, quando un fantoccio (la pagliara maja) viene portato lungo i vicoli come buon auspicio per il raccolto. Un grande cesto di paglia addobbato con fronde verdi, fiori freschi, e primizie sfila per le vie del paese portando gli auguri accompagnato da canti e balli nel periodo natalizio si ripete l’usanza slava della Smarceka, quando si accende una torcia su un enorme tronco d’albero vicino alla porta della chiesa parrocchiale. Molti degli abitanti della città sono emigrati in due flussi nel corso del XX secolo. La prima emigrazione è avvenuta all’incirca tra il 1900 e il 1920, con gli emigrati diretti verso gli Stati Uniti e l’Argentina. Il secondo grande flusso ebbe luogo negli anni ’50, principalmente in Australia. Le attrazioni del luogo: Una pietra medievale, di origine sconosciuta, con il famoso “quadrato magico” contenente le parole di Una pietra medievale, di origine sconosciuta, con il famoso “quadrato magico” contenente le parole di cinque lettere “Rotas Opera Tenet Arepo Sator”, possono essere lette da destra a sinistra, da sinistra a destra, dall’alto in basso, e dal basso a superiore. Santa Giusta è antica chiesa che fu rifugio dei pastori abruzzesi. Date da ricordare: 1 maggio — Festa del Maja 29 septembre — Festa di San Michele Arcangelo Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquaviva_Collecrocehttps://www.italyheritage.com/regions/molise/province-campobasso/acquavivacollecroce.htmhttps://www.e-borghi.com/en/village/Campobasso/397/acquaviva-collecroce
AMHS Membership-By Lynn Sorbara, 2nd Vice President-Membership New Members We warmly welcome the following new members: Clara Cuonzo, Sofia DeLuca, and Peter Tompa. Birthdays Compleanni a MaggioMichael Iademarco, May 1; Rose Marie DeMarco-Evans, May 6; Joseph Scafetta, Jr., May 10; Amy Antonelli, May 15; Kathlyn Nudi and Victor Ferrante, May 16; Marcella Finelli, May 17; Robert Woolley, May 19; Peter Bell, May 20; Rocco Del Monaco, Giulia Michonski, and Abby Cuviello, May 21; Aldo D’Ottavio and Cora Williams, May 22; Cristina Scalzitti and John Dunkle, May 25; Ennio DiTullio and Richard Leiobold, May 29; and Renato Orcino, May 30. Compleanni a GiugnoRev. Frank Donio, June 3; Joseph Lupo and Jo-Ann Pilardi, June 9; Alberto Paolantonio and Robert Tobias, June 10; Ruth Bergman Spellane, June 14; Sharon Moran, June 17; Harry Piccariello and Joan Galles, June 24; Justin Smith, June 25; Omero Sabatini, June 26; Barbara Bernero and Rita Orcino, June 28; and Laura Gentile, June 30. Anniversaries Anniversari a MaggioFrancesco & Anna Isgro, May 19; Mario & Carmen Ciccone, May 27: and Carmine Spellane & Ruth Bergman, May 29; Ordination of Rev. John V. DiBacco Jr., May 13. Anniversari a GiugnoOmero & Belinda Sabatini, June 6; Jeff & Macarena Clark, June 16; Anthony & Elodia D’Onofrio, June 25; Lucio & Edvige D’Andrea, June 27; and Roger & Joan Galles, June 30. Membership Information Category # of PersonsAssociate (Couple): 4 x 2 = 4Associate (Individual): 38General (Couple): 50 x 2 = 100General (Individual): 80Honorary: 9Scholarship: 2Student: 6Total Membership: 239
Nobel Laureate Describes Exciting Work on James Webb Space Telescope-On January 29, 2023, Casa Italiana was the site of a talk by a Nobel Prize winner explaining the most exciting scientific research into the universe now taking place. Dr. John C. Mather spoke to an appreciative audience about his work as the senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the most powerful space telescope ever built. The decades-long project has involved the work of 20,000 scientists, engineers, and computer programmers.
A Message from the President-Dear members and friends: I hope that this message finds you in good health. I hope too that you have been able to take advantage of one or more of the programs that we have offered our membership since my last message to you. On January 29th, we held our first general meeting of 2023. Our guest speaker was Dr. John Mather, the Senior Project Scientist for the James Webb Telescope, and a Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His talk generated many comments and questions and attracted an excellent turnout that included both members and non-members. Fontina Grille provided its usual fine catering, and so the good food and the thoughtful exchanges combined for a successful start to our programs for the new year. Just one week later, on February 5th, the AMHS organized an outing to a lecture by Dr. Eric Denker at the National Gallery of Art. Following the lecture, Dr. Denker gave our group an overview of the exhibition “Vittore Carpaccio: Master Storyteller of Renaissance Venice”, after which they headed over to lunch at the museum cafe. On February 12th, some of our AMHS members and friends attended a luncheon at Il Canale in Georgetown, where Chad Sarchio, immediate past president of the D.C. bar association, discussed the trajectory of his legal career and his Italian American heritage. Mr. Sarchio is a very good speaker and, not surprisingly, the event was interesting and entertaining. Looking ahead, our second general meeting will take place on March 26th at Casa Italiana. The guest speaker will be Daniel Piazza, the Chief Curator of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Additional details regarding his talk are contained in an article in this edition. The AMHS Executive Committee has formed a brainstorming group to evaluate how our society is doing. Many organizations periodically engage in such assessments to ensure that they are following their charter or objectives and providing the most value to their members. The group, which consists of both AMHS members who are on the EC as well as AMHS members who are not, will attempt to assess what it is that we are doing well versus those things that we could be doing better. Such careful self-analysis is vital to the ability of organizations to anticipate the future and not merely react to it. The group plans to reach out to the general membership to be sure that members’ views are considered. I would like to thank all those members and friends who have donated to our scholarship fundraising campaign. As of late January, we raised over $7500 — an amount close to the $8000 needed to fund our two scholarships for 2023. Your continuing generosity makes our scholarship program possible, as we do not receive any financial assistance from outside organizations. It is not too late to contribute, so if you would like to help push us over the $8000 mark, go to our website, click on the Scholarships tab, and then select “Donate to Scholarships”. It is easy, and the impact is truly meaningful, both in the lives of outstanding Italian-American students and in our ability to carry out our mission of preserving our Italian-American heritage and passing it on to future generations. Thank you for reading and enjoy the springtime! Best regards,Ray LaVerghetta
WITH THANKS TO ROMEO SABATINI AND RYAN TURNER
The Society dedicates its website to Romeo Sabatini, who worked tirelessly for over 10 years developing and maintaining our original site; and to Ryan A. Turner who, in honor of his grandmother Rosemarie Antonelli Turner (whose father Frank emigrated from Abruzzo), gifted the Society with funds to develop this new site. The Society is grateful for Romeo’s time and for Ryan’s generosity, which bridge the past with the future for the benefit of all AMHS members and friends.