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.