Global paesani gather in ancestral home for special day

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The gravitational pull of their shared DNA was irresistible. On Dec. 29, 2023, the inhabitants of Alessandria del Carretto convened with their paesani in America in this ancient Calabrian mountain town for their first-ever Heritage Day. The two groups organized the gathering to celebrate the enduring bond between them.

The day’s festivities, which were videotaped for American viewers, began at the municipal library, where attendees were shown a display of photographs. Among them were images of the town’s American descendants wearing T-shirts printed with their names and family connections. The display also included a photo of Mayor Domenico Vuodo with the town’s schoolchildren wearing T-shirts graciously donated by Mr. Robert Basile.

Attendees then convened in the library conference room, where the mayor warmly welcomed them with an opening statement delivered in Italian and English.

Next came a presentation by the mayor, local historians professors Ettore Angio and Alessandro Arvia, community developer Dr. Maria Francesca Arvia, and architect Raul Grioni. The panel explored the strong bond between the residents of Alessandria del Carretto and their relatives in North and South America. The focal point of their discussion was the Roseland/Kensington area on Chicago’s South Side, which saw a significant influx of Alessandrian immigrants in the early 20th century.

A heartfelt video message was then presented from the town’s American descendants, expressing their immense joy in participating in the day’s events and sharing their hope that the celebration would motivate fellow paesani around the world to visit the enchanting town of their ancestors.



About James Arvia

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