Welcome to Virtual Italian Harlem! I'm a 2nd generation Italian American. My heritage is 100% Italian, from the regions of Campania and Puglia. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of immigration history and genealogy! My paternal great grandfather came "straight off the boat," from Naples,Italy to East Harlem in 1901. My familial roots called East Harlem, "Home" for over 67 years!
I have a Juris Doctor degree in Law from Widener University and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from John Jay College.
As for my interests, my specialties are within the areas of Genealogical Research, New York City Urban Sociology, Photography/Digital Enhancement,Photo Restoration/Preservation,and of course,Italian Immigration History!
I actively scour the web for any information or resource that I can find on my old neighborhood. Although my family left East Harlem, over 55 years ago, I will NEVER forget where I came from, and how it shaped me as a person. East Harlem rests within my inner conscience. Always ready to vividly recall a fond memory, or images of it's past. The old neighborhood comes alive through my mind's eye. The family photos, and all of the old stories that I cherish,seem to magically transition into a living scene! Though long gone, my ancestors spirit and memory are alive and well in the old neighborhood. The tenement windows reflect their image, and those of all the former residents of Italian Harlem...
Long live the memory and true essence of Italian East Harlem!
Hello! I created this ancestral urban history blog, way back in 2008. At one point or another, I thought about adding a donation button, but felt indifferent about asking for money from my readership. At this point in time, after over 14 years of keeping the memories alive and ticking, I decided to ask for donations! :-) I intend to upgrade this site, by adding more storage space, in order to upload audio, video, more photos, etc. I'd also like to do a podcast, and to finally scan all of the ephemera/memorabilia/vintage photos, that I have been collecting for over 15 years! I look forward to the journey!
Thanks so much for your donation! I really appreciate it!
“La Festa dei Gigli” is an ancient Catholic feast which still is held in a number of municipalities in the province of Naples, as Nola, Brusciano, Casavatore, Crispano, Villaricca and in the neighborhood of Barra in Naples. This celebration was born in Nola where this event celebrated the return to the city of Bishop Pontius Paulinus Meropio from captivity at the hands of the barbarians took place in 410 AD about. Pope Gregory I refers to the sacrifice of the Bishop, who gave his possessions, and himself to the Visigoths in exchange for the release of his countrymen enslaved as a result of the invasions of Alaric I in 410. Legend has it that in 431 the Nola citizens have welcomed his return with flowers of lilies (gigli), to be exact, and they escorted him to the bishopric.
In memory of this event the city over the centuries has bestowed his devotion to his bishop in procession carrying flowers and candles also adorned then placed first on rudimentary structures, that then become pyramidal towers of wood called “Gigli”
The event covers the entire day. During the morning, the lilies and the boat are transported in the main square of Nola, where is the solemn blessing of the Vescovo. From early afternoon until the following morning the structures run through lining the streets of the historic center , following a precise path along which the “cullatori” that carry them, face spectacular tests of skill and strength.
Thank you for posting this information on the Festa di Giglio. Your explanation and description of this marvelous tradition is very much appreciated!