All Posts from ItalianSide

Sailing to Palermo (part 2)

by Mark Russell First part is here But what truly confirms Palermo’s significance as a city of international art-historical importance is its Norman architecture. The Normans came to Sicily in the eleventh century and their architectural achievements are dotted around the city. San Cataldo, the church of La Magione, and San Giovanni degli... [Read more]

Sailing to Palermo (part 1) Sailing to Palermo (part 1)

by Mark Russell It is eight o’clock in the evening and the nightly ferry from Naples to Palermo is preparing to sail. Vesuvius looms hazily in the fading light across the bay. Soon we will be travelling across the storied waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This is an exciting prospect in itself. But for the moment, my eyes are fixed on the view,... [Read more]

Ancestry Tour in Calabritto tracks the Mattia family roots. Ancestry Tour in Calabritto tracks the Mattia family roots.

While planning a trip to Sorrento with my wife, I knew that I would be only about a 1.5 hour drive from the town of my ancestors, Calabritto. This small town in the mountains, inland from Salerno and Naples, is where my great grandfather and grandmother were born and got married before they emigrated to the U.S. in 1892 (she was pregnant with my... [Read more]

Another “Back to your Roots” Tour, Another Happy Friend of ItalianSide Another “Back to your Roots” Tour, Another Happy Friend of ItalianSide

An Ancestry tour sheds light on Maryann’s family I decided I wanted to visit the little town where my maternal grandparents came from. I knew a little and had some nearly 100 year old documents. I was having difficulty trying to trace anything and I came upon This site is chock full of information and I sent them an inquiry. Shortly... [Read more]

“Biggia-dutz” ! “Biggia-dutz” !

What do you recall about growing up Italian? Share one of your childhood memories with us. Our Grandmas often relied on memory when cooking dishes whose recipes had been handed down for generations. When they couldn’t find exactly what they needed in their adopted country, they made do by substituting one ingredient for another. Recipes evolved... [Read more]

“Italian Genealogy Hands-On”: Civil Status Records “Italian Genealogy Hands-On”: Civil Status Records

Among the many sets of source documents a genealogist may look through during a research project, civil status records are above anyone else in terms of how frequentely they’re looked for. This crucial kind of records in fact includes birth, marriage, death, citizenship registries, together with some other “diverse” records. 1846: Birth... [Read more]

Italy – The Extraordinary Commonplace

We all know the stereotypes that have come to shape the world’s view of Italy—the Latin lovers, the pizza makers, the Italian devotion to ‘la dolce vita’, etc. In this short video advertising Expo 2015 in Milan, the Italian Ministry and ICE (the Italian Trade Commission) show us another side of Italy and her people. You will be surprised... [Read more]

Castel del Monte, a Jewel in the Apulian Countryside Castel del Monte, a Jewel in the Apulian Countryside

Castel del Monte (13th century) situated in the Apulia region, situated on a small hill close to Andria and Corato, near to Bari. It’s a gothic structure even if there are recognizable architectural aspects indicating a fusion of cultural elements from Northern Europe, from the Muslim world and classic antiquity. The Castle is a unique medieval... [Read more]

A Tragic Day in the Memory of Guardiagrele (Chieti) A Tragic Day in the Memory of Guardiagrele (Chieti)

Guardiagrele is an ancient and charming town in the province of Chieti in Abruzzo, it lays on the foothills of the Maiella mountain range at an elevation of around 576 meters. Its population numbers about 10,000. We want to remember an tragic event that happened exactly 71 years ago during WWII that remained in the memory of the town. In that period... [Read more]

Meet Paul Marinaro Meet Paul Marinaro

When Paul Marinaro contacted for information about his Italian ancestors, we clicked on the link in his email. To our delight, it was the website of a talented, Chicago-based vocalist with a smooth baritone voice. We liked what we heard and wanted to share his story with our readers. Read our exclusive interview with Paul where he... [Read more]

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