[Image: Mulberry Street, New York, ca. 1900.]
“In the five centuries since Christopher Columbus, a son of Genoa, Italy, first set sail across the Atlantic Ocean, countless individuals have followed the course he charted to seek a new life in America. Since that time, generations of Italian Americans have helped shape our society and steer the course of our history. During Italian American Heritage and Culture Month, we recognize the rich heritage of Americans of Italian descent and celebrate their immeasurable contributions to our Nation.” (Presidential Proclamation, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, October 14, 2010)
More than five million Italians immigrated to the USA between 1820 and 1992, and there are now 26 million Americans of Italian descent living there. First held 15 years ago, National Italian American Heritage Month has become an annual event to celebrate the rich heritage of Americans of Italian descent and their immeasurable contributions to the country.
A wide variety of activities and events are planned throughout the United States to celebrate the Italian American Heritage Month – October – designated by United States Presidential Proclamation and coinciding with the celebrations honoring Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, Columbus Day, this year celebrated on Monday, October 13 in the U.S.
The Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York has, for more than 30, years organized special events, concerts, exhibits and lectures, celebrating Italian culture in New York. Each year focuses on a theme representative of the history and culture of Italy and Italian Americans. More information is available here.
Boston has a rich calendar of events throughout the month, you can find the program here.
San Francisco is holding its Columbus Day/Italian Heritage Parade, the nation’s oldest, on Sunday, October 12. You can find a listing of other Italian American events scheduled in San Francisco here.
Los Angeles is hosting the Taste of Italy event, organized by the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles. Los Angeles’ premier cultural gastronomic event, it features award-winning restaurants and wineries, fantastic entertainment in the spectacular setting of downtown LA. For more information and to buy your tickets, click here.
Intrigued by Italian American history? Check our feature about Italian Americans in Los Angeles.
Watch a slideshow of images chronicling the lives of Italian immigrants to the U.S.
Are you an Italian American and trying to trace your roots back to Italy? This feature may help you.