Italian Culture USA
If Italian American culture just makes you think pizza and spaghetti, think again. While it's true that our nation’s 17 million Italian Americans have enriched our cuisine, their influence is far wider. In education, Montessori schools have broadened American models of learning. Film directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola have enriched American cinema, writers Don DeLillo and Gay Talese loom large in literature, and singers from 50's heart-throb Frank Sinatra to today's Ariana Grande continue to delight. In politics, the recent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the dozens of other current members of Congress continue a long line of leaders of Italian American heritage.
Italian immigration peaked between the 1870's and 1920's, creating communities nationwide. Many cities still retain their Little Italy communities, where visitors can experience a slice of Italian American life. Boston’s North End, for instance, is a vital neighborhood of restaurants and bakeries where the annual St. Anthony of Padua celebration draws thousands. Vieni, mangia, balla (Come, eat, dance)!
Elaborate festivals, often with religious roots, are held throughout the year in most Little Italy communities. There are too many to list every festival in every community, so these are just some of the many great examples. If you plan to visit any Little Italy community, be sure to check online to see what festivals are celebrated there.