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, the influence of Italian culture in the U.S. is far broader. In education, Montessori schools have broadened American models of learning with their focus on flexible learning. In literature, writers Don DeLillo and Gay Talese and poets Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti loom large. Film has been enriched by directors Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola and actors such as Robert De Niro and Nicholas Cage, while singers from 50's heart-throb Frank Sinatra to today's Ariana Grande continue to delight. In politics, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is only one of a long line of leaders of Italian American heritage.
Italian immigration peaked between the 1870's and 1920's, creating a host of settlements, primarily in Northeastern and Midwestern cities. 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.