Vespucci and the Italian Heritage and Culture Month
Five hundred years ago, an explorer was born. Financier, navigator and cartographer,
Amerigo Vespucci was meant to be remembered forever. And this year, he becomes the theme of the National Italian Heritage and Culture Month.
At CUNY’s Hunter College secluded Poses Park, the schedule of “From Amerigo to America” was presented, enhancing the importance of the Italian explorer and the Italian culture itself.
“Vespucci, in fact, was the first to discover that America was a fourth continent, being able also to describe what he saw for the future generations,” - stated Laura Aghilarre, Deputy Consul General of Italy who opened the ceremony.
Joseph Sciame, President and Chairman of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee, talked about the importance of this month “which started as a week and then it eventually expanded thanks to the will and help of other Italian institutions.” Sciame also highlighted the reason why we are still celebrating the Italian culture: the passing on of traditions from generation to generation. “Everyone should try to hand down the Italian tradition, a tradition made of family, values and heart,” - admitted Sciame.
Traditions were one of the main themes of the event: in fact, Joseph Di Trapani, National President of “Order Sons of Italy in America,” talked about the long tradition of Italians in America, and in New York, starting with his grandparents who moved from Southern Italy to Brooklyn. “They didn’t have anything but they were able to settle here and bring a lot of contributions to this country” - he stated.
John Mustaro, President of the United Pugliesi Federation and Treasurer of the Committee, was honored for his ongoing commitment to the Italian heritage and culture that he continues to keep alive and proud. “Italians may have a bad reputation in the U.S, because of The Sopranos or Jersey Shore, but that is not what we are. We have to show our other side, we have to get together and spread goodness,” - he said.
For his commitment, he received a Globe of the world, a symbolic gift representing North and South America.
Giada Valenti sang the anthems of both Italy and the United States. The Italian singer feels very proud of her Italian heritage. “I would wear the Italian flag if I could,” - she admitted.
And the ceremony is just an anticipation of the Italian Heritage and Culture Month, which includes movie projections, exhibitions, lectures and many other events concerning the Italian culture.