Ciao! Both sides of my family are originally from Vinchiaturo, a small mountain town in Molise. I still have a few couisns living over there. Vinchiaturo was founded over 2,200 years ago by the Romans. It was an area used to house captured Samnites, the local tribe that the Romans eventually conquered, although it took them 200 years. Vinchiaturo, which loosley translated means tower of the conquered, is symbolized on flags and other media by a tower wrapped in chains. Vinchiaturo is just one of the many small towns that dot the Appenine Moiuntains of Molise.
The Region of Molise is located on the Adriatic side of Italy, east of Rome. It is a beautiful and rugged landscape, with fertile valleys. Molise has the second lowest population of any region in Italy. Agriculture and stone for building are the primary industries in Molise. Molise is also home to the longest-running business in Europe - the Marinelli bell foundary, which dates back to the 10th century! My father's business partner was married to a Marinelli.
Many ancient traditions live on in the mountains of Molise. There, a person's Saint's-name-day is just as important, if not more important, than a person's birthday. The annual ritual of L'uomo Cervo - the deer man - dates back thousands of years. As does Il Diavolo di Tarfufo. The Neapolitan dialect spoken by many Molisani is influenced by the presence of several Arbereshe communities, where an archaic form of the Albanian language is still spoken by some.
I'm more familiar with my paternal family's story than my maternal's, so I'll concentrate mostly on what I remember form the many stories I heard when I was young. My paternal grandfather, Francesco, left Italy for South America in 1911. The plan was to earn money, immigrate to the USA and bring my grandmother over.
(to be continued).
THE NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION
Italian American WWII Hero: Antonio Francis Federico
Posted on February 21, 2021 by niaforg
Launched in 2020 to remember the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, NIAF is recognizing Italian Americans who sacrificed, served and defended peace, freedom and democracy during the war through the #IAWW2Heroes initiative.
This entry is a special submission from Nancy Federico in honor of her late father.
Antonio (Tony) Francis Federico was born in Aprigliano Corte Cosenza in the Italian region of Calabria in 1915 and immigrated to the United States in 1927. After moving to America, he lived in Portland, Oregon, with his parents Rocco Federico and Maria Rosaria Muto Federico along with his two siblings, Teresina and Angelo.
Tony Federico joined the U.S. Army in 1941 and completed the U.S. Army Officer Engineer Course, where he earned a diploma in 1942. He went on to become a 1st Lieutenant and a Platoon Commander-Engineer Unit, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge at Normandy as a M1A Shoulder Fired Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher Bazooka Gunner. Using the Bazooka made Mr. Federico permanently deaf in his left ear.
Mr. Federico was awarded a European and American Theatre Ribbon with 3 Stars; Normandy, Central Europe, Rhineland, and an American Defense Victory Metal. He left the Army in 1946 with Honorable Discharge.
Mr. Federico returned home and married Jacqueline (Giacoma) Apa. They had five children named Diane, Nancy, Teresa, David and Delores (who are twins).
In 1956, Mr. Federico moved his family from Portland, Ore., to Santa Clara, Calif., in the Santa Clara Valley, now known as Silicon Valley. His civilian career was with, The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company (Pacific Bell), and after working with Pacific Bell more than 29 years, he retired in 1977.
“In 2004, I honored my father with a WWII Certificate of Honor from the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., when the wall was completed,” shared his daughter, Nancy Federico. “In 1989, my father was also honored by another one of his children, with a certificate from the State of Liberty-Ellis Island, signed by Lee A. Iacocca, as ‘An American Immigrant Wall of Honor’ recipient, and his name was also engraved on a wall of Ellis Island. This honor was also given to my mother, Jacqueline (Giacoma) Apa.”
Mr. Federico lived to the age of 77 and is survived by his children and several grand and great-grandchildren